Limits on the amount of time children’s guardians can
spend on cases is compromising their ability to ensure
children’s interests are independently represented in
The criticism is included in a submission by Baaf Adoption and
Fostering to the review of the Children and Family Court Advisory
and Support Service being undertaken by MPs.
The House of Commons select committee on the Lord
Chancellor’s Department is due to hear oral evidence from
children’s legal experts next week.
Baaf says guardians feel that Cafcass is “too inflexible” in the
time it permits them to spend on individual cases and in the limits
it puts on the number of visits they are allowed to a child or
relative. It adds that, since Cafcass’s inception two years
ago, guardians have become “demoralised” with its lack of
understanding of their working practices.
However, there is evidence to suggest Cafcass has already begun
addressing the problem. Earlier this year there was a backlog of 40
private law cases at the Plymouth office awaiting the appointment
of a practitioner, but this has now been reduced to 16.
The office has been offering independent sessional social
workers £400 per unallocated case and has extended the time it
allows practitioners to spend on a case from 20 to 25 hours as part
of a range of initiatives to tackle the backlog.