In Westminster, the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is used by practitioners who work with children, young people, parents and carers. It is used to identify needs, and to organise the right support and services to address those needs at an early stage. The CAF process enables different agencies and services to share information and work together in a coordinated way. CAFs are voluntary, and require consent from parents or carers before they can begin.
The CAF process uses a 'whole family' approach, which allows the needs of everyone in the family to be taken into account in order to make a lasting difference and is designed to address needs which require a response from more than one agency. CAFs can and should be started by any practitioner who has identified additional needs amongst any of the children, young people or families that they work with.
Practitioners and professionals should perform a CAF when:
The process is entirely voluntary and informed consent is mandatory, so families do not have to engage and if they do they can choose what information they want to share. Children and families should not feel stigmatised by the CAF and they can ask for a CAF to be initiated.
It is not a referral process- it's an assessment that leads to a request for services, which is encapsulated in a plan.
The CAF should be offered to families who have additional needs, ie those not being met by universal services. It may be an assessment of one child’s needs but it is primarily a whole family assessment that enables you to see the child within the context of the family.
Benefits of the Common Assessment Framework include:
eCAF module is an electronic system to help practitioners generate CAFs, share information and request agency involvement (make referrals) quickly, easily and securely. It is integrated into Westminster’s current case management system and allows internal users to pull through relevant information into social care assessments to reduce duplication.
In light of data protection concerns we will not accept CAFs via email, post or fax. None of these options are secure.
Your organisation will require a dedicated eCAF user.