Children need to understand decisions that have been made about them, whilst it is happening and during their lifetime. This is essential to help them make sense of their experience as they grow up. A recent case in the Family Division of the High Court has received attention for the way in which the judge, Mr Justice Jackson has summarised in plain English the events and decisions affecting the lives of the four children involved. This will hopefully help the children make sense of these decisions as they grow up.
Anthony Douglas (Chief Executive at Cafcass) has praised the example set by Mr Justice Jackson, saying “Growing up unhappily, for whatever reason, can have a lifelong impact. However resilient you are, the demons can come back to haunt you in different ways at different times. For the individuals involved [in this case], they will have access for the rest of their lives to a clear narrative about why profound decisions were taken….”.
He appeals to social work and judicial agencies involved in making life changing decisions affecting children that they follow this good practice, saying “Having your story understood and then recorded for your personal posterity is a valuable front line service for children, not just an administrative afterthought. Our challenge is to leave our written records in that accessible form.”