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Reduction in Early Help and Increase in Care Applications

Cafcass chief Anthony Douglas expects care applications to continue rising for the immediate future.

Their latest figures show that it received 946 applications in April, 18% higher than the same period in 2014 making it the eleventh consecutive month that applications have risen compared with the same month last year. 

He also warned that cuts to children’s early help services could see a fall in the level of prevention work carried out with struggling families resulting in more children being taken into care.  

Council spending on early intervention fell £200m in 2013/14, with more anticipated over the coming years as a result of government plans to cut £13bn from government departments. 

He also stated that greater awareness of neglect and improved social worker practice were other factors driving the rise in care applications.

Alison O’Sullivan, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), also warned that the impact of funding cuts is “putting our ability to intervene early in jeopardy.  Without a change in policy direction, there is a real risk that the sector will forever lose significant capacity to prevent issues escalating,” she added.