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Children must be the focus of family justice system, says Cafcass

Cafcass publishes response to Family Justice Review panel’s interim report

Cafcass has called for the family justice system as a whole to be reformed so that children and families benefit from a better service.

Responding to the Family Justice Review panel's interim report, Anthony Douglas, Cafcass Chief Executive said:

"The panel's analysis of the challenges facing all of us across the family justice system is spot on and we welcome many of its proposals. Further reform of the entire system is unarguable but this must be right from the child's perspective and carefully planned – any changes to the family justice system must make a positive difference to children.

"Family cases are often messy, with certainty and solutions elusive and children far less able to put their side of the story than everyone else, despite, ironically, them being the subject of every case. It's essential that children continue to benefit from our expert social work analysis and advice in these complex cases and we are pleased that children's welfare remains at the heart of the proposals.

"With rising numbers of children needing help and money tight, one of the key things we're arguing for is stronger performance management of all agencies so that each plays its role in reducing avoidable delay for children and so that our combined resources are used to help them in the most effective way."

Within its submission, Cafcass has also called for:

All professionals within the system should retain their strong professional ties. For example, it will be particularly important for Cafcass practitioners to retain strong links to professional social work bodies within a stronger court-managed system.

Anthony Douglas added:

"Before each separate reform is implemented the benefits for children should be clear. We must not jump straight into solutions without an evidence base for change – building on existing programmes like the Private Law Programme and the Public Law Outline, may, despite the problems rightly identified by the Panel, be the quickest way to whole system reform."

To read the full response, click here.