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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. 


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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