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Family Court

Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service

Family Court

A family court is designed to assist families who need help and to make sure children’s welfare and interests are safeguarded.

A family court is not the same as a criminal court, where people go if they might have done something wrong.

Do children attend?

Children are not normally required to attend meetings at the family courts. CAFCASS Cymru officers or other professionals involved will go to children and find out what their views are. However, if a young person wants to attend, then that is a matter for the court to consider.

Do parents attend?

It is strongly advised that parents attend all court hearings unless instructed not to do so by their solicitor or the court.

Does CAFCASS Cymru work for the court?

No. CAFCASS Cymru is not a legal service. We are a specialised social work service providing expert advice and support to the family courts. Where necessary, we will take advice from lawyers and will instruct lawyers to act for the child in certain proceedings.

What is a welfare report?  

To help courts make decisions in family proceedings, family court advisers (FCAs) may be asked to present a welfare report. This will provide a comprehensive assessment and clear recommendations to the court on what would be in the best interests of the child or young person.

Is the work of CAFCASS Cymru predominantly report writing?

No. We try to work with families and other organisations to find long-term solutions for the child. Where possible, reports will provide details of these solutions or agreements with the aim of avoiding the need for drawn-out hearings in the court.