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A protocol has been agreed between CAFCASS and the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) with respect to children made parties in private law proceedings under r 9.5 of the Family Proceedings Rules 1991. The President's Practice Direction of April 2004 makes it clear that the child should only be made a party in a minority of cases featuring issues of significant difficulty. The provision of a guardian when requested by the court is a significant and core task for CAFCASS and CAFCASS has a duty to appoint a guardian and cannot refuse appointment. Guidance has been issued to clarify that where a judge has decided that an appointment under r 9.5 is necessary, that service managers must prioritise the allocation of the case.
The protocol states that CAFCASS should be approached first and will usually provide a guardian. However, NYAS may, for example, be asked by the court to provide a guardian in any matter (likely to be long-standing) where, despite the best efforts of CAFCASS staff, one or more members of the family can no longer work with the organisation. The protocol will be reviewed in 12 months time.
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