Requests under Freedom of Information Act (FOI)

The following lists FOI requests made or found in relation to the scale and impacts of an unjustified emotional cutoff in children in relation to family breakdown. Many cannot be answered as the organisations from which they have been requested have yet to embrace digitisation of the application, assessment or decision making process, so to collate the data manually from paper files would exceed the cost/effort threshold defined in the FOI Act.

It should also be noted that even if statistics were available they would not show the full extent of the problem. Many parents do not even attempt to use the courts to seek access to their children. Anecdotally reasons for this include belief that system processes are flawed where they will not be listened to and face false allegations which are not investigated properly, they cannot afford legal representation and do not have the confidence/knowledge to represent themselves. They are afraid that the system will not help them or their children.

FOI Ref: 231130049
Scope of request: 01/01/2022 to 31/12/2022
Information requested: How many concluded private law cases for child arrangement order for residence were referred to a an expert for
assessment of Child Psychological abuse and in how many of those cases was the diagnosis confirmed? How many child arrangement order for contact were referred to an expert for assessment of Child Psychological abuse and in how many of those cases was the diagnosis confirmed?Summary response: MOJ confirm ‘… the MOJ holds all of the information you have requested. However, to comply with the request as it currently stands would exceed the cost limit set out in the FOIA.’

FOI Ref: Gov/CAF23-31871
Information requested: Please can you confirm what training Family Court Advisors receive in:
– Child psychological abuse?
– Attachment?
– Family systems?
– Trauma?
– Personality disorders?
Summary response: Cafcass confirmed FCA’s get ‘…no specific training on child psychological abuse, family systems or personality disorders.’ Advised attachment theory, and trauma informed practice are covered in Knowledge Bites available only to staff. All FCA’s are qualified social workers with a degree/diploma in social work (or recognised equivalent). FCAs are registered with Social Work England and must comply with their Professional standards – Social Work England.

FOI Ref: Gov/CAF23-31869
Information requested: What assessment protocol do FCA’s uses to assess for child psychological abuse in the context of parental separation under the CIAF? What assessment tool do FCA’s use to assess a parents sensitivity or ability to mentalise for their child? What assessment tool do FCA’s use to check for maladaptation of a child’s attachment style?
Summary response: Cafcass advise ‘…there is no one assessment protocol that is used to assess a child for child psychological abuse in the context of parental separation under the CIAF… we do not have a specific practice aid to assess a parents sensitivity or ability to mentalise for their child… we do not have a specific practice aid to check for maladaptation of a child’s attachment style.’ FCA’s ‘…utilise a variety of tools and interview techniques to triangulate their assessment of risk and analysis of the impact for the child/children they are working with. This
includes utilising third party information as well as the information shared by the child/children and family members.’ All FCA’s are qualified social workers with a degree/diploma in social work (or recognised equivalent). FCAs are registered with Social Work England and must comply with their Professional standards – Social Work England. ‘Experts may also be directed to report on the impact for children, including psychologists.’

FOI Ref: GOV/CAF20-044
Information requested: Provide the background to decisions that form Cafcass policy on why children should not be forced to have contact with a parent who poses little if any safeguarding risk. Provide any statistics or research that shows the effectiveness of indirect contact in children being able to maintain meaningful relationships with parents and extended family members who pose little if any safeguarding risk.
Summary response: There is no Cafcass policy on why children shouldn’t be forced to have contact. Recommendations are based on the Family Court Adviser’s professional judgement of what is in the individual child’s best interests. Cafcass has not carried out its own research into the effectiveness of indirect contact.

FOI Ref: Gov/CAF 20-037
Information requested: Can you confirm how long it takes for an FCA to complete the training on the entire CIAF?
Summary response: The training on the Child Impact Assessment Framework (CIAF) is 6 hours long and is delivered from 10.00am – 16.00pm.

FOI Ref: Gov/CAF 20-033
Scope of request: 01/01/19 to 31/12/19
Information requested: Can you please confirm how many cases of Parental Alienation your FCA’s assessed as being found in Family Court proceedings for arrangements orders for contact from 01/01/19 to 31/12/19 and if possible advise how many children this included.
Summary response: Cafcass does not hold or collate statistics or data on the number of cases which involve parental alienation. Information on whether a case features parental alienation would only be held within reports and documents within the case file. In order to provide statistics of this nature, each case file would need to be check individually. Cost too much to provide this information.

