Justice, Culture and the State of the Nation

23 August 2016

CAFCASS, THE children and family court advisory service received a record number of care order applications in July 2016 – a total of 1,305 which was up 16% on the previous year (see graph below). The figures are part of a continuing trend of increasing numbers of care orders being sought by local authorities and have prompted CAFCASS chief executive Anthony Douglas to suggest that more work needs to be done in pre-proceedings to identify and step down children who do not need to be involved in care proceedings, reports Children and Young People Now.

Care applications received by CAFCASS. Source: CAFCASS website

Meanwhile Head of Family Justice, judge Sir James Munby suggests that settlement conferences, which are widely used in Canada, could avoid cases having to go to court. Already being piloted in the UK, settlement conferences are hearings held with the consent of all parties to enable open discussion and hopefully achieve a satisfactory settlement without the need for further legal action. Although they are held in the presence of a judge the discussions cannot be used as evidence in any later court proceedings.

THE FOSTERING Network is inviting foster carers to complete its state of the nation foster care survey, the findings from which will be published at the end of the year. The organisation sees the survey, last undertaken in 2014, as a means to highlight issues and to influence policy.

POET AND care leaver Lemn Sissay strikes a cautionary note for anyone in the arts working with children in care or care leavers by warning against cultural ambulance chasing. His detailed blog explores the contribution made to the arts by people who were in care and questions whether some arts organisations’ approaches are merely exploitative rather than cathartic.

MEANWHILE THE East Sussex Children in Care Council produced a video about being in care in a bid to dismantle stereotypes.

AND FINALLY a foster carer gives her own take on the thorny subject of financial inducements to change fostering agencies in Community Care.

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