Putting children and young people first in the family courts


Care applications in March 2017

March 2017 statistics from Cafcass


In March 2017, Cafcass received a total of 1288 care applications.  This figure represents a 4.3% increase compared with those received in March 2016. 


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.


April 2013 – March 2014

  • During 2013 – 2014, Cafcass received 10,620 new applications.  This figure is 4% lower 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.  


Mar 17 care demand


                            Care applications received
2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Apr         757          919          806          956        1,226
May         984          983          873          924        1,160
Jun         809          853          880        1,115        1,281
Jul         996          877         1,022        1,123        1,305
Aug         987          828          903          941        1,260
Sep         879          843          913          985        1,229
Oct         957          978         1,010        1,090        1,152
Nov         958          825          890        1,036        1,283
Dec         864          815          932        1,103        1,080
Jan         976          889          893        1,045        1,119
Feb        1,006          891          967        1,239        1,134
Mar         937          919         1,070        1,235        1,288
Total      11,110      10,620       11,159       12,792        14,554


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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 Colette Jacobs on [email protected] or 07768796484.

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