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Masthead Education - Child Protection

Average time for disposal of care cases rises to 30 weeks: MoJ

The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal rose to 30 weeks in January to March this year – the highest average since early 2014, the Ministry of Justice has revealed.

In the latest edition of its Family Court Statistics Quarterly, the MoJ said the average time taken was up two weeks on the same quarter in 2017.

It also said that 49% of care cases were disposed of within 26 weeks, down seven percentage points over the same period for 2017.

The publication of the quarterly report comes just two weeks after the President-Designate of the Family Division, Lord Justice McFarlane, said he agreed with his predecessor, Sir James Munby, that the significant rise in care proceedings was a crisis that showed no sign of abating.

Lord Justice McFarlane added that “its effect, certainly from the perspective of the judges and the court staff, is that the workload, which prior to the rise was almost unsustainable, is now wholly untenable”.

Cafcass has separately revealed that the number of care order applications received in May 2018 was – at 1,302 – the third highest monthly total on record, and the highest demand for the month of May since records began.

The MoJ quarterly meanwhile showed that the number of adoption applications and orders has continued on a downward trend. In January to March 2018, there were 1,301 adoption applications, down 11% on the equivalent quarter in 2017.

Similarly, over the same period the number of adoption orders issued decreased 10% to 1,281.

The quarterly also revealed that there were 1,213 applications relating to deprivation of liberty in the first three months of the year, a rise of 25% on the equivalent quarter in 2017.

Deprivation of liberty orders were up 17% over the same period.

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