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Children taken into care hits high

12th April 2012

New figures show that applications for children at risk of abuse or neglect to be taken into care reached 10,199 for the year ended March 2012.

The figures released by the Children and Family Court Advisory Service (Cafcass) are a new year-on-year high and are a 10.8% increase on the previous year’s figures of 9,202.

January 2012 saw the highest ever number of care applications recorded in an individual month, with 912 applications.

Cafcass chief executive Anthony Douglas said the high figures showed that all agencies involved had to realise it was time to change the way they worked collectively if the most vulnerable children in the country were "to continue to receive strong public services in these tough times".

He added: “This rise shows that all agencies are working more quickly to ensure that children are removed from deeply damaging households where many have been for some time and are showing a lower tolerance for poor parenting.”

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) said the figures highlighted the fact that child protection work was facing a “major crisis” and that cutbacks in funding were having an impact.

BASW professional officer Sue Kent said: “Our members report that the majority of their time is being spent on paperwork, rather than with the children they are hoping to protect, as the admin staff in their team have disappeared.”

She said cutting support staff has had the effect of turning social workers into administrators and that spending on preventative services was also being cut.

 

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