Care applications in December 2014 were the highest they’ve ever been for the month, figures from Cafcass have revealed.
A total of 918 care applications were received in December, a year-on-year increase of 13%.
So far, between April 2014 and March 2015, 8,196 care applications have been received. These figures are slightly higher than at the same point in 2012-13, when Cafcass received record numbers of care applications in one year: 8,191.
Cafcass chief executive Anthony Douglas said the increase is “not wildly different” to what has already been seen this year.
But he added: “What does need exploring further are the variations in rates of applications across local authorities and the changing volumes for particular classifications of concern.”
He said Cafcass’ lines of inquiry into rising referrals relate to rising neglect cases, a drop in adoption plans, child sexual exploitation numbers growing and referrals for child sexual abuse within the family falling.
“The grounds for inquiry are to better understand how the whole system is responding to serious concerns about children and young people, and in particular whether what is being seen are swings in concern or swings in the professional response,” he said.