Waiting lists for vulnerable children in the
child protection system have started to develop, according to the
national representative association of children’s guardians –
formerly guardians ad litem.
The National Association of Guardians Ad Litem
and Reporting Officers (Nagalro) has accused Cafcass – the Children
and Family Court Advisory and Support Service – of “squandering”
the opportunity to engage in any meaningful discussion over the
summer. This has resulted in the failure to appoint guardians to
children in the care system so that their best interests are
safeguarded in court proceedings.
According to Nagalro, there were 65 cases in
London waiting for a guardian to be allocated at the beginning of
September. Devon also has a waiting list for the first time in its
history, while Cumbria has seen the guardian workforce cut by
The guardians are challenging Cafcass in a
judicial review hearing this week over its decision to offer
guardians only full salaried employment, after promising
self-employed options for the past 18 months. Mr Justice
Scott-Baker is expected to hand down judgment on the guardians’
judicial review application within the next two weeks.
Cafcass was launched in April to co-ordinate
court welfare services in public and private law cases involving