Putting children and young people first in the family courts


Care applications in October 2017


October 2017 statistics from Cafcass 


In October 2017, Cafcass received a total of 1,198 care applications. This figure represents a 4% increase compared with those received in October 2016 and is the highest monthly total for an October on record. 


April 2016 – March 2017

  • Between April 2016 and March 2017 Cafcass received a total of 14,597 applications.
  • This figure is 14% higher when compared with the previous financial year.


April 2015 – March 2016

  • Between April 2015 and March 2016 Cafcass received a total of 12,792 applications.
  • This figure is 15% higher when compared with the previous financial year.


April 2014 – March 2015

  • Between April 2014 and March 2015 Cafcass received a total of 11,159 applications.
  • This figure is 5% higher when compared with the previous financial year.


Please click here to view the spreadsheet, which, in addition to the monthly national stats, has a tab displaying a breakdown of application and children numbers by local authority for each complete quarter from April 2012.  

The spreadsheet has been updated with the local authority applications per 10,000 child population for 2016-17.

 Official Care Demand 2017 10 Graph


                            Care applications received
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17  2017-18
Apr          919          806          956        1,226          1,044
May          983          873          924        1,160         1,193
Jun          853          880        1,115        1,284 1,328
Jul          877         1,022        1,123        1,307 1,241
Aug          828          903          941        1,259 1,238
Sep          843          913          985        1,235 1,101
Oct          978         1,010        1,090        1,155 1,198
Nov          825          890        1,036        1,293
Dec          815          932        1,103        1,094
Jan          889          893        1,045        1,135
Feb          891          967        1,239        1,152
Mar          919         1,070        1,235        1,297
Total      10,620       11,159       12,792        14,597         8,343


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Why do local authorities make care applications?


If a local authority has serious concerns about the safety or welfare of a child, it can apply to the court to take the child into care.

The following are examples of when a local authority may apply to take a child into care.

  • When the local authority believe a child is being neglected. Neglect involves ongoing, serious failure to meet a child’s basic needs and can include:
    • not taking a child to see a doctor when they need to go.
    • not giving the child enough to eat or drink.
    • not keeping the child clean.
  • When the local authority is worried that the child has been, or is likely, to be abused either by their parents or carers or other people they know. Abuse includes:
      • physical abuse, which is about inflicting pain or injury to a child and also includes giving a child harmful substances, such as drugs, alcohol or poison.
      • sexual abuse, when a child is pressured, forced or tricked into taking part in any kind of sexual activity.
      • emotional abuse, when a parent or carer behaves in a way that is likely to seriously affect the child’s emotional development. This can include constant rejection; continual, severe criticism and witnessing domestic violence.

Cafcass tracks the number of applications made by a Local Authority each month, to measure demand and to ensure that across the country we are allocating our finite resources where needed, responding to changes in trends and providing the 145,000 children and young people we come across each year with a timely and effective service. 


Role of the Children's Guardian


Following a care application the court will ask Cafcass to allocate a practitioner, called a Children’s Guardian, for the child to help make sure that the decisions made about them are in their best interests. The Guardian’s job is to check the local authority’s plan and make sure that it is the best possible for the child.

The Guardian will:

  • appoint a solicitor to represent the children.
  • advise the court on what work needs to be done before it can make a decision about the children’s future.
  • Analyse all of the options being considered for how the children could be cared for and tell the court what they think is best for the children.


Cafcass’ care and private law demand statistics are published on the eighth working day of each month.

Media enquiries about the care demand statistics should be directed to Marc Ridley on [email protected] or 07768796484.

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