Government pledges to resource Cafcass to deliver risk assessments

The government has promised to adequately resource the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service to deliver mandatory risk assessments when child protection concerns are raised in contact cases.

This week it accepted an amendment to the Children and Adoption Bill moved by Labour and Liberal Democrat peers that Cafcass officers must provide courts with an assessment if they believed children could be at risk.

Cafcass chair, Labour peer Baroness Pitkeathley, said the amendment was needed because officers were under great pressure to broker agreement between warring parents, which could “mask underlying child protection concerns”.

And following concerns raised from by Pitkeathley and others about resources for training for risk assessments, education minister Lord Adonis said the government would “provide the resources necessary”.

Earlier, a Conservative amendment calling for a presumption of co-parenting in private law cases was defeated by 194 votes to 90, after government and Lib Dem peers argued it would breach the principle that the child’s welfare is paramount.

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