CAFCASS was set up on 1st April 2001 under the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act which brought together the family court services previously provided by the Family Court Welfare Service, the Guardian ad Litem Service and the Childrenís Division of the Official Solicitorís Office.
We are a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry for Justice.† We work within the strategic objectives agreed by our sponsor department and contribute to wider government objectives relating to children.
Cafcass stands for Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service.
Cafcass is independent of the courts, social services, education and health authorities and all similar agencies.
We operate within the law set by Parliament and under the rules and directions of the family courts. Our role is to:
- safeguard and promote the welfare of children
- give advice to the family courts
- make provision for children to be represented
- provide information, advice and support to children and their families.
The main types of cases in which the courts ask Cafcass to help are when:
- parents or carers are separating or divorcing and have not reached agreement about arrangements for their children
- social services have become involved and children may be removed from their parentsí care for their safety
- children could be adopted.