Comment: Quarterly family court statistics

Sara Tough, Chair of the ADCS Families, Communities and Young People Policy Committee, said:

“Local authorities and the courts have made some good progress in improving the timeliness of care proceedings down from an average of 50 weeks in 2011 to 26 weeks in 2016. However, these quarterly statistics show that average times have increased in recent years, to 33 weeks in July-September 2019. There are several reasons for this, for example the number and complexity of cases we are dealing with has increased and sometimes assessments must be completed for family members who have emerged during court proceedings. There is also a national shortage of judges which has an impact on timescales. That said, it’s important to note that we are performing better for children and families than we were eight years ago. Timeliness is important but it should never be put above securing the very best outcomes for each child and young person, even if this does fall outside of the 26 week time limit.

“Adoption can be the right thing for some children but it’s not suitable for every child – for some living with a special guardian, foster family or in residential care is the best option. Although the number of adoption applications has fallen it is reassuring to see that more children for whom adoption is the right option are achieving permanence via an Adoption Order.”

ENDS



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