The proportion of children taken into care in Wales is significantly higher than in England.
For every 10,000 children in Wales, 89 are taken away from their families and placed into the care system. By contrast, only 59 children per 10,000 in England are in care. Despite the disparity the high number in Wales actually represents a drop from 2014 when it was 91 children.
Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford expressed concern about the imbalance in the numbers. Speaking at a Family Justice Network for Wales event in Cardiff he said that the rate in England had increased in recent years. Despite this rise England “has only now reached the level that Wales was at 20 years ago”.
Meanwhile, charity FNF Both Parents Matter Cymru has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the issue. The group has called for a government review of the disparity between the number of children in care in England and Wales. They also have demanded that the Welsh and UK governments implement a plan to reduce the number of children in care.
National manager Paul Apreda said that his group has been “approached by more and more parents and grandparents desperate to stop local authorities taking their children from them”. The people the organisation sees represent “just the tip of the iceberg”, he claimed.
Mr Apreda said he hoped their ‘Crisis in Care’ campaign would “draw attention to the scale of the problem in Wales” and eventually “spark a public debate that helps [Mr Drakeford] drive his agenda forward”.
In December, Cafcass Cymru announced that the majority of Welsh care cases were completed within 26 weeks. This represented a significant reduction from 2012, when such cases took 57 weeks on average – a much greater improvement than any authority in England over the same period.