Presentation on theme: "Private Law Consultation"— Presentation transcript:
1Private Law Consultation Cafcass Research Conference24 February 2010Private Law Consultation“How It Looks To Me”Laura Healy, Young People’s BoardRonald Grant, Young People’s BoardChristine Smart, Children’s Rights Director
2Why we held the event? Aims Understand the experience of children who had a service from Cafcass.Consider ways to involve young people in their future planning whilst going through court proceedings.Consider if the Cafcass service had given young people opportunities to share their feedback about our involvement.
3Why we held the event?Improve our understanding of the early support services that are needed for children and their families before and during court proceedings.Understand the extent of support offered to non-Cafcass involved children.Obtain messages to improve future practice to children, both during Cafcass involvement and outside of our involvement.Find out young people’s understanding of their rights whilst going through family court proceedings.
4The ConsultationThe consultation held at the National Space Centre in Leicester was a fun, safe and an educational benefit to all who engaged in the experience. We wanted both quantitative data and qualitative data which was collected through questionnaires and focus groups.During the day, issues discussed include...Support and involving youMediation and support to them & their parentsYoung peoples rightsContact with Cafcass before and during court proceedingsKeeping you safe and hearing your worries early etc...The event required carful planning and needed focus group leaders, note takers, pastoral carers and ushers. Young People who helped facilitate the event came from across England.Feedback from attendees suggests that the event was an enjoyable experience and a valuable opportunity.
5Help for families Wishes and feelings Being involved etc... continued...Focus groups allowing young people to have their say were held 24 times throughout the day, some of which explored...Help for familiesWishes and feelingsBeing involved etc...Thought Boxes were placed on the focus group tables and brick wall paper was located around the venue, allowing young people to write their thoughts and views without telling the whole group.Give examples of questions asked in focus groups.The day once again was about fun. Prizes were rewarded for filling in the question cards and young people could enter prize draws for completing all question cards and attending focus groups. Attendees were free to look around the space centre, a somewhat fun, exiting and educational venue.
6How it worked on the day!Each Consultation (am and pm) is split into 2 parts:Focus Groups – to encourage discussion of issuesQuestion Cards – to record views and experiencesFor both the Focus groups and Question cards, young people who took part will got their ‘stamp card’ marked – indicating attendanceStaff and young people to support the dayRewards incentives!
8The Respondents136 young people attended the day, 122 of whom had experienced Cafcass, 14 had not.Of the Cafcass respondents, just over half expressed how things had improved since the separation of their parents. However, 6 young people did express how things had got worse.Of the non-Cafcass respondents, 8 had been through the court process, 3 of which said things had got better and for the rest it was slightly worse. Those who had NOT been through the court process explained how things had improved slightly.THE MORE YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS, THE BETTER THE PERCEPTION OF THE OUTCOME!136 young people attended the day, 122 of whom had experienced Cafcass, 14 had not.Cafcass Respondents53% was male with 47% being female. The respondents were between ages 6 and 17, with most being between 10 and % identified themselves to be White British with the rest fairly evenly distributed between Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and mixed race. 34 young people identified themselves belonging to a religion and 5 stated that had a physical or mental disability.Of the Cafcass respondents 91 young people had been through the Courts and 72 young people had met with a Cafcass worker. 11 however did not seem to know whether they had seen a Cafcass worker, probably because it may have been many years since there case ended and they might have been at a younger age therefore cannot remember. Many young people who did not see a Cafcass worker did have somebody to talk to and explain the process, for example, grandparent.Non-Cafcass RespondentsOf the 14, the youngest was 7 and the oldest 16; with the majority between 10 and identified themselves having a religion, but none had any physical or mental disability. All identified themselves to be White British except for 2 Caribbean and 1 mixed race.
9What Young People Told Us: Key Findings Young People who attended felt that the involvement of Cafcass generally helped make a difference and assisted them to participate in their own case, therefore shaping their future! At the same time, young people were concerned with the financial situation for themselves and the parent they lived with. The active participation of young people in their own case was also variable. Young People felt that the need to have a VOICE was strong, either their own or through someone else.Young People who attended the conference felt that the evolvement of Cafcass generally helped make a difference and helped them to participate in their own case therefore shaping their future!E.g. Bringing about a more stable home life and less worry at school.At the same time, young people were concerned with the financial situation for themselves and the parent they lived with. The active participation of young people in their own case was also variable.Young People felt that the need to have a VOICE was strong, either their own, or to voice through someone else.This was not aged related but seemed to stem from early support of Cafcass and the involvement of their parents.
10Key Findings continued... The big changes following court proceeding appeared to be around home life, school and money. It was expressed that post court proceedings usually provide an improvement to emotional wellbeing, BUT not necessarily financial well being.Group/peer support is important for both parents and young people. Help is needed in areas relating to finance, group work, talking to parents etc...It was expressed that some young people would have liked to represent themselves in court and speak to the judge directly to ensure their views were not misinterpreted.These are only a flavour of some of the key findings. Others included...The involvement of grandparents was significant in terms of emotional support.Young people were often unable to identify what that wanted as an outcome of the court process.Young People felt it important that they expressed their needs, wishes and feelings to the court, however the young people spoke of how Cafcass could have played a bigger and more transparent role in helping them achieve this.A recent HearNow survey brought about results such as a Cafcass worker “made things better for me” and that the Cafcass worker “told the court what I wanted”.
11Before, During and After Court Proceedings To provide a safe and child centred service in which the child feels their confidentiality will be preserved and views represented.Give children and young people as much information on Cafcass and what it provides as a service. Give it directly so empowers the young person and not via the parents.To spend more time with the child/young person so they feel comfortable and able to open up about their feelings and wishes. Each individual then has the time and attention they require.Children's Rights tools i.e. How It Looks To Me and Needs, Wishes and Feelings can be used to help facilitate the needs, wishes and feeling of the child/young person.Before court proceedings the child/young person should be given a choice if they want to meet the judge and see the court room.
12Before, During and After Court Proceedings To facilitate a private meeting with the judge if child/young person wishes.Inform child/young person of the outcomes and reasons of the court’s decision and to provide the opportunity for the child/young person to contact Cafcass at a later date to explain any worrying issues.To give a child/young person a voice to be heard and creditability.Support groups; opportunity for children/young people who are or have just been through the court process to talk to each other. As it can feel isolated and lonely. This can be done before, during and after court proceedings and through Peer Mentoring or other groups providing similar support.To explain to the child/young person that the family breakup is NOT their fault!