Half of local authorities report increase in care applications

Latest Cafcass figures show 53% of local authorities recorded an increase in the number of care applications in 2014/15

Photo: Kevin Steinhardt

More than half of local authorities are reporting greater demand for care applications, Cafcass figures have shown.

Of 152 local authorities, 80 (53%), had an increase in the number of care applications per 10,000 children in 2014/15 when compared to the previous year.

In the remaining authorities, 43% saw a decrease in care applications year-on-year.

These figures come a month after care demand in 2014/15 was revealed to have hit an all-time high.

Anthony Douglas, Cafcass chief executive, said that how local authorities are better understanding the families they are working with is more important than the increase and decrease in figures.

“Local authorities are trialling innovative new ways of working to provide earlier forms of intervention, demonstrating the high priority being given to child protection, nationally and locally, within the wider context of increasing demand and the need to use budgets effectively to meet these challenges,” Douglas said.

Monthly demand

Care demand in April rose 18% compared to the same period last year, figures released on the same day revealed.

Alison O’Sullivan, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said local authority partner agencies are now better trained at identifying need.

“Though local authorities have experienced significant budget reductions over the last five years we remain active in protecting a growing number of children and young people as these latest figures show,” said O’Sullivan.

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