Children’s access to personal data to be enhanced through new Cafcass initiative

A new Cafcass initiative has been launched with the aim of better supporting children’s and young people’s access to their own personal data.

The UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 permits an individual to ask to see what information an organisation holds about them, often through making a Subject Access Request (SAR).

As such, children and young people can already ask to see the information Cafcass holds about them. However, Cafcass is introducing a new process called “My Cafcass Journey” to enhance the support it provides when these requests are made.

Cafcass said that, with family court proceedings often difficult and distressing, their new initiative will provide children and young people who have asked to see their personal information with a clearer understanding of what they have been given and to make it available in a kind and sensitive way. They said:

“Cafcass wants all children and young people to understand what their family proceedings were about and why the court made the decisions it did in respect of their lives and futures.

The objective in providing information in this way is to enable the young person to understand as much as possible about what happened during their family court proceedings and why.”

The new process has been developed in collaboration with the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB). As a result, young people will, if possible:

  • Be given a choice in how they wish to receive any information that Cafcass can provide;
  • Decide on the level of support they may need;
  • Receive a response which is easy to understand;
  • Be clear when Cafcass is unable to provide information; and
  • Signpost them to further information where this is possible.

Cafcass Chief Executive, Jacky Tiotto, said:

“We hope to have developed a more sensitive and kind process for children when they ask to see the information we hold about them.

This is part of our commitment in all our work with families and children to explain our thinking and to give them an opportunity to talk with us about our recommendations and our understanding of what is in their best interests.

I am very grateful to the FJYPB and my colleagues who have undertaken this work, because it takes us closer to our ambition that every engagement with every child all of the time is the very best it can be.”

For more information about My Cafcass Journey, please visit: Subject Access Requests and My Cafcass Journey.

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