On 1st July 2017 Cafcass published their “Guidance on the use of professional time to benefit children” document as a PDF on their website here: Link to Cafcass document
In this document Cafcass laid out the basis for the new Child Impact Reports and their use as a potential replacement for the traditional Cafcass section 7 (s7) reports as follows:
“Each child impact analysis will include a structured professional assessment and recommendation by Cafcass/Cafcass Cymru and may also include some brief casework. The new template for this purpose is set out at the end of this guidance, though there may be further minor changes to the template to reflect operational differences between England and Wales. In other local areas, traditional s7 reports will be produced for the time being, pending the new proposed interventions being trialled and evaluated. Child impact reports are not a lighter version of a s7 report. They are a more intensive child focussed version”
Cafcass was subsequently asked:
“Please would you provide details of all training you provide your staff with that relates to Child Impact Analysis including dates on which that training was commissioned, dates it was deployed, completion rates in 2016 and in 2017, and a copy of any such training.”
Cafcass responded: Cafcass does not run training for practitioners that specifically focuses on Child Impact Analysis.
In Section 4 of the template Cafcass say:
“4. Structured Professional Assessment
- Bring together a succinct account of the child’s experiences and how their safety and well- being can best be promoted
- Relate the evidence base back to the application”
Cafcass were asked:
“Please would you provide details on any new training that you may have provided post January 2017 on coached children and/or on parental influence over children’s expressed wishes and feelings. If you do have new training on this please provide dates on which that training was commissioned, dates it was deployed, completion rates in 2017, and a copy of any such training. ”
Cafcass has not implemented any new training since January 2017 on the issues of coached children or parental influence over children.
Cafcass has a Coached Children Knowledge Bite and a Post-Separation Control: the impact on the child Knowledge Bite. Knowledge Bites are succinct summaries of key issues on specific topics and list relevant resources available to staff.
We also encourage staff to use the ‘impact of parental conflict tool’ in their direct work with children, where this is relevant.
Staff also have access to resources and research via our extensive in-house library service, to assist practitioners in being able to assess the presence of implacable hostility in private law cases.
UPDATE October 2017
We now know more about the process for validating the success of the new Child Impact Reports which are being trialled at the moment. We also know more about the Quality Assurance Framework (QAI) that Cafcass say they are using to quantify and measure the success of these new reports, and we know more about the National Improvement Service (NIS) who Cafcass say authored the QAI Framework.
Let’s start with the Child Impact Reports:
A researcher asked the following questions. Cafcass responses are shown inline:
1. Could you confirm please which department (or named individuals) within Cafcass will be responsible for evaluating these criteria against both the new Child Impact Reports and the existing s7 Reports?
The evaluation of the new Child Impact Analysis Reports against s7 reports will be carried out by the project team who are conducting the Child Impact Analysis pilot, which includes senior front line managers and corporate staff.
2. Please provide a copy of your QAI Framework – a copy of the framework itself along with any policies and forms that relate to it’s use.
Please find attached a zip file which contains a copy of the QAI Framework. This framework seeks to provide a significantly enhanced Quality Improvement dimension to our work by creating a consistent and transparent approach to monitoring and audit.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: you can view this QAI framework at the link below]
3. Please identify the elearning modules that you provide to FCAs on using the QAI Framework
Cafcass does not have eLearning modules on the QAI Framework.
4. Please identify the elearning modules that you provide to FCAs on collating and recording accurate feedback from the Judiciary, from Parents, and from Children
Cafcass does not have eLearning modules on collating and recording accurate feedback from the Judiciary, from Parents, and from Children.
5. Please would you provide copies of your policies and processes that you provide to FCAs on collating and recording accurate feedback from the Judiciary, from Parents, and from Children
Service users, both adults and children, are able to provide feedback to Cafcass via our Customer Feedback Team as stated on the Feedback section of our website.
Contact details for the Customer Feedback Team are listed on the Cafcass website. We also provide mechanisms for feedback for service users including feedback forms that are available in offices and via email and are accessible for all staff. The Cafcass Operating Framework states that Service users and stakeholders have a positive experience of Cafcass and our working relationships with key partner agencies are constructive, productive and creative.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: You can view these feedback forms at the links below]
- service user feedback younger children
- service user feedback older children
- Feedback Form for Adult Parties
6. Please provide copies of your feedback forms that you currently use to collate feedback from the Judiciary, Parents, and Children for s7 reports.
Cafcass does not have feedback forms specifically for feedback on s7 reports. If a service user have any concerns about our work, such as a factual mistake in a s7 report, they should tell their practitioner as soon as possible, so that they can quickly understand the service users concerns and try to put things right. Please see the answer to question five for information on how we obtain feedback from service users and stakeholders.
7. Please provide copies of your feedback forms that you plan to use to collate feedback from the Judiciary, Parents, and Children for these new Child Impact Reports.
Please find attached a zip file containing the feedback forms from the Child Impact Analysis Reports pilot which will be used to collect feedback from the Judiciary, parents and children.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: You can view these survey forms at the links below]
9. Please provide details on any training that you provide FCAs and your QAI team on understanding the differences between subjectivity and objectivity, correlation and causation.
Cafcass does not have training on understanding the differences between subjectivity and objectivity, correlation and causation.
10. Please provide copies or details of any other policies, processes, and training (elearning or other) on research methodologies and data analysis that you provide to FCAs.
Cafcass does not have training on research methodologies and data analysis for FCAs.
The researcher went on to ask:
Please would you confirm who authored this QAI framework for Cafcass?
Cafcass responded to say:
The Quality Assurance and Impact (QAI) Framework is an internal document which was produced by the National Improvement Service (NIS)
You can read more about Cafcass’ internal and non-independent National Improvement Service (NIS) in our post all about them here:
You can read more about Cafcass Feedback forms and how these are used to qualify complaints and compliments in our article here:
How is any of this in the best interests of the children that Cafcass are supposed to be supporting?
In a Family Law system designed for combative parents there is no real allowance for the views of children and any understanding of how Family Law ultimately impacts on children most of all.
We speak for the children in Family Law so that, finally, the children have a voice.