Sharp rise in care applications after death of Baby P

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The Independent Online

Care applications have hit a record high following the Baby P tragedy. Councils in England launched 739 legal proceedings involving at-risk children in March, an increase of 37.9 per cent on the previous year and the highest total since 2001.

The sharp rise demonstrates the huge impact of the Baby P case on local authorities since full details of how he died were made public in November. Care applications dropped significantly early last year, falling to a low of 367 in June, but the figure soared to 592 in November and 716 in December and has since remained high. The statistics were released by Cafcass, the agency that looks after children's interests in the family courts. The agency's chief executive Anthony Douglas said: "There is no evidence that children are being taken into care needlessly. In fact it is our view that more children are now being safeguarded who would otherwise be at risk of neglect or harm. When we look at longer term trends there are fewer children entering the care system than, for example, in some previous decades."

Baby P, who can now be named as Peter, was on the at-risk register when he was found dead in his cot in Haringey, north London, in August 2007. He had suffered 50 injuries despite being seen by social workers.