Child care orders rise in county

COURT orders to place children into care have increased significantly in Suffolk, it has been revealed today.The number of applications made by the local authority for a care order in Suffolk jumped from 177 in 2005 to 240 in 2006 - a massive 36 per cent increase.

COURT orders to place children into care have increased significantly in Suffolk, it has been revealed today.

The number of applications made by the local authority for a care order in Suffolk jumped from 177 in 2005 to 240 in 2006 - a massive 36 per cent increase.

The figures were revealed after David Ruffley, member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds, asked the government to provide the statistics on children who were the subject of new care proceedings in the family courts in East Anglia.

Suffolk County Council claimed that the number of young people needing care can change depending on factors such as birth rates.

Patricia O'Brien, Suffolk County councillor for children, schools and young people's services, said: “An increase like this does not signify anything other than us doing our job properly, which I'm sure people would agree is very important.

“The wellbeing of children and young people in our county is of utmost importance to us.”

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She added that where strong procedures are in place, there would be an increase in awareness and a corresponding increase in cases.

In Suffolk, the figures have progressively increased since 2003. In 2003, there were 128 applications made, in 2004 there were 151 applications.

In Norfolk, there was a five per cent increase between 2005 and 2006, in Cambridgeshire there was a 33 pc increase but in Essex, there was a decrease of eight pc in the number of applications.

When a child is made the subject of a care order, the local authority has legal responsibility for the child.

The local authority applies to the court for a care order once they have fully investigated the child's circumstances.

What do you think about the increase in the number of care orders? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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