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Children to get say in family court proceedings

Children aged 10 or over who are involved in any type of family case, whether it be care proceedings or disputes about child arrangements following divorce or separation, will be able to have their views heard when decisions are made that will affect them.

Children will be given the opportunity to communicate with a judge through meetings, letters or pictures, or via a third person in addition their social worker or Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) officer.

A total of 90,000 children were involved in family court cases last year.

Lib Den Justice Minister made the announcement while speaking to the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB), a group of 24 young people set up by Cafcass in 2006 to promote the voices of children and young people in the family justice system.

He said: “Although they are often at the centre of proceedings, the views of children and how they feel are often not heard, with other people making vital decisions for them. I’ve been really impressed with the FJYPB and the arguments which its members put forward. This is why I have taken steps to make sure that children and young people from the age of 10 will be able to express their views in cases, which affect them.”