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About our staff

Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service

About our staff

Our staff who work directly with children, young people and their families have to be qualified and experienced social work practitioners. They are known as family court advisors(FCAs).

In accordance with court rules, these people can be referred to by various titles according to the specific role being undertaken. When family court advisors are appointed in family proceedings they adopt one of the following roles:

Children's guardian

A children's guardian is an independent person who represents and safeguards the interests of children and young people in any public law proceedings, including:

  • applications for a care or supervision order or discharge of such orders;
  • applications for emergency protection orders, child assessment orders and;
  • secure accommodation orders as well as contested adoption applications.

Reporting officer

A reporting officer is appointed when the parents agree to the proposed adoption or the application is a step-parent adoption. In such cases, the reporting officer has to make sure that the agreement of the parent(s) to the adoption is given freely.

Children and family reporter

The children and family reporter is appointed to safeguard the welfare of the child in private law proceedings. These can include applications for residence order, contact order, specific issues or prohibited steps order where the court prohibits a person from taking a particular action concerning a child.

The children and family reporter is also appointed in special guardianship order cases where the court appoints one or more people to be a child's special guardian.

Parental order reporter

A parental order reporter is appointed in cases involving children born by surrogacy under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. The parental order reporter investigates any matter contained in the application form, or any other matter which appears relevant to the making of a parental order and advises the court whether there is any reason to refuse such an order.

Litigation friend

A litigation friend is appointed by the court to conduct proceedings on behalf of a child or young person under the age of 18 who brings a civil claim.

Guardian ad litem

A court (excluding a family proceedings court) can make a child a party to family proceedings and then appoint a Welsh family proceedings officer as guardian ad litem for the child. The commonly used title is 'guardian'. The guardian makes any necessary investigations, including interviewing appropriate people and obtaining professional services, and must file a report to the court, paying attention to the welfare checklist.

Family court social worker

Family court social workers assist the family court advisor (FCA) in their role. In addition, they contribute to driving the participation agenda forward at a local level.

Additional staff

The family court advisor, in whatever role, is supported by administrative, business and specialist staff, who are involved in the overall development of the organisation.

At CAFCASS Cymru we are committed to change and develop our practices, to reflect lessons learnt from research, our own analysis of practice, as well as changes in public policy and legislation.