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High demand requires exceptional collaboration between local authorities and Cafcass

New agreement launched by ADCS and Cafcass aims to strengthen working together for children facing the care system

At a time when demand levels for care proceedings remain high, ADCS and Cafcass have agreed how social workers in both local authorities and those acting as guardians in family proceedings can better work together during care proceedings and pre-proceedings in the family courts.

The agreement, which was launched on Friday 10 February, confirms a 'culture of urgency' for children and young people. It acknowledges the pressure on the care system and sets out how local authorities and Cafcass aim to work together to secure swift outcomes for children, young people and their families. It also recognises the distinct roles social workers and guardians play and provides a framework for resolving disputes between professionals.

The agreement applies to both care proceedings and work to divert cases away from court, where this is the right thing to do for a child. 

Speaking about the agreement, Cafcass Chief Executive Anthony Douglas said:

"Over recent years we have built up our resources to help social workers and guardians determine what is best for each child facing care proceedings. This agreement reaffirms the positive working practices already in place across most local authorities and Cafcass.

"Cafcass has also made a commitment to sharing data with local authorities, to help with planning and managing resources."

Andrew Webb, ADCS lead on family justice, said:

"This agreement confirms the expertise of social workers in the courts and the vital role they play in securing swift, safe outcomes for children at risk of harm. The commitments made by both ADCS and Cafcass will help not only on a day to day basis, but on supporting the system which is under continuing demand and financial pressure and shows no signs of easing."

For the agreement, click here.