The Children & Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) look after the interests of the child in children involved in family proceedings.
They work with the child and parents and have to inform the Courts as to what action that they believe is in the best interests of the child. If an application is issued to the Court in relation to a child then it is likely that CAFCASS will become involved.
Who refers matters to CAFCASS?
The Court makes referrals to CAFCASS if it is felt that there are issues that need to be looked into. CAFCASS will then prepare a report in particular outlining the situation in relation to the issues directed and what they recommend in terms of further action by the court.
These could be issues such as whether the CAFCASS officer believes the child has a close relationship with a parent and what the child’s attitude is towards the parent.
What do CAFCASS do to prepare a report?
They will see both parties and any other parties that may bee relevant like partners or grandparents. They will also interview the child(ren) if appropriate. They may also observe contact between the child(ren) and the parents and visit their living accommodation.
This is all so that CAFCASS can gain as much information as possible about the situation from all points of view so that they can make informed recommendations to the Court.
How long does a CAFCASS report take?
A CAFCASS report will usually take approximately 12 weeks to complete.
I have applied for an Order, CAFCASS have decided against me. Where does that leave me?
The decision as to whether to grant an Order or not rests with the Courts, although they are likely to follow CAFCASS’s recommendations or at least take them strongly into consideration.
You would have to decide very carefully how on what grounds the recommendation may be wrong, how you could argue against it and if you still wish to proceed with the Application.
If you were Legally Aided this would also affect your funding.