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Cafcass confirms record number of care applications in 2012/13

The relentless rise in care applications continued in 2012/13, year-end figures provided by Cafcass have confirmed.

The service revealed that it had received a record 11,055 application over the course of the 12 months, up 8% on 2011/12.

There were 998 applications in February 2013, the highest ever recorded for a single month. Last month meanwhile saw 925 applications, up 3% on the previous year.

Cafcass added that applications received for all months during 2012/13 were the highest recorded for these individual months, with the exception of June last year.

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It put down the lower than expected figure for June 2012 to the additional bank holidays that month.

Cafcass insisted that progress was being made to drive down the duration of cases, despite the rise in care applications.

It reported that, nationally, care case duration had dropped from 54 weeks in 2011-12 to 47 weeks in the second quarter of 2012-13.

Cafcass added that in the third quarter, the national average was down to 45 weeks. In some local areas it fell to as low as 27 weeks.

The Government is legislating in the Children and Families Bill for care proceedings to be completed within 26 weeks in all but exceptional cases. 

Anthony Douglas, Cafcass chief executive, said: “Cafcass is working hard with courts, local authority services and agencies throughout the country to reduce unnecessary delays for children and young people who are going through care proceedings.

“While pressure continues to come from the increase in application numbers, we know from our published research that these applications are being brought in a more timely and better prepared way than was the case in 2008, when we first witnessed a large increase following the Baby Peter case in Haringey.”

He added: “Work will continue over the coming year, both at national and local levels, to ensure we are working together to provide the best service possible to the children we support.”

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