Common Assessment Framework - information for professionals
The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) provides a method for assessing needs for children and young people to support earlier intervention and to improve joint working and communication between practitioners.
The aim in Herefordshire is to identify, at the earliest opportunity, a child or young person's additional needs which are not being met and provide a timely and coordinated package of support. CAF can be used by all professionals working with children, young people and families and is a consent-based process so that it is underpinned by a partnership approach between families and practitioners, with emphasis on family-based decision-making.
The CAF assesses the strengths and needs of the child and their family, and families play a big part when developing an action plan for meeting any identified additional needs. Actions and support are then delivered via 'Team Around the Family' meetings or regular locality Multi-Agency Group (MAG) meetings.
The CAF paperwork was revised in October 2015 to integrate the Families First criteria. All families and young people should now be assessed against Herefordshire's Family Outcomes Framework to ensure that:
- They are identified as a family that are in need of support through a multi-agency approach
- Actions are more focused to ensure the correct support is provided
- Outcomes are measured against the criteria to monitor areas that have been met and those that have not. This will help to inform decisions for future services and measure the effectiveness of those that are already in place
The CAF form
Completing the CAF form
There is a step by step guide to support practitioners with the CAF process.
Main points to consider:
- All forms can be completed electronically, however, the consent part will need to be ticked and signed by hand. Unsigned CAF forms will not be accepted. Consent is required for all family members to be included in the CAF documentation by inserting a 'Y' in the relevant box on page 2.
- All forms integrate Families First identification information. Recorded outcomes should reflect, where possible, those that are recommended in the Families First Outcome Framework. The action plan should contain an indicator number and outcome number, for example:
- Any additional outcomes that are specific to that young person or family but not part of the Families Outcomes Framework may be recorded as usual.
- There is a Families First support tool to use alongside the CAF.
- All forms contain a well-being scale. This is an easy to see measurement of where the family or young person thinks they are at the start of the CAF process, during the support and finally, where they are when the CAF closes
- There is a box to measure the needs against the Herefordshire Levels of Need at each stage. This will help inform you if a referral to MASH is required. The CAF form can be submitted along with the MASH referral form (MARF) to save you having to repeat all the information again. However, it is not a single assessment and therefore cannot replace the MARF
- If there are no particular needs to record in a section of the CAF you can tick the 'no concern' box and move on. However, it may be good to record the positives!
CAF support plan
The CAF support plan now replaces the delivery and review plan. This should be used to monitor progress against the outcomes at regular CAF/TAF or MAG meetings. The new form encompasses a wellbeing scale to help monitor how the family feels at that point in time.
Please contact your CAF Co-ordinator if you need some support in completing these new forms.
CAF closure form
We have created a CAF closure form to ensure that outcomes for children and families are monitored more effectively when a CAF closes. This form allows the lead professional and the family to detail why the CAF came to an end, what needs (if any) remain unmet and what impact the CAF had overall. These outcomes are measured against the Families First criteria. The new form encompasses a wellbeing scale to help monitor how the family feels at the closure of the CAF.
Families First criteria and outcomes for CAF
Multi-Agency Group (MAG) meetings
MAGs have developed across the county in different localities and are a key part of the process of identifying and meeting any additional needs of children, young people, families and carers identified through the CAF process.
MAG meetings bring together professionals from the local community to ensure swift and easy access to locally based preventative support and to co-ordinate local resources and interventions.
There are currently eight MAG meetings being held every six weeks which cover their respective areas:
- Kington and Weobley
- Hereford City North
- Hereford City South
- Kingstone and Golden Valley
The full list of MAG meeting dates and venues can be downloaded from the documents area on this page. Please be aware that as some meetings may be subject to change, it is advisable to double-check times and venues before attending.
Step-down from social care to CAF
When a social worker feels that the needs of a family can be supported through the CAF process, and that intervention from a social worker is no longer required, the procedure is clearly explained in the step-down guidance 2016.
A CAF consent and step-down plan should be used and consent MUST be obtained before a case can step-down to CAF.
Herefordshire directory of early help services
This is a list of local and nationwide services available in the directory of early help services.
To learn more about using the Common Assessment Framework(CAF) in Herefordshire, please contact the :
Information and Assessment Co-ordinators on 01432 260261