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Children in Care

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many children were in care in each local authority area in each of the last 10 years. (275234)

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many and what proportion of children in care were placed with special guardians in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement; (276881)

(2) how many and what proportion of applications by local authorities for special guardianship have been accepted by his Department in each year since 2001.

Applications for special guardianship orders are made directly to the courts. Special guardianship was introduced in 2005.

Information on the number and proportion of children in care who were placed with special guardians in the last 12 months can be found in table D1, taken from the Statistical First Release (SFR 23/2008) entitled ‘Children looked after in England (including adoption and care leavers) year ending 31 March 2008’. This shows the number of looked after children who have ceased to be looked after at 31 March for 2004 to 2008.

The SFR is located at:

http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000810/index.shtml

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of children in care have not been assigned a legal guardian; and if he will make a statement. (275450)

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) has 9,060 ongoing care cases, of which 635 are currently unallocated to CAFCASS guardians. This figure represents 7.0 per cent. of the total care workload. For statistical purposes, CAFCASS counts the number of cases which can include multiple applications and multiple children.

The increase in care cases has had an effect on the availability of Guardians. CAFCASS has therefore 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.