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The Child Welfare Checklist
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The Child Welfare Checklist Explained

Disclaimer : This document does is not intended in anyway to constitute legal advice, it is a general information and signposting sheet.

When a court considers any question relating to the upbringing of a child under the Children Act 1989 it must have regard to the welfare checklist set out in Section 1 of that Act. This requires the consideration of:

1. the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in light of their age and understanding);

2. their physical, emotional and/or educational needs;

3.the likely effect on them of any change in their circumstances;

4.their age, sex, background and any characteristics of theirs which the court considers relevant;

5.any harm which they have suffered or are at risk of suffering;

6.how capable each of their parents (and any other person the court considers the question to be relevant) is of meeting their needs; and

7.the range of powers available to the court in the proceedings.

These are the parameters that the court must use when making decisions regarding questions of the child's upbringing.  

The understanding of this checklist is therefore critical in relation to what you may be seeking. The Check List is clear that it not about 'what you want' the court will make decisions about what is in the best interests of a child.

We say that this is where most people go wrong in their application and representation. They spend 's on lawyers to follow their instructions, without understanding that their position may be flawed from the outset.

We can help discuss your case and to help you consider the options from the perspective of the child. This is exactly what Cafcass does.

From the Casfcass Operating Framework it states:

'We see the dispute through the eyes of the child, not through the respective narratives of the parents about each other.'