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Private Law Consultation “How It Looks To Me” Laura Healy, Young People’s Board Ronald Grant, Young People’s Board Christine Smart, Children’s Rights Director.

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Presentation on theme: "Private Law Consultation “How It Looks To Me” Laura Healy, Young People’s Board Ronald Grant, Young People’s Board Christine Smart, Children’s Rights Director."— Presentation transcript:

1 Private Law Consultation “How It Looks To Me” Laura Healy, Young People’s Board Ronald Grant, Young People’s Board Christine Smart, Children’s Rights Director  Cafcass Research Conference 24 February 2010

2 Why 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.

3 Why 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.

4 The Consultation The 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 you Mediation and support to them & their parents Young peoples rights Contact with Cafcass before and during court proceedings Keeping you safe and hearing your worries early etc...

5 continued... Focus groups allowing young people to have their say were held 24 times throughout the day, some of which explored... Help for families Wishes and feelings Being 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.

6 How it worked on the day! Each Consultation (am and pm) is split into 2 parts: Focus Groups – to encourage discussion of issues Question Cards – to record views and experiences For both the Focus groups and Question cards, young people who took part will got their ‘stamp card’ marked – indicating attendance Staff and young people to support the day Rewards incentives!

7 Cafcass Respondents

8 The Respondents 136 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!

9 What 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.

10 Key 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. 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. 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...

11 Before, 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.

12 Before, 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!


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