As a key part of the family justice system and an essential public service in Wales, Cafcass Cymru is working hard to maintain its service to children and families in what are very challenging times.
We are continuing to offer our service to family courts across all parts of the country. In response to the situation we have adapted the way we work during this time and for example are supporting our participation in court hearings via telephone or video calls.
All supervised contact centres have now reopened for direct face-to-face contact, with the majority also able to accept referrals for remote contact via video platforms, where this has been assessed by one of our practitioners to be safe and appropriate for the child.
Most supported contact centres have now reopened, though a small number remain closed. We continue to review the situation and work proactively with the centres to ensure they are able to open when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
Those supported contact centres that are open are accepting referrals for direct face-to-face contact only.
All WT4C providers are now offering a remote service via video platform sites.
DNA testing can be arranged but this is not currently being undertaken directly by Cafcass Cymru practitioners.
We are continuing to offer parents, carers and children the option of using, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime or telephone communication as the preferred mode of communication. Face-to-face meetings are taking place where it is considered safe and necessary. Our staff are, in the main, working remotely and we have tailored the way we work accordingly. Our telephone services remain available across Wales at this time.
Our preferred option is communication via email, and you may be asked to follow a verification process to confirm your details. This enables us to protect your information. We are currently unable to communicate with service users by post.
A limited number of our offices have reopened. In accordance with Government guidelines we have strict health and safety measures in place. We will continue to encourage and support staff to work remotely. The situation remains under constant review.
Our Senior Leadership Team is monitoring the situation closely and remains involved in ongoing planning conversations with our partners, including the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) to ensure that children and families receive the best possible service in these challenging times.
We will provide further updates if the situation changes significantly.