The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) are a non-departmental public body, whose role is to:
- Safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
- Give advice to the family courts.
- Make provisions for children to be represented in family law proceedings.
- Provide information, advice and support to children and their families.
CAFCASS ensure that children’s voices are heard and decisions are taken in their best interests. CAFCASS conduct their role independently of the courts, social services, education and health authorities and all similar agencies. They were involved in over 54,000 cases in 2015/16, involving over 116,000 children, with more than 4 out of 5 of these children aged 10 and under.
CAFCASS officers are all experienced social workers who work with families following an application to the family court and they provide judges with the information needed to make safe decisions about a child’s future. CAFCASS are widely considered as the “eyes and the ears” of the court service.
In private law proceedings, CAFCASS involvement is frequently seen at two stages. Initially, they will be charged with undertaking preliminary safeguarding checks. These checks include asking the relevant local authority whether the parties to proceedings, or any subject children, are known to them. CAFCASS will also check whether any caution or conviction information is held on the Police National Computer about the parties.
Further into proceedings, the court may instruct CAFCASS to undertake a “Section 7 report“. A section 7 report is a report about an aspect of your child’s welfare that the court may order, in order to help the judge make a safe decision.
If you want to discuss the role CAFCASS may have in proceedings relating to your children, contact us on 01234 889777 and speak to one of our lawyers who can guide you through their involvement. Hunter and Uro Solicitors are a specialist family law firm, serving clients in Bedford, Northampton and the surrounding villages.