Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Majority of family courts miss 26-week target

Majority of family courts miss 26-week target. More than two-thirds of court areas in England have failed to meet a target for care proceedings to be completed within six months.

Statistics released by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) show that across England the average time care applications that were completed between April and June this year stood at 31 weeks.

The figure is five weeks above a 26-week limit that became law in April through the Children & Families Act. The legislation will apply to cases initiated from 22 April - meaning cases that were concluded between April and June are unlikely to have been covered by the new law.

The figures show that authorities still have work to do to meet the target. A breakdown of the statistics shows that 29 out of the 42 geographical judicial areas of England had failed to meet the 26-week target (70.7 per cent). The area with the highest average time taken was Taunton – where it took an average of 41 weeks for cases to be completed.A further five areas – Central London, Coventry, Sheffield, Watford, and West London had an average of 39 weeks. However, 12 areas either met or bettered the 26-week target.The best performing area was Truro, with an average case duration of 17 weeks, followed by York with 19 weeks.The new limit is intended to ensure children can be found a home within six months.

The hope is that cutting out delays will mean more children can be found a permanent home quickly, avoiding exposing them to potential risk or harm to their development. Anthony Douglas, chief executive of Cafcass said the statistics showed preogress is being made on variation between areas. He added that the duration of new cases is within the statutory 26-week limit. "Intensive work continues in those local areas with the highest durations, to understand the root causes of delay and to take effective multi-agency action," he said.Although the latest average figure is above the target, it represents an improvement on previous quarterly statistics. Cafcass figures for the fourth quarter of 2013/14 shows the average case duration for the three months up to the end of March was 33 weeks. In addition, figures released by the Ministry of Justice last December showed that in the three months between April and June 2013, the average duration of care proceedings was 40.8 weeks. At the end of 2011 it stood at 54.6 weeks. -

Story Courtesy of CYP

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

All children removed from Rainsbrook


All children are to be removed from Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre, the Lord Chancellor has announced.

Robert Buckland has confirmed that work is underway to move all children from the privately-run Secure Training Centre amid serious ongoing concerns about safety and performance.

The Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland said: “Six months ago, I demanded that MTC take [...]

Read Full Story

Response to 'Case for Change'


What the children’s services sector said about the independent review into children’s social care.


The Association of Directors of Children’s Services President, Charlotte Ramsden, said: “This review is a once in a generation opportunity to make meaningful and lasting change for the children and young people who need our help and support to thrive. The case [...]

Read Full Story

Children’s social care system likened to Jenga tower held together with Sellotape


Children’s services often intervene with vulnerable families too late, the independent review into children’s social care has stated.

The government’s main focus should be on supporting the resources of families and the wider community to keep children safe as close to a family environment as is possible. While decisive action still needs to be taken [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram