Further Increases To Private Law Case Applications To Cafcass
Cafcass has released its monthly statistics from April 2019 to January 2020, showing an increase in new cases and the highest demand for the month of January on record.
Between April 2019 and January 2020, overall there were 2,243 more cases than was seen in the same period the year previously, an increase of 4.4%. There was a total of 83,113 children involved in the 53,740 cases, an increase of 3.3% on the previous year.
January 2020 saw the highest demand for a month on record for Cafcass, with 5,659 new cases.
Public law cases
The majority of cases to Cafcass are from private law, however almost a third are public law cases.
Between April 2019 and January 2020 there were 15,227 new public law cases raised, featuring 24,512 children. This was a 0.9% decrease on cases from the previous year and a decrease of 3.1% in the amount of children.
Of the 15,227 cases, 10,949 of these were the new Section 31 care applications, representing a 4.3% drop on the applications the year previously.
Section 31 care applications are where children are placed into the care of the Local Authority and parental responsibility is shared between the parents and the Local Authority.
Whilst there was an overall decrease in applications for section 31 care orders, there is an increase in applications in other types of public law proceedings, including discharge of care orders, revocation of placement order, and supervision order applications. There was a 7.6% increase in these non-section 31 care cases.
The average duration of public law care and supervision (section 31) applications was 33 weeks, which is measured from when the application is first made until the completion of the final order.
Private law cases
Private law cases make up the majority of cases for Cafcass and are defined as ‘applications made following a divorce or separation about the arrangements for children, such as where a child will live or with whom a child will spend time’.
In the period April 2019 to January 2020, there were 38,513 new private law cases an increase of 6.6% on the previous year. These cases involved 58,601 children, which is 3,452 (6.3%) more children than between April 2018 and January 2019.
This increase is another in a year on year trend of increases since 2016.