The Children and Families Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) is a public body which is involved in children proceedings in the family courts. Their mission is to make sure that children’s voices are heard and decisions are taken in their best interests.
It is separate from social services, and help advise on the court on what the best interests of children are. CAFCASS will carry out safeguarding checks in all proceedings, and will often be asked to provide a “section 7” report.
In providing this report, they will speak to each of the parties as well as the children. The CAFCASS officer will consider the welfare of the children and the wishes of the parties and make a recommendation as to how contact and residence (and any other issues) should be managed.
Though this recommendation is not binding on the court, judges understand the experience and expertise CAFCASS officers have, and will give a good deal of weight to their reports.
For more information on CAFCASS, please visit their website where there are a number of resources for children, teenagers and adults.