Microsoft word - caf policy and procedure 2010.doc

Common Assessment Framework

Northwards Housing has a comprehensive Safeguarding Children Policy and
Procedure which was written and approved in March 2008. This policy is
refreshed annually and fully reviewed every three years. It is also important to
note that it is kept under continuous review in light of local and national
Northwards Housing recognises that all children and young people have
different needs. Similarly a family’s ability to respond to and meet all their
needs may also differ. In some circumstances, professional assessment may
be required to identify strengths and needs, to ensure that all children and
young people receive the appropriate support.
This policy needs to be used in partnership with the Common Assessment
Framework paperwork.
The purpose of this policy is to provide a formal statement of how Northwards
Housing will incorporate Common Assessment Framework (CAF) into our
Safeguarding Children Policy.
This policy will be refreshed and reviewed in full alongside the Safeguarding
Children Policy and Procedure.
Scope of the Policy
This addition to the full Safeguarding Children’s Policy refers to all children
and young people age up to 18.
What is our Policy?
The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) for children and young people is
a standardised approach to conducting an assessment of a child’s additional
needs. CAF is a key part of delivering frontline services that are integrated
and focused around the needs of children and young people.
The CAF has been designed to allow professionals to assess needs at an
earlier stage and then work with families, alongside other professionals and
agencies to meet them.
All paperwork that is required for completing a CAF are easy accessible on
the Northwards Intranet. This includes the Pre Assessment Checklist, CAF
form, Delivery Plan & Review, and the CAF consent statement.
The CAF is not to be used when there are concerns about a child that may
have been harmed or may be at risk of harm. In those circumstances you
must follow our Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedure by completed a
inter agency child in need referral form and sending to First Response Team.

When do you do a CAF?
A CAF can help you work with the child and their family to identify what the
needs are, it provides a structure for recording information that you gather by
meeting with the family.
The CAF is a tool to identify which services are needed to improve the quality
of life for the child and family.
It is important to complete a CAF at any time you believe a child will not
progress towards achieving the 5 Every Child Matters priority outcomes
without additional services. It is a tool that will assist us to identify needs early
before they reach crisis point.
The 5 Every Child Matters priority outcomes are

A CAF will assist us in getting other services to support, because they will
recognise that our concerns are based on some evidence, not just
assumptions. Other partners will also be using the CAF and so they will
recognise and expect an assessment in this format. The actions will be set
and agreed with the involvement of the child and family.
We will complete a CAF when?

1) We are concerned about how well a child is progressing. We might be concerned about their health, welfare, behaviour, progress in learning or any other aspect of their wellbeing. 2) The needs of the child or family are unclear or broader then our service 3) A child of their parent has raised a concern with us 4) The child is vulnerable; this may include children living in households where the parent is a drug or alcohol misuse, persistent truants, excluded pupils, and young runaways. If there is a concern about more than one child in the same family a CAF should be completed for each child We will discuss our concerns with the parent and the child if appropriate
before deciding to do a CAF.
It is important to remember at all times, that CAF is entirely voluntary, if the
child or parent refuse to take part in this discussion and you remain
concerned about the welfare of this child you must follow our Safeguarding
Children Policy
When not to do a CAF
There is no need to do a CAF for every child that we come across. Children
who are progressing well or have needs which are already being addressed
do not need one.
There is no need to do a CAF when it is obvious what the needs of the child
are. If you know what needs the child/family has, you must ensure that these
needs are being met.
We must have the permission of the child and the parent before you
undertake a CAF. The CAF is entirely voluntary.
If a CAF is refused and you remain concerned about the welfare of the child
you must follow our Safeguarding Children Policy.
How to do a CAF
Step 1 – Preparation

