The way that CAFCASS Cymru funds child contact services in Wales is set to change in an effort to improve consistency of provision across the country.
Child contact services provide child-centred environments that enable children to enjoy contact with their non-resident parent or family member, reflecting the diverse needs of children affected by family breakdown. For some service-users, this type of contact arrangement will be their only opportunity to have contact with their children.
CAFCASS Cymru funds a number of services across the country, but the provision is not consistent across Wales. Following a decision by Gwenda Thomas, the Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services, this is set to change.
CAFCASS Cymru will continue to fund child contact services across Wales in 2012-13, but during the course of next year, it will make arrangements to begin a new system where a single provider will manage the network of services across Wales.
Gwenda Thomas said:
“CAFCASS Cymru has been considering the provision of child contact services and found that whilst in some parts of Wales there was good service provision, in other parts of Wales, there was a very low level, or indeed an absence, of provision.”
“This situation needed to be tackled and I have decided that by reallocating resources, CAFCASS Cymru will move to improve provision in areas where it is lacking. Throughout this process, the total level of funding will remain at existing levels.”
“In April 2013, the new system that will be introduced will further improve the level of provision across the country.”
Gillian Baranski, the Chief Executive of CAFCASS added:
“The changes that will take place will make the provision more uniform across Wales, whilst maintaining funding at existing levels.”