This website is currently under review and information may not be accurate. We are refreshing the overarching partnership priorities for children and young people in Lancashire and expect these to be published, supported by new governance arrangements, in autumn 2018.

Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is a key tool in the early identification of children and young people and families who may experience problems or who are vulnerable to poor outcomes and underpins the work of Early Help.


The Lancashire CAF was refreshed and re-launched on 1 August 2017.

The changes ensure the CAF is aligned with the updated Continuum of Need/Thresholds Guidance, and the newly established Risk Sensible approach to practice within the county.  The principles of the CAF remain as before, aiming to make a holistic family assessment, working with families throughout.

The new CAF introduces the language of risk in line with the Risk Sensible model, encouraging the consideration of High Risk Indicators (HRIs); Underlying Risk Factors (URFs) and unmet needs during assessments.

The process identifies unmet needs and works with the family to highlight strengths and protective factors, identifying appropriate actions to address the needs.  The voice of the child, young person and family is encouraged throughout the process.

The new CAF form

The form remains in three parts, with the main changes at part 2, which is now broken down into two sections as detailed below.

  • PART 1 - Family Demographics - completed once per family (now includes additional space to capture information relating to asylum seeker status and ethnicity)
  • PART 2.1 - Child Assessment - completed once per child or young person (focusses on the child/young person as an individual, and asks the practitioner to consider the child's needs within the context of HRIs, URFs and unmet needs)
  • PART 2.2 – Parents and Family – completed once per family (focusses on the Significant Harm aspect of the Risk Sensible model and asks the practitioner to consider the parents capacity to parent and capacity to change.  Again, the practitioner should consider the needs within the context of HRIs, URFs and unmet needs)
  • PART 3 – Analysis and Action Plan - completed once per family (utilises a change in language, focussing on analysis.  SMART action plans are introduced in this section)

See also: