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7,710 children are looked after away from home in Wales, which is the highest proportion of children in the UK. In July 2020, 0.67% of children in England were looked after away from home, which is the lowest in comparison to Northern Ireland (0.77%), Scotland (1.06%) and Wales (1.14%).
The rate in Wales has steadily increased since 2003 when it was at 0.64%. The Welsh Government have said reducing the number of children in care is a priority.
Donald Forrester, director of Cardiff University’s Children’s Social Care has said “there are many factors behind the statistics, but that as a country we need to be doing everything we can to help families stay together before a child goes into care.”
The disparity across Local Authority’s within the UK is echoed in England as a BBC report found that a mother’s chances of having a care application made for her baby shortly after it is born were far greater in the north-east of England and Yorkshire (particularly West Yorkshire), than in London. The former head of the Family Court, Sir James Munby has previously said the findings revealed a ‘deeply troubling postcode lottery’.
In the north-east of England, 83.1 per 10,000 newborn babies were being taken into care in 2019/20 whereas in London, by contrast, 24.9 per 10,000 newborn babies were taken to care.
Prof Karen Broadhurst, an author of the report said “the statistics require us to look much more deeply into this issue”.
Ultimately, when care proceedings are issued by a Local Authority, the Courts carefully consider the emergency situation they are faced with, taking into account the child’s welfare as their paramount consideration. Removal of the child is the last resort but is the right and only resort in certain circumstances to keep the child safe.
If you require legal advice in relation to your children our experienced Child Care team can assist you through this process. Please call 01924 431774 for a confidential telephone call or email email@example.com.