ADCS issues warning following fall in care applications

The number of care applications made to Cafcass has fallen month on month in July as well as year on year.

There were 1,238 care applications made to Cafcass in July 2017, a fall from 1,325 in June 2017. There were 1,307 applications made in July 2016, figures show, representing a five per cent fall year on year.

Between April 2016 and March 2017, Cafcass received a total of 14,591 applications, 14% higher when compared with the previous financial year. So far in this financial year, Cafcass has received 4,757 applications which spiked in June at 1,325 – a record monthly high.

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services and Cafcass has issued joint guidance on how social workers and guardians can work together after figures grew last year.

Charlotte Ramsden, Chair of the ADCS Health, Care and Additional Needs Policy Committee, said: “The number of care applications being made to courts in recent years has increased year-on year placing significant pressure on the system including on the courts, Cafcass and local authorities.”

“Whilst these figures, seemingly show a slight decrease in the number of care applications made in July 2017 compared with the same period last year it is too early to tell whether this is a long-term trend and will result in an overall reduction in the full year figure for 2017/18, or simply a fluctuation.”

“Local authorities will continue to keep children and young people with highest level of need safe from harm safe despite experiencing rising demand for our services at the same time as reducing budgets. It is crucial that more work is done to fully understand demand for children’s services and that these services are fully funded, without this there is a risk that the system could buckle under pressure,” she added.