About us

About Cafcass

We represent the interests of children and young people in the family court. We independently advise the family courts about what is safe for children and in their best interests. We focus on their needs, wishes and feelings, making sure that children’s voices are heard and are at the heart of the family court’s thinking and decision making. For every child, whose current and future living arrangements are decided by the courts, we seek to provide an exceptional experience, everywhere, and every time. 

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What we do

We were established by section 11 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (the Act) and operate in accordance with the law set by Parliament and under the rules and directions of the family courts. Our principal functions, as set out in section 12 of the Act, relate to family proceedings where the welfare of children who are subject to family proceedings is or may be in question, are to:

  • Safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • Give advice to the family courts;
  • Make provision for children to be represented; and
  • Provide information, advice and support to children and their families.

Some key numbers

new children's cases in 2023/24 involving 86,419 children
children on new or existing proceedings in 2023/24
weeks to conclude s31 applications in Q3 2023

Our vision

For every child whose current and future living arrangements are decided by the family courts, we seek to provide an exceptional experience, everywhere and every time. We prioritise their voices and their unique needs, taking full account of their families and those connected to them.

Our values

Together with Children & Families’ is our unifying model of social work practice and also sets out the values that guide our work with children and families, with each other and with our partners:

  • Holding children and families at the heart of our practice.
  • Believing in respectful relationships and always looking for strengths and risks.
  • Decision-making is clear and reasoned.
  • Wanting to know more about those with whom we work and what is important in their lives.

Our strategic priorities: 2023-26

Our current strategic priorities are set out in our strategic plan for 2023-2026  – Ambitious for children: exceptional experiences for every child, everywhere and every time. We have nine strategic priorities that relate to our direct work with children and their families, to our colleagues who work at Cafcass, and to our work with partners. Our new plan sets out the difference we want children to experience in their engagement with us, what we are asking of ourselves and how we propose to measure success.

Our practice ambition is to provide all children with an exceptional experience of their engagement with us.  We will do this by providing their family court advisers or children’s guardians with the management support, supervision and oversight they need to make effective and consistent use of our practice framework and associated practice aids and our practice quality standards

We have produced a summary version of our strategy which can be seen here.

Our Commitment to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I)

We are working with some of the most vulnerable children and families, during periods of great difficulty and upheaval in their lives. Every child is unique and every child matters. Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work focuses on developing a good understanding of the children and families with whom we work, our role as an inclusive employer, and our work to encourage and support staff diversity throughout our organisation. 

In addition, offering a supportive and inclusive working environment for our staff, drawing on a broad range of talent and striving to represent the diversity of the children and young people we are working with, is likely to lead to a more confident workforce and better-informed decision making.

Cafcass is committed to providing an inclusive working environment in which all transgender, non-binary and intersex people feel valued, included and respected. Read our full statement on our commitment to transgender (trans) and non-binary inclusion.

For more information about working for Cafcass and our commitment to an inclusive workforce, please visit the Working for Us section of Cafcass’ website. This contains information about our:

  • status as a Disability Confident Leader;
  • membership of the Employers’ Initiative in Domestic Abuse (EIDA) scheme; and
  • signature to the Mindful Employer Charter.
Staff diversity networks

We have a number of staff diversity networks.

The purpose of these networks is to encourage staff to share and communicate experiences with one another as well as help shape and inform what we do and how we support our staff. They also contribute to the development of our practice working with children and families, so we are attentive to their unique and diverse backgrounds and experiences. The five networks are as follows:

  • Kaleidoscope (for Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff)
  • Carers
  • Ability Matters (Disability)
  • Mental health
  • Pride (LGBT+)
  • Faith

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