"In a commentary about the family courts, published this week, Sir James Munby, president of the High Court’s family division, described the system as `at full stretch` and facing `a clear and imminent crisis`."
"This warning followed another record month for care applications. In the past 10 years, the number of care applications going through the courts have doubled, and 2016-17 already looks to be another record year for case numbers."
"The single, most important thing that could be done to tackle the crisis was a shift in the focus of the family courts towards tackling the causes of care cases, he added. He cited positively the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC), which seeks to use proceedings to help parents tackle substance misuse problems and thereby keep hold of their children, and Pause, which supports women at risk of repeat removals of children."
"FDAC, Pause and similar projects are, at present, the best hope, indeed, in truth, the only hope, we have of bringing the system, the ever increasing numbers of care cases, under control," he concluded."
"This goes to the heart of the British Constitution as it now exists – rightly, the Judiciary and the legislature are separate."
"However what is clear is that social care have to answer/respond to both."
"Resources or lack of them are not accepted by Courts as a reason not to comply with Legal obligations – in turn Government control of the purse strings for those resources take little or no account of the laws they promote and are passed."
"Yet again the focus is on perceived social care failings rather than the failings of social policy/legislation that is driven by finance rather than need – (allowing private organisations to disregard some aspects of statute in respect of Child Protection responsibilities is an example)."