Video about children’s experiences of private law proceedings on Cafcass website
The Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) has created a video that helps to explain the family court process to children whose parents are separating or divorcing, when Cafcass is involved.
In this latest project, which can be viewed here on Cafcass’ website, Kitty (15) and Jess (18), two members of the FJYPB, and Ewan (11), discuss their personal experiences of the family courts and how Cafcass Family Court Advisers (FCAs) supported and listened to them, keeping their best interests at the heart of proceedings.
“I had a great FCA,” says Kitty. “She spent a lot of time with me and I felt like I could talk about anything with her. And because of that, it made it much easier for me to tell her my wishes and feelings in relation to the court case.”
Kitty is available for media interviews: if you would like to speak to Kitty about her experience of the family courts and Cafcass, please contact the Cafcass press office at the details below.
The video is part of a wider launch of new materials for children and families on Cafcass’ website. Two additional videos, aimed at parents who are separating or divorcing, have Cafcass practitioners explain the process by which Cafcass helps children and families in court. The videos also feature parents we have worked with, providing information to other parents who are going through the family courts.
What Happens After I Receive a Letter? explains the steps Cafcass carries out in most cases following a request from the court to help inform a decision about contact or residence. When the court asks Cafcass to carry out this work, Cafcass will usually send a letter to each party: this video supplements that letter, with further information presented by our practitioners.
Working With You and Your Children presents the type of work Cafcass may carry out when a judge asks the organisation to provide additional information to the court so that a safe decision can be made for the child concerned. This video also provides advice for parties ahead of meeting with a Cafcass practitioner, to ensure that they are focused on their child, not the adult dispute.
Cafcass has also refreshed how information is presented on its website, directing users to sections for children and young people, or sections for grown-ups, and then pointing users to the area that will help them find the information they need.
Anthony Douglas, Chief Executive of Cafcass, said: “While we would encourage parents to resolve their disputes outside of the courts wherever possible, it is an unfortunate reality that some will need to call on the courts for assistance. At a time where more parents may be approaching the courts without the assistance of a solicitor, due to recent changes to legal aid provision, it’s important that we provide information in easily accessible formats. We hope that by hearing from other parents we have worked with, these videos will help ease some of the anxieties parents may have about Cafcass, but we also want the videos to get them to focus on the matter at hand – what is best for their children.
“We only have a short period in which to work with parents and families and it’s vital that we use this time to put arrangements in place to ensure the best outcome for children.”
The FJYPB, established by Cafcass and now working across the whole of the family justice system, comprises over 30 children and young people who either have direct experience of the family justice system or who have an interest in children’s rights and the family courts. The FJYPB helps Cafcass and the wider system to shape and design policies and initiatives and make sure they remain focused on children and young people.
Cafcass homepage: www.cafcass.gov.uk
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For media enquiries, please contact:
Molly Garboden, Communications Manager
0844 353 3319 (direct) | 07768 796 484 (mobile)
Notes for Editors:
- Some users may experience issues when viewing the videos in Google Chrome: if you experience this, please refresh your browser.
- Legal aid is the provision of assistance to people otherwise unable to afford legal representation and access to the court system. The Government implemented reforms to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act on 1st April 2013. As a result of these reforms, family law cases where couples are divorcing/separating and determining living arrangements for their children will no longer qualify for funding, unless there is proven domestic violence. Family law cases that will continue to be eligible for legal aid include those involving forced marriage or child abduction issues, mental health cases, asylum, and debt and housing matters where a person’s home is at immediate risk.
- The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) represents children in family court cases, making sure that their voices are heard and that the decisions that are made about them are in their best interests. Safeguarding is a top priority for Cafcass, as are the wishes and feelings of the children involved.
- Cafcass supports over 100,000 children in public and private law cases every year.
- Cafcass operates 17 service areas across England, with nearly 2,000 employees working throughout 56 offices.
- Cafcass’ role is to work with children and families in the family courts. The following list provides some examples of the types of cases we work with:-
- Adoption (public law)
- Care Orders (public law)
- Emergency Protection Orders (public law)
- Residency and contact following divorce and separation (private law)
- Cafcass is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Education.