How Cafcass can help you
How Cafcass can help you
Cafcass stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. We represent the interests of children and young people in family court cases in England. We independently advise the family courts about what is safe for children and in their best interests. We focus on their needs, wishes and feelings, making sure that children’s voices are heard and are at the heart of the family court’s thinking and decision making. Our duty is to safeguard and promote the welfare of children going through the family justice system. We support over 140,000 children and young people every year. As the largest employer of qualified social workers in England, we are deeply committed to making a positive difference to each child we support and are dedicated to improving the lives of children, families and carers.
For every child, whose current and future living arrangements are decided by the family courts, we seek to provide an exceptional experience, everywhere, and every time. We prioritise their safety and welfare, their voices and their unique needs, taking full account of their families and those connected to them.
Our experienced Family Court Advisers and Guardians 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 and young people involved. We work in three main areas:
- Divorce and separation. Often called ‘private law’. It is where parents or carers cannot agree on arrangements for their children.
- Care proceedings. Often called ‘public law’. It is where the local authority has serious concerns about the safety or welfare of a child.
- Adoption, which can be either public or private law.
We also work with our partners in the family justice system to identify solutions to help reduce the continuing pressures on the family courts and to improve the experiences and outcomes for children and families.
Cafcass was formed on 1 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. Operating within the law set by Parliament in the 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. Cafcass is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice and is a non-departmental public body.
Feedback from a child with whom we have worked
"My Cafcass worker has helped me because she can be my voice and she can help me hopefully stay here. Just coming to see me and helping me to understand, and now she understands me better. Now she will know what to say in court and help my voice be known.”