McKenzie Friend
 
Family and Civil Court Support
 
         
 
 
 

EMPOWERING THE PUBLIC THROUGH FAMILY COURT

Disclaimer : Our guides do not in any way constitute legal advice. The guides have been developed by lay people who are not lawyers and have no legal training or qualifications.

 
Call Us Today: 1hr Free Consultation 01420 370770
 
 
  Our Child Arrangements Guide  
 
 
 
 
 
 
What is a CAFCASS Section 7 Report?
 
 
 
  Previous Video: What happens at the First Hearing (FHDRA)?
Next Video: What is the SPIP?  
 
 
  Cafcass Section 7 / Impact Analysis Report.  
     
  The following represents a fictitious example of a case and a Cafcass Section 7 / Impact Analysis Report.

Scenario:

 
     
  Mr David Walters is married to Samantha Walters. They have two children of the marriage. Following allegations of domestic abuse made by Samantha, he left the marital home 6 months ago. The police took no further action but the children have been placed on Social Service Child In Need Plans due to the exposure to ongoing acrimony between the parents within the marriage and the potential for emotional harm being caused.

At the First Hearing (FHDRA), the Judge asked Cafcass to complete a Section 7 Report to provide recommendations on the way forward.

Please note that the Section 7 Report may also be conducted by the Local Authority if they are already involved in the case. However, in the example below CAFCASS were happy to do it.

Section 7 Reports may be several pages long. The below is provided as a concise example only.

 
     
     
 

Cafcass Section 7 Report

Ficticious example for demonstration purposes only

Date of Application: XX/XX/XXXX

Court: Standford - Family Court

Court Case Number: ST12345678

Cafcass ECMS Number: 1234

Application Type: CAO (To determine the time the children are to spend with the father).

Responsibility (s4)

Hearing Type: Dispute Resolution Appointment

Hearing Date: xx/xx/xx

Cafcass Family Court Adviser: Peter Smith

Office Address: Ground Floor

Ivy House

The Strand

Standford

ST2 8JB

0300 1234567

standfordoffices@cafcass

Date Report Completed: XX/XX/XX

Filing Date: XX/XX/XX

Child’s solicitor (where applicable) N/A

Details of any current orders : None

Name of Children

Date of Birth

M/F

Ethnicity

Janet WALTERS

13/01/2009

F

White European

David WALTERS

25/03/2014

M

White European

 

Name of Parents

Relationship to Children

Date of Birth

M/F

Ethnicity

John WALTERS

Father

23/11/1975

M

White European

Samantha WALTERS

Mother

14/09/1989

F

White European

Issues / Summary

1. Janet WALTERS (DOB 13/01/09) David WALTERS (DOB 25/03/14), are the only children of John and Samantha WALTERS.

On the xx/xx/xx, Mr Walters made a Child Arrangements Order. The order was for the children to live with the mother and to determine time spent with him.

At the time of making the order, Mr WALTERS had no contact with the children for 3 weeks. It was only after 6 weeks at the First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment, that contact was re-established, with the children spending time with him for 4 hours every Saturday, unsupervised between 10am - 2pm.

At the time of the First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment, Mr WALTERS was living with his parents. The size of the property made it impractical to initiate overnight contact. Mr WALTERS has since moved into a 2 bedfroom appartement that he rents.

Both children have been subject to Child in Need Plans. Allegations of ongoing domestic abuse was made by Mrs WALTERS for the period 6 months prior to the break up of the relationship. The police investigated a report that Mr WALTERS had pushed and slapped Mrs WALTERS across the back of the head during an argument. No further action was taken by the police, but due to the previous and ongoing hostilities between the parties, Children Services determined that the children were at risk of exposure to emotional harm by both parties.

On the XX/XX/XX both children came off the CIN Plan as the parties had separated and had completed the actions within the action plan.

At the last hearing CAFCASS were asked to provide a Section 7 / Impact Assessment Report to determine :

• How often and for how long the children should see their father and how such arrangements for contact should be progressed, including stepped contact with a view to a final order if possible.

• Whether or not the children’s physical, emotional, education needs are being met by the mother and father.

