Cafcass Learning and Improvement Board terms of reference published

Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) has published it’s terms of reference for it’s Learning and Improvement Board.

The newly formed board has the aim of overseeing the improvement programme for the organisations work with children and families who have experienced domestic abuse.

Co-chaired by Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive of Family Rights Group and Angela Frazer-Wicks, Trustee of Family Rights Group), the board will draw on the Ministry of Justice’s findings on the Harm in Family Courts (2020).

Jacky Tiotto, Cafcass Chief Executive, said:

“This Board will provide an important step for Cafcass in learning from the testimony of those who contributed to the findings of the MoJ’s Expert Panel on harm in the family courts. I am enormously grateful to our partners who have agreed to help us on this journey. Their expertise will help to oversee and energise improvements in Cafcass’ social work practice in relation to domestic abuse. Cafcass is committed to continually learning and improving our practice, and it’s important that we work with our partners from across the family justice system to understand good practice. This is an excellent opportunity for us to do this. It will also give us a space where we can listen and learn from children and parents who have experienced our service, allowing us to use this information to improve the quality of our practice.”

Co-chairs of the Learning and Improvement Board, Cathy Ashley and Angela Frazer-Wicks said:

“In order to improve our child welfare and family justice system, we need agencies including Cafcass to learn from failings and mistakes, and to seek out and promote examples of good practice. The price of not doing so is too high for individual adult and child survivors of domestic abuse.

“We welcome the invitation to co-chair the Learning and Improvement Board and the decision to include young people and adults with lived experience of domestic abuse and the family court system on the Board. We will make it a priority that they are able to fully participate in the workings of the Board. This is one but by no means the only way children and families with experience of the system will help to shape future improvements.

“As Chairs, it is our role to ensure that Board members feel able to oversee an improvement programme for Cafcass in relation to Cafcass’ work with children and families who have experienced domestic abuse. That includes ensuring board members are able to robustly challenge, scrutinise and acknowledge improvements. The Board has four objectives, each of key importance. Whether the Board succeeds will however, ultimately be determined by the fourth objective – whether it has increased confidence amongst families and representative organisations in the work of Cafcass.”

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