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Research shows how children’s guardians are fulfilling their role

Report underlines the ‘front-loading’ of guardians’ work

New research by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), The Work of Children's Guardians in Care Cases, sheds light on how children's guardians fulfil their role of being the 'voice of the child' in care proceedings. The research, which tracked 98 cases involving 155 children, shows that Cafcass guardians had contact with children in 95% of the sampled cases; contact with adults in 90% of cases and that guardians 'front load' their work, with the greatest concentration of work taking place within the first three months of proceedings.

The Work of Children's Guardians in Care Cases found: 

Number of reports and hearings

The guardian provided one report to the court in 62 per cent of cases, and two reports in a further 31 per cent of cases. The mean number of hearings attended was 3.5. Guardians attended the greatest number of hearings in the first three months of the cases, with 42 per cent of all hearings attended during this time.

Contact with the child

Contact with adult parties 

Contact with professionals 

'Front-loading' of the work 

The research is set against a context of increased demand, with care applications increasing by more than 50% between 2008-09 and 2012-13. Despite this increase the findings of the 2013 study chime with earlier research, published in 2003, Capturing Guardian Practice Prior to Cafcass (Hunt el al) and Care Profiling Study in 2008 (Masson et al) about the time guardians spend with children in cases.

The report can be read here.