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Where proceedings have been issued under The Children Act and there is continuing dispute about arrangements for children the court has power to direct a CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) officer to prepare an independent report, which involves collecting information from relevant adults, other professionals, e.g. schoolteachers, and meeting the children themselves. This report should be based on the welfare checklist. The report is filed with the court and a copy made available to the legal representatives for the parties in dispute. If the dispute proceeds to a full contested hearing the court has power to direct the CAFCASS officer to attend the hearing.

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