Every Child Matters has provided the framework for the “Change for Children” agenda that aims to ensure that every young person achieves 5 outcomes – Be Healthy, Stay Safe, Enjoy and Achieve, Make a Positive Contribution and Achieve Economic Well-Being. www.dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters/. A key recommendation of Every Child Matters is the completion of a common, holistic assessment namely the CAF.
When we holistically assess a young person we look to understand both their strengths and support needs. The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) ensures effective, evidence based interventions are delivered or, where appropriate, referrals are made to specialist agencies.
Some key benefits
- Universal services delivery – ensuring that young people receive the services to which they are entitled and that any additional services they need are delivered at the very earliest opportunity. Early intervention often means reduced escalation of problem.
- Tell the story once – reduces the number and duration of different assessments that historically some young people have undergone.
- Lead Professional – identifies the most appropriate Practitioner to lead and facilitate support interventions for the young person. They will also ensure that the agreed outcomes are delivered.
- Multi-agency – the CAF is used by many agencies and it can facilitate and speed up service delivery for the young person.
- Supporting referral to specialist agencies – the development of the CAF can significantly improve information sharing between agencies and helps clarify the basis for information sharing.
- Ownership – Parents and the young people hold ownership of the CAF. The CAF will be made available to other agencies only with the permission of young person and parents (unless in exceptional circumstances as defined in legislation where information can be shared without consent).
The CAF is an extremely useful tool to be used in a variety of situations – all for the benefit of young person. Inspired to Achieve are experienced users of the CAF and believe that it can make very positive differences to the identification of the most appropriate support packages. CAF’s can be completed as part of a programme or as an individual piece of work.