Memorandum submitted by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS)
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) was established on 1st April 2001, by the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000. CAFCASS brings together, in a single unified service, the functions previously exercised by the Family Court Welfare Services, the Guardian ad Litem and Reporting Officer Panels and the children's division of the Official Solicitor's Department. The principal functions of the Service, as described in Section 12 of the Act, are:
In respect of family proceedings (which includes adoption proceedings) in which the welfare of children is or may be in question, it is a function of the Service to:
safeguard and promote the welfare of the children;
give advice to any court about any application made to it in such proceedings;
make provision for the children to be represented in such proceedings; and
provide information, advice and other support for the children and their families.
The Service may also make grants for the purpose of furthering the performance of any of the Service's functions.