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Care Services: Children

Volume 714: debated on Thursday 12 November 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many named guardians have been appointed by the courts in each of the past 10 years to represent children and their interests in care and related proceedings. [HL6198]

Precise data on the number of guardians appointed by the courts to represent children in care proceedings are not available. However, one guardian is usually appointed in each care proceeding and, for the years in which the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) has existed and kept records, the number of care proceedings were as follows:

Financial Year

Total number of care proceedings

2002/03

6,394

2003/04

6,036

2004/05

6,316

2005/06

6,613

2006/07

6,786

2007/08

6,241

2008/09

6,486

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many complaints have been made by children in each of the past 10 years in respect of named guardians appointed by the courts to represent their interests in care and related proceedings. [HL6199]

The DCSF does not maintain records of the number of complaints made by children in respect of named guardians. CAFCASS does not collect this information in a centralised system but has provided the following statistics for the number of complaints made by children to CAFCASS. Without further investigation, CAFCASS cannot clarify how many of these complaints relate specifically to guardians.

Financial Year

Total Number of Children’s Complaints Recorded*

2005-06

8

2006-07

12

2007-08

20

2008-09

31

April 2009-4 November2009

23

*Note: Figures given may differ from those published in CAFCASS annual reports because data may have been added or amended after those reports had been published. CAFCASS statistics are not available for the years before 2005.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to strengthen the safeguards for children involved in care and related proceedings. [HL6202]

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) has a statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people who are the subject of court proceedings. It offers advice to the courts about applications made to them, makes provision for children to be represented in court proceedings, and provides information, advice and support for the children and their families.

We continue to work closely with CAFCASS to ensure that its organisation, staffing and delivery systems are robust and sufficient for it to fulfil its statutory responsibilities. Our aim is to ensure that every child involved in court proceedings receives the high quality support he or she needs while managing within finite resources to meet the needs of all the children in the system.