The Common Assessment Framework

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is an 'Assessment and Planning Tool' to support children with significant and complex additional needs who require specialist support from across education, health and social care.

This includes children who have difficulty communicating, have sensory or physical difficulties and/or complex health needs. It is a way of working that aims to improve access and delivery of services to support you and your child. People from different organisations may talk to each other and share your information with your consent.

This means you will not have to keep repeating your story to lots of different people.

Usually you will have a CAF when someone who works with your child suggests it as a way to assess and review your child's needs. If you think you need a CAF you can speak to your GP, your child's nursery, school or college, or any professional who works with your child.

How a CAF may help

A CAF may help you and your family in the following ways:

  • Ensure a smooth transition from hospital to home where you and your family are always involved in the planning
  • Ensure that the right support is in place at the right time
  • Hold key information regarding who is involved in your child’s care, the tasks and roles they are undertaking and how we are working together to achieve the agreed aims

As part of the CAF process, you may have team around the family meetings.

Team around the family (TAF) meetings

A team around the family (TAF) meeting is your meeting. We will talk about what is working well for you as a family, and what we need to help you with or what is worrying you. Meetings can be held in hospital, at your home, a Children and Family Wellbeing Service (previously children's centres) and schools.

Lead professional

A lead professional is someone who works with you and your child and acts as a first point of contact. You can choose your lead professional. They are there to support you, they can speak with you before the TAF meetings to plan what you want to discuss. You will agree with the lead professional how often you'll have meetings.  They will will make sure you have a copy of the information from the TAF meeting and give you a copy so that you have this to refer back to. 

What families say

Families tell us that they like CAFs because:

"We decided what our families priorities were so that we did not have too many appointments at once"

"It helped us identify when we needed new services and when we should meet them"

Information for professionals

You can download CAF forms from the practitioners' section.