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The Common Assessment Framework

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The