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In some family court proceedings, there is a disagreement about who is a child’s father. If this uncertainty means a current application for a child arrangements order cannot be decided, the court may order a DNA test. 

We provide a free DNA testing service to parents involved in family law proceedings. The only cost involved for parents is travel to the office where the DNA sample is collected.  


Having a test 

If a test is ordered by the court, you will receive an appointment letter from us. In most cases, testing takes place in a Cafcass office under the supervision of one of our officers. 

This is a self-testing process. The sample is taken from a simple cheek swab. The adult being tested will take the sample themselves and the child’s sample will be taken by the adult accompanying them. 

The officer’s job is there to help to make sure the sample is taken correctly and to confirm everyone’s identity. 

The adult being tested and the child (with a responsible adult) will be given separate appointments. In most cases, there is no need to take a sample from the child’s mother. 

You can find out more detailed information about what happens when a sample is taken in our leaflet: Completing a DNA test.  


Test results 

After the sample is taken, it is sent to a laboratory to be tested. The testing process is accurate, confirming with 99.99% accuracy if a person is a child’s biological father. 

After the court has ordered a test, it will usually take 30 working days for the report to be received. The court will give copies of the report to all parties. Cafcass cannot provide you with the result of the tests. 

If the test result raises any issues that you need help with, you should contact your local NHS for counselling or other support.