The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) is a public body that primarily is charged with looking after the welfare of children who are involved in proceedings centred around the Family Court.
Set up in 2001, Cafcass provides children with fair representation in a family court and also offers their families with advice and support where needed.
What a Cafcass Officer Does
During the separation or divorce, it may become necessary for the Family Court to become involved if both parents disagree about how the children should be looked after. If this is the case, and such a matter comes before the Family Court, then a Cafcass officer may be called upon to mediate between both parents and also act as the voice for the children.
Children in Care
Sometimes it is necessary to take a child or children into care because both parents are deemed unfit to look after them, or if one parent is no longer around and the other parent cannot cope. The local authority will be responsible for rehousing the children with Foster Parents or they may be placed in a local authority run children’s home.
If an application for care or supervision is requested, a Cafcass officer may be named as the child’s guardian. They are responsible for making some decisions that affect a child's quality of life, such as schooling etc. They cannot, however, make decisions which involve medical issues, such as the administering of medication or authorising of medical procedures.
Duty of Care to Children
A Cafcass officer has a ‘Duty of Care’ to any child or children under their supervision. This means that they are charged with making sure the children are:
In comfortable and safe surroundings
Socialising and mixing with other children
Making every effort with educational studies
There may be occasions when families break down and cannot make decisions themselves or cannot reach an agreement which is satisfactory to all. When this happen they can call upon the Family Court for guidance and a ruling, if it is deemed necessary. A Cafcass officer is assigned to them in order to talk them through the process and to offer help and advice.
The Cafcass officer will be on hand to ensure that the child or children involved are not undergoing too much emotional stress as the result of the ensuing situation, and can make recommendations to the magistrate in the court proceedings if he or she feels it is right and proper to do so.
I have advised my school that my daughter shouldn't be given beef for lunch due to our religious beliefs. I have subsequently found out she was served spaghetti bolognaise made with beef (the dinner lady told my daughter it contained beef the day after she ate it). I have e-mailed the school but they are not responding. What can I do to ensure they don't do this again?
I would think they must have broken some rule!?
QD - 21-Sep-20 @ 11:31 AM
I have been married for 7 years, my wife is foreign and applied for residency as consequence. We have 3 children during our union, however early last year she has decided to end the marriage.
The home situation has become extremely volatile, I am very concerned for my kids mental and emotional wellbeing. As I am constantly provoked into arguments, I can no longer keep quiet as I have had enough. I have been supporting her family abroad and refuse to do so, causing anger from her.
I can not leave my kids, as my son is autistic, I am his main care giver. Key with the school, professional team.
The schools have requested I take over an active role as she has taken the kids late to school for 6 months plus and has no Intetesr in their education.
Furthermore she has left me with the kids twice last year for 3 Months and 1 month to have a break. I almost lost my job having to relied on family.
How can I go about getting custody, to safeguard my children
Mike - 19-Jan-20 @ 2:53 PM
Hi i have been paying child maintanence now for over 15month, my daughters room had not done had this period of time so i have concerns around their overall wellbeing.
I had pleaded with their mum to ?or? their room each month to do this and she never did. She then got in a relationship ghici raised further concerns around my childrens wellbeing around sleeping arangements. In the end i stopped paying her because the money we agreed on was not going toward my daughters needs, but she has been out drinking every weekend etc.
I she then threatend with csa which she has informed that she wants child maintanence which is even more then i was giving which was done out of greed and bitterness.
Im stick with what to do or where to go all i greed to do was help my daughters and keep them safe can anyone help?
Boz - 26-Feb-19 @ 3:18 PM
My ex partner has refused to name me in the birth certificate while sending csa after me for maintance. She is refusing to discuss me spending more than a couple of hours every other weekend with my daughter.
How on earth do I get parental rights.
Due the mothers mental health problems (aspergers), it is impossible to get her to see reason.
Markb - 26-Oct-18 @ 3:48 PM
Wes - Your Question:
Hi, my ex partner hid the fact she was pregnant and had my child for over 18 months. When she told me my daughter was 1 then she fled across the country. Long story short I tracked her down and got a court order so I can see her. Since then I've been seeing my daughter regularly but her mother has failed to live up to the agreement by changing the birth certificate. How do I get the case back into court without it costing me a lot of money like the first time? Thanks
If there was a declaration of parentage at the time of the court hearing, the courts will usually contact the General Registry Office themselves in order to add the father's name. Was this ordered by the courts? If so, a simple solicitor's letter might be sufficient to prompt the mother to undertake the necessary steps. If you have a copy of the court order, you may be able to write to the GRO yourself to request the change.
