Cafcass launches new framework ‘Together with Children and Families’
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) have recently launched a new relationship-based practice framework referred to as Together with Children and Families. This framework highlights the importance of working with children and their families and putting them at the forefront of their values where listening, understanding, clear reasoning, respect and integrity are prioritised.
For those unfamiliar with the role of Cafcass within a Family Court setting; Cafcass investigate family circumstances on behalf of the Family Court. As an independent body they advise the Family Court about what would be in the best interests of that child or children in each particular case.
Their main duty is to safeguard and promote the welfare of children involved with the family justice system, both in public and private law cases.
Putting the needs, wishes and welfare of the children first, Cafcass work with the children and families to ensure that a childs voice is heard.
Cafcass become involved by an order of the Court and will make initial enquiries with adults involved in the case and anyone else who is closely connected to the child, for example, schools. They will also determine whether the family is already known to local Children’s services.
Once they have undertaken their initial enquiries, these will be included in a ‘safeguarding letter’ which will recommend to the Court various options which will assist the Court in making a decision.
If there are no welfare or safeguarding concerns, Cafcass will encourage the parties to reach an agreement. However, in some cases the Court will direct Cafcass to prepare a section 7 report which is a detailed investigation.
Their new framework Together provides a set of values that will guide and influence how Cafcass work, no matter what their role is within the organisation and is predominantly based around feedback received from children and their families involved with the service.
The framework introduces a workbook which is a revised assessment and case planning tool. It is hoped that this will ensure a trusting relationship is built from the outset between professionals and families.
Restorative practice is at the core of the framework which is underpinned by a number of values which includes:
- Listening and acting with care and understanding
- Believing in respectful relationships
- Ensuring that decision making is clear and reasoned
- Respect, value and respond to the uniqueness and diversity of each child, family and colleague; and
- Children and families know and understand the eventual outcome.
The concept of this body may cause concern for parties involved however, families should be reassured by this new framework that the organisation have them at the forefront in each unique case.
Should you be involved with Cafcass or simply require further information with regard to the arrangements for your children, the family team at Sintons are here to guide you through.