Our data

Trends over time

  • Although there have been recent falls in new applications for public and private proceedings since the start of the pandemic, the long-term trend over the last five years has been for an increase in the number of children and young people we work with each year from 127,670 children in 2017/18 to 148,704 in 2021/22, an increase of 16.5%. 
  • The biggest increases have been in private law proceedings. We worked with 102,198 children in private law proceedings in 2021/2 compared with 82,818 in 20117/18, an increase of 23.4% 
  • Around 2/3 of the children we work each year are involved in private law proceedings and 1/3 are involved public law proceedings. But the children involved in private law proceedings has been increasing from 64.9% in 2017/8 to 68.7% in 2021/2. 
  • The number of children’s cases open to Cafcass at any point in time has also increased over time. At the end of April 2022 there were 34,695 open active children’s cases compared to 26,802 in April 2018, an increase of 29.4%. Most of this increase has been the result of the pandemic, and is due to the reduction in final hearings and disposals as the work in the family courts has slowed down. 
  • The considerable pressure on the family courts means children and families are in proceedings for longer, and this has become particularly acute since the Covid-19 pandemic. We produce quarterly data for the length of time we work with children and families in public law Section 31 proceedings. The average length of time we worked with families in public law s31 applications increased from 30 weeks (Q4 2017/18) to 44 weeks (Q4 2020/21) and currently stands at 45 weeks (Q3 2021/2). 


Cafcass private law and public law demand statistics are published on the tenth working day of each month. If you have any queries about the statistics, please contact us via our website form.

April 2022


Headline Findings 

  • In April 2022 Cafcass received 4,203 new children’s cases (6,358 children)  
  • The average daily demand level in April 2022 was 221 children’s cases per day compared to 245 children’s cases received per day during April 2021. 
  • The number of active open outstanding children’s cases at the end of April remains at high levels (34,659 children’s cases); this is an increase of 15.0% / 4,523 children’s cases compared to March 2020, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. There are currently 56,255 children on open active children’s cases.

Year to date summary (April 2022)

When comparing the current financial year (April 2022) with the same stage the previous year (April 2021), the main changes are: 

  • A decrease in total children’s cases (14.2% / 696 children’s cases compared to the same period last year);  
  • A reduction in public law children’s cases (3.8% / 50 cases) 
  • A reduction in private law children’s cases (18.1% / 646 cases) 


Public law children’s cases (Financial year: April 2022)

For the year-to-date, there have been 1,273 new public law children’s cases, involving 1,967 children. 

Our public law data shows regularly updated statistics showing both national and local trends for: 

  • the total number of public law cases 
  • the number of care order applications made by local authorities and the number of children involved (monthly) 
  • the length of time taken to complete care and supervision proceedings (quarterly) 
  • number of care order applications by local authorities in England (quarterly) 
  • the rate of care order applications per 10k children population by local authorities in England (annually). 

Please click here to view the public law demand spreadsheet, which includes open active children’s cases. 

Private law children’s cases (Financial year: April 2022)

Cafcass received 2,930 new private law children’s cases in April 2022. These cases involved 4,391 children. 

Private law demand is generally used to refer to 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. 

Please click here to view the private law demand spreadsheet, which includes open active children’s cases.

Open active children’s cases (April 2022 snapshot)

There are currently 34,659 open active children’s cases, which is 4,523 (15%) more children’s cases compared to March 2020 (at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic). These children’s cases involve 56,255 children 

Compared to March 2020, there were 1,594 additional open active children’s cases in public law (13.2% increase) and 2,929 additional open active children’s cases in private law (16.2% increase). 


Quarterly data 2021-22

Cafcass collects data showing . Cafcass produces ‘heat maps’ showing how each Designated Family Judge (DFJ) area is performing in relation to the PLO target […]

Annual summaries

Our annual summaries show the year-on-year cases received for public and private law and care applications. It also includes the annual length of care and […]

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