A judge has appointed a private sector social worker as a
guardian to two children because of a rise in the waiting list for
government-agency appointed guardians in south Wales.
The judge took the unusual step because there were no
children’s guardians from the Children and Family Court
Advisory and Support Service available. Cafcass (Cymru) admits it
has a backlog of nearly 70 children waiting to be allocated a
The private guardian, himself a former Cafcass self-employed
guardian, is to be funded through the Legal Services
Cafcass (Cymru) director Dafydd Ifans said the private guardian
had enough experience to deal with the case but he was worried the
move could set a dangerous precedent. He said 15 new
children’s guardians had been recruited to ease the
“We are concerned that we’re not able to immediately
allocate guardians but I would hope that courts are vigilant in the
way they allocate guardians,” Ifans said.
Critics claim problems have arisen since April when Cafcass
moved to a new waiting list system, which resulted in resources
from areas without delays being diverted to towns in West Glamorgan
where the problem is most acute.
They also say that Cafcass-employed guardians are unfairly
restricted in the number of cases they can take at any one
However, Ifans denied that Cafcass imposed restrictions and said
allocations were based on the availability of guardians,
irrespective of their contract status.