Achieving consensual solutions in order to prevent children from coming into care is desirable when appropriate and safe to do so. However, there are times when the local authority must seek an order to remove a child who ‘is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm’ (s. 31(2)(1) CA89). There has been a sharp rise in the number of care proceedings reported since 2009. This sharp increase has been largely attributed to the ‘Baby Peter Effect’ (Gillen, 2009) and there is no doubt that the death of baby Peter Connelly, in the context of a child welfare culture characterized by ‘error and blame’ (White and Broadhurst, 2009), will have served to resolve many cases of children on the edge of care.
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