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Common Assessment Framework

Volume 507: debated on Thursday 11 March 2010

I am announcing today progress in the implementation of the National electronic Common Assessment Framework system (National eCAF)

Many children and young people in England need support from a range of services because they have additional needs. The Common Assessment Framework (CAF), which came about as part of the Every Child Matters reforms, plays a crucial part in delivering this for them. The CAF is designed to help practitioners to assess the additional needs of children and young people when they emerge, and to work together to meet them. CAF is used only with the consent of children and young people, or their parents and carers as appropriate. Since its introduction in 2006 thousands of practitioners have been trained in the CAF and are now using it successfully in their day-to-day work.

CAF information is currently recorded using a paper format or on local systems. A new system to electronically enable the CAF, called National eCAF, will be made available from 22 March 2010 to a small group of early adopter organisations who have applied to take part in this scheme. They comprise four local authorities—Birmingham, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Walsall, and two voluntary organisations—Barnardo’s and Kids. Information will be held on National eCAF, as with the CAF, only with the explicit consent of the child or young person, or their parents or carers as appropriate.

The security of National eCAF is of paramount importance. Only authorised, trained practitioners with enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks will be able to use National eCAF; they will also need a token and a password to access the system.

We have worked closely with professionals and partner organisations on the development of National eCAF to date, and we will continue to do so as we develop the system further, and in the light of the experience of early adopter organisations.

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