Shortage of guardians ‘puts children’s lives at risk’

Children’s lives are being put at risk by a chronic
shortage of court-appointed guardians a leading children’s
advocate has warned, writes Derren

Judith Timms, founder and patron of the national youth advocacy
service, said nearly a third of self-employed guardians had left
the service because of changes in working practices and pay by
Cafcass, the body responsible for allocating guardians for children
in public care.

Timms said the problem had become so bad that some children were
waiting up to three months for a guardian to be appointed.

“The mismanagement of Cafcass has reached dangerous proportions
for children,” she added.

Timms called for a formal inquiry into Cafcass’
performance and funding – the Lord Chancellor’s
department is currently reviewing the levels of pay for
self-employed guardians.

“It’s nearly two years since Cafcass was established and I
have watched in horror as more and more guardians have left the
service – Cafcass has decimated the guardian service,” Timms

Delegates at Nagalro’s autumn conference voted unanimously
to back a motion put forward by the Association of Lawyers for
Children to remedy the “Cafcass crisis” urgently.

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