I made this point after the death of Peter Connolly. If you look at the trends in terms of numbers the numbers subject to care orders increased dramatically after his death. However, cases like Khyra Ishaq and Daniel Pelka continue to occur.
In the mean time the government and Martin Narey put as a priority increasing adoptions rather than preventing children from dying as a result of abuse. I personally think that is wrong. It creates an environment in which experienced social workers are fired if they believe that in an individual case a child should be returned to its parents.
My own view is that we should reprioritise the care system into protecting children first and foremost rather than satisfying government targets (or statistical pressures). I made the point in the ministerial office that it is not possible to make proper decisions from Whitehall. The decisions need to be made on the ground.
Here are the numbers of under 5s (Baby P - Peter Connolly, Daniel Pelka) taken into care since 1995.
1995 3,800 1996 3,900 1997 4,100 1998 4,700 1999 4,900 2000 4,700 2001 5,100 2002 5,300 2003 5,700 2004 5,700 2005 6,000 2006 6,200 2007 6,200 2008 6,100 2009 6,600 2010 7,500 2011 8,200 2012 8,700Are children any safer now that more than twice the number of toddlers are taken into care than was the case in 1995?
(The statistics relate to the years ending 31st March, they include only children compulsorily taken into care and come from the SSDA903 return and apply only to England).