Promise that Family Courts will hear childrens view
31 July 2014 by Charlotte Knappett
Following calls from young peoples representative group, the Family Justice Young People’s Board, the government has made the commitment that from the age of 10, children involved in family proceedings will have their views heard before decisions are made about their future. The Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) is a group of around 40 children and young people who have been through the family justice system or who have an interest in children’s rights and the family courts.
It has long been the view of the Family Justice Young People’s Board that children are at the heart of many family cases, yet are rarely given the chance to have their opinions heard.
These views were reflected by Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes at the “Voice of the Child” Conference on the 24th July. He stated:
“Children and young people must by law have their views heard before decisions are made about their future, and where decisions are made that will impact them. At the moment, it is still too often that their views are not heard. Our commitment to giving children the chance to speak to a judge and make clear their views means children will not only be seen in family courts but they will have their own voice heard. This will put them firmly at the heart of the Family Justice System.”
Access to mediation for children is also something the government wishes to expand on in appropriate cases.
These changes have yet to be implemented, but it is something the government has given high priority. The Children and Family Courts Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) will be heavily involved with making the changes along with the Family Court Judges themselves.
If you have any queries relating to a family matter that involves children, contact one of our family law experts today at [email protected]