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The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has published its annual national figures on referrals, assessment and children and young people who are the subjects of child protection plans (on the child protection register) for year ending March 2008.
The key points from the latest release are:
There were 538,500 referrals to social services departments in the year ending 31 March 2008, compared to the previous year's figure of 545,000 (in other recent years the figures have fluctuated from between 550,000 and 570,000). Of the 2008 referrals, 24% were repeat referrals within 12 months of a previous referral, an increase of one percentage point on the previous year.
Of the 319,900 initial assessments completed in the year, 226,300 (71%) were completed within 7 working days of referral. This compares with 208,700 (68%) out of a total of 305,000 for the previous year.
Of the 105,100 core assessments undertaken in the year, 83,700 (80%) were completed within 35 working days. This compares with 73,300 (78%) out of a total of 93,400 for the previous year.
There were 34,000 children who became the subject of a plan in 2008; this compares to 33,300 in 2007. Around 14% of these had previously been the subject of a plan one percentage point more than in 2007. During the year ending 31 March 2008, 32,600 children ceased to be the subject of a plan; this compares to 31,800 in 2007.
5% of children who ceased to be the subject of a plan had been on it for 2 years or more, one percentage point fewer than in 2007, following a downward trend over a number of years.
The percentage of child protection cases which were reviewed within the required timescales was 99%, the same as last year.