Cafcass is the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service and they represent children in family court cases in England and “put children’s needs, wishes and feelings first, making sure that children’s voices are heard at the heart of the family court setting, and that decisions are made in their best interests”.
Cafcass are involved in a variety of family law matters in the Family Court including private law proceedings ( the most common example being where parents have not been able agree the child arrangements or other child related matters between themselves), care proceedings or adoption.
In 2017 I wrote about Cafcass’ figures and the demand for Cafcass in private law children cases.
The report showed that in 2016 to 2017, numbers of new private law cases had increased by 8.5% from the preceding year, that the period from April to October 2017 had an increase of 6.8% from the same period in the previous year. However, it was interesting note that the 2016/2017 figures were still somewhat lower than they were in 2013/2014.
Cafcass have now published their figures for September 2019 – confirming 3,803 new private law cases in September – an increase of 10.9% compared to September 2018. This was a similar pattern for all but one month in 2019 – in that there was an increase (in 2019) compared to the same month in the previous year (2018).
There certainly does, in recent years, tend to be a trend in an increase of Cafcass’ involvement in private children proceedings, with Cafcass’ statistics confirming that
Cafcass received a total of the following new private law cases in each financial year (the financial year running from April to March) accordingly:
• 2014-2015: 34,119
• 2015-2016: 37,415
• 2016-2017: 40,536
• 2017-2018: 41,782
• 2018-2019: 43,875
Interestingly, however, new care cases have decreased within the same period.