5.1 Introduction

Welcome to this training module on working with Cafcass. The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) is a public body which promotes the welfare of children and families involved in family court proceedings in England and Wales.

In your volunteering you may be supporting clients involved in family cases where Cafcass is involved, usually proceedings involving child arrangements applications where there is a dispute over with whom a child should live and how much contact they should have with the non-resident parent.

Cafcass will typically interview the parents and, if appropriate, the child(ren) and make recommendations to the court as to what would be in the best interests of the child(ren). This training module will assist you in feeling more confident in situations where Cafcass is involved in a client’s case.

Learning outcomes

This module explains what Cafcass is, the procedure where they become involved, what to expect of the reports they will write and their involvement in court hearings.

In this module you will learn about:

  • What Cafcass is
  • Cafcass initial involvement and the safeguarding letter
  • What a section 7 report is
  • Cafcass involvement at the First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA) and Dispute Resolution Appointment (DRA).

This module is one of a number of training modules to help Support Through Court volunteers when supporting clients. The modules all use the same case study to explore the different aspects of supporting clients effectively. We will be referring to this example as we work though this module, so it may be helpful to remind yourself of the facts now. You may want to open this case study in a separate window (use Ctrl + click on the link) so you can refer back to it when needed. Find out more about the Johnson/Smith family [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   and their situation.

During the module you may come across terminology which is unfamiliar to you. Some words are hyperlinked to the Glossary, so by hovering over the word you will be able to see its definition.

Finally, this module deals with some sensitive issues including domestic abuse. If you are affected by the material, Support Through Court can provide support for you. To access this support please speak to your Service Manager.

Give your opinion

How would you rate your understanding of Cafcass right now, before you start this module? Submit your answer.

5.2 What is Cafcass?