Children's care professionals

Good quality referrals

All referrals to early help or Thurrock MASH should be by using a common assessment framework (CAF) form. The form should, wherever possible, be fully completed with:

  • basic information about child's name and date of birth
  • family details including dates of birth and family household composition
  • ethnicity and language of children and parents
  • identification of adults with parental responsibility and surnames if they are not the same as the parents
  • address and telephone number of the family and carers and any other significant adults and GP details
  • schools or early year settings attended
  • name of key professionals, such as health visitors, GP and any health professionals
  • nature of the concerns including any family history known or available to refer an agency

The CAF form must also contain information about each of the following.

Child(ren)'s development

Developmental needs of the current referred child and concerns about developments such as health, intellectual or cognitive development, emotional well being and development, social development and whether these are age appropriate.

Any concerns about detrimental impact of current situation on child's development.

Parenting capacity

Current parenting being received by children and any concerns arising from parenting or behaviour of the caring adults of the child. These will include matters such as mental health difficulties, (Joint Service Protocol) substance misuse and domestic abuse as well as learning difficulties or disabilities. It is important that these difficulties are not simply descriptive. This would include matters such as parenting capacity, impact of parent's difficulties on their own ability to provide care for the child.

Environmental factors

Any matters relating to the child's current environment which are contributing towards difficulties the family and child are experiencing. These may include anti-social behaviour, poverty, poor housing, gang activities surrounding the property, and so on.

In particular it would be helpful if the CAF form includes connections drawn between the child's difficulties, parental difficulty and any environmental factors. The key determination in the referral is that the wider problems the child was experiencing can be seen to be directly correlated to and impacted upon by parental and environmental problems.