There are reports today that the number of care applications for the three months to September 2009 was up by nearly 50% on the same period last year. In June 2009 the highest number of cases since records were kept by the Children and Family Courts Advisory Support Service was reached.
Clearly such a massive increase in expensive legal proceedings, and the subsequent costs of caring for looked-after children, will place a heavy load on local authorities which may not be sustainable. There is now a real prospect of a melt-down in services, with rising volumes of work, staff shortages and a demoralised workforce.
There is no evidence of an appropriate response to this crisis from DCSF. Ministers are not usually slow to comment on a whole range of issues but seem strangely silent on this one.