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Childcare cases surge by postcode lottery

Children are 10 times more likely to be taken into care in some parts of the country than others a Cafcass study revealed. The report showed that there is a postcode lottery operating in care proceedings.

Cafcass examined hundreds of care applications that have been lodged in the years since Baby P’s death in August 2007. It wanted to investigate the reasons behind the surge in children being taken into care since the case came to light and the regional variations.

Care applications are at a record high; 11% more applications were made in the year to April 2012 than in the previous year. That is also 70% higher than in 2008 when Baby P’s tragic case became public.

The study revealed stark variations between local authorities. South Tyneside removed 91 children into care last year which is a rate of 30 per 10,000 children. In contrast, Richmond in South London and nearby Havering, which applied to remove 10 and 13 children respectively, amounted to fewer than 3 children per 10,000. The national average is 9 per 10,000.

Swain & Co.’s family law solicitors say that this disparity between postcodes is too large to be explained purely by demography and deprivation. The tragedy of Baby P is still resonating within child service departments.

Going back to our news item ‘Rise in Child Care Applications in England’ our family lawyers expressed concern that the care systems was struggling to cope leading to court delays, children being placed in temporary placements or moved around with little notice, siblings are being split up and there is a significant lack of foster carers.

The determination of social workers not to make the same mistakes as made in the case of Baby P, that they are becoming risk averse which could be damaging families.

Swain & Co. have a specialist team in child care proceedings, so if you face the threat of, or have had, your child taken away by social services, contact our team today.

Legal aid may be available to you, and we offer a free initial consultation, so don’t hesitate to call.

Call 02392 492 967

 

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