Disclaimer
These guides do not in any way represent legal advice.
All guides are produced as a 'layperson' and 'informed friend'.
 
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Cafcass Safeguarding Call and Letter?
 
 
 
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Cafcass Safeguarding Call and Letter
 
     
     
  Usually, between weeks 3 and 6 of submitting your application, and in any case before the first hearing, (FHDRA), Cafcass will contact both parents by telephone to conduct a 'Safeguarding' call. The purpose of the call is to ask about the safety of the children and any concerns the parents may have.

A letter is produced for the court which is sent to both parents before the first hearing. If it does not arrive in time for the hearing, both parents will get the opportunity to read it at the first hearing.

Mock Scenario:

Mr John WALTERS left the marital home 6 weeks ago. He has been married to Samantha Walters for 9 years but the relationship has now permanently broken down.

Since leaving the marital home, he has had no contact with his two children, David (Dob 25/03/14) and Janet (Dob 13/01/09).

Both children are subject to Child In Need Plans due to ongoing reports to Child Services by both parents with allegations against each other. The mother has recently made new allegations of domestic abuse. No further actions was taken by the police, but concerns were raised as to the potential for emotional harm by both parents on the children due to continued high levels of acrimony.

Mr WALTERS has submitted his C100 application for Child Arrangements.

The following represents a fictitious example of a Cafcass Safeguarding Letter

 
     
     
 

Mock Example Cafcass Letter to the Court

Written by the McKenzie Friend Network for demonstration purposes only.

Court Standford – Family Court
Court Case Number ST 12345678
Date of Hearing xx/xx/xx FHDRA

Children subject to the application

Name

Gender

Date of Birth

Age

David Walters

Male

25/03/2014

5 years

Jannet Walters

Female

13/01/2009

10 years

Adult Parties to the proceedings

Name

Gender

Relationship to child

Date of Birth

John Walters

Male

Father

23/11/1975

Samantha Walters

Female

Mother

14/09/1989

Cafcass has received the C100 application in relation to this matter.

NOTE: Significant factual errors (not matters disputed by the parties) in this letter should be referred to the author.

Summary of Cafcass screening actions and outcomes

Both children are subject to the C100 application to determine:

a)  Time spent with the father. There is no application for the children to live with the father.

Cafcass have undertaken Safeguarding enquiries with the Local Authority and the Police National Computer.

Cafcass

The family is not previously known to Cafcass.

Police

Mrs Samantha Walters: No Trace (Police National Computer)

Mr John Walters: No Trace (Police National Computer)

On the xx/xx/xx Mrs Walters made a report that during an argument she was pushed and slapped by Mr Walters with his hand across the back of her head. Mr Walters denied the incident stating that Mrs Walters had hit him. No further action was taken by police.

Local Authority :

The family is previously known to the Local Authority. Both Children are subject to Child In Need Plans for the risk of emotional harm due to the acrimony between both parents.

MIAM

Attended by applicant only.

 
     
  Summary of any risk identification contacts made by Cafcass  
     
  Telephone interview with Mr John WALTERS, (applicant), on the XX/XX/XX  
     
  Has not seen the children for 6 weeks.  
     
  Concerned that the children are being manipulated by the mother and alienated against him.  
     
  Mr Walter suggests that the relationship over the last 6 months has become hostile and toxic and that there were many arguments in the hearing and presence of the children.  
     
  Mr Walters is not seeking residence and wishes to determine the time the children should spend with him.  
     
  That Mrs Walters made a false accusation against him to the police of assault and battery and that it was Mrs Walters who had assaulted him.  
     
  That during the relationship he considered himself to be a very hands on father of both children.  
     
  That since leaving the matrimonial home, he has been living with his parents in a small property that is not suitable for accommodating the children overnight. However, he intends to move to a 2 bedroom rented flat within the next couple of weeks.  
     
  He has no concerns with respect to the safety or general welfare of the children when they are with the mother.  
     
  Telephone interview with Mrs Samantha WALTERS on the XX/XX/XX  
     
  That the children are safe and well and with her. They are attending school and engaging in their routines and normal activities.  
     
  That on the XX/XX/XX Mr WALTERS assaulted her by pushing her and slapping her once around the back of the head. The police conducted a voluntary interview with Mr Walters and no further action was taken.  
     
  Following the incident on the xx/xx/xx Mr WALTERS left the matrimonial home.  
     
  Mrs Walters has denied him access to the children as she is in fear of him and feels that it is her responsibility to ‘protect the children’ from witnessing further abuse.  
     
  Mrs Waters reports that throughout the marriage Mr WALTERS has been verbally, emotionally and physically abusive and this has escalated over the last 6 months. That Children Services became involved, and following a case conference on the xx/xx/xx, both children were placed on a Child in Need Plan under the category of emotional harm.  
     
  Both children are attending school, engaging in their normal activities.  
     
     
  Analysis of issues arising from safeguarding or risk identification  
     
  Safeguarding is complete:

Cafcass have concerns that there has been no direct contact with the father for a number of weeks and considers that this should be resumed. The court may consider that a contact centre in the first instance may be appropriate to support the anxieties expressed by the mother and to provide a supportive environment for the children. It is not felt that this contact needs to be supervised.

 
     
  The children’s basic needs are being met.

There are concerns as to the exposure the children have had to adult conflict. If this continues, then it is likely to cause significant emotional harm to the children as identified by Children Services. Both parents are following an action plan as part of the Child In Need protocol. This will be reviewed now that the father has left the matrimonial home. It is considered that neither parent is behaving appropriately or considering the needs of the children.

 
     
  Mr WALTERS is staying with his parents and this accommodation is not currently suitable for the children for overnight stays.

Advice to the court:

 
     
  That Cafcass or Child Services prepare a Section 7 Report on the issues reported and to provide recommendations with respect to the time the children should spend with the father.  
     
  That both children would benefit from interim contact with Mr WALTERS. The recommendation is initially for unsupervised contact within a contact centre.  
     
  The children would benefit from both parents attending the Separated Parenting Programme  
     
  That given the historical and new allegations, whether the court should consider a Fact Finding Hearing.  
     
 
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