The Children and Family Court Advisory Service received 590 care applications (Section 31) in November 2008 and 714 in December 2008.
This increase in demand has had an effect on the allocation of guardians. In November 2008, 73 per cent. of Section 31 applications were allocated to guardians within two days and in December 2008, this figure was 66.9 per cent. Both of these figures met the current target which is that 65 per cent. of cases should be allocated within two days.
To respond to demand CAFCASS has put a duty guardian scheme in place so that urgent work is covered, and a solicitor for the child is always appointed in each case to look after a child’s interests.