If you are a young person, please see the ‘About Cafcass for young people’ page.
Cafcass stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.
Cafcass represents children in family court cases in England. We independently advise the family courts about what is safe for children and in their best interests. We put their needs, wishes and feelings first, making sure that children’s voices are heard at the heart of the family court setting. Operating within the law set by Parliament (Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000) and under the rules and directions of the family courts, we are independent of the courts, social services, education and health authorities and all similar agencies.
Our duty is to safeguard and promote the welfare of children going through the family justice system, supporting over 140,000 children every year by understanding their experiences and speaking up for them when the family court makes critical decisions about their futures.
Cafcass is the largest employer of qualified social workers in England and is deeply committed to making a positive difference to each child we support. We are proud that everyone working for Cafcass is united in improving the lives of children, families and carers.
Our duty is to safeguard and promote the welfare of children going through the family justice system. Our experienced Family Court Advisers may be asked by the court to work with families and then advise the court on what we consider to be the best interests of the children involved in three main areas:
- divorce and separation, sometimes called ‘private law’, where parents or carers can’t agree on arrangements for their children
- care proceedings, sometimes called ‘public law’, where social services have serious concerns about the safety or welfare of a child
- adoption, which can be either public or private law.
We also actively work with our partners to identify solutions to help reduce the increasing pressures on the family courts and to improve the experiences and outcomes for children and families.
Please see the Cafcass Operating Framework for more information on how we work.
Please see our quick reference factsheet for more information on role in the wider family justice sector.
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) was formed on 1st April 2001 as part of the Government’s commitment to supporting families and children.
It brought together the services previously provided by the Family Court Welfare Service, the Guardian ad Litem Services and the Children’s divisions of the Official Solicitor’s Office.
Cafcass is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice and is a non-departmental public body.
In 2019-20, Cafcass was awarded grant funding of £121.902m from Central Government, plus £0.372m for depreciation.
We also drew down from the sponsor separate additional funding of £1.866m for contact services.
Cafcass has around 2,000 staff (including Board members and Self-employed Contractors).
You can find a list of our Assistant Directors and Heads of Practice, and the areas they cover here.
Public law data
Click here for more information on our public law data. You’ll find both monthly and yearly statistics.
Private law data
Click here for more information on our private law data. You’ll find both monthly and yearly statistics.
In 2019-20 we worked with 141,243 children and young people across England.
Of these, 96,242 were new cases.
Additionally, we support many more children and families through the work we commission from contact centres around the country.
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