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New guidance has been issued by the chief executives of Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru, dealing with changes in the use of Cafcass professional time to bring most benefit to children within the resources available. The guidance is set out below.
For analysis of the guidance, and the implications for practitioners, see LexisPSL Family here (subscription required). Click here to request a free one week trial.
We are issuing this guidance, with the approval and support of the President of the Family Division, in order to be clear about the best way in which children can be helped by Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru in the family courts throughout England and Wales, during a time of record levels of demand for our services.
We put the emphasis on flexibility, so that Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru practitioners in their various roles before the court can use their time to best effect on the cases that matter most. We ask the judiciary at all levels to support such flexibility and to operate within this framework.
This guidance applies to all staff across the family justice system who are making decisions about how Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru professional time is used, including the decisions taken by Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru staff themselves.
The ways in which we think Cafcass professional time should be used to benefit children most.
1. Flexibility about the number of case analyses produced in a public law case and their timing
It is essential that children’s guardians produce a case analysis in every public law case, so that each child has a definitive independent social work analysis of what she or he needs. This applies to all cases, whatever the nature of the application.
Flexibility applies to when this is produced and when a case needs one or two analyses. We think that some cases will require only one, not two. The one definitive analysis will normally be produced for the hearing which is making the decisions about the child’s permanence placement, whether this is
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Geraldine is Head of LexisPSL Family. She was admitted as a solicitor in 1992 and was in practice for 15 years, most recently as a partner and head of the family team at Hart Brown, a large Surrey firm.
Geraldine writes for Butterworths Family Law Service and is a past editor of the Resolution Review. She has been published in the New Law Journal, the Law Society Gazette and the District Judges’ Bulletin as well as in the national press including the Times and the Telegraph.
When in practice she was a member of the Law Society Family and Children Panels, and an accredited Resolution Specialist with a focus on advanced financial provision and pensions. A past Resolution regional secretary and press officer, Geraldine also contributed chapters to the Resolution publications, International Aspects of Family Law (3rd Edition 2009) and The Modern Family (2012).
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