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Cafcass celebrates 20th anniversary


On 1 April 2001 Cafcass first opened its doors – bringing together 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.

Throughout its 20th year Cafcass has been recognising the contribution that its staff and partners have made during this time, reflecting on what has changed for the better and looking forward to the further improvements that can be made.

A live streamed event took place on 27 October which hosted discussion between members of the Cafcass Board, senior leaders and key partners from across the family justice system including the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB).

The event was introduced by the Chair of the Cafcass Board, Sally Cheshire, followed by a discussion between former Chief Executive Anthony Douglas and Deputy Chair Eileen Munro on what has changed most significantly over the past 20 years at Cafcass, particularly in respect of assessing the needs of children in family law proceedings. Cafcass serving Chief Executive, Jacky Tiotto went on to explain the importance of good assessment about children’s needs because of the significance and long-lasting impact of the decisions made by the family court.

During the event, members of the FJYPB spoke about their work with Cafcass, including their involvement in recruitment panels to interview newly qualified social workers and family court advisers, as well as their contributions to domestic abuse training for Cafcass staff.

Jacky, further explained what Cafcass is looking to achieve in the months and years ahead:

“We want to make Cafcass a place that people want to come and stay because the work they do feels purposeful and positively life changing for children. We hope to keep improving how well we explain our thinking and recommendations to the family courts, so that we have confidence, our reasoning is clear and understood by children first and foremost but also by their parents and carers. We want to encourage a culture that is about learning, not blame; and we want to support people to do their work by providing confident and supportive management oversight and supervision that is richly informed by feedback from the families and children with whom we are working.

“We would like to be groundbreaking in respect of empowering children to understand and influence the family proceedings that are about them and their futures. So - in short - an exciting 20 years to come!”

Cafcass continues to celebrate its 20 years throughout the next 12 months.

The event highlights are available to watch here: