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Masthead Local Govt - Child

Number of public law children cases edged up slightly in 2017: MoJ

The number of public law children cases starting in 2017 was up slightly (1%) over the full year compared to 2016, the Ministry of Justice has said.

However, the MoJ said in its Family Court Statistics Quarterly that “in contrast, the number of disposals increased by 6% to 17,343 reflecting the time lag from application to first order being made”.

The quarterly revealed that there was no change in the number of cases started or disposed in October to December 2017 compared to same period in 2016.

The MoJ revealed that on average, care proceedings took longer with fewer disposals within the 26 week timeframe. The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 28 weeks in 2017, up one week from 2016.

There was also a slight increase (up half a week) in October to December 2017 compared to the same period of 2016.

In 2017, 57% of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks – down 5 percentage points compared to 2016.

A similar proportion of cases were disposed of in the latest quarter (56%).

Other significant findings were:

  • In 2017, there were 5,417 adoption order applications, down 8% on 2016, whilst the number of adoption orders issued also decreased in 2017, by 7% compared to 2016.
  • There were 3,955 Deprivation of Liberty (DoL) applications in 2017, up 27% compared to 2016. Similarly, DoL orders were up 81% over the same period "reflecting the lag in the process from application to order". There were 1,030 DoL applications in October to December 2017, up 9% on the same period of 2016, and continuing the overall upward trend. The number of DoL orders made almost doubled over the same period.

The quarterly can be viewed here.

 

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