LawAndParents - 4-Sep-17 @ 10:22 AM
Hi, my ex partner hid the fact she was pregnant and had my child for over 18 months. When she told me my daughter was 1 then she fled across the country. Long story short I tracked her down and got a court order so I can see her. Since then I've been seeing my daughter regularly buther mother has failed to live up to the agreement by changing the birth certificate. How do I get the case back into court without it costing me a lot of money like the first time? Thanks
Wes - 28-Aug-17 @ 5:54 PM
zozo - Your Question:
I have to go to cafcass interview tommorrow they want to interview mychildren 3 and 6 I dont ffeel comfortable with them being interviewed alone due to hearing so much bad stuff about them can I refuse this
You may be able to request that another adult who knows them observes the interviews.
LawAndParents - 13-Sep-16 @ 12:37 PM
I have to go to cafcass interview tommorrow they want to interview mychildren 3 and 6 i dont ffeel comfortable with them being interviewed alone due to hearing so much bad stuff about them can i refuse this
zozo - 11-Sep-16 @ 10:26 PM
Anonymous - Your Question:
My ex is refusing to let me see my daughter until I get a solicitor which I cannot afford. I adore my daughter and ask to see her all the time but my ex can't see passed the fact that I left a loveless relationship. She constantly attacks me and my new partner whilst I continue to remind her that all I want is to see my daughter. Without hundreds of pounds to go to court I just don't see what I can do? I need to see my daughter. She loves being with me and misses me so much when I'm not around. Everytime I want to see her I have to fight through all the abuse and attack. We broke up nearly a year ago but that seems to be the only thing she cares about.
The courts will always demand you attend mediation first before taking it to court. A mediation service is less expensive than the court process and you should end a mediation session with a legally enforceable agreement about child arrangements. Remind your ex in behaving this way, she is depriving her daughter of a father. If you have Parental Responsibility you have a right to some involvement in your child's life anyway.
LawAndParents - 15-Dec-15 @ 11:34 AM
My ex is refusing to let me see my daughter until I get a solicitor which I cannot afford.
I adore my daughter and ask to see her all the time but my ex can't see passed the fact that I left a loveless relationship.
She constantly attacks me and my new partner whilst I continue to remind her that all I want is to see my daughter. Without hundreds of pounds to go to court I just don't see what I can do? I need to see my daughter. She loves being with me and misses me so much when I'm not around.Everytime I want to see her I have to fight through all the abuse and attack.We broke up nearly a year ago but that seems to be the only thing she cares about.
Anonymous - 14-Dec-15 @ 7:57 PM
traky - Your Question:
Hi, my parents have had my now 8 year old daughter for the past 3/4 years and have a residency order for her. they will not allow me any contact with my daughter under their own obligation, please what can I do. I have tried everything and am really struggling to get help from anyone. my parents are not the easiest people at all, its their way or none.
Have you tried the courts?
LawAndParents - 25-Aug-15 @ 2:14 PM
hi, my parents have had my now 8 year old daughter for the past 3/4 years and have a residency order for her. they will not allow me any contact with my daughter under their own obligation, please what can I do. I have tried everything and am really struggling to get help from anyone. my parents are not the easiest people at all, its their way or none.
traky - 23-Aug-15 @ 11:37 AM
Sorry forgot to add... with my child it was the case that i put my arm up to prevent her from hitting me, in the motion of this prevention she got caught on the arm... I have never hit my child and wouldnt. My child was 4 at the time. I have told SS and CAFCASS this, but because my child told them what she thought happened I am caught in this cycle of accusations.
Kangol - 3-Dec-13 @ 9:37 AM
I am being accused of domestic violence, one of the comments is that i strangled my ex and i have hit my child leaving a small skins mark which lasted minutes. I have admited to cafcass that I am guilty of verbal violence, pushing and shouving during conflict but i have not strangled my ex. There is no police reports concerning this.
I have admited that my child has been impacted by this, but this has not meant in the rest of their lives that I have been a bad dad and can show references that I am a good parent in all other areas.
I know I was wrong to my ex and I have been through various counselling since, I admit that I am aware that I have anger issues and now use the tools given through the counselling to manager this.
I am worried that I might be prevented from never seeing my children again, what is the likeliness of this. If an order is put negatively towards me, is there something I can do to change this.
Kangol - 3-Dec-13 @ 9:33 AM
As a grandparent fighting for my granddaughter's right to have contact with me and all her extended family restored, are CAFCASS within their rights to deny me someone with me at my interviews with them?