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CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) are running a pilot scheme in Kent from November 2014 for 6 months to support separating parents. This is by offering a service to parents going through mediation. Cafcass is a government agency.

The pilot will help separating parents in dispute access information, guidance and support about the most appropriate dispute resolution pathways available to them. It also helps mediators who are working with families in dispute through a dedicated freephone telephone helpline. The reason for the pilot is because CAFCASS take the view that too many people end up fighting expensive, confrontational and unnecessary court battles. The Government wants to make sure that separating parents are able to access the right advice, information and support at the right time.

The pilots will run from November 2014 for six months, and will be evaluated in Spring 2015 to help determine the best range services for out of court resolution As a parent if you live in a pilot area, you can access the ‘Supporting separating parents in dispute’ freephone telephone based service which will discuss your situation, identify your needs and then match these to the local services which can provide advice and support. The number is 0800 380 0040 and the helpline hours are 9am -5pm. Each parent who calls the helpline will be allocated a case worker, who will help with access to the most appropriate services and where possible, arrange appointments for parents. Wherever it is appropriate the service will encourage you to access a suitable form of dispute resolution service – referred to, under the pilots, as a local out of court pathway.

The initial telephone support will be followed-up by a further phone call, around three weeks later, to assess progress on the efforts to resolve the dispute and provide further assistance where necessary. As this is a pilot, callers may also be contacted at later points for evaluation purposes.

To find out more about the pilot and CAFCASSS you can go onto the website at