Information to help and support young people
If people become worried that you are not being looked after properly or you may be at risk of harm, care proceedings could start.
If this happens the local authority need to make sure that you are safe. They will start what we call a 'care case'.
To help make things better, the local authority may need to ask a family court to help.
This short video gives a bit more information of what happens when we have been asked to help.
What will happen next?
A Family Court Advisor (FCA) or a Children’s Guardian will come and see you to listen to how you feel about everything. They are professionally trained people who work for Cafcass Cymru and want to make sure that you are kept safe and well.
They will make sure the judge or magistrate making the decision about you and your family hears how you feel and what you would like to happen.
They do this by writing a report to explain what you have said and what the people who care about you have said. Anything you talk about with the Cafcass Cymru worker may go into the report, and your family and other people involved may also see the report. 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.
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. 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 the local authority) 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 in care cases also have a solicitor to help them. The solicitor is a lawyer who works with us to make sure the best decisions are made for children.
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 ?
If the court decides you are not safe at home, they will ask the local authority to make safe arrangements for you so that you are properly looked after and safe.
If the court decides you should live somewhere else so you can be safe, your social worker will try to see if you can stay with someone you already know like your grandparents or some friends of your family. If that is not possible you may have to go and live with people called ‘foster carers’.
Foster carers are people that choose to give a home to young people who need a safe place to live. If you have a brother or sister everyone will try their best to make sure that you stay together.
You won’t be able to see your parents if the court thinks that it is not safe to allow you to, but the court may also decide that it is ok for you to see your parents from time to time. The court will say how often you should see your parents and where you should meet them. This may be where you are living or at another place such as a contact centre.
After the meeting at court we will try and make sure someone explains what the court decided and how it affects you.
If you would like to speak to someone, this should be with whoever you feel most comfortable. This can be with us, your parents / carers or 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 of 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.
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.