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68% of local authorities show a year-on-year increase in the rate of care applications

Date:15 APR 2016
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Cafcass have today released statistics showing the number of care applications received per 10,000 child population the rate of care applications by each local authority in England during 2015-16.

In total, 31% (47 out of 152) of local authorities showed a decrease in the rate of care applications compared to last year (2014-15), while 68% (2013 out of 152) showed an increase. Two local authorities (1%) showed no change. These figures, building upon data collected since 2008-09, continue to form part of the overall picture of care demand across all 152 local authorities.

Blackpool (39), Middlesbrough (29.9) and South Tyneside (28.9) local authorities have the highest rate of care applications. London-Kensington & Chelsea (4.3), London-Kingston-upon-Thames (4.8) and Windsor & Maidenhead (5.) have the lowest rate.

Cafcass recently released the total number of care applications for 2015-16, showing that 12,741 care applications, involving 21,666 children, were made between April 2015 and March 2016. This is the highest ever recorded number of applications, and a 14% increase on the number of applications made in 2014-15.

Speaking about these figures Anthony Douglas, Cafcass' Chief Executive, said:

'The national picture is mostly positive, because more children who need to be protected are being protected. For many authorities that have seen an increase in rate from last year, we know that this means that, for some children, life is better; for example, those who were drifting as looked-after children under section 20, but now have the right care plan in place following review.

The best local authorities are keeping more children safely at home through successful, targeted and high-quality early help programmes. If these programmes could be delivered throughout the country, more children could be supported to come back from the edge of care to safety. Maintaining sufficient funding for targeted services is one of the two biggest challenges for many local authorities, along with creating sustainable stable and high-performing organisations.

These figures will continue to be a useful tool for local authorities in determining what is happening in their local area, but are just one piece of the intelligence held and must be seen in the round. We will continue to work closely with local authorities at the national and local levels, in order to improve our joint understanding of what is going on both in real time and strategically as a trend analysis over time.'
Dave Hill, President of the Association of Directors of Children's Services, said:

'These figures show that councils remain committed to safeguarding a rising number of vulnerable children and young people from harm, despite substantial reductions to our budgets since 2010. Our children face new and emerging risks that, to tackle, require the joint efforts of local authorities and colleagues from across the sector.

We will continue to work together with our partners to help support families to stay together where this is appropriate.'
The full figures can be viewed and downloaded here.