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Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is a type of early help assessment. It is a way of gathering information about a child and their family’s needs at an early stage to identify what support might be needed. It helps to bring together different professionals to provide that support. It is voluntary and the parents only need to take up that support if they think it will help.

The aim is to identify needs early on before problems become worse and more difficult to sort out. Different agencies such as schools, health services or housing department can all use it.

It is used for children who do not meet the threshold for help from children’s services. It is not appropriate for a child who is a child in need or a child in need of protection.

A professional in the agency that works most closely with the child will carry out the assessment. They will then be the ‘lead practitioner’ for the child and family. With the parents’ agreement, they will share information with other agencies. The lead professional will coordinate support for the family.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Early help

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