Cafcass has produced a report which cites the reason for recent increase in care applications as the ‘Baby Peter effect’. Since the case of Baby Peter came to public knowledge through the press, three years ago, thousands more children have been taken into care for justifiable reason.
The Cafcass study confirms that the increase in care applications made by local authorities in the months after the conviction of Baby P’s mother, her boyfriend and her lodger in October 2008 has barely subsided and has, effectively established a much lower threshold for intervention into the lives of vulnerable children deemed to be at risk of neglect and abuse. In 85% of cases studied, guardians believed that a care application was “the only viable action and that there was no other alternative”.
Anthony Douglas, chief executive of Cafcass, said that the shift demoinstrates that children are being safeguarded more effectively and appropriately by local authorities anbd called the change in social work practices “an important growth in realism about the depth of justifiable concerns about the risk being experienced by some children”.