Child care proceedings rise from 13 to 52 in four years, figures show
NEW figures have confirmed that Torbay has seen one of the highest rises in care proceedings since the Baby P case.
The statistics published by court support service CAFCASS show that Torbay's figures have risen faster than neighbouring areas.
In 2007/8 there were 13 care applications, compared with 52 in 2011/12.
This represents a care application of 20.5 per 10,000 children in the Torbay area, as opposed to 8.1 court applications per 10,000 children in the Devon Social Services area.
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There are only four other local authority areas out of 110 surveyed that have a higher figure than 20.5 children every 10,000, and these are the City of London, South Tyneside, Stockton-on-Tees and Blackpool.
In the area covered by Devon children's social services, 54 cases in 2007/08 rose to 71 in 2010/11 and 116 in 2011/12.
Mark Williams, a childcare solicitor with Tozers LLP in Newton Abbot, who has witnessed first hand the increase of care applications, said: "It is interesting to note that seaside towns are attracting some of the highest amount of care applications, with Brighton and Hove (20.4) and Blackpool (20.9) having virtually the same numbers of care applications per 10,000 children as Torbay.
"It is vital that parents whose children are subject to a care application seek early advice from specialist solicitors."
A Torbay Council spokesman said: "Torbay has a high number of areas of deprivation and this is one reason why we have so many care applications.
"However, the council is working closely with its partners to reduce the number of children being taken into care whilst continuing to safeguard their welfare, as part of its extensive children's partnership improvement plan.
"Measures include reforming how referrals for vulnerable children, young people and their families are received and responded to by all frontline practitioners and the introduction of the intensive family support service.
"This service offers co-ordinated, targeted, early support to prevent family problems from reaching crisis point and will prevent some children from being taken into care."