Child protection ‘Hodge must review court service board’

An influential board member of the Children and Family Court
Advisory and Support Service has called on the children’s minister
to review the make-up of the board.

Judy Weleminsky was responding to the damning report by the
Department for Constitutional Affairs’ select committee into the
performance of Cafcass (news, page 6, 24 July). She said the review
should be led by Margaret Hodge and the Department for Education
and Skills. Reviewing board membership was a central
recommendations of the select committee report after MPs criticised
it for its lack of front-line experience.

Weleminsky also suggested that representatives of other
organisations such as children’s guardian group Nagalro should be
co-opted to the board.

She said stakeholder groups and individuals should be allowed to
sit in on the public part of board meetings and ask questions.

Weleminsky also said Cafcass staff and Nagalro should contact all
ex-guardians to try to encourage them back. “We need to make it
clear that a new atmosphere of positively welcoming self-employed
guardians is being pursued,” she added.

Meanwhile, Cafcass has published its second annual report, for
April 2002 to March 2003. It shows that the number of cases the
service dealt with increased by 15 per cent in the final six months
of the period, with all cases increasing by 3 per cent over the

– Report from

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