Cafcass demand has increased significantly resulting in the second highest June figures recorded, but care applications have decreased and open outstanding cases are reducing slowly.
Last month, the children and family courts service (Cafcass) received 5,463 new cases, a 2.6% increase from June 2020 and an 11.9% increase from May 2021. Total demand has increased significantly making it the second highest June on record, Cafcass have revealed. Average daily demand in June 2021 has increased to 248 cases per day compared with 242 cases per day in the same period last year.
Although figures have increased, Cafcass have added the caveat that year to date comparisons will show significant comparative increases on 2019/20 due to the low demand experienced following the first period of Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020. When comparing figures with pre-pandemic levels case demand has increased by a small 0.7% and is therefore in line with overall data trends.
The number of open outstanding children’s cases at the end of June has also recorded a significant increase of 20.4% compared to June 2020. But there has been a small overall decrease in open outstanding cases of 1.7% compared to previous monthly figures, although this relates only to private law work.
It is thought that the number of open cases has remained exceptionally high due to continued high levels of new case demand coupled with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which has slowed the family justice system case completion rate.
Public law cases have decreased by 4% compared to the same period last year and increased by 9.5% compared to May 2021, Cafcass reveals. Whereas private law cases have increased across the board with 5.6% more cases received compared to June 2020 and a 12.9% increase on the previous month.
Records show that section 31 care applications have decreased by 10.8% year to date, with a 9.2% decrease in private law cases and a 7.4% decrease in public law cases.
Quarterly figures are also showing an increase which is again largely explained by low levels of demand recorded in the same period in 2020 following Covid-19 lockdown measures. Quarter 1 of 2021 has recorded an increase of 9.1% compared with the same period in 2020.