Putting children and young people first in the family courts


Ross Duncan, Family Court Adviser, Newcastle

“I am a family court adviser based in Newcastle and I have worked for Cafcass for two years.

I work in the case holding team which means that I am a Guardian in public law applications and complete mainly Section 7 reports in private law applications. I complete analytical reports that consider the best interests of children in some very complex cases. I am able to develop working relationships with families, professionals, and most importantly children and young people, whilst completing my enquiries.

I find my role is both challenging and rewarding. Providing oral evidence in the family court is at times daunting but an intellectually stimulating challenge. Many families are working through complex emotions and are at a time of conflict, and whilst this can be difficult it offers an opportunity to support families during this time.Father Small

I find that working as a family court adviser enables me to be flexible in terms of my work patterns. I also get the chance to be out and about on visits. I enjoy my work and to this point no two days have been the same. All these factors weigh up to make working within Cafcass a positive experience.”


Mary-Jayne Carter, Family Court Adviser Early Intervention Team, Lancashire, Cheshire and Merseyside

"I have been working for Cafcass since September 2011. I currently work on the Early Intervention Team. The team exists to ensure children are safeguarded specifically at the first stage of private family court applications. We complete a brief report outlining the views of the parties, the police and local authority involvement and analyse safeguarding concerns; ending in recommendations suitable to the case. We attend initial hearings and advise the court how best to safeguard the children involved and ensure their welfare is kept paramount.

The job involves a high turnover of cases and a variety of applications which ensures a steep learning curve. As an organisation I have found Cafcass to be encouraging in my strengths and supportive in developing my skills. This gives me motivation to work hard for the organisation and I would certainly commend it to my colleagues in social work."


Mary Dexter, Family Court Adviser, Sussex and Surrey

"I began working for Cafcass in April 2011 having worked for the local authority in various guises over the years. As an FCA a typical day can consist of - giving evidence in court at a final hearing, and attending court to represent children. Writing position statements and final analysis, and making home visits to obtain a young person’s views. 

It is a very busy and demanding role and it is necessary to be self motivated and committed to ensuring the best outcomes for young people. But in so saying I do feel that as a children’s guardian I do make a difference, our views are listened to, heard and respected in the courts and we have the independence and knowledge of children’s needs and social work practices to ensure that the focus remains on the needs of the child."

> Find out more about the role of a Family Court Adviser

> Find out more about the different roles we have

> Click here to read an article from the Guardian profiling the role of a Family Court Adviser.


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