Skip to main content

Children and young people feedback line: 0808 175 3333

What happens if your family lives in Birmingham or Solihull?

For 12 months from 28 May 2024, some Cafcass teams will be participating in a pilot scheme, known as ‘Pathfinder’, which aims to improve experiences for children and families in private family law proceedings and test if and how we can reduce court delay in proceedings. If your family application has been made to the Birmingham Family Court and your child lives in Birmingham or Solihull, you can expect a different approach from us than would be experienced in other parts of the country.  In particular, Cafcass and other agencies involved in private law proceedings are aiming to give more children the chance to tell us what they would like to happen as a result of the court proceedings, by hearing from or meeting with them earlier. We also aim to improve you and your child's overall experience of proceedings – by working with partners to reduce the length of proceedings. Another key aim of the pilot is to improve the experience of children where they or their families are the victims of domestic abuse or harm.  

If your family’s application to court is part of the pilot in Birmingham and Solihull, you will be invited to provide feedback about your experience, but you do not need to share your thoughts if you do not wish to do so.  

Within the pilot, after the court has received an application concerning your child, it will send the application to Cafcass so that we may review the available information. We undertake checks with the police and with the local authorities where you live, and where you have lived in the past, to see if there is anything that may cause concern about the welfare or safety of you and your child. 

You and your child will receive a letter from us that tells you a little more about our involvement.  You will have a call with a Family Court Adviser (FCA) who will want to understand your family’s circumstances and how the situation is affecting your child.   

The FCA will review the information they have about your family and will decide what the next steps will be.  It may be that an FCA wants to meet with you and your child in person, or it may be that the FCA thinks that your family may benefit from local services outside of family court proceedings.  There are a variety of next steps the FCA may recommend. 

 The FCA will share this information with the court in a Child Impact Report so that the court can make a decision that is safe and, in your child’s best interests. We will keep you and your child informed and will provide information about what to expect and the ways that your views and those of your child will be heard and their views considered when decisions are being made about their future. 

The legal process is set out in the Pilot Scheme Practice Direction 36Z.