|Cafcass care statistics graph|
Cafcass has today released its care demand statistics for March 2012. These show that there were 886 care applications in March, and that between April 2011 and March 2012, it received 10,199 new applications, 10.8% more than last year. This is the first time that the annual number of applications has exceeded 10,000, according to Cafcass Chief Executive Anthony Douglas.
Clearly, the desire to avoid risk post-Baby P is putting a considerable strain on the system, and appears to be on-going (see the graph above - although the monthly figure has dropped slightly from the record figure of 912 in January). One has to wonder how much longer the system will cope with such a workload (if, indeed, it is coping).
You can find the statistics here, on the Cafcass website. There is also a BBC report here, and an article on Community Care here, which quotes Sue Kent, professional officer at the British Association of Social Workers, as saying that child protection work is now facing a “major crisis” and that soaring referrals combined with government cuts are preventing social workers from doing their jobs properly. Barnardo's have also issued a press release on the statistics, which may be found here.