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Court Reporters - CAFCASS

From Brian Kirby (email him)
Sent: Wednesday, June 09, 2004 1:40 PM

Family Resolutions: "A Waste of Time"
I am unsure what response you want from me by sending this copy correspondence and making your statement about the Family Resolutions Pilot. It is also not for me to comment or justify what either the Minister for Children or the Lord Chancellor may have said in a press release (as you ask in your previous email).
I regret very much that this project that should be cause for optimism and hope has been so misrepresented in the press and elsewhere and that some appear to want to undermine it. Even more so, as I understood fathers' groups along with CAFCASS and many others, wished for the testing of such new alternatives to formal family proceedings.
CAFCASS people have much experience in assisting parents to resolve their differences over post-separation parenting, instead of less satisfactory court imposed arrangements; we also support mediation services in the work they do. The CASC report 'Making Contact Work' urged Government to make this CAFCASS provision universally available to families approaching courts. In response and with a view to future development, CAFCASS is keenly supporting this venture that will test a new and better resourced approach to this work, informed by work in other jurisdictions, research and experience and will be independently evaluated. It will be informed by research on contact, what we know about contact and the nature of contact disputes, and the needs of children in contact situations. CAFCASS is strongly committed to ensuring that children and their needs are at the heart of this project.
Outline proposals for the scheme were prepared for the DCA and DfES by a group formed early last summer and chaired by a senior district judge. Members of that group were from research, CAFCASS, mediation bodies, family therapy, court administration and child psychiatry. Those proposals were accepted and form the basis for this pilot project. The further detail of the scheme is being developed not only by using the experience of those on the design team but also through contributions by others who have substantial and relevant expertise.
Brian Kirby
External Projects Manager

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