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A Family Court Adviser gives safeguarding advice to court (the safeguarding letter)

Safeguarding Letters begin by providing details of the current arrangements for children, such as where they are living and any time they are spending with other family members. They provide the court with the results of the safeguarding checks, including those from the police and local authorities. They also describe what was discussed in the telephone interviews with both parties to the proceedings.  

Safeguarding Letters conclude with an analysis and advice from the FCA about whether there are any concerns about the child’s welfare or if there is any harm or risk of harm for each child. If the FCA is concerned about the safety of your child, they are required to write a risk assessment to court explaining their concerns and proposed next steps. They are also required to make a referral to the local authority children’s social care service that explains their concerns.  

If there is no need for a risk assessment the Safeguarding Letter will set out the FCA’s advice regarding next steps the court should take and the order it should make. This advice might be that there is no further role for Cafcass, for example where parents are now able to reach agreement by themselves about arrangements for the child. It could also be that further assessment is required if there are concerns about the impact of an unresolved disagreement on your child’s welfare (under section 7 of the Child Welfare Act 1989). It is also possible for the advice to be that the court list your case for a final hearing without further assessment by a Cafcass social worker.