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Care applications set to reach record levels in 2016/17

The number of care applications received by Cafcass looks set to reach a record level for the third year in a row, it has emerged.

In the ten months from April 2016 to January 2017, Cafcass received 12,095 applications. This was 17% higher than the 10,308 recorded from April 2015 to January 2016.

In all but one month (December) so far during the year, the figures were higher than the corresponding month in 2015/16.

Cafcass received 1,119 care applications last month, up 7% on January 2016.

Significant increases in February and March 2016 saw Cafcass receive 12,781 care applications in 2015/16. This was up on 11,159 recorded in 2014/15 and 10,620 in 2012/13.

Cafcass last week reached an agreement with the Association of Directors of Children’s Services on how social workers in both local authorities and those acting as guardians in family proceedings can better work together during care proceedings and pre-proceedings in the family courts.

In August 2016 the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, warned that the family courts would need to plan on the basis that there would continue to be significant increases in care cases.

He acknowledged that the reasons for the increase were little understood, but said they were being investigated.

The President said that new, innovative and better ways of handling care cases should continue to be looked for, “while never departing from the fundamentals”.