January 19, 2022 9.00 pm

Why 25 newborn babies were taken into care in 2021

The highest number in a decade

By Local Democracy Reporter

Many of the babies who were taken into care after being born last year were at risk from domestic violence and substance abuse.

In 2021, 25 children were put into the care of North East Lincolnshire Council within the first week of being born.

This is the highest level in ten years.

The courts have the power to make care orders if the child is likely to be seriously harmed or neglected while remaining with a parent, and place them in the care of a local authority.

Some of the newborns who were subject to the orders had siblings who were already in the care system.

A total of 136 children have been taken into care within a week of being born since 2011, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

There has been an increase in these orders nationally over the past decade, with figures rising faster than average in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

The council says its ability to identify young children at risk of harm has improved.

The care orders are made under section 31 of the Children’s Act.

Ten of the newborns subject to care orders last year were placed with a foster carer.

Five were fostered by a relative or friend, and three were placed with at least one of their parents.

An NHS trust or other medical body took responsibility for seven more in 2011.

After 2021, the year with the next highest number of orders for newborns was 2018 with 24.

A North East Lincolnshire Council spokesperson said: “Section 31 orders are issued by the court to protect children and young babies from harm and neglect.

“Nationally there has been a marked increase in section 31 orders being issued by the courts in recent years. Against the backdrop of this national trend, the Yorkshire and Humber region has seen a significant increase in particular.

“Children’s social care is such a challenging job and our staff alongside other agencies do everything they can to support parents.

“Whilst our ability to assess children and families pre-birth has improved, many of these are instances where domestic violence, substance abuse and previous instances of harm against children are key factors behind the decision. A number of these young children also have siblings that have been placed into care or are going through care proceedings.”