• Whether or not it appears that the children have suffered or are at risk of suffering harm as a result of any continued acrimony between the parties.

Evidence-based analysis

In preparing this report I have :

a) read the Cafcass electronic files in this matter including the safeguarding letter dated XX/XX/XX;

b) Interviewed Mrs WALTERS on the xx/xx/xx

c) Interviewed Mr WALTERS on the xx/xx/xx

d) Observed contact between Mr WALTERS and the children on the xx/xx/xx

e) Reviewed the police reports.


f) Reviewed the Children In Need Casefile

g) Contacted the nursery and school for reports.

I have not spoken to the children as David is too young, and Janet has previously been spoken to by Children Services and I have relied on their reports. I determined that it would not be in the best interests for the children to be questioned again by profesionals.

The notes clearly reflect a deterioration of the relationship over the last 6 months, leading to numerous arguments between the parties which were often within the sight and hearing of the children.

Children Services took the position that both parents were behaving equally inappropriately and were ptentially causing emotional harm to the children. Subject to the intervention of a Child in Need Plan and Mr WALTERS leaving the marital home, these occurances have stopped. On completion of the Child in Needs action plan, the children have been removed from Child Services’ fututre involvement.

I have spoken to both parents about their responsibilities in needing to place the needs of the children first.

Mrs WALTERS continues to make allegations that Mr WALTERS lacks the ability to parent effectively. She states that he is 'controlling' and 'manipulative' and lacks the capacity to provide care and emotional warmth. Mrs Walters has raised concerns that Janet returns from contact with bruises on her legs, head and arms. Mrs WALTERS maintains that Mr Walters slapped her accross the back of the head and states that he has anger issues and represents a danger of physical harm to the children.

On speaking to Mrs WALTERS, I am concerned that she is not moving forward and putting the past behind her in the best interestrs of the children. She needs tro understand the importance of of building a positive co-parenting relationship with Mr WALTERS.

On interviewing Mr WALTERS, he accepts that the relationship became toxic and hostile. He states that this was 'both ways' and states that he accepts his responsibility in the concerns raised by Children Services. He states that he is moving on with his life and that there is no likelihood of the arguments continuing as they are now separated.

Both parents now communicate with a 'hand over' book and a designated e-mail soley for the purpose of Child Arrangement contact.

I observed Mr WALTERS during a contact session with the children in the park. His play was age appropriate. He was 'physical' in his play with both children and I observed Janet falling over several  times during play. I am satisfied that this is the cause of any bruises that have arisen from nothing more than robust play.

My conclusions are that Mr WALTERS and Mrs WALTERS have demonstrated a parenting capacity that is 'good enough' which is reinforced by the removal of the Child In Need Plans. Apart from any continued hostilities, neither parent represents a significant risk of harm to the children.

Mr WALTERS is seeking what may be considered a standard contact arrangement of :

Every other weekend from Friday to Sunday.

Overnight alternate contact Wednesday to Thursday on the week that there is no weekend contact.

Half of all holidays including half terms, CHristmas, Easter and Summer.

Indirect contct of a phone call once a week.

Direct contact on special occasions such as birthdays and Father's Day.

Cafcass Recommendations

That interim contact is increased at the next hearing to an overnight contact every 2 weeks from Friday after nursery / school to Saturday.

That at a Final Hearing a stepped order is considered to increase contact to 2 nights every other weekend, with a progression to introducing the alternate mid week overnight stay. For shared holiday contact to be included shortly after.

For both parents to attend the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP)

For both parents to attend the Tripple P : Positive Parenting Programme.

Signed XXXXXXX                                                                     Date XX/XX/XX

 
     
 
     
DIRECTOR
     
 
Philip Kedge is a retired police Chief Inspector and the founder and director of the McKenzie Friend UK Network. His aim is to take family law out of the hands of solicitors with an ethical business to reduce conflict and acrimony, to provide a cost effective McKenzie Friend national service and to reduce the emotional harm to children.
 
Contact Phil today: 01420 370770
 
       
 
 
LATEST VIDEO BLOGS
     
   
     
  www.mckenziefriendservice.co.uk