Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

We all want better lives for children and young people. Most do well. Some do not. Some do not get help until things are really difficult. We want to identify and help such children before things reach crisis point.

An important way of doing this is for every person whose job involves working with babies, children and young people to look at their general well-being and be prepared to help.

What is the Family Common Assessment?

The Family CAF provides a method for:

  • assessing the needs of parents, children and young people in the family 
  • implementing a coordinated approach to early interventions from adults’ and children’s services to meet identified needs 
  • improving joint working and communication between practitioners 
  • connecting families to early help services

The Family CAF includes the whole family, parents, carers and other adults in the household whose unmet needs may be having an impact on children or young people in the family

It invites the use of a common language across sectors for assessment purposes

The Family CAF is intended to draw together services for children and adults to provide an integrated support plan which address the key needs of the whole family.

The CAF documentation has been revised to reflect this integrated approach.

Further information can be obtained by contacting the Families Information Service.

Completing the Family CAF

If you have identified needs in a family that can be best addressed by services working together, you should consider initiating a Family Common Assessment.

Below are the steps you should follow to do this:

  1. Discuss your concerns with your manager or appropriate colleague and with the child/young person/ family. Based on the information gathered through discussion decide if the Family CAF is appropriate. 
  2. Check if a Family Common Assessment/ CAF already exists for the family, young person or child/ young person by contacting the Family CAF helpdesk 01274 437333 
  3. If the child/young person has an allocated social worker, the Family CAF Helpdesk will inform you of this. Rather than initiating a Family CAF, you will then need to liaise with the social worker, contributing to their plan with the family as appropriate. 
  4. If a Family CAF already exists, contact the Lead Professional. If one does not exist, the Helpdesk will register your intention to initiate a Family CAF. If another practitioner subsequently contacts the Helpdesk about the same family, they will be able to pass on the name and contact details of the initiator. 
  5. Talk with the family/young person/child and begin the process of completing a Family CAF 
  6. Discuss the need to gain signed consent to register the Family CAF and to share information – be clear about whom you will be sharing information on and with. 
  7. Contact services whom you have permission to share information with and develop a Team Around the Family to help meet the needs identified through the common assessment. It is usually helpful to meet, but you may be able to achieve some of the interagency agreement through phone discussions/ written communication. Ensure the child/ young person/ family are invited to all meetings and kept up to date with developments. 
  8. Agree the action plan with the child/ young person/ family and with the services that are involved. You must indicate on the form that signed consent has been obtained. The Family CAF will not be registered by the CAF Helpdesk without confirmation of this. 
  9. Identify who should be the Lead Practitioner. 
  10. Email to request a free, secure email account so you can send them the Family CAF form and Action Plan(s) electronically and can share these with other practitioners. 
  11. Staff on the Council internal network can email completed Family CAFs and Action Plan(s) to 
  12. All services to deliver actions as agreed in the action plan/s 
  13. Agree with family/young person/child what you need to take to the review meeting and discuss whether the lead professional is to remain the same. The Family CAF Helpdesk must always be informed when the Lead Professional changes. 
  14. At the Team Around the Family review meeting, review the action plan and decide with the family/ young person or child if the Family CAF can close. 
  15. If the Family CAF can be closed, inform the Helpdesk on 01274 437333. If the CAF needs to stay open, review or agree new actions with the family/young person/child.

For further information:

To discuss any queries regarding the Family CAF, phone 01274 437333 or email

For all Family CAF forms and supporting documentation please see below.

Arranging a TAF Meeting

The process for arranging a TAF meeting

  1. Discuss needs with family
    meeting time,
  2. Book venue
  3. Invite organisations
    secure email,
    personal contact
  4. Collate replies
    Forward any supporting information to professionals and family. Decide who will record/facilitate
  5. Pre meeting with family
    Consider the family’s key priority areas and make them aware of professionals’ priorities. Help family understand roles of the TAF members 
  6. Prepare for meeting using TAF agenda document
  7. TAF meeting

TAF Meeting Agenda

  1. Welcome/ introductions and apologies 
  2. House-keeping/ground rules 
  3. Check that everyone is clear about the Family CAF process 
  4. Information-sharing from family and professionals. Begin with any positives, however minor 
  5. Updates/reports received from any agencies absent from the meeting 
  6. If this is a TAF review meeting consider whether the needs identified on the action plan(s) have been addressed 
  7. Agree any actions as necessary, ensuring agencies are aware of their role in carrying these out. 
  8. Discuss whether additional agencies or other family members should be invited to join the TAF 
  9. Decide whether the Lead Professional will remain the same 
  10. Where further action to address unmet needs is necessary, set a date for the next review meeting

Prior to the TAF meeting, the lead professional should provide agencies and family members as appropriate with the completed Family CAF via secure email or other secure means

If this is a TAF review meeting please remember to inform the CAF Helpdesk team of the date when this took place. They will also need to know if the Lead Professional has changed or if the CAF has closed.

Forms and guidelines


Contact details

CAF Helpdesk
Families First CAF Helpdesk
Farcliffe and Lilycroft Family & Children Family Centre
Toller Lane

Phone : 01274 437333
Email :

Always send confidential post by Recorded Delivery

The CAF Helpdesk is open:
Monday to Tuesday, 1.30pm to 5pm
Wednesday to Thursday, 12.45pm to 5pm
Friday, 1pm to 4.30pm

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Council Switchboard : 01274 432111

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