Child and family assessment

CAF (child and family) is a 4 step process whereby practitioners can identify a child's or young person's needs early, assess those needs holistically, deliver coordinated services and review progress.

The CAF is designed to be used when:

  • a practitioner is worried about how well a child or young person is progressing, e.g. concerns about their health, development, welfare, behaviour, progress in learning or any other aspect of their wellbeing
  • a child or young person, or their parent/carer, raises a concern with a practitioner
  • a child's or young person's needs are unclear, or broader than the practitioner's service can address.

The process is entirely voluntary and informed consent is mandatory, so families do not have to engage - if they do, they can choose what information they want to share. Children and families should not feel stigmatised by the CAF; they can ask for a CAF to be initiated.

The CAF should be offered to children who have additional needs to those being met by universal services. Unless a child is presenting a need, it is unlikely the CAF will be offered. The practitioner assesses needs using the CAF. The CAF is not a risk assessment.

If a child or young person reveals they are at risk, the practitioner should follow the local safeguarding process immediately.

Register a CAF, check if a CAF exists or find out who the lead professional is