The pressure on the care system is showing no signs of easing. This is bound to give rise to an increased need for more foster carers and foster placements.
Last month the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) reported that 1,221 care applications were made in April, up 28% on the same period in 2015.
It’s the third month in a row that the volume of new cases topped 1,220 – the highest figures ever recorded.
The causes are myriad. Criticism of the misuse of voluntary care arrangements under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 by Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division, as preludes to care proceedings has prompted local authorities to re-examine cases and bring some to court as care proceedings.
Elsewhere the growing numbers of unaccompanied asylum-seekers and referrals due to sexual exploitation is further increasing applications to bring children into care.
But there are also quieter, less headline grabbing drivers of the increase at work too, says Dave Hill, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.
“There is no single reason or cause for the rising numbers of children in care,” he says. “Our partners, including schools, are better trained and more effective in identifying need and local authorities are continually improving their own assessment work.”
Acknowledgement; Extract from Community Care article: June 2016