CAFCASS was set up on 1st April 2001 under the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act which brought together the family court services previously provided by the Family Court Welfare Service, the Guardian ad Litem Service and the Children’s Division of the Official Solicitor’s Office.
Cafcass represents children in family court cases in England. We independently advise the family courts about what is safe for children and in their best interests. We put their needs, wishes and feelings first, making sure that children’s voices are heard at the heart of the family court setting. Operating within the law set by Parliament (Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000) and under the rules and directions of the family courts, we are independent of the courts, social services, education and health authorities and all similar agencies.
Our duty is to safeguard and promote the welfare of children going through the family justice system, supporting over 140,000 children every year by understanding their experiences and speaking up for them when the family court makes critical decisions about their futures.We are a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry for Justice. We work within the strategic objectives agreed by our sponsor department and contribute to wider government objectives relating to children.