Cafcass see record number of new cases

Cafcass see record number of new cases

Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, known as Cafcass have recorded their busiest ever month since their records began back in 2003.

Cafcass supports over 140,000 children every year in private law and public law cases by understanding their experiences and speaking up for them when the family court makes critical decisions about their future.

In March 2021, the organisation received 6,271 new cases. 1,472 more than March 2020, and 1,112 cases more than February 2021. This meant that the organisation helped in cases supporting over 9,000 children.

The average daily demand level in March 2021 was 273 cases per day compared to 218 cases received per day during March 2020.

The number of open children’s cases at the end of March remains high (43,066 cases) an increase of 24.1% (8,361 cases) when compared to March 2020.

Cafcass has revealed that in quarters two, three and four of 2020/21 they have recorded higher levels of service compared to the beginning of the pandemic and the first lockdown. These figures highlight the immense pressure the family law sector has been under since the coronavirus pandemic begun.

A spokesperson from Cafcass commented on the record breaking figures:

“Prior to the pandemic, Cafcass and the whole family justice system were already experiencing unprecedented demand. The pandemic has exacerbated these issues by slowing down the speed of cases coming back to court for conclusion and are therefore staying open for longer. The result is that Cafcass caseloads have been building up to levels that are both unprecedented and unsustainable – action needs to be taken.

“We remain of the view that the longer-term solution is reform and continue to actively support the development and implementation of more fundamental change, especially in private law. But we are in parallel working actively with our family justice system partners on more immediate solutions that will tackle the backlogs in the system. Above all we need to minimise delay and impact for children and families, and preserve the effective administration of justice for those who need it most in these challenging times.”

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