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The pre-CAF form can be used by practitioners to help them decide whether a full-needs assessment is necessary. It should 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);
  • Child or young person, or their parent/carer, raises a concern with a practitioner;
  • Child's or young person's needs are unclear or broader than the practitioner's service can address.

From this first assessment, a decision can be made by the practitioner as to what is then required. It is a professional decision made by the practitioner, for example, whether or not to refer straight to safeguarding or a specialist assessment or whether to action a holistic assessment (the Common Assessment Framework/CAF).

Some local areas use the pre-CAF as a referral document to achieve a specialist assessment, whilst others ignore the pre-CAF.

External links

Department for Education website


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