FOI Ref: Gov/CAF 20-16
Information requested: What percentage of private law FCAs have received mandatory training in the Child Impact Assessment Framework and tools.
Summary response: 61% of Private Law Family Court Advisors (FCAs) were trained on the Child Impact Assessment Framework (CIAF) during the rollout of the CIAF when it was initially introduced by Cafcass.

FOI Ref: 180903031
Scope of request: 2016
Information requested: Can you please provide me with the figures for:
– The number of private law applications made for a child arrangements order for contact from January to December 2016 in England and Wales.
– The number of children involved in those applications for child arrangement orders in private law cases from January to December 2016 in England and Wales.
If you do not have the number of how many children were involved in applications for contact can you give me the number of children for whom a child arrangement order for contact was raised from January to December 2016 in England and Wales.

Could you also provide similar statistics for private law applications for residency please for the same period i.e. the number of applications and the number of children involved in those applications.
Summary response: The information concerning the number of children involved in applications for child arrangement orders in 2016 can be accessed via the following link (to the Family Court statistics, from which you will need to open up the Family Court Tables, which you refer to in your third request.

Table 3 in these tables is the best one to use to get the number of children involved in applications for Child Arrangement Orders (CAO) with regard to contact/residence.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/family-court-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2018

I can confirm that no published table gives the number of applications. To answer question 1 in full in addition to the publication link, the number of Private Law CAO – Contact applications in 2016 is 27,299. To answer question 2 in full in addition to the published information, there were 17,552 applications for Child Arrangement Orders (CAO) – Residence in 2016

FOI Ref: FOI 084/18
Scope of request: 2016
Information requested: Can you give me the statistics from 2016 in Northern Ireland on:
– the number of applications for contact made to the family court
– the number of children that were involved in those applications for contact
– the number of applications made for residence
– the number of children that were involved in those applications for residence.
Summary response: There were 1478 applications for contact involving 2204 children and 979 applications for residence involving 1486 children in Northern Ireland in 2016.

FOI Ref: FoI/18/01570
Scope of request: 2011-2016
Information requested: Scotland statistics from 2011 to 2016 on:
– The number of applications for contact made to the family court
– The number of children that were involved in those applications for contact
– The number of applications made for residence
– The number of children that were involved in those applications for residence
Summary response: Number of applications for contact:
– 2011-12 977
– 2012-13 1286
– 2013-14 1154
– 2014-15 1283
– 2015-16 1042

