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1.7 Common Assessment Framework, CAF and Early Help


See Blackpool Early Help for the following documents:

  • Working Well with Children and Families in Lancashire;
  • Early Help Assessment Form;
  • Early Help Meeting Record;
  • Multi-Agency Referral Form;
  • Additional child and family member sheet.

Blackburn with Darwen Child and Family (CAF) Assessment

In Lancashire, see the Common Assessment Framework (CAF).

Please also see:


  1. The Common Assessment Framework for children and young people (CAF) is a shared assessment tool used across agencies in England. It can help professionals develop a shared understanding of a child's needs, so they can be met more effectively. It will avoid children and families having to tell and re-tell their story. In Blackpool the Early Help Assessment form fulfils the same purpose;
  2. The CAF is an important tool for early intervention. It has been designed specifically to help professionals assess needs at an earlier stage to prevent concerns escalating and then work with families, alongside other professionals and agencies, to meet them and to prevent concerns escalating;
  3. The CAF is not for when there is concern that a child may have been harmed or is likely to be harmed. In these circumstances the procedures set out in Managing Individual Cases where there are Concerns about a Child's Safety and Welfare must be followed;
  4. Some children have important disadvantages that currently are only addressed when they become serious. Sometimes their parents know there is a problem but struggle to know how to get help;
  5. The most important way of ensuring that these children can be identified earlier and helped before things reach crisis point is for everyone whose job involves working with children and families to keep an eye out for their well-being, and be prepared to help if something is going wrong;
  6. The CAF has been introduced to help do this. It is a tool to identify unmet needs and should formulate a plan to address the needs of the family. It covers all needs, not just the needs that individual services are most interested in. Even if a professional is not trained to do a common assessment him or herself, knowing about the CAF will help them recognise when it might help so that they can arrange for someone else to do the assessment;
  7. Each area has its own CAF procedures as parts of its inter-agency process for safeguarding children below the threshold for Child Protection. Please click above to access.