The number of care applications made in December fell year on year for the first time in more than two years, Cafcass figures have shown.
Cafcass received a total of 1,068 care applications in December 2016, which was a three per cent decrease compared with those received in December 2015. The last time year-on-year monthly figures fell was May 2014.
The last time the number of applications fell below the 1,100 mark during a month was in November 2015.
Cafcass received 10,958 new care applications between April and December 2016. The latest year to date demand is 18.2% or 1,685 applications higher than April to December 2015 and 33.2% or 2,729 applications higher than April to December 2014.
The organisation has received on average over 1,200 new care applications per month since January 2016.
Although the number of care applications fell in December 2016, the 1,068 new applications received in December 2016 represents the second highest number of applications for the month of December. The highest number of applications for the month of December was in 2015 when there were 1,103 applications.
The president of the family courts division Sir James Munby has spoken out about the “crisis” in the care system which has resulted in a massive surge of new cases coming through the courts and said that there is no clear strategy for dealing with the influx of cases.