Received from: NAPO
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) is a non-departmental public body, currently part of the Ministry of Justice.
The most recent National Audit Office report from October 2018 shows the MoJ as having four strategic targets. These do not feature Cafcass at all, beyond that which is to “deliver a modern courts and justice system”.
The fourth and last sub-objective regarding that target is to “support better outcomes for children, families and vulnerable adults”, which looks like an afterthought.
Cafcass is clearly not a priority for the MoJ. The minister of state for children and families is based in the Department of Education and has responsibilities for child protection (including protection from child sexual exploitation and safeguarding), local authority children’s social care and family law.
Cafcass workloads are at an all-time high and work demand is up by 7 per cent on this time last year. The situation is critical and the organisation requires appropriate support from government.
Congress instructs the General Council to work in partnership with the family court unions and the official opposition to press government ministers to take the necessary steps to ensure that Cafcass is placed within the remit of the DfE.
The General Council should include a progress report to the 2021 Congress.