Shouldn't this say all parents not just fathers!
Replies to Victoria.Evans@CAFCASS.GOV.UK
I wonder if these so called
support groups F4J, FNF, Fathers Direct, ECT have consulted their
membership on this complete pack of hype
and tripe, if not then the
leaders of these groups should be ashamed of themselves.
already caused too much damage to thousands of children, parents,
grandparents and family members to continue as a so called
'childrenís care service'. I won't easily forget the pain and
suffering they caused to my
children and know none of you will forget the heartbreak and
suffering they have caused to your children.
What about all those thousands
of children already permanently separated from their loved ones due
to corruptive and misguided written reports submitted to the courts
by unaccountable, hideous and grotesquely biased cafcass officers.
P4P leaders have contacted Mr Douglas office
by telephone to reject his statement
and will continue to protest for Cafcass to be abolished.
So please reply
to Cafcass at the bottom of this statement telling
about your experiences with his so-called child care service staff
and what you want.
WE WILL NOT JUST "Forgive and Forget "
Please see attached letter, sent on behalf
of Anthony Douglas, CAFCASS Chief Executive...Kind regards
Victoria Evans, CAFCASS Communications, Tel 020 7510
14 June 2005
OPEN LETTER TO GROUPS REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS
OF FATHERS IN PRIVATE LAW
CAFCASS recognises the distress and anger many
fathers feel in private law cases when their long-term relationships
with their children are put at risk. We believe it is important for
organisations like ours, working at the heart of the family justice
system throughout England, to show leadership on behalf of children
and their fathers, and to promote their common interest.
Our role is to look after the interests of
children when cases are referred to us by the courts and we
acknowledge that in the vast majority of private law cases this will
be best served by preserving childrenís relationships with both
parents. That is one of our core values. The only exceptions to
shared decisions on parenting is if there are continuing child
protection or welfare concerns, or a history of domestic violence
relating to either parent which requires us legally to make a
careful assessment about the impact of new arrangements on
If a dispute between parents over their children
ends up in court fundamentally unresolved, the consequences for all
family members can be devastating and life-long. That is why our
policy is to go on supporting parents and helping them to resolve
issues without recourse to expensive legal battles during which
attitudes frequently harden even further.
CAFCASS acknowledges the important role groups
like Fathers 4 Justice, Families Need Fathers, the Association for
Shared Parenting and Fathers Direct play in bringing the distress
felt by men in private law proceedings to the attention of the wider
public and into the political arena. We also recognise that these
groups often do not solely represent the interests of fathers, but
also mothers and other relatives who feel excluded from the lives of
the children they love.
We are worried about the harm suffered by
children in all sorts of ways in private law cases, which makes them
unrecognised children in need. Whilst we are a child care
organisation, we donít think a useful distinction can be made
between the interests of children and their parents, unless a child
faces serious harm from one or both parents, when it is clearly our
duty to refer the matter to local authorities or the police for an
More typically, our role in private law cases is
to promote positive personal relationships within a family rather
than listening to parents identify each others faults and then
writing up those entrenched and hostile attitudes in a court report.
We work towards relationship breakthroughs rather than breakdowns.
Supporting both parents to combine in their responsibilities towards
the care of their children is our starting point.
For the last 6 months, CAFCASS has been in a
constructive dialogue with Fathers 4 Justice with the twin objective
of making progress on the issues facing fathers and avoiding a
negative cycle of direct action against our offices and the
resultant police actions and prosecutions that have inevitably
followed. In short, we have been seeking to combine our duty of care
to fathers with our duty of care to our staff, who have the right to
go about a difficult job without being placed under unfair pressure.
In private law cases, we work at the hard edge
when relationships collapse. Emotions are always running high. We do
not want to be seen by fathers or mothers who come to us for help as
biased against them. The evidence we have from research shows that
our involvement results in more children having more time with their
fathers. In our view, long-term dialogue is more likely to promote
positive change and a stronger joint understanding than
An example of the benefits of long-term dialogue
would be reflected in our working partnership with Families Need
Fathers (FNF). This well-established group focuses on children
maintaining good relationships with both parents and provides a
valuable support service via its helpline and information posters
and leaflets, which we have agreed to display in our offices. As a
key stakeholder and member of our Service Users Interest Group, FNF
are able to influence and comment on current developments within
CAFCASS and the family justice system as a whole.
CAFCASS and Fathers 4 Justice will be taking
some practical steps to develop their relationship further. This
will include F4J meeting the CAFCASS Board in July, and newly
designed F4J leaflets being displayed in CAFCASS offices. F 4J will
sign up to the CAFCASS protocol for stakeholder engagement, which
sets out mutual respect principles.
We will also be working closely with Families
Need Fathers and Fathers Direct in developing more strategic
For CAFCASS, this is part of a wider strategy of
engagement with all groups representing children, mothers, fathers
and relatives whose cases come into the family justice system. We
will be working with all groups to develop a new set of service
principles so that people are clearer about what they can come to
expect from us. We are a learning organisation and we believe
positive and enduring communication is one of the hallmarks of
successful organisations and successful family justice systems.
I grew up without having the benefit of knowing
my birth father, which was a source of great sadness to me. In a
time like ours, when relationships end for various reasons, it is
even more important to fight for the rights of children to enjoy a
continuing positive relationship with both their father and their
mother. Of course all children are different and our responsibility
in law is to represent children as individuals and to get the best
possible deal for them. They themselves are not responsible for
their parents breaking up and they need support to grow up in a way
which best helps them adapt to the change in circumstances forced
upon them. In CAFCASS, we will continue to do our best to help
families manage these tensions and emerge the stronger for
Chief Executive, CAFCASS
Replies to Victoria.Evans@CAFCASS.GOV.UK