Theresa May wanted to abolish Cafcass

If you’ve been reading our site you will no doubt be forming a view of the competence of CAFCASS and their ability to advise the courts on a child’s best interest.

But, has it always been this bad; has CAFCASS always been unfit for purpose or is this a new phenomenon? What about family law in general, do you think it’s in need of radical reform?

A central theme of what we think here at Voice of the Child is that “Children Deserve Better“. The bureaucratic machinery surrounding the Family Justice systems are antiquated and do not serve children’s needs. When this is then compounded by other state interference following the trauma of family breakdown the results are made exponentially worse for the children involved.

Words cost nothing

There have been efforts attempting to bring positive change in Family Justice and other areas of statutory influence in post separated children’s lives for decades.

Despite this pressure, politicians and others who are in a position to bring decisive and positive change have failed to improve the situation for children and separated parents alike.

Of course, MP’s are elected and so, if you don’t like what they have to say or, you disagree with the actions they take then we have the ability to vote them out at the subsequent general election.

As an electorate, we have become far too accepting of being misled or lied to by those we elect to serve us and our children. We all have a right to expect those holding public office to be truthful when outlining their beliefs and opinions.

It is only then that, as the electorate we can assess who is best suited to represent us in Parliament.

Words, after all, cost nothing but the actions that follow bring the credibility and reality to the outlined beliefs.

Back in time to 2004

Ladies and Gentlemen, the family is back at the heart of the Conservative Party

Theresa May, 2004

The above quote is taken from a speech given by Theresa May at the 2004 Conservative Party Conference. At that time, she was the Shadow Secretary of State for Family. During this speech Mrs May outlined a number of opinions that we think are just as relevant today as they were back then. Of course, we have had 13 years of Government since that time and little has changed “on the ground” with respect to the structures that were so derided in the speech by the incumbent Prime Minister.

What did Mrs May have to say about The Children Act?


When we passed the Children Act, we wanted to make it easier for parents to share in their children’s upbringing after divorce.


The Act had good intentions but sadly it hasn’t always worked well.

We would agree that the Children Act is in need of a wide ranging reform. A focus on the children beyond the woolly checklist in Section 1(3) which is too often open to subjective interpretation leading to outcomes that do not serve children’s interests in the best possible way.

Normal parents are being prevented from caring for their children. In some cases prevented from seeing their children at all.


We believe that the best parent is both parents.

This was a very encouraging statement to read. In the next part of the speech, Mrs May made a commitment:

That is why, in my first month in Government, I will publish a Bill to give a presumption of co- parenting and a right for both parents to be involved in bringing up their children, when couples separate.


We will ensure that the law serves the best interests of the child – and children deserve to see both parents.

The children are still waiting and no such Bill was ever tabled despite the evidence for children needing both parents being stronger than ever.



the biggest mistake in family policy was Labour’s decision to set up ‘CAFCASS’ – the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.


Not everyone here will have come across CAFCASS. If so, I hope you never will.


Theresa May, talking about CAFCASS

She went on to give criticism regarding CAFCASS record keeping (which has not improved much over the past 13 years):

Amazingly no records on how much contact it allows.

We wrote a piece about CAFCASS record keeping and outcomes which gives a picture of the state today. It makes depressing reading.

On the guidance given to Family Court Advisors she said:


CAFCASS has no guidelines about allowing proper contact with both parents.

Mrs May then made reference to the travesty that is (and continues to be) the Family Courts. She referred to a man who had been to 81 court hearings just to see his children; or the man who was being “investigated” by CAFCASS for “buying his daughter toys”. She was clearly not a supporter of CAFCASS. So, what was the proposed action to deal with the organisation?

It is a bureaucratic shambles, it is deeply unjust and it is letting families down.


Ladies and Gentlemen it is time for Action.


That is why in my first week in office, I will publish proposals to abolish CAFCASS and replace it with a mediation service.


Where are we now?

That’s 2 promises in the same speech, yet, despite the 13 years that elapsed since, there is no parenting presumption in law and CAFCASS continues to be a bureaucratic shambles, lacking the skills, training and professionalism to carry out their role. Perhaps now that Mrs May holds the highest political office in the land she would like to reflect on and keep the promises she made  13 years ago.

Better late than never, or, perhaps they were just words….

You can read the full speech here.

