Latest figures for the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) show a total of 1,066 care applications were received in March 2015, a 16%t higher rate than for March 2014. In total there were 11,127 care applications received between April 2014 and March 2015, compared with 10,620 over the previous 12 months.
The figures for 2014/15 are also the highest annual total in the last five years, with the previous highest coming in 2012/13 when 11,110 care applications were received.
Andrew Walker, practice support consultant at The Fostering Network, said the focus on CSE has made social work teams more likely to make a care application.
The increased awareness of major issues affecting children on the edge of care, such as sexual exploitation, has led to more decisive action being taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these children.”
Christine Banim, Cafcass’s national service director, also said that “a greater awareness of issues like child sexual exploitation following coverage of high-profile cases” is a driver for the increase in care applications.
But she also said that “Demand levels are also affected through more rigorous reviewing and scrutiny within local authorities of plans for children where remaining at home is too dangerous, even after treatment programmes.