Cafcass launches new ways of communicating with children

New letters to be used at the outset of our work will help children tell us how we can best work with them based on their individual circumstances and needs.

From today Cafcass Family Court Advisers will be able to use new welcome and goodbye letters that better meet the needs of children and families we work with. These letters are for use in public and private law cases, with different versions for younger and older children, and plain-text also available.

These new letters equip children with the information they need to have confidence in our approach at the outset. They help ensure that they have the best opportunity to tell their Family Court Adviser what is important to them, what makes them special and unique, and what needs to be considered as we work with their family.

The new resources will help deepen the relationships FCAs can have with children and young people. The letters open more options for communication in a way that meets the best needs of each child.

Speaking about one of the differences the new letters will make, Head of Practice Grant Williams said:

“We’re giving the child or young person the choice in how we communicate. It won’t seem like a one size fits all but rather a tailored approach to each child.”

The letters were developed in response to, and shaped by, young people’s feedback. Many told Cafcass that they wanted more information in advance of their first meeting with their FCA. They also encourage, and provide more options, for children and young people to provide feedback on the work we carry out. This is so we can better understand their experience of working with us and make improvements.

Speaking on the release of the new letters our Chief Executive Jacky Tiotto said:

“This is a big day for the many children with whom we work and I hope a memorable one for everybody working at and alongside Cafcass. Our new letters have been several months in the making and are the culmination of messages from children, a huge amount of creativity, and a challenge to ourselves to work harder at helping children to understand our responsibilities to them.

“During the first Covid-19 lockdown we asked children how they were finding our work with them and what they would like to be different. Overwhelmingly, they said that we were helping them, but they also asked us to work harder at planning our visits so that they knew what to expect. These new letters will help us to do this but, in addition, offer the chance for children to tell us what is special about them and to describe their hopes for the future.

“I can’t wait to see some great examples of us in new conversations with children and I truly hope that the things we learn about their hopes, dreams and experiences are well presented in our reports to the family courts.”

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