A major sector-led review into soaring care applications and increasing levels of children entering care has been launched.
Children’s services directors, children’s lawyers, academics and leading figures within children’s services are uniting to address the rising number of care applications in a seven month long review.
“We are facing a crisis and, truth be told, we have no very clear strategy for meeting the crisis,”
said Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court and stakeholder in the review.
This is not the first time Sir James has spoken out on the issue as he previously highlighted that the courts were “ill prepared” for the rise in care applications and warned that there is no clear strategy in place to deal with the increasing number of court cases.
There was a record 14,597 care applications made between April 2016 and March 2017. This is up from 10,620 in 2013-14. The number of children entering care are at the highest levels since 1985.
Earlier this year, Cafcass and the ADCS launched guidance encouraging social workers and guardians to work together on cases in a bid to deal with the growing numbers of cases. However they were later forced to withdraw the guidance following criticism.
The chief executive of Cafcass Anthony Douglas and Alison Michalska, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) are among stakeholder members which also include SCIE’s Tony Hunter and the children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield.
The review, chaired by Nigel Richardson, recently retired Director of Children's Services at Leeds City Council, aims to:
The review will make a call for evidence between December and March 2018 asking for evidence about the drivers for the rise in care proceedings and number of children in the care system or any research findings about policies and practices that may safely lead to reductions in care applications and children coming into or remaining in care. A report is due in June 2018.
The review is sector-led because all stakeholders have knowledge and expertise about the service responses that can make a difference to children and families and may help to safely avert the need for care proceedings. There is a groundswell of opinion that those most affected by the crisis should take a combined lead in promoting ways of supporting families to avoid problems escalating, the group said.
Those wishing to contribute should email to email@example.com.
Age assessments of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children must be carried out by social workers and draw on a multi-agency approach, the professional association for social workers has warned.
The Nationality and Borders Bill, which lays out a raft of legislative measures to change the processes for migrants and asylum seekers in the UK, is currently in [...]
PAMS assessments have been synonymous with specialist parent assessments for adults with learning disabilities since shortly after the assessment framework was established in 1998.
PAMS stands for ‘Parent Assessment Manual Software’ and since its introduction it has been used by social workers and independent experts to assess parents when there are child protection concerns. The [...]
There has been a rise in the number of cases starting in the family courts as there were 66,357 new cases in April to June 2021, up 14% on the same quarter in 2020, according to Ministry of Justice figures.
The increase was due to rises in most case types: financial remedy (76%), private law [...]