An influential member of the board 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,
writes Derren Hayes.
Judy Weleminsky responded to a daming report into the
performance of Cafcass by the select committee of the department
for constitutional affairs, formerly the Lord Chancellor’s
department, by saying Margaret Hodge should lead the review.
A review of board membership was one of the central
recommendations of the select committee report after they
criticised it for its lack of frontline experience.
Weleminsky also suggested that representatives of other
organisations in the court welfare field should be co-opted to the
board. The Judiciary Association of Lawyers for Children,
children’s guardian group Nagalro, the National Association
of Probation Officers, Cafcass Managers Association and looked
after children Voice of the Child in Care, were some of those
She said that future board meetings should have an
‘open’ period where stakeholder groups and individuals
can sit in on the public part of the agenda, and would be allowed
to ask questions for 30 minutes. She added that a board
sub-committee should be established to ensure Cafcass puts children
first in all its work, another area criticised by the
Weleminsky also said Cafcass staff and Nagalro should contact
all ex-guardians to try and encourage them back, with a hotline
set-up to deal with enquiries quickly.
“[We need to] make it clear that a new atmosphere of
positively welcoming self-employed guardians is being pursued, and
all reasonable steps to make them welcome will be taken,” she