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Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

The Common Assessment Framework is a standardised process to help practitioners assess children’s additional needs, develop a common understanding of those needs and agree a process for working together to meet those needs. This process can promote early intervention and help identify if support from additional services may be needed.

The Common Assessment Framework is a shared assessment and planning framework for use across all children’s services and all local areas in England.

The Common Assessment:

  • Helps to identify the child or young person’s needs
  • Provides a structure for recording information
  • Helps to identify what actions need to be taken to address the identified   needs
  • Can be shared with consent
  • Can support requests to other services, as information will be evidence-based
  • Provides a common form of assessment which will be familiar across children and young people’s services
  • Reduces duplication for practitioners
  • Reduces multiple assessments for young people and their families

Who is the CAF for?

The CAF is aimed at children and young people with additional needs that are not being met by their current service provision.

The CAF can be used for unborn children and children and young people up to the age of 18, but its use can be extended beyond 18 where appropriate to enable the young person to have a smooth transition to adult services.

In the case of youth support, the CAF can be used with young people up to the age of 19, and up to the age of 24 where a young person has a learning difficulty or disability.

Child Protection Concerns

The CAF process is not for a child or young person about whom you have concerns that they might be suffering, or may be at risk of suffering harm. In such instances you should contact the Multi Agency Referral Unit following the South West Child Protection Procedures


Guidance on completing a CAF


Cornwall works to an eCaf as part of the Integrated Working Agenda and as you click on the link to use it you will be asked to register with Cornwall Council in order to comply with data protection regulations.

There are certain parts of the CAF form that are mandatory and you will not be able to submit without these being completed. The eCaf is broken down into separate pages that you have to submit as you complete and you have a maximum time of two hours for each page.

There is now also a progress bar at the top of each page that shows the progress made through each of the stages of the eCAF (i.e. each time you click next, it will move along), which should help people managing their time when completing the eCAF.

Once completed, the CAF will be submitted to business support in the locality team where the child/young person lives.

As you complete the CAF you will be given 2 options:

1)  Select to chair your own Initial Team Around the Child (TAC) meeting. If you select this option you will need to arrange the date, time and venue. Business support in the locality teams will then invite the relevant professionals, parents/carers, young people/children as appropriate. 

2)  Select an independent chair for the Initial Team Around the Child (TAC) meeting. In selecting this option you will be given a choice of dates, times and areas that you can agree with parents/carers, young people/children. Responsibility for booking a venue in the chosen area will lie with you as the initiator; and needs to be included on the CAF form before it is submitted. Business support in the locality teams will then invite the relevant professionals, parents/carers, young people/child as appropriate.  

Useful documents:

CAF & TAC resources

Got a question?

If you need further guidance on the CAF process, please contact your Early Help Co-ordinator.

Or, if you need any help or support in completing the eCAF form, please contact business support or the Early Help Co-ordinator in your locality.

Early Support

Have you thought about Early Support?  If you are working with a child/young person with a special educational need or disability (SEND), you may like to consider using Early Support.

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