1.4 Family Support Process and Forms (Previously Common Assessment Framework)


This chapter was updated in March 2014 to reflect the replacement of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) by the Family Support Process.

The Family Support Process for children and young people is underpinned by the Family Support Form (FSF) which supersedes the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) in Norfolk. The FSF is a shared assessment tool that helps practitioners 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.

The FSF is an important tool for early intervention. It has been designed specifically to help practitioners assess needs at an earlier stage and then work with families, alongside other practitioners and agencies, to meet them.

The FSF is not for when there is concern that a child may have been harmed or may be at risk of harm. In these circumstances the procedures set out in Part 3 of this Manual must be followed.

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.

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.

The FSF has been designed to help do this. It is a tool to identify unmet needs. It covers all needs, not just the needs that individual services are most interested in. Even if a practitioner is not trained to do a common assessment him or herself, knowing about the FSF will help them recognise when it might help so that they can arrange for someone else to do the assessment.

See also “The Common Assessment Framework for children and young people: Practitioners’ Guide”, 2006, and “The Common Assessment Framework for children and young people: Managers’ Guide”, 2006, which can be found at the Department For Education website.

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