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Children’s care cases soaring

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Applications to place children in care have rocketed to as the aftermath from the Baby P case places ever greater pressure on children’s services.

The Children & Family Court Advisory Support Service (CAFCASS) revealed that last month saw the highest level of care applications lodged in court of any month in almost four years - up 66% on a year ago.

In addition to the Baby P case, experts blame the surge on changes to the legal process last April that caused system-wide backlogs.

December is usually the quietest month for the family courts but last month they saw 693 cases - much higher than CAFCASS’s previous highest record of 630 in March 2005.

The director of policy, research and development at the British Association of Adoption & Fostering, John Simmonds, said the increase would exacerbate the shortage of foster families for the nation’s 59,000 children who are in care.

He said councils would be forced to go to the independent sector that charges up to£800 per week to foster children - close to three times the amount arrangements with local families costed.

A LGA children’s services source said the Baby P case had led to a rise in the number of referrals for children previously unknown to social services.

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