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Children waiting a year for care

Children waiting a year for care

Vulnerable children are being forced to wait up to a year to be placed into care, latest figures have revealed.

Delays in proceedings meant that in 2009 children waited an average of over 56 weeks before a county court decided to put them in care or make a supervision order. Children whose cases were dealt with by family proceedings courts were kept in limbo for more than 44 weeks.

Barnardo's revealed that the total number of unresolved cases had increased to 12,994 at the end of 2009 from 8,677 at the end of 2008. The children's charity said delays meant some children were forced to stay in abusive homes and called for a 30-week upper limit for proceedings.

Barnardo's said the data also pointed to a "postcode lottery" for children awaiting care. While county court proceedings in London in 2008-09 took an average of 65 weeks, the proceedings in Humber and South Yorkshire took just 46 weeks.

The figures only cover cases where a care or supervision order was made – not cases where such orders were refused, where emergency protection was given, or where children were put in secure accommodation.

Barnardo's said the Government should give "urgent consideration" to a number of measures. These include ensuring that all cases are dealt with within 30 weeks, or 12 weeks for children under 18 months.

IBB Solicitors has a dedicated Childcare team who deal exclusively with children's cases. For more information, contact a member of the team, call us 0n 08456 381 381 or email enquiries@ibblaw.co.uk.