It pleases me to read articles from other professionals highlighting the benefit of Family Assistance Orders. These are an often underused but incredibly beneficial orders that provide for an independent professional to be appointed to assist the parents (and in some cases, the children) in children act proceedings.
Section 16 of the Children Act 1989 enables a court to make a family assistance order requiring a Cafcass officer or an officer from a local authority to advise, assist (and where appropriate) befriend any person named in the order. For a long time now I have been of the view that family assistance orders are a valuable and underused tool in both private and public law children's cases. I suspect the reason they are underused is that you cannot apply for them. You can ask in your application for one to be made alongside another order, but the rules do not allow for making an application solely seeking a family assistance order.