Cafcass celebrates Black History Month 2021
Black History Month is a welcome opportunity for us to invest more time and thought towards the experiences and needs of Black children, young people, families and carers. Equally important is the opportunity this provides us to think about how we feel and act as an employer to Black staff.
This year we particularly want to reflect on the ways in which we have improved our work with Black children, young people, carers and their families over the last year. In September we launched our practice framework Together with children and families which centres on our new Cafcass values. The fifth value ‘Wanting to know more about you and what is important in your life’ was developed in consultation with our staff diversity networks and the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB). It helps us to make sure we are always respecting, valuing and responding to the diversity and uniqueness of every child, family, carer and colleague.
Another significant development this year has been the refresh of our welcome letters for children and young people. The new letters which were developed following feedback from children have helped Family Court Advisers to put this value into action. Children and young people are encouraged to talk about their uniqueness and how this affects the proceedings that are about them. In turn, we hope that this will help Family Court Advisers to make the best recommendations about their futures.
We are also developing our new equality, diversity and inclusion strategy to ensure our recommendations to court take account of a full understanding of the uniqueness of each child and family we work with, and that as an organisation we do all we can to identify, understand and tackle inequality in their lives and in our workplace. To achieve this, we hope to improve the diversity data and insight we hold and how we use it, demonstrate clear commitment from our senior leaders to issues of equality, diversity and inclusion in Cafcass, and ensure the confidence of our colleagues and Family Court Advisers to speak with children and families about race, culture and heritage.
We will be celebrating Black history through a series of events and workshops, which will focus on supporting our colleagues when speaking to children and families about their diversity. These will be informed by the experiences of members of the Family Justice Young People’s Board who will share their advice to professionals working with Black children and young people. We will also be having important conversations with our colleagues about how to achieve greater diversity at all levels of the organisation.
Our Chief Executive Jacky Tiotto said:
“During Black History Month last year, I promised to show how Cafcass had improved its work with Black children and families. The launch of our practice framework, Together with children and families, alongside new materials such as our welcome letters for children and our knowledge bite on diversity conversations with children and young people, provide a glimpse into the conversations we are having to understand what children think is important in their lives, why and how their uniqueness plays a part and the significance of acknowledging these things in our recommendations to the family court.
“This year we have also welcomed a new senior manager into the organisation whose responsibilities include helping all leaders to commit and then to implement change and improvement in respect of our strategic plans for equality, diversity and inclusion. I hope that these developments when taken together, help us to continue to prioritise making sure that every individual employed at Cafcass and every child and young person with whom we work feels seen, heard and valued for who they are.”