If that link breaks for any reason you can read a PDF capture of that page that we’ve saved here: Theresa_May_SayIt.PDF

Please let us know what you think of this and other articles in the comments.

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  1. Badger Golding on 20th September 2017 at 12:19 PM

    Yes abolish CAFCASS and replace a fit for purpose agency that thinks in the best interests of ALL parties the children mother father and grandparent the emphasis should be about the family bonds first equal rights for all shared parentage as a mainstay not as a witch hunt agency like CAFCASS

  2. Lisa Bambrough on 11th March 2018 at 11:36 PM

    I’m going through s**t right now with cafcass she is strong on fathers rights even if they abused woman and children. She has lied in report and twisted it all . I finally got the courage to leave my ex and get the kids away. Cafcass has only seen the kids twice for a short time how can they really give an opinion on my kids future

  3. A Journalist on 11th September 2018 at 5:26 PM

    CAFCASS is an unmitigated pubic disaster run by morons for the benefit of morons and with no genuine concerns for the welfare of CHILDREN.

    Luckily I am not an affected parent but merely a helper for a parent with custody.

    I rang CAFCASS’ Coventry call centre today and spoke with a woman who identified herself as “Alison”. She declined to give her surname. I asked, in plain simple to understand basic English, for either the email address of CAFCASS’s Reading office or for their Area 7 regional office. I explained I wish to serve a CAFCASS worker with a statement for a hearing for the next day.

    Alison told me the CAFCASS policy was to deny me information until she could “open a case”. Not even a simple email address could she divulge. Naturally I asked to speak to a supervisor or, even better, to a manager. Eventually she returned and told me I could not speak to a manager until she, Alison, had “verified me as a service user”. She then told me she would need to “open a new case.”

    The time was then 17:03 and they close at 17:00, so Alison rudely cut me off saying they had “gone round in circles.”.

    Is it illegal drugs, mad cow disease or pre-senile dementia affecting the entire and utterly defective CAFCASS circus, entirely funded at the public’s expense ? It can not be truthfully claimed CAFCASS functions with pragmatic common sense.

    CAFCASS is a pubic disgrace and should be terminated forthwith. They clearly are confused, as well as slovenly incompetent whilst ignoring children’s best interests and welfare as I have witnessed in the case I am assisting.

    A Journalist (name withheld for operation reasons), NUJ.

  4. Riza Rizai on 19th April 2019 at 1:13 AM

    Please get rid of this cafcass it has ruined my life

  5. Kellie Mills on 26th April 2019 at 6:56 PM

    Cafcass is bias to the parent with main custody it treats every parent who has either left or been forced to leave the family home as unimportant it has no family values at all saying children shouldn’t see their fathers as they can’t bond worse still they have a blanket policy based on Victorian values of motherhood and ignore fathers entirely and god help those who have learning disabilities my son was told he was unable to be a parent because he has mild Asperger’s syndrome which is a form of Autism. He was described as irrelevant and detrimental to his own child… my son can’t complain or afford to take the matter back to court and he can’t get legal aid he can’t get help at all and has been ordered to accept the cafcass officers ruling despite the officer never having been involved with a private family court case or a baby or a disabled parent before the officers inexperience and stupidity has cost the baby her right to her paternal family her right to a private family life all because her Dad has a learning disability the officer seemed to have read about severe autism and assumed all parents with autism are the same. All we can do now is visit for 2 hours under supervision at a cost of £65 an hour every two weeks. Wouldn’t mind but before cafcass and the parents separation he looked after his baby and his stepson aged 2 full time there were no safety issues and he is a very capable Dad. Cafcass ruins families and it’s all done behind closed doors and they refer you to inappropriate services they support as its run by cafcass officers for profit. They say he’s there because he neeeds help which he doesn’t but they don’t talk to him they sit in the corner writing notes saying every thing was good seven weeks after each visit in a flimsy so called report. They won’t let him see his child with us supervising her grand parents and we have been told we have no family rights. There should be annual reports from cafcass about the court outcomes and parents should be able to argue that cafcass are wrong the courts agree to save time and money the whole thing is a disgrace to this country and definitely bias and now it seems anti diversity as well as intent on disabled discrimination because it can’t be bothered to look at each case with care and time. Waste of time money and like ATOS being given too much influence without care from MPs. Please if any one can help us with legal advice free and help our autistic son get his right back as a Dad get in touch. April 2019.

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