Number of application for residence:
– 2011-12 711
– 2012-13 790
– 2013-14 722
– 2014-15 732
– 2015-16 716
Scotland do not hold information on the number of children involved in these cases.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many new private law cases for child arrangement order for contact were started?
Summary response: Published by MOJ in Family Court Tables of Quarterly Statistics. Update: I checked – number of new applications is not broken down by application type.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many new private law cases for child arrangement order for residence were started?
Summary response: Published by MOJ in Family Court Tables of Quarterly Statistics. Update: I checked – number of new applications is not broken down by application type.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: Of the new private law cases for child arrangement order for contact in how many cases were the following allegations made by mothers against fathers:
a. Sexual abuse of the child
b. Physical abuse against the child
c. Psychological/Emotional abuse of the child
d. Substance abuse by the non-resident parent in the presence of the child
e. Forced substance abuse on the child
f. Neglect
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: Of the new private law cases for child arrangement order for residence in how many cases were the following allegations made by mothers against fathers:
a. Sexual abuse of the child
b. Physical abuse against the child
c. Psychological/Emotional abuse of the child
d. Substance abuse by the non-resident parent in the presence of the child
e. Forced substance abuse on the child
f. Neglect
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: Of the new private law cases for child arrangement order for contact in how many cases were the following allegations made by fathers against mothers:
a. Sexual abuse of the child
b. Physical abuse against the child
c. Psychological/Emotional abuse of the child
d. Substance abuse by the non-resident parent in the presence of the child
e. Forced substance abuse on the child
f. Neglect
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: Of the new private law cases for child arrangement order for residence in how many cases were the following allegations made by fathers against mothers:
a. Sexual abuse of the child
b. Physical abuse against the child
c. Psychological/Emotional abuse of the child
d. Substance abuse by the non-resident parent in the presence of the child
e. Forced substance abuse on the child
f. Neglect
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: Of the private law cases for child arrangement order for contact which concluded, in how many cases were the following allegations against mothers proved to be false:
a. Sexual abuse of the child
b. Physical abuse against the child
c. Psychological/Emotional abuse of the child
d. Substance abuse by the non-resident parent in the presence of the child
e. Forced substance abuse on the child
f. Neglect
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: Of the private law cases for child arrangement order for residence which concluded, in how many cases were the following allegations against mothers proved false:
a. Sexual abuse of the child
b. Physical abuse against the child
c. Psychological/Emotional abuse of the child
d. Substance abuse by the non-resident parent in the presence of the child
e. Forced substance abuse on the child
f. Neglect
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: Of the private law cases for child arrangement order for contact which concluded, in how many cases were the following allegations against fathers proved false:
a. Sexual abuse of the child
b. Physical abuse against the child
c. Psychological/Emotional abuse of the child
d. Substance abuse by the non-resident parent in the presence of the child
e. Forced substance abuse on the child
f. Neglect
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: Of the private law cases for child arrangement order for residence which concluded, in how many cases were the following allegations against fathers proved false:
a. Sexual abuse of the child
b. Physical abuse against the child
c. Psychological/Emotional abuse of the child
d. Substance abuse by the non-resident parent in the presence of the child
e. Forced substance abuse on the child
f. Neglect
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many new private law cases for child arrangement order for contact was alleged Parental Alienation claimed by a mother?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many new private law cases for child arrangement order for residence was alleged Parental Alienation claimed by a mother?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many new private law cases for child arrangement order for contact was alleged Parental Alienation claimed by a father?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many new private law cases for child arrangement order for residence was alleged Parental Alienation claimed by a father?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many concluded private law cases for child arrangement order for contact was the existence of Parental Alienation confirmed by a specialist?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many private law cases for child arrangement order for residence was the existence of Parental Alienation confirmed by a specialist?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many child arrangement orders were issued giving the mother sole residency of the children/child?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many child arrangement orders were issued giving the father sole residency of the children/child?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request:
England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested:
How many child arrangement orders were issued giving the parents joint residency of the children/child?
Summary response:
Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many instances were recorded where children subject to a child arrangements order for residence were abducted by their mother?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many instances were recorded where children subject to a child arrangements order for residence were abducted by their father?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many instances were recorded where children subject to a child arrangements order for residence were abducted by their father?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many instances were recorded where children subject to a child arrangements order for contact were abducted by their mother?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many instances were recorded where children subject to a child arrangements order for residence were killed by their mother?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many instances were recorded where children subject to a child arrangements order for contact were killed by their mother?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many instances were recorded where children subject to a child arrangements order for residence were killed by their father?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many instances were recorded where children subject to a child arrangements order for contact were killed by their father?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many instances were recorded where a non-resident mother killed a resident father?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many instances were recorded where a non-resident father killed a resident mother?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many instances were recorded where the non-resident mother committed suicide because they did not have contact with their children?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171217002
Scope of request: England and Wales – 2011 to 2016
Information requested: How many instances were recorded where the non-resident father committed suicide because they did not have contact with their children?
Summary response: Data may be held in physical files. Even if the request was just for a single year (2016) it would take too long and cost too much to go through the files and provide this information.

FOI Ref: 171130010
Information requested: How much on average does it cost to the taxpayer for the courts and Cafcass to assess and make a decision on a single application for child contact? Is it possible to get a breakdown of cost to the taxpayer for a typical case by each step across all administration, court and Cafcass activity e.g. from Application receipt, first hearing, Cafcass safeguarding report, Cafcass court officer recommendations, second hearing, section 7 report by Cafcass, final hearing, issuance of interim and final court order etc.
Summary response: MOJ does not keep this information because there is no business need. They do not keep records for Cafcass.

FOI Ref: Gov/CAF 18-032
Scope of request: Last full financial year
Information requested: Can you please email me how much it cost/was spent for Cafcass to provide support to family courts in England and Wales for the last full financial year for the purposes of arrangements orders for contact or residency? Can you also provide me with an overall cost to provide Cafcass services over all to support family court in England and Wales. Is it possible to get a breakdown of cost to the taxpayer for a typical case by each step across all administration, court and Cafcass activity e.g. from Application receipt, first hearing, Cafcass safeguarding report, Cafcass court officer recommendations, second hearing, section 7 report by Cafcass, final hearing, issuance of interim and final court order etc.
Summary response: The same answer was provided for both questions leading me to conclude that Cafcass accounts, like MOJ, do not get broken down to a level where it is possible to determine how much is spent on supporting Arrangements Orders in private law cases. The response was that Cafcass is publicly funded and is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice. In 2016-17, Cafcass was awarded grant funding of £113.5m from Central Government, plus £0.406m for depreciation.