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Quicker action to keep children safe

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) has published new research which shows that local authorities are acting more quickly to keep vulnerable children safe.

Cafcass represents children in family court cases, making sure that their voices are heard and that the decisions that are made about them are in their best interests.

Since 2007-08 Cafcass has witnessed a 62% increase in the numbers of local authority care applications. In 2011-12, the number of applications topped 10,000 for the first time ever.

Anthony Douglas, Chief Executive said “Following on from the Baby Peter tragedy there was an upsurge in care applications which is still being sustained three years on. For vulnerable children today this defining study gives encouraging signs that court applications to protect them are now more timely and being made at an earlier stage of a local authority’s involvement with their family.

"It shows that cases where children are suffering from neglect are being brought more quickly to court and that, in the large majority of cases, Cafcass Guardians believed that the local authorities’ actions were the correct ones.”

Alongside the research is the publication of five years’ worth of individual local authority care application data, including both numbers and rates (per 10,000 children) of care applications. Fourteen local authorities showed a net decrease in the number of applications per 10,000 children over the five years from 2007-08 to 2011-12 while in 2011-12, 53 local authorities experienced either a decrease or no change in the application rate.

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