The numbers of public law care and supervision applications under section 31 of the Children Act 1989 from April 2007 to December 2008 are shown in the following table. Public law cases are those brought by local authorities or an authorised person (currently only the NSPCC). Figures relate to the number of children that are subject to each application, are for England and Wales, and have been rounded to the nearest 10. Please note that 2008 figures remain subject to change, particularly the later months of the year.
The majority of applications are made in Family Proceedings Courts (FPCs). There have been data quality issues with figures for FPCs, and a new method of data collection was introduced in April 2007 which has improved the quality and level of recording on previous years. Prior to April 2007 the collection was on a quarterly basis, meaning that monthly data are not available.
Comparisons between short time periods (one or two months) as presented in this table should be made with caution as these figures are subject to more volatility than those covering longer time periods.