Cafcass August figures show open cases increasing despite a slow in new cases

The latest Cafcass figures for August indicate a decrease in new cases, both year-to-date and compared with July’s demand, but the number of open outstanding cases remains high.

The number of new Cafcass cases recorded in August reveal that demand has decreased by 11.2% since July and 9.6% since last August. This equates to an average daily demand of 221 cases in August 2021 compared to 257 cases received per day during August 2020.

Year-to-date figures since April 2021 reveal a decrease of 1.1% in total case demand compared to the same period last year. This is led by a significant reduction in new public law cases of 8.5%, although a small increase in new private law cases of 2.1% has been recorded. There has also been a decrease of 13.1% in section 31 (care) cases, in public law cases, compared with the same year-to-date period in 2020.

Compared to August last year figures have also decreased with new private law cases having decreased by 8% and public law cases by 13.7%. Cafcass recorded 1,259 public law cases featuring children in August, and of these, 67.1% were cases where section 31 (care) was the lead application, a decrease of 18.1% compared to August 2020, and 32.9% where section 31 (care) was not the lead application, which is 2.2% fewer than in August 2020.

The number of outstanding children’s cases in August remains high however with 43,597 cases currently recorded as open. This represents an increase of 10.4% when compared to August 2020, and an increase of 25.6% compared with the start of the pandemic in March 2020. It is thought that the number of open cases continues to remain exceptionally high due to increasing caseloads compounded by a generally high new case demand and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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