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 us to do our 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 our recommendations and the opportunity they will have to share their views about those recommendations in our 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 our Cafcass’ Strategic Plan 2019-23.

Cafcass Chief Executive Jacky Tiotto 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!”

Cafcass Director of Operations, Jack Cordery said:

“Our new practice framework is based on our best practice and most importantly it reflects what children and families have told us works best for them. The launch of our new practice framework shows our collective commitment at Cafcass to keep on learning and doing better.”

Cafcass Principal Social Worker, Sarah Parsons said:

“A key aim of Together is to involve people in decisions that affect them and to listen actively to each other. We will know if we have taken this approach into the heart of our practice with children and families and colleagues, when we receive feedback that people feel listened to and understood.”

Members of the Family Justice Young People’s Board said:

“The FJYPB are really excited about the launch of Together with children and families. Together will make Cafcass’ work with our families a lot smoother. It ensures that proceedings are explained well, in a clear and concise way, and with no jargon. We believe that there shouldn’t be an age restriction on choice, and having more say is very important to children and young people going through proceedings. Together ensures an embedded culture of feedback and making sure that children understand what is happening to them, which makes us feel listened to and reassured. Together will improve the experience of children and families going through the family courts and will help to empower us.”

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