The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is a framework used by all practitioners working with children and young people. It has been developed as a result of the government documents - Every Child Matters and the Children Act 2004 and introduced as a way of understanding what help children and young people might need so they can do their best at school and in other areas.
Every Child Matters will shape the way all services for children and young people are designed, so we can make sure that all children achieve these five things:
The way Children's Services are run and delivered across the county will undergo a big transformation. There will be changes in schools, changes in the type of activities available to your child out of school and changes in the way we help children and young people who need some extra support. The foundation of these changes is early intervention, which means helping meet the needs of a child or family at the earliest possible stage.
When your child needs extra support, we want to find the best way forward as soon as possible. The aim is to provide the right support at an early stage to help identify those children with additional needs before these escalate into more serious concerns.
This might include situations where there are issues with:
The CAF can be used if you or someone who works with your child would like your child to receive extra help. You and a worker can identify any additional needs your child has, and who might help you, your child or the whole family. It is your choice whether you accept the help and you agree to who is involved in this process.
The CAF involves listening and working closely with your child to find out what help is needed. The CAF process may lead to us sharing the CAF assessment, so that you and your child will not have to repeat the same details to different workers. This will ensure that everyone involved with your child, such as teachers and health visitors, works together to support your child. If you and your child agree, a worker will ask you and your child some questions to find out what help and support your child might need. This information is recorded on a simple form. You and your child will agree what is put on the form, and you will be given a copy of it.
Children's needs can be complex and cannot always be resolved by one agency alone. Representatives from each of the different agencies including schools, hospitals, police, social services, charities and youth groups will work together to share ideas and resources in order to address the needs of children and families more effectively.
The CAF is voluntary - you and your child can choose whether to be involved and you may pull out at any time. You can also choose which service providers you want your information to be shared with.
The completed CAF is shared at the MAGs panel meeting which is made up of a number of agencies and professionals who are able to provide support and services that may help your child and family. You will be asked to consent to your information being shared with other agencies and you have the option to specify those you do not want to share the assessment with on page 9 of the CAF Assessment. The information you provide will only be shared with other professionals and agencies if you agree, and only those agencies who you want to be involved will be involved.
However, there may be certain times when the people working with you need to share information.
If any of these issues arise the worker may make a referral with or without your consent to another agency such as social care or the police.
Contact Point is a new children's database and will hold basic information on all children and young people aged 0-18 years across England and will only contain very basic information such as name, address and school. It will enable those working with children and young people do their jobs more effectively and help them to find out if anyone else is working with a young person who they are also working with. This means that all the people involved with a young person can work together to achieve a better result.
As universal coverage is a requirement for ContactPoint, there is no opt out of the database. Children and parents when acting on a child's behalf, have rights under the Data Protection Act to see the data that is held about them and to request that incorrect data is corrected or removed.
If a number of people are providing support to your child, one of these people may be appointed as a lead professional. This person will keep you informed, listen to your views and support you. The named worker will also co-ordinate all the services supporting your child. You and your child will have a say in who should be the lead professional.
It starts with a talk about your strengths and needs. This will involve your parent and/or carer, and your views will be very important for this. Then this information will be put onto a form that you get to read. You will also be asked if you agree to other agencies being contacted so everyone can work together. If you are not sure about this, please try and be honest with the staff so they can talk any issues through.
A lead professional will be chosen and it will be this person's job to make sure you (and your parents/carers) get all the information you need. They will also help organise support from any agencies that may be able to help.
Older children may feel able to discuss their situation on their own with the worker. A young person's wish to keep information confidential from parents may be respected by the worker, where this is in the young person's best interests and welfare.
As a rule the information which you and your child provide will only be shared with your family's consent. However there may be certain times when the people working with you need to share information.
The following documents have been developed by the Thurrock Children's Trust in partnership with the Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Board to translate some of the key concepts, thresholds and processes in working with children and their families in Thurrock.
A summary of the historical context in which reform is taking place is provided. A description of the Tiered Model of Children's Needs is introduced followed by guidance on the key indicators pertaining to children with no identified needs, children with additional needs and children with complex needs. The tools and processes which should be applied are highlighted within the appropriate section of identified need. A section on the thresholds of intervention has been included, in particular the point at which referrals should be made to Children's Social Care, which incorporates some of the key concepts.
The documents are in PDF format, please see how to access PDFs:
For more information please contact by: