Tuesday 15th May 2012
A charity has warned that trends in local authority care referrals could create a generation of looked-after children.
Phoenix Futures gave the warning as the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) revealed that applications for children to be looked after by the state exceeded 10,000 between 2011 and 2012, a 10.8% increase on the previous year.
The rise in looked-after children came despite the levels of referrals remaining static during the same period, according to the charity.
Phoenix Futures has revealed the findings to coincide with International Day of Families on May 15.
Its National Specialist Family Service helps parents overcome addiction and build on their parenting skills and enable families to come back together rather than separating.
Trevor Sandford, manager of the service, said: "Although all the indications are showing an increase in local authority care referrals, my concern is that the funding and consideration of treatment solutions like ours are not keeping pace.
"Care commissioners face an incredibly difficult decision and we're not saying that our solution will work in every case, but we strongly believe there is a third way, it doesn't have to just be a case of leaving families together, or splitting them up and putting the children into care."
Phoenix Futures head of operations Diane Hilton said: "From the point of view of financial cost our analysis shows that a six month placement in our National Specialist Family Service can save £160,000 per family in the costs associated to long-term state care of children."