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Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000

Chapter II : Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service

9.Following recommendations in the consultation paper, "Support Services in Family Proceedings - Future Organisation of Court Welfare Services", issued in July 1998, Chapter II of Part I of the Act sets up the new Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) for England and Wales. CAFCASS assumes the functions currently carried out by the Family Court Welfare Service (currently the responsibility of the Probation Service), the Guardian Ad Litem and Reporting Officer service (GALROs – who act in adoption and public law cases regarding the care of children – currently the responsibility of the Department of Health) and part of the Official Solicitor’s Office (Lord Chancellor’s Department).

10.CAFCASS will serve the Family Division of the High Court, county courts (including care centres) and family proceedings courts. The service is intended to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children before courts dealing with family proceedings; give advice to any court about any application made to it in such proceedings; make provision for the children to be represented in such proceedings; and provide information, advice and other support for the children and their families.

11.The provisions in Part I, Chapter II and Schedule 2 establish the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service as a non-departmental public body, which will be accountable to the Lord Chancellor. The new service will also be subject to independent inspection in order to monitor and report on its activities.

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