Teresa Williams starts as Cafcass’ Director of Strategy

“Cafcass can be the engine of change across the family justice system”

Teresa Williams has started as Cafcass’ new Director of Strategy. Teresa joins from the Nuffield Foundation where she spent more than five years, most recently as Director, Justice and Welfare.

In addition to overseeing Cafcass’ strategic objectives, Teresa will also be leading Cafcass’ input on the Nuffield Foundation’s Family Justice Observatory, which aims to improve the use of data and research evidence in the family justice system.

Teresa brings a wealth of experience having worked in research roles across government and the justice sector previously. Before joining Nuffield, Teresa was Head of Access to Justice Analytical Services and Chief Researcher at the Ministry of Justice. She has also been a researcher at senior levels in the Home Office, the Government Social Research Unit at the Treasury, and the then-Department of Social Security. Teresa began her career as a quantitative researcher at the National Centre for Social Research.

Commenting on her new role, Teresa said: “I jumped at the chance to join Cafcass, given its strong commitment to evidence-based practice to improve outcomes for children and families. Cafcass has a unique opportunity – with its national perspective, skilled workforce, investment in research and data, and commitment to innovation – to be the engine of change across the family justice system and wider family policy. I am really looking forward to working with staff across the organisation to make that happen.”

Cafcass’ Chief Executive, Anthony Douglas, added: “Teresa is a high-performing top strategist in our sector and can help us to drive our own service and the family justice system forward as we seek to find the best ways to help some of the most vulnerable children in the country.”




6 Comments

I implore you to empower your people with the tools, knowledge and time to address parental alienation. I believe it is morally and fundamentally wrong to ask a child in a hostile environment, towards the non resident parent, if they want to see that parent. What are they supposed to say? Yes and risk the disappointment and anger of the resident parent or No and not have any contact with the non resident parent and their family? It’s a no win situation and they should not be given this burden of responsibility, when they are already vulnerable due to the circumstances they are in. I have attended meetings with Families Need Fathers and I ve seen the pain etched on the faces of these non resident parents as they tell their story. The story, which is sadly, so similar to the person’s sat next to them ie the underlying theme, parental alienation, not recognised by CAFCASS. Judges accept CAFCASS opinion without question, so it is essential you get this right. I am frightened and staggered by the damage and harm parental alienation has on the emotional and mental well being of these children, both now and in their future. I can only raise awareness of this, but in your position you can make a difference. I beseech you please understand and address parental alienation – children should have both parents in their lives, don’t taken this away from them because they are too frightened/overwhelmed to tell you what they really want.

Ms Williams,We are involved in a further courts hearing to enforce an 8 year old contact order to “allow” us contact with our autistic son. We are also suffering from PA. Our appointed guardian, having interviewed our son, for one hour,recommended reducing our 108 nights over the year to a letter every week from his father, no other contact from extended family. With the campaign that highlights suicide rates in men, 84 every week, surely it is now time to recognise PA. CAFCASS and the courts are barbaric, antiquated and cruel in their approach. Action is needed now, wake up and see the scientific proven evidence of what you are doing to our children who don’t have both parents in their lives. Stop talking about it at high level and get this message on ground level. Our judge rolled his eyes at the mention of PA and the CAFCASS guardian didn’t know about plans for High Conflict Pathway. Our judge asked the mother 4 times if she would encourage contact, 4 times she deflected the question and still he did nothing. Why is a Contact Order not worth anything in the eyes of the law? She should be held in contempt of the court and yet it is the son and father who is punished.

Improve outcomes for families and be the engine of change for the family justice system, the Wild West of UK justice. So tell us why shared parenting isn’t at the centre of your policy? Tell us why it takes three months to write a report when there is no evidence to support allegations? Tell us how you improve outcomes for families when parents are being alienatied even when you’re being provided evidence in the early stages? Tell us why it’s costs families the lives of fathers and impacts the mental health of children. You’ve got your work cut out Teresa, my only advice is to listen to the parents whose lives your organisation has turned upside down.

As an accountant I would be pleased to contribute a customers validation of any research and I would ask that all data is shared publically to build trust. As an alienated parent- I would add that parental alienation needs to be addressed urgently as it breaks down the fabric of society in a permanent way and deprives children of their basic human rights. Please develop and compell staff to recognise, assess, guide alienating parents and raise these behaviours with the courts. The standard response that the resident parents says they want to facilitate contact but in practice finds every way to disrupt it is disingenuous and is not ‘evidence’ there is no alienation. The best evidence if alienation is where there is unequal contact with both parents and the non resident parent seeks more contact.

Yes please address PA, but please let’s find quicker and more effective ways to maintain contact than the Family Court. The time lost to children and the stress they must endure is outrageous. Mediation doesn’t work, but arbitration might.

Ms. Williams,

Please, I beg of you, advise your agency to address Parental Alienation. Children are growing up with only half the love and support that they deserve. Parental Aliebation is Child Abuse! Please protect our children.

This is one of a hundred messages you will receive today, but thousands of children are being alienated from a loving parent every day.

Please help our kids,

John L. Strauss



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