Cafcass launches the ‘Together with Children and Families’ framework

Cafcass has launched its relationship-based practice framework called Together with Children and Families. The framework sets out the importance of working with children and their families, based on developing trusting relationships, where listening, understanding, clear reasoning, respect and integrity are prioritised. The framework is intended to help Cafcass to do its best work with children and families who are involved in private or public law proceedings.

Built on a new suite of values, Together has been developed collaboratively with all Cafcass staff, particularly with Family Court Advisers and with partners such as the Family Justice Young People's Board (FJYPB). The FJYPB has helped Cafcass to ensure Together is informed by the voices of children and young people. They have provided feedback about how Together will improve the experiences of children in family court proceedings, specifically their understanding about Cafcass's recommendations and the opportunity they will have to share their views about those recommendations in reports to the family court.

The Together workbook is designed to be used by Cafcass Family Court Advisers to guide their work with children, young people and their families. The workbook demonstrates how materials such as introductory letters, family storyboards and a new style of case planning will help practitioners to strengthen their focus on children's experiences, wishes and feelings.

Together with Children and Families is a key priority for Cafcass' Strategic Plan 2019-23.

Cafcass Chief Executive Jacky Tiotto has said:

"Cafcass works alongside around 142,000 children a year in public and private law proceedings. We represent their experiences, wishes, feelings and hopes for the future to the family courts. Our understanding about their safety and welfare is fundamental to the recommendations we make, which on every occasion are life changing. It is both our privilege and responsibility to serve their very best interests all of the time. Our practice framework Together houses these ambitions and commitments and I hope has the effect of lifting every engagement and outcome for children to the level of the best everywhere.

"Helping children and families to understand our reasoning, making sure that they feel heard, understood, respected and valued is the very essence of our new practice framework. Everyone here at Cafcass goes the extra mile every day and we are deeply proud of the difference we have continued to make for families over this extraordinary last year. The launch of this new framework, developed by our brilliant people, is a serious milestone for us in our constant drive to improve the support we offer to children and families when they are in difficulty. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible – there are so many!"

For more information and comment, click here.