Cafcass: Care applications continue to rise in wake of Baby P

The sharp rise in care applications in the wake of the Baby P case has shown no sign of abating with record numbers of requests in March 2009, Cafcass said today.

Presenting figures for 2005-9, the family court body said applications for care orders by English councils were significantly higher in each of the four months following the end of the Baby P trial in November 2008 than in the previous year.

In March 2009, there were 739 applications, a 37.5% rise on the total for March 2008, and the highest ever recorded total, topping the 716 received in December 2008.

Cafcass said the figures “may be explained by a lowering of the threshold of intervention by local authorities following the publicity surrounding the Baby P criminal court case”.

Chief executive Anthony Douglas said: “The increase represent real cases which are nearly always upheld by a family court due to the power and strength of the evidence – there is no evidence that children are being taken into care needlessly.  In fact it is our view that more children are now being safeguarded who would otherwise be at risk of neglect or harm.”

He added: “We are seeing an increase in cases coming to the courts of children already known to local authorities and where chronic neglect is the main feature.  There are no easy solutions or guaranteed futures for these children, either back home or in the care system.”

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