Children's Services

Identifying needs - Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

What is it?

  • A way of identifying the additional needs that a child may have, and how best to provide services to meet those needs.

When is it used?

  • When a child needs a number of different types of help and support – perhaps from their school, health visitor, social worker, youth worker or other professionals.

How does it work?

  • 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.
  • 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.

What happens next?

  • A detailed Action Plan is drawn up, identifying the help that the child needs and who will provide it
  • Someone may be nominated as the ‘lead professional’ – they will co-ordinate all the help being provided to the child.  The child and parents will have a say in who the lead professional should be.
  • You may be offered a Team Around the Child (TAC) meeting, as a useful step in co-ordinating help from different agencies.  

How is information shared?

  • With your consent, the information on the CAF will be shared by all the workers supporting the child.  This way, the child and family only have to explain everything once, rather than lots of times to different people.
  • Normally, information will only be shared if the family agrees.  The only exceptions are when the people working with you need to share information, for example:
  • when they need to find out urgently if a child is at risk of harm;
  • to help a child who is at risk of harm;
  • when an adult is at risk of harm; or
  • to help prevent or detect a serious crime.

Further information