Funding fears for guardians service

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service may
not have enough money to meet the aspirations behind its creation,
according to an influential children and family law policy

The Advisory Board on Family Law, set up in 1997 to provide
independent advice to the Lord Chancellor’s Department on the
Children Act 1989 and family law, has criticised the LCD about the
way Cafcass was set up and the money available to it to deliver the
benefits of a unified court support service for vulnerable children
in care and adoption proceedings.

“We are left with an overriding concern that the aspirations for
the service, which we expressed in our previous report, may have
been lost in the rush to ensure that the service is in place by the
given date, and the funding required to meet the aspirations we
have for Cafcass may not be available,” says the advisory board’s
annual report.

The report criticises Cafcass’ “extremely tight timetable” and
says it is “imperative that Cafcass is properly funded”.

In its previous report, the board had welcomed Cafcass and the
opportunity “to create a coherent and integrated service”. It had
hoped the new service, officially launched in April, would provide
children and their parents with information and advice, as well as
facilitating access to other relevant services such as contact
centres, mediation, and domestic violence and abuse programmes.

An LCD spokesperson denied allegations of insufficient funding
for Cafcass and described its first year as “one for

“[The board] has previously expressed a desire for Cafcass to
take on new and additional roles and responsibilities and its point
about funding refers to those,” he said.

“Many different parties have different hopes and ambitions for
Cafcass in the future and all of these will be considered.”

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