Before you begin the CAF process we need to check who else is working with
the child.
We also need to check whether a CAF already exists. You can do this by
asking the child or parent or you can check with Contact Point Management
Team (CPMT) by phone on 0161 234 7214, or by email to
If an assessment already exists and professionals are already working with
the child/family we do not complete a further CAF. We need to join up with
the existing CAF.
If we are unsure whether a CAF is required we need to complete the CAF pre
assessment checklist. This short form prompts you to consider the five every
child matters outcome areas. If the answer to any of these is no, it suggests
additional services are required and we should complete a CAF if the
child/parent agrees.
Whether to do the CAF is a decision you should make jointly with the child
and the parent.
We must prepare for this meeting. This includes the following
• Arrange mutually convenient appointment – that allows the child to • Arrange appointment at a convenient location. This can be done at the • Ensure communication needs are met. Use translation services as necessary. Do not allow a friend of family member to translate for you • Take copies of all CAF paperwork with you to the meeting
Step 2 – Discussion with the child and their family

We must involve the child concerned and their family, in completing the
We must ensure that all parties involved understand what information we are
recording and what is going to happen to it.
We must consider the child within their family relationship and the wider
community, including their cultural and religious context and their place within
their own family.
We must use plain jargon free language which is appropriate for the age and
culture of each person involved in the discussion, this discussion does not
have to be highly formal.
The CAF form is the way to record your discussion with the child/family. The
form also allows you to record your own personal knowledge and any
observations you make.
The key things to remember during this discussion are:
• It is collaborative – you are working with the family to find solutions – they will often know better than you what the needs are. • You should consider the child’s strengths as well as needs, and these • You should make use of other information you have to assist the • If the child and/or parent do not want to participate, you can not force • At the end of the discussion you should be able to understand better the child and family’s strengths, needs and what can be done to help.
The CAF discussion has 8 stages
Stage 1 – Explain the purpose of the Assessment

• Explain why you are recording information and what will happen to it. • Make sure the child/family understand who else will see the • Make sure they understand that CAF is a resource to assist them to • Check that they fully understand and consent to the discussion and assessment and get the consent statement signed by the parent/carer. • Do not assume that children with a disability or learning disability are not capable of understanding and communicating
Stage 2 – Identifying Details

Stage 3 – Assessment Information

• Include details of all parties present at the assessment. • Explain what has led to CAF being undertaken i.e. ASB. • If you have consulted other services before meeting the child/parent you can add relevant information in this free text box
Stage 4 – Details of parents/carers

• Complete details of the parents/carers and use the check boxes to indicate whether they have parental responsibility for the child concerned.
Stage 5 – Current family and home situation

• This is a free text section which can be used to record a description of child’s family and home situation e.g. who they do and don’t live with, parent, siblings, other significant adults. • Where appropriate include addresses and contact details.
Stage 6 – Services working with the child

• Complete the details of the person conducting the assessment, and if • Complete details of the universal service working with the child, i.e. Health Visitor, Midwife, Education, Sure Start • Complete details of other services that are working with the child that is relevant to the assessment, i.e. foundations, YIP, FIP etc.
Stage 7 – CAF assessment summary

• Go through main assessment areas and consider each of these 3 o Development of the child – how well is the child developing, including their health and progress in learning. o Parents and carers – How well is the child’s parent able to support the child’s development, and respond appropriately to any needs. o Family and Environment – What is the impact of the wider family and environmental elements on the child’s development and on the capacity of their parents. For each broad group, you should consider each of the elements. • You should explore areas around your immediate concern, so look behind the presenting issues, and come up with a more holistic view • You do not need to comment on every element, only what is relevant • You should also focus on areas of strength in the family, not just needs • The discussion should be supportive and non threatening
Where ever possible, you should base the discussion and your comments on
evidence, not just opinion. Evidence would be what you have seen, what the
child has said, and what family members have said.
Opinions should be recorded and marked accordingly, for e.g. Emma said he
thinks her dad is an alcoholic.
Stage 8 – Conclusions, Solutions and Actions

Working with the child and family take account of their views, ideas, solutions
and goals to formulate the conclusion.

