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The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) has 9,060 ongoing care cases, of which 635 are currently unallocated to CAFCASS guardians. This figure represents 7.0 per
cent. of the total care workload. For statistical purposes, CAFCASS counts the number of cases which can include multiple applications and multiple children.
The increase in care cases has had an effect on the availability of Guardians. CAFCASS has therefore put a Duty guardian scheme in place so that urgent work is covered, and a solicitor for the child is always appointed in each case to look after a childs interests.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the average weekly cost to the public purse of housing a looked-after child in an independent childrens home was in the last 12 month period for which figures are available. 
Beverley Hughes: The average weekly cost of accommodating a looked-after child in an independent childrens home is not collected centrally by this Department. However, information obtained from the Office for National Statistics shows the average weekly unit cost of a child in a childrens home, (including independent homes) is £2,402.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what correspondence he has had with (a) the Church of England, (b) Kent police and (c) Kent County Council on allegations of abuse at Kendall House; what discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues on the matter; and if he will make a statement; 
Beverley Hughes: The Department takes any allegations of abuse very seriously indeed. The Government commissioned two major reviews into historical abuseSir William Uttings report People Like Us (1997) and Sir Ronald Waterhouses report Lost in Care (2000). Kendall House closed in the 1980s, but since then tighter controls have been put in place which address all the issues raised by the allegations about Kendall House. The Government changed the regulatory framework and brought in the Care Standards Act 2000, which focuses on safeguarding children and promoting their welfare.
Providers and managers of childrens homes must now be registered with Ofsted and comply with the Childrens Homes Regulations 2001 and National Minimum Standards. These regulations are much more extensive than those which applied in the mid 80s and include specific standards on the control and issuing of medicines.
There is no evidence that the allegations made about inappropriate use of drugs at Kendall House were a widespread problem. Kendall House was inspected prior to the homes closure and the use of drugs in the home was part of that inspection. Allegations about Kendall House were also subject to investigation by the police and local government ombudsmen in 1994.
The Secretary of State has had no representations from the Church of England, Kent police or Kent county council on Kendall House. The Secretary of State wrote on 30 April to the Secretary of State for Health about this matter. The Secretary of State has also asked the Permanent Secretary to look into this matter and on his advice has concluded that, on balance there is not sufficient justification for a further inquiry on public interest grounds at this point.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 22 April 2009, Official Report, columns 671-2W, on children: protection (1) how many outstanding serious case reviews were followed up in advance of the last biennial overview report; 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 29 April 2009]: Officials follow up all outstanding copies of serious case review reports. We do not hold a record of the dates on which copies of the serious case review reports that have been passed to researchers for inclusion in the 2005-07 biennial overview report. The following table sets out the date of receipt of copies of the serious case review reports received subsequent to those included in the 2005-07 biennial overview report as at 22 April 2009.
|Local authority||Date copy of anonymised full SCR received( 1) as at 22 April 2009|
|(1) Multiple dates indicate more than one SCR report|
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