Although the trend line now appears to be flattening, the fact that July saw an all time high in the number of applications for Care Orders in England has to be of concern.
What Cafcass chief, Anthony Douglas, calls “the continuing volatility” in demand for Care Orders makes it very difficult to plan – both for Children’s Services and for the Courts.
From some of the more detailed information that Cafcass publishes on this issue, it can be seen that since 2008 the rate of demand for Care Orders has increased markedly in some local authorities but not in others.
In Southend, for example, the rate per 10,000 children more than tripled from 3.1 in 2008-9 to 9.7 in 2013-14, whereas in neighbouring Essex over the same period the rate actually fell from 4.8 to 4.0.
Some authorities with very high rates in 2013-14 are Blackpool (22.2), Coventry (18.1), North East Lincolnshire (20.7), Nottingham (18.0), Southampton (21.6), Torbay (23.1) and Wolverampton (24.7). These figures compare with a national average rate of 9.2, in 2013-14, which has risen from 5.9 in 2008-9.
I for one am not clear where the extra resources to deal with all this extra work are coming from. I wonder if they know in the Department for Education?