Repeal of Sections 11-17 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Services Act 2000 and Section 7 of the Childrens Act 1989: abolition of CAFCASS.

 

"I can hardly read the literature on Family Law without simultaneous feelings of an awful sadness and profound rage. Sadness at what has been done to our children and their families and deep rage for our Family Courts and the inadequate practitioners that work within it."
Sir Bob Geldhof, Forward to the Custody Minefield Report Report,  "Relocation and Leave to Remove", December 2009.
 
Many of these inadequate practitioners work for The Children and Family Court Advisory and Supervisory Service (CAFCASS). CAFCASS was established under Sections 11-17 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Services Act 2000. In private law they mainly provide reports under Section 7 of the Children's Act 1989, the welfare report. CAFCASS also took over the role of the Official Solicitor in representing children party to proceedings, as Legal Guardians, in mainly public and in some private law cases.
 
In private law, it is time to give up on Section 7 of the Children’s Act 1989 and abolish CAFCASS along with it. In private law proceedings, if there are matters raised which are sufficiently serious to warrant a welfare investigation, the case should be moved to public law with the local authority to carry out the investigation. The welfare investigation should then be made to the timescales and standards of a S.47 and Core Assessment (35 days). As an alternative, independent experts could be jointly instructed and paid for by parties or, when appropriate, through Legal Aid. It is a measure of the inadequacy of CAFCASS that in the vast majority of cases it would work out cheaper to pay £2,000 for a reliable report in four weeks than wait six to nine months for CAFCASS to produce an inadequate one. 
 
In public law, children would be better represented by people who know and understand them and can express their views, preferably drawn from their wider family or community and if necessary from the voluntary sector. It does not require the inadequate practitioners from a state service.  
 
There is no need for CAFCASS at all. 

Why is this idea important?

 

"I can hardly read the literature on Family Law without simultaneous feelings of an awful sadness and profound rage. Sadness at what has been done to our children and their families and deep rage for our Family Courts and the inadequate practitioners that work within it."
Sir Bob Geldhof, Forward to the Custody Minefield Report Report,  "Relocation and Leave to Remove", December 2009.
 
Many of these inadequate practitioners work for The Children and Family Court Advisory and Supervisory Service (CAFCASS). CAFCASS was established under Sections 11-17 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Services Act 2000. In private law they mainly provide reports under Section 7 of the Children's Act 1989, the welfare report. CAFCASS also took over the role of the Official Solicitor in representing children party to proceedings, as Legal Guardians, in mainly public and in some private law cases.
 
In private law, it is time to give up on Section 7 of the Children’s Act 1989 and abolish CAFCASS along with it. In private law proceedings, if there are matters raised which are sufficiently serious to warrant a welfare investigation, the case should be moved to public law with the local authority to carry out the investigation. The welfare investigation should then be made to the timescales and standards of a S.47 and Core Assessment (35 days). As an alternative, independent experts could be jointly instructed and paid for by parties or, when appropriate, through Legal Aid. It is a measure of the inadequacy of CAFCASS that in the vast majority of cases it would work out cheaper to pay £2,000 for a reliable report in four weeks than wait six to nine months for CAFCASS to produce an inadequate one. 
 
In public law, children would be better represented by people who know and understand them and can express their views, preferably drawn from their wider family or community and if necessary from the voluntary sector. It does not require the inadequate practitioners from a state service.  
 
There is no need for CAFCASS at all.