Try to focus on what the child and family can do for themselves.
Do not make promises of support on behalf of other agencies.
Identify solutions and what support may be provided.
Actions need to be measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed.
Agree who will do what and when you will review progress, and book a follow
up meeting to review
If child and family would benefit from support from other agencies, agree who
will refer and ensure this happens
When you have completed your CAF discussion you should forward a copy of
the completed paperwork to Emma Foster and Janine McHale. A copy of the
paperwork should also be given the child/family.
A copy also needs to be sent to Contact Point Management Team by email to
Step 3 – Delivery
There are 3 likely outcomes of your CAF discussion.
• No additional action is required, after your CAF discussion, you are satisfied the child/family has no support needs that are not being met. • You have agreed some actions for Northwards Housing and/or the • You have identified action for Northwards Housing and actions required
No additional action is required after your CAF discussion

You have agreed some actions for Northwards Housing and/or the

• Set timescales for actions to be completed • Ensure that your actions are completed • Work with the family to support them to complete their actions • Set date for review meeting with the child/family
You have identified actions for Northwards Housing and actions
required by other agencies
Delivery will involve you sharing your assessment with the agencies involve
you sharing your assessment with the agencies that are required
• Convene a multi agency case planning meeting, this will be known as the Child and Family Meeting. You will take the role of Chair at this initial meeting. A lead professional must be identified at this meeting. • The child/parent must be invited to this meeting, unless the child has specifically asked the parent not to be invited • The purpose of this meeting is to devise a plan so that the family can access support and the child’s needs can be met • A copy of this plan must be distributed to the child/family, and all • Minutes must be taken at this meeting, it would be helpful to agree at the start of the meeting who will take notes of the agreed outcomes and actions • Minutes must be distributed to the child/family, and all agencies that • The action plan will be reviewed at the time set at the meeting and at • The review meeting will ensure that the plan is working to meet the child’s needs, and is achieving its aims, it will also consider whether other services are required, and if current services are still required. • Each review meeting needs to be to be chaired and minted, and have the family involved. Again minutes must be distributed. A suggested agenda for a Child and Family Meeting is attached to this policy. It is important to note, that many of our partner agencies may also undertake the CAF with children, and families, and it is likely that we may be invited to a Child and Family Meeting that other agencies organise. If Northwards Housing is invited to the Child and Family Meeting we must ensure attendance and participate fully in the process in an open, honest, and transparent way. You may need to speak to colleagues from other teams to gather information prior to your attendance. You must inform a member of your management team that you have been invited. Northwards Housing may be asked to provide services as part of the plan for the child, if you are you must make sure that your actions are completed timely and seek support from other teams as necessary. If we are unable to deliver a service within the action plan, you must bring it to the attention of the Lead Professional immediately. You must also advise Emma Foster or Janine McHale so
Child and Family Meeting
1 Welcome
2 Confidentially

This should be read in full, and must be documented in the minutes ‘Unless there are any child protection concerns, the information shared in this meeting is confidential to those present and services that will form part of the multi agency support plan. Sharing beyond this agreement must be with the consent of the family’ Introductions and apologies

4 Meeting

Listen, respects, jargon free communication, keep to time
Reason we are here
Allow the child and family to speak in there own words at there own
Confirm the needs of this child as per the CAF you have completed
Allow all agencies to discuss there own involvement
Ensure the child and family, and agencies agree with discussion

Develop action plan in partnership with the child/family and agencies. Discuss what can be done to achieve the desired changes Agree what support that services can provide Agree what the family can do to help themselves
7 Summarise
Summary of the meeting discussions
Review Action Plan
Read all actions and ensure the family and agencies have understood
what they can expect

Date of Next Meeting

Identify chair, minute-taker and lead professional
The lead professional will be the most relevant person to the child or
family, whose works relates to the priority need and sees the family

The Chair and minute taker can be anybody at the meeting


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