Rise in children taken into care

SEVENTY Lincolnshire children were taken into care last year – a rise of ten on the number for 2010, according to new county council figures.

The authority looks after children for all sorts of reasons, including short-term when a parent goes into hospital, and in more serious cases when a child suffers neglect or needs protection.

Figures reveal:

l 240 children were looked after in 2007 (with 45 taken into care)

l 205 in 2008 (45 taken into care)

l 215 in 2009 (65 taken into care)

l 205 in 2010 (60 taken into care)

l 195 in 2011 (70 taken into care).

Lincolnshire’s assistant director of children’s services Sue Westcott said: “We only look after children short-term if the parent or carer, for instance, is hospitalised and there are no extended family members to care for them.

“We also provide some respite care for children with disabilities.

“Some children are accommodated to protect them from significant harm. In these circumstances, we may involve the court to determine the child’s future. An example of this would be a child whose needs have been significantly neglected by their parents/carers resulting in significant harm.”

In England the numbers of children referred into care topped 900 in January, which was a record high for a single month, but Lincolnshire has not seen a peak in its figures.

CAFCASS – the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service – said numbers of care applications have steadily risen since the infamous “Baby P” case when 17-month-old Peter Connelly died in 2007 after suffering more than 50 injuries.

A Lincolnshire County Council spokesman said: “We have certainly not seen the massive increase in children taken into care that is being suggested nationally.”