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Children at risk of violence after failures by family courts.
Dozens of children caught up in bitter residency disputes are being put at risk of domestic violence because of failings in the court service set up to protect their interests.
An Ofsted inspection into the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), which examined the South Yorkshire region, concluded that the operation was inadequate, singling out for particular criticism its work in private law cases, such as parental contact.
Cafcass was set up in 2001 by Tony Blair to make sure that the wishes of children were properly represented in the family courts. Much of the work involves private law action, such as residence and contact disputes when parents separate. Ofsted found, however, that Cafcass staff were making a priority of public law cases, such as care proceedings and adoption. As a result, children caught up in residence and contact disputes were subjected to delays of many months or even years.
Allegations of domestic violence are common in these cases, yet Ofsted found that Cafcass advisers did not keep proper records of their interviews and research. Inspectors said that the advisers were not sufficiently alert to allegations of violence.
The risks were highlighted recently when a father from Runcorn, Cheshire, killed his two children and himself while waiting for their case to come to court. There had been allegations of domestic violence.
READER COMMENTS TO DATE:
OFSTEAD are so right: CAFCASS are often ex Social Workers and seem to be biased against the genuine and good parent to enable the children to be taken into the lucrative care system: its shocking, and the Times are brilliant for exposing these phonies who are NOT acting in childrens best interests.
Lady S.Heywood, West Midlands, U.K.
The amlgamation into CAFCASS came after it was found that the Family court welfare service had no training in their role and were PC in methodology. FCWS were about to be exposed via class action against Chief Probation officers. Purple door painting was ignored by them with impunity.
Shaun O'Connell, Portsmouth, UK
CAFCASS has proven time and time again to be unfit for purpose. Some of its practices when interviewing/investigating cases is disturbing and the reports prepared often contain biased opinions as opposed to facts that cause untold harm to those involved.it is time that CAFCASS was dispensed with.
D Davies, Pontypridd, Wales
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