If you need help in understanding anything on these pages, ask a grown-up who you trust to go through it with you.
Cafcass stands for Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service, but we use Cafcass because it is much shorter and easier to say.
We work with children and young people in family court cases. We make sure that your voices are heard and decisions are taken in your best interests.
Why do families go to family courts?
Sometimes families have problems that they can’t sort out on their own; your parents or carers might be splitting up, or they might be finding it difficult to look after you properly. To help make things better, they may ask a family court to help.
Specially trained people such as solicitors, judges, magistrates or social workers may need to get involved to help sort out the situation.
A family court is very different to a criminal court, where people go when they might have done something wrong. People go to family courts to help make sure the best possible solution is reached for parents and young people, like who you should live with and who you should see. The aim is for everyone to agree, but if that’s not possible, a judge or magistrate will look at all the facts and help make the best decision possible,
The judge in the family court listens to what everyone has to say and it’s their job to make these important decisions for you and your family.
When does Cafcass get involved?
Cafcass becomes involved in a case if:
- parents are separating and they can’t agree on what’s best for their child
- a child or young person is getting a new family
- and if people are trying to make sure that a child or young person is kept safe.
Cafcass workers are called Family Court Advisers, they are really friendly and easy to talk to. Sometimes the judge may ask a Cafcass worker to speak to you to find out what you think and how you feel. But Cafcass workers don’t meet all children because sometimes families can sort things out on their own.
Young people whose parents have separated talk about their experience with Cafcass
Sometimes it can be confusing when we hear words and phrases that we do not understand. To help make things easier the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) has put together a glossary explaining the meaning of some of the words and phrases which you may hear during your family court case. Also throughout this site you can hover-over words that are underlined to find out what they mean.
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