The Family Justice System Young People’s Board, which was set up by Cafcass in 2006, released their top five wishes for 2013 in January of this year and the wish list is exactly what you might imagine – the vast majority of the wishes focus on the system and the adults around them listening to children and supporting them. It’s all about the Voice of The Child.
The Board itself was set up to help Cafcass become more “young person friendly“, an embarrassing position to find itself in when that is the central premise for its existence, but the Board is made up of lots of young people (32, 14-25 year olds as explained on the National Mediation Website) and it’s no surprise that three out of the five wishes involve being listened to better. The other two focus around general support and speeding things up so cases don’t drag on. This sentiment should not be confused with the view held by government that the family justice system needs to speed up adoption times and so on – the Board, to my mind at least, seems to be focusing more on the general concept of efficiency rather than speed for speed’s sake with defined times.
You can check out the Wish List below:
The Board’s top five wishes for the family justice system for 2013 are that:
- Cases don’t drag on and are always focused on our needs
- There is more support when we just need to speak to someone
- We find a way for the court to keep us informed about our cases such as when big decisions are going to be made about our lives
- Help is available when things get tough and everyone’s arguments stress us out
- We have a way to tell the people involved in our case about the good and bad bits and know they’d listen
Given that this Board was set up in 2006, things do seem to be moving at a snail’s pace and we have yet to see if other stakeholders and indeed Cafcass themselves are really listening to children, but the Board in itself is a positive development, so we won’t knock it too much, and we’re always very happy to see children being included.
Cafcass, the public might say, all is not quite forgiven, but things seem to be moving in the right direction…..