Cafcass Training on their new Child Impact Assessment Framework

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Please provide the numbers of Cafcass employees, preferably broken down by service area, that have undertaken CIAF training in 2018.

The CIAF training has only just commenced its roll out and so far only 2 events have taken place (as of 23rd October 2018). Both of these events were for A11 and they were held in Derby and Nottingham (there are more events scheduled for this area).

A total of 26 people attended these events. There is however a total of 48 events nationwide currently scheduled (with more to be scheduled), and all staff undertaking private law work will be trained by February 2019 [emphasis added].

Please provide a full list of the sector experts and family justice partners that you received input from.

The following organisations were invited to the stakeholder discussion groups: Academics, psychologists and practitioners.

Groups including:

  • Temper Domestic Violence,
  • Research in Practice,
  • Barnardos,
  • SafeLives,
  • Relate,
  • NSPCC,
  • National Child’s Bureau,
  • Children’s Commissioner for England,
  • Association for Shared Parenting,
  • Cafcass Young People’s Board,
  • Transparency Project,
  • Association of Lawyers for Children,
  • Resolution,
  • Coram,
  • Law Society,
  • Atkins Hope,
  • Family Justice Council,
  • Family Law Bar Association,
  • Official Solicitor and Public Trustee,
  • Dads Unlimited,
  • Families Need Fathers,
  • Equal Parenting Foundation,
  • Men’s Aid,
  • Everyman Project,
  • Only Dads,
  • Mankind Initiative,
  • Women’s Aid,
  • Mums Unlimited.
You say “CIAF was informed by an internal advisory group of 40 practitioners, led by Cafcass’ Assistant Director and Principal Social Worker, Sarah Parsons”. Please also provide the gender breakdown of the member of said advisory group

The internal advisory group of 40 practitioners consisted of 1 man and 39 women. The staff involved with the advisory group were staff with the capacity, experience and relevant knowledge and skills to partake in the group.

Cafcass has subsequently trained a group of internal trainer staff which includes 8 men and 33 women.

Please confirm the date and details of the first use of the Child Impact Assessment Framework (CIAF), whether as a trial or otherwise, and regardless of whether, at the time, it was known or called by you by a different name.

Having published the framework and tools, we are now commencing mandatory training for private law Family Court Advisers (FCAs) in its use. Training will take place across the country between October 2018 and March 2019. We are aiming to ensure that all FCAs have received training by April 2019 [emphasis added]. As the framework is a development of our existing guidance some of the issues will already be addressed in practice.

Here is a copy of the Cafcass Child Impact Assessment Framework training document that they’re using to train their FCAs in Parental Alienation cases, High Conflict cases, and cases where the alienating resident parent alleges that the child is justifiably rejecting the alienated parent because of domestic abuse etc.

This training and the definitions within it also apply to self-styled “Protective Mothers”* who claim that repeated applications to court for enforcement of child arrangement orders amounts to domestic abuse.
(this document was supplied under FOI as a PDF): Cafcass CIAF roll out training PDF

* Note: We’re a gender neutral organisation. However when people claim that it is only fathers who are alienated they are incorrect; Over half the emails we receive are from mothers who have been alienated by resident fathers. It appears (to us and others far more knowledgable) that alienating behaviours start and end with the parent who retains control of the child(ren) day to day and seeks to exercise that control using alienation techniques regardless of the consequences to their own children.

We are becoming increasingly aware of a large group of female parents who are campaigning against parental alienation being recognised by the courts or by Cafcass. This should be noted and their motives questioned when it is apparent that their campaigning will do a great disservice to the children of alienated mothers.

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.

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