We continue to closely monitor the situation surrounding the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) and are following official guidance from the government and the advice given by Public Health Wales.
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.
So far we have been able to continue offering our service to family courts across all parts of the country. However, in response to the situation we are now adapting the way that we work during this time and will be supporting First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointments and our participation in court hearings via telephone or video calls. We are also ceasing our DNA testing service until further notice.
Unfortunately we have also had to take the difficult decision to suspend referrals to contact centres and Working Together for Children providers.
Where possible we will be offering parents, carers and children the option of using skype or telephone commmunication in place of some face-to-face meetings and also corresponding via email where possible.
Our staff are now working remotely and we are tailoring the way we work accordingly. Our communications with service users, partners and stakeholders will remain through our telephone services across Wales at this time. As postal services are affected by the outbreak we will be asking service users to work with us in enabling us to share letters and reports via email where possible.
The Wrexham and Newport offices will be closed from 19th March 2020 until further notice.
Clearly, this is a fast-moving situation and we are keeping our plans under constant review.
Our senior leadership team is monitoring the situation closely and continues to be involved in ongoing planning conversations with our partners, including the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) to make sure that children and families receive the best possible service in fast-changing circumstances.
We will provide further updates if the situation changes significantly.