Since the day it opened its doors nine years ago, Cafcass has barely been out of the line of fire. The service, set up by Tony Blair, represents the views of children in the family courts in both public law cases, such as care or adoption proceedings, and private law, including custody battles.
In the early days it was targeted by fathers campaigners who said that it always sided with mothers when writing reports and speaking on behalf of children in residency disputes.
Then it was spending watchdogs who criticised the organisation for budget overruns and management failures as a series of chief executives came and went. All struggled to get a grip on the organisation, set up in a hurry from 113 different bodies including probation officers, social workers, child protection agencies and welfare groups, and on a less-than-adequate budget.
Two years ago a new inspection regime headed by Ofsted exposed other weaknesses. An inspection of services in the South East found unacceptably high waiting lists, delays of six months for children whose parents were going through residency battles, inadequate assessments of the impact of domestic violence and a failure to refer cases to local authorities where there were concerns for a childs safety.