Received from: NAPO
The work carried out by CAFCASS within the family justice system is vital to the wellbeing of children facing family conflict, and especially the welfare and safety of vulnerable children.
The workload position within CAFCASS is now critical and unsustainable due to the increase of open public and private law cases within the family justice system, which has risen exponentially over the last 12 months, compounded by the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many CAFCASS staff report that they are at breaking point due to relentlessly high caseloads and the increased demands brought about by the rise of litigants in person, due to clients being unable to secure affordable legal advice. This also impacts on the capacity of the family courts to manage cases in a timely manner.
Congress believes that unless serious and urgent action is taken by government to provide realistic funding and alternative avenues for legal support there is an imminent danger that CAFCASS will move into a state of irreparable decline, with many staff being unable to continue working under such conditions or moving to higher paid employment elsewhere within the social work sector.
Congress calls on the General Council to urgently engage with the family court unions and the justice secretary to explore the steps that need to be taken to prevent such a scenario.