Cafcass latest figures indicate small reduction in workload

Cafcass have published their latest statistics for September, which indicate a small reduction in workload, -1.2% compared to the same period (April – September) last year.

Whilst there has been a slight reduction in new applications for both public and private proceedings following the pandemic, the trend over the last 5 years is still showing an increase by 12.4% in the number of those Cafcass is working with.

The volume of children’s cases open has increased over time, with there being 32,904 open children’s cases in March 2023, which is an 18% increase compared to March 2018. Cafcass believe that much of this increase is due to the knock on impact of Covid-19 and the pandemic, and the reduction in final hearings and court closures creating a delay.

Cafcass report that the biggest increases have been in private proceedings. Approximately 2/3 of the children supported are in private proceedings, with only 1/3 public law proceedings. As a result, there has been  an increase of 17.2% of the number of children in private proceedings being supported by Cafcass (97,098 children in 2022/23 compared to 82,818 in 2017/18).

Cafcass received 19,568 new private law children’s cases between 1st April and  and 30 September 2023, which involve 29,801 children.

Data shows that between 1 April 2023 and 30 September 2023 Cafcass received 7,969 new public law children’s cases, which involved 12,680 children.

The current pressure on the family court system, coupled with the delays both during and post pandemic mean that proceedings are taking longer. Cafcass track quarterly data on the length of time they work with children during public law Section 31 proceedings, and from January-March 2023 this sits at 44 weeks, compared to October-December 2017/18 when it was 30 weeks.

There have also been 5,587 new s31 care applications received by Cafcass during 1st April to 30th September 2023, involving just under 10,000 children. The number of s31 care applications has decreased by 7.8% compared to the same period last year.

Looking at the September snapshot:

  • Currently there are 30,752 open children’s cases. A decrease of 8.2% compared to this time last year.
  • 50,077 children are involved in the open cases, which is 8.4% fewer than compared to this time last year.
  • Open children’s cases have also decreased by 11.6% compared to this time last year, with a decrease of 11.6% in the number of children involved as well.
  • There has been a 5.8% decrease in the number of open private law children’s cases compared to this time last year, with 5.9% fewer children involved.
  • There are currently 30,752 open outstanding cases (at the end of September 2023), which is a 2% increase compared to March 2020, and there are 50,077 children involved in these cases.

That being said, Cafcass did receive 4,310 new cases in September which involved 6,585 new children. However, the average daily demand is slightly lower for September 2023, compared to September 2022, with 205 children’s cases per working day at present, compared to 221 last year.

Every month on the 10th Cafcass share their latest data and findings.





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