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1.5 Common Assessment Framework


  1. Introduction
  2. Team Around the Child Model - Guide to Integrated Working

1. Introduction

The Common Assessment Framework for children and young people (CAF) is a shared assessment tool used across agencies in England. It can help practitioners develop a shared understanding of a child's needs, so they can be met more effectively. It will avoid children and families having to tell and re-tell their story.

The CAF is an important tool for early intervention. It has been designed specifically to help practitioners assess needs at an earlier stage and then work with families, alongside other practitioners and agencies, to meet them.

The CAF is not appropriate when there is concern that a child may have been harmed or may be at risk of harm. In these circumstances the procedures set out in Part 3 of this Manual must be followed.

Some children have important disadvantages that currently are only addressed when they become serious. Sometimes their parents know there is a problem but struggle to know how to get help.

The most important way of ensuring that these children can be identified earlier and helped before things reach crisis point is for everyone whose job involves working with children and families to keep an eye out for their well-being, and be prepared to help if something is going wrong.

The CAF has been introduced to help do this. It is a tool to identify unmet needs and where a multi-agency response is required. It covers all needs, not just the needs that individual services are most interested in. Even if a practitioner is not trained to do a common assessment him or herself, knowing about the CAF will help them recognise when it might help so that they can arrange for someone else to do the assessment.

2. Team Around the Child Model - Guide to Integrated Working

The Common Assessment Framework in Wirral is managed through the Team Around the Child Model (formerly the Child Concern Model). The Model is a structured framework through which staff from all agencies and services are able to ensure that children and young people are safe and their welfare promoted. It enables practitioners to identify and assess children and young people about whom they have concern; and will lead to the prompt and effective provision of appropriate services to them. It should be used in all settings by all agencies which provide services for children and young people.

The full guidance document and further information in relation to the CAF process in Wirral can be found by accessing 'What is Early Help'.