AMENDMENTThis chapter was updated in September 2019.
The CAF sits at Level 2 on the Borough's CoNR and is the underpinning tool of the Early Help Strategy supporting children and their families requiring the right help at the right time. Roll out of e-CAF continues with Early Years and Early Help service, Supporting Families now access and input onto the e-CAF system. Further planning is underway for local primary schools and LCFT to also have access.
There is ongoing development plan for CAF in the borough ensuring that a continuous improvement approach is taken to this area of support for children and families.
An outline CAF is detailed below. All key documents are available at www.blackburn.gov.uk and on the Learning Platform.
In order to initiate a CAF or for us to share any information about a current or previous CAF episode, the expressed consent of parents or carers who have parental responsibility will be required.
A CAF would be initiated by completing the online registration form at www.blackburn.gov.uk and this can also be used to check a current or previous CAF exists.
This is the assessment tool and is used to capture family strengths, unmet needs for children and their parents and identify any risk factors. One form can be used to capture the assessment and SMART plan for a whole family ensuring that each individual's needs are captured and a plan detailed as to how this will be addressed. Whilst the needs of parents must be considered, the child/ren's unmet needs must remain the focus of the assessment.
Children aged 0-5 who have emerging developmental needs or who have SEND are supported through the CAF process. CAF is central to the work for children in their early years and their families. The CAF process ensures that parents are fully engaged in the decision making for their children, and that services to support the child and their family are well co-ordinated.
The timescales for completing an assessment is 28 days, allowing the lead professional time to gather information from the range of professionals involved with the family along with self-reporting information by parents and children. This should then be submitted electronically (securely) to the CAF admin team at Cafadmin@blackburn.gov.uk.
A SMART/TAF plan is detailed once an assessment has been completed and analysed and should detail the work that will be undertaken to address unmet need and family issues. The plan should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART) to ensure that work remains outcome focused. The SMART plan will be reviewed at each TAF review meeting. This should also be completed electronically and emailed securely to the CAF admin team (as above).
This is an optional tool for those organisations that do not have an existing review template and is designed to support TAF members to contribute to the TAF review. Electronic version of the reporting template should be sent to the lead professional so they can be included in TAF minutes reducing the amount of recording needed during the meeting and ensuring that key information is captured.
This document should be completed at the point of a CAF case closure. An evaluation should be undertaken with the family (adults and children) this information is key to our development in understanding the views, wishes and feelings of our families, and in turn this will influence the CAF process moving forward.
A closure will only be confirmed once an audit of the case has been completed and you will then receive an email to confirm the closure.
CAF training is available as part of the Me Learning training programme. The training supports would be lead professionals and their managers understand the CAF process and what a good CAF should look like and what the experience for children and their families should be. It is designed to be delivered to a multi-agency group to ensure that as part of the training practitioners gain an understanding of the range of agencies also involved in the CAF process.
CAF Link Worker
The role provides overview and scrutiny of incoming initial CAFs and TAF plans and closures, offering feedback and support to make improvements where needed. The CAF Link Workers also provide advice, guidance and 'hand holding' support for front line practitioners from all partner agencies on undertaking CAFs or in moving a CAF forward that may not be making progress. The role also provides challenge to organisations who are unwilling, or refuse, to take the lead professional role. Workers will where necessary take the LP role to initiate the CAF until an alternative LP can be identified.
Lead Professional Network Meetings
This will be implemented from September 2019 and delivered through four geographical Lead Professionals meetings on a quarterly basis to create a 'sector lead' improvement approach This is a forum to share learning, updates and feedback to drive and improve the quality of assessments, TAF meetings and plans.
Quality and Assurance
(See also: Quality Assurance What does a "Good" CAF look like?).
Quality assurance checks are undertaken via the e-CAF system on all CAFs and first and final TAF plans as they are received by the Early Help and Support Service.
A pool of key managers are also involved in auditing full cases which are allocated to them on a quarterly basis, these are measured against a 'what does a good CAF look like tool'. Individual lead professionals receive feedback on required remedial actions on individual cases and themes from the pooling of audit findings are brought together and shared with the CAF champions group.
For any enquires regarding CAF, please contact:
CAF admin – 01254 666913/666914
For support with completing a CAF, please contact:
CAF Link Worker - 01254 666536 / 666641