Information to help and support young people
Sometimes when your family cannot agree on what is best for you, the family court may ask someone from Cafcass Cymru to meet with you. They will talk with you about your feelings and make sure the family court hears what you have to say.
What will happen next?
A family court advisor (FCA), a family court social worker (FCSW) will speak to you and listen to how you feel about everything.
We will make sure that the judge or magistrate making the decision about you and your family hears how you feel and what you would like to happen.
We do this by writing a report to explain what you have said and what the people who care about you have said. This will help adults make the best decisions about the arrangements for you. We will discuss with you what will go into the report. Your parents will see the report and so will other family members if they are part of the proceedings. If you are worried about this, make sure you tell us and we can help.
The report may include:
- some or all of the issues you have discussed with us
- your wishes and feelings about your situation
- why people are worried about you
- what we think is best for you.
- we can also help you write your own letter to the court and include this with the report
What will happen in court?
A family court looks a bit like an office. In some courts everyone sits around a table and in others the judge or magistrate will sit at the front. Sometimes the court arranges a ‘remote hearing’ which takes place using telephones or a video platform, instead of everyone going to the court in person. The family court is not a court where people go if they have done something wrong, it is a place where decisions are made to make things better for you and your family. Sometimes the 'parties' (the people involved in the case, like your parents or other family members) will have special legal help; this can be a solicitor or a barrister.
These people know about children and family law and they will speak to the court to explain the wishes and feelings of the people they represent. Sometimes the 'parties' will represent themselves and will speak to the court directly.
Children and young people do not go to the court hearing. If you want to meet the judge or magistrates who will be making decisions about you, you can tell us. We will tell the court and the judge will decide whether this is okay. Meetings between children or young people and the judge sometimes take place at the court building, or might take place via a video call.
The judges and magistrates in family court have special training before they start making decisions in the family court.
The judges and magistrates read the report and think about the advice from us. They will listen to what everyone has to say before making a decision on what they think is best for you. Sometimes this is not the same as what you wanted, but the court will always do what it thinks is best for you.
What happens after court?
There are lots of issues on which the court may be asked to help make a decision, like:
- who you should live with
- how often you should see one of your parents
- where and with whom you can go on holiday
- where you go to school.
No two cases are the same, everyone is different and so the outcome of your case may be different from someone else. Each decision by the court will be unique to what they believe is best for you.
Quite often the court will be asked to decide who you will live with or who you can see. If the court is deciding on where you should live, they may also say how often you should see your other parent (the one you do not live with) and possibly where and when you should meet them. This may be where they are living or at another place such as a contact centre.
When the court has made a decision on what it thinks is best for you, your family will usually be the ones to tell you what has been decided.
If you would like to speak to someone, you can find a list of organisations who help children and young people in our Help and support section below.
Children’s Rights (UNCRC) and the law about children
All children, no matter who they are or where they are from, have rights. Rights are things you should have as a person, like the right to an education or the right to life.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is an agreement between countries which sets out the rights that all children should have.
Help and support
We work with a lot of different people to get the best for children and young people in Wales. If you would like more help please look at our list below, review our information booklet or speak with us and we will be happy to help.
Other organisations and charities
You can contact Childline about anything - no problem is too big or too small. Whatever your worry it's better out than in.
Provide confidential advocacy representation to vulnerable children and young people across Wales on behalf of local authorities.
A free, anonymous, confidential online counselling service for young people aged 11-19 years. You can talk to a trained counsellor about anything that’s bothering you.
Help, support and information to individuals, schools, youth and community settings affected by bullying.
Wales' leading advocacy provider, supporting the most vulnerable children and young people in Wales.
Meic is the helpline service for children and young people up to the age of 25 in Wales.
The Children's Commissioner for Wales
Champions children and young people and aims to get their rights respected and their voices heard.
Action for children
Provide targeted support to vulnerable and socially excluded young people right across the UK.
Dewis Cymru provides range of information relating to services for children and young people. By reading these pages you'll be able to find information that may help you focus on what matters to you right now. Each page provides a link to their resource directory, where you'll find local and national organisations and services that may be able to help.
Domestic abuse is the misuse of power and control by one person over another within an intimate or family relationship. It can take the form of physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual abuse, or a combination of all of these.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse please contact Childline: 08001111 or NSPCC Helpline: 0808 8005000 firstname.lastname@example.org
What will Cafcass Cymru do?
If we learn that there is, or has been, domestic abuse in your case, we will tell the court so the judge can make a decision about prioritising your safety.
How we support diverse needs
All young people are unique and have different needs. The important thing is we will work with you in a way that supports (and celebrates) difference, and make sure your wishes and feelings are understood and heard correctly by the family court. For example, if you don’t normally talk in English we might be able to get someone to speak in the language you feel most comfortable; it might also be possible to get the booklets in your language so please let us know if you would like to read in your own language. We have worked with lots of young people with different needs, so please don’t be worried about letting us know.
Give us your feedback
We always want to improve. So we always want to hear what you thought about the work we did with you. You can fill in a feedback form and we will see if we can improve.