CAFCASS is the shortened name for the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services. Parents come into contact with a CAFCASS officer if they have been unable to resolve their disputes regarding children and an application has been made to the Court. The Court can request that CAFCASS become involved in a matter in:-
- Divorce and Separation;
- Care Proceedings;
CAFCASS operate in accordance with the limits set to them by Parliament and under the rules and directions made by the Court. Their role is to:-
- Safeguard and promote the welfare of your children;
- Give advice to the family court in connection with your children;
- Make provisions for your children to be represented at Court, should this be required, in the majority of private law children applications, this is not required;
- Provide information, advice and support to children and their families.
CAFCASS have a wealth of information on the webpage which you may find useful www.cafcass.gov.uk.
It is considered best for parents to deal with their disputes outside of Court but where that is not possible and an application has be made to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order (i.e contact, residence, prohibited steps etc) the Court will request that a CAFCASS officer undertakes safeguarding checks which are usually completed prior to the first hearing.
Depending on the nature and circumstances of each case depends whether CAFCASS will have any further involvement, for many cases this is as far as their involvement goes.
Many parents particularly men , often express concern as there are numerous reviews on the Internet which are not positive, in relation to CAFCASS. This may be because they are not “WINING” or for any reasons they feel appropriate, it is always wise to remember that in family cases there are no winners and that both parties need to give consideration to the needs of the child first and foremost. CAFCASS are there to advise the Court in the best interests of the child. They are not considering the needs and wishes of the parents and try to encourage both parents to put the best interests of the child first.
Often CAFCASS recommend to the Court that parents should attend a Separated Parenting Information Programme which provides parents with insight into how to communicate with each other for the benefit of their children.
Where parents are unable to speak English unfortunately at the moment the system cannot provide separated parenting programmes due to limited funding. When offered the opportunity to attend one of these courses many parents feel that in the long term they are beneficial.
Contact our Family Law Solicitors in Birmingham