by Emma Maier, deputy editor Community Care
Cafcass says the number of applications for care proceedings in the 10 days following the media coverage of the Baby P case was 26% higher than the same period last year. The increase is particularly significant because the figures for April-September this year were 20% down on 2007.
The latest figures could be anomalous. Even so, the implications for children are worrying. Maybe there were too few applications earlier in the year (possibly because of increased fees) and the recent increase is righting that trend. Or maybe the number was right and the increase reflects media-induced panic. Neither scenario puts children at the centre of the decision, which is surely the only basis for an effective child protection system.