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CAFCASS Cymru has undergone a transformational improvement

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS Cymru) has undergone a transformational improvement since their last inspection by Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) three years ago.

The last inspection of CAFCASS Cymru in 2010 found key inadequacies in leadership and management and recommended that improvements were needed in complaints, user engagement, performance management and direct practice with children who are disabled, and where domestic violence is an issue.

In their latest inspection CSSIW found that CAFCASS Cymru has improved their direct work with children and families, assessments of children who have witnessed domestic abuse, and direct work with disabled children.

There has also been significant improvement in the way CAFCASS Cymru manages complaints, performance management and quality assurance. The organisation now gathers systematic feedback from service users to make improvements to services.

In the last three years CAFCASS Cymru has restructured to improve management oversight and staff accountability. The quality of service it provided by CAFCASS Cymru has improved from satisfactory to good, and the leadership and management of the organisation has improved from inadequate to good.

CSSIW found that the leadership of change has been exceptional with aspects of change management that serve as exemplars for other social care organisations. The most marked improvement is in the relationships with key stakeholders.

The inspectors found that there is room for further improvement in the areas of case planning and recording; and equality and diversity. The participation of children and young people in planning services has also yet to be developed.

The inspection found that CAFCASS Cymru is now a well regarded organisation that has an important influence on the social care sector and family justice system in Wales. The extent of change within CAFCASS Cymru and the changes bought about by the family justice reform programme have been considerable.

Imelda Richardson, Chief Inspector of Care and Social Services Inspector Wales (CSSIW), said:

Decisive action by CAFCASS Cymru in response to the findings and recommendations of the last CSSIW inspection report has resulted in significant improvements being made in the quality of the service they provide.

The key strategic direction and vision for the organisation has been clearly articulated by the leadership, and it is evident that CAFCASS Cymru has the ability to continue to improve in the future.

However, CAFCASS Cymru faces significant challenges in the near future, with a projected increase in demand for their service and changes to both public and private law.  This will require the organisation to remain focused on its continued improvement journey.

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