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CAFCASS In the Real World…

November 2, 2009

Too often, much much too often,  I’ve heard the phrase “in the real world” used as a complacent excuse for sub-standard services. Yes, the child’s interests should be paramount in the family courts; yes, in care cases every child should have a guardian from day one; yes, as the DCFS keep telling us Every child Matters; and we’ve ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: BUT, as Cafcass CEO, Anthony Douglas CBE told us on Sky News on Saturday, when he was attempting to justify Cafcass’s  failure to rise to the challenge of increasing numbers of children needing the protection of a Guardian – ‘in the real world’, he said, ‘in the current economic climate,  … no chaos in Cafcass, .. Cafcass is not in meltdown – that’s just emotive language, … in the real world, in the real world .. ‘

All so sad. Between 1985 and 2001 the Guardian service for vulnerable children before the courts of England and Wales was widely regarded as first class. It responded flexibly and promptly to changing demands and had greatly improved the quality of protection afforded to children before the courts . Then came Cafcass and its ‘real world’.

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