Local Authorities must hold their nerve over at-risk children

Year Published: 2009

A nationally renowned lawyer specialising in cases involving children says that clear evidence is emerging that more at-risk minors are being safeguarded.

The Family team at SAS Daniels LLP says they are concerned that a pendulum effect may evolve unless local authorities hold their nerve.

The Family team says both statistical and anecdotal evidence is pointing to more care applications being issued by local authorities across the region, but is watching carefully for signs of over-protection followed by ill-judged relaxation of child protection by councils.

“As solicitor, we’re am seeing first hand evidence of a rise in care applications across the North West of England. This is backed up by reports produced by CAFCASS, the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service, which has produced statistics indicating that, after the highly-publicised murder of Baby Peter, care applications by local authorities rose by 38% in March 2009 compared with March 2008.

“However, as family lawyers with an interest in the wellbeing of children this is of intense interest, notably because we need to see some consistency.

“On the face of it, the increase in care applications seems to be relevant and valid – although we’re sure there will be some nervousness and over-reaction by some local authorities – but what we don’t want is a sudden counter reaction in which local authorities suddenly decide they are being too harsh.

“It is absolutely vital that a middle and objective ground is held, albeit with a firm grip and understanding of children’s true at-risk status.

“We’re looking very carefully at the cases with which I am dealing to ensure there is neither nervous over-reaction nor complacent dismissal of the circumstances of at-risk children.”

For more information contact the Family team.

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