Friday, February 15, 2008

Ofsted’s Inspection of Cafcass

Today the first Ofsted inspection report into the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), which provide a social work service to children and families who are involved in family court proceedings in England & Wales, examined the East Midlands region. Some strengths were found in that cases were allocated promptly , Cafcass had good relationship with its statutory and voluntary partners, responded to complaints constructively and managed its finances soundly.

However the quality of practitioners’ work with children and families, assessment, court reports, safeguarding, systems to support and assure work with children and families and performance management were all found to be inadequate. Two things I found particularly worrying were Inspectors found an absence of clearly stated criteria, validated by research, for Family Court Advisers to use when observing contact between a child and a parent and that concerns were not adequately balanced across all aspects of the welfare checklist.

Ofsted makes 10 recommendations to improve practice and service outcomes for children covering;-

quality of case planning and recording
guidance in assessing drug using parents
guidance in the application of the ‘no order principle’4
assuring the quality of safeguarding practice
strengthening quality assurance
effectiveness of supervision
information for service users on how to complain
management priorities
collaborative work with partner agencies
the impact of training.


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