Family justice is under strain and children and families deserve better from it. In public law the backlog of cases means today around 20,000 children are waiting for their futures to be decided. It takes on average over a year for an outcome in child protection cases. And delays are likely to rise even more. And in private law when couples are separating too many people go to court. They are often confused about what to do and their cases take too long.
The panel have made a package of recommendations aimed at tackling these delays and to make sure that children and families are given the service they deserve.
The key recommendations are:
- A new 6 month time limit in care cases so delays are significantly reduced
- Enabling people to make their own arrangements for their children when they separate, through, for example, the use of mediation, and only use courts when necessary
- Overhauling the family justice system so that agencies and professionals work together with greater coherence to improve the experience for children and families.
The government is now considering the recommendations and will publish a full response on the Ministry of Justice website in due course.
For ease, we have extracted the executive summary from the report. This has also been made available in Welsh.
Children and Young People’s guide
A version of the panel’s final report has also been produced for children and young people. A Welsh language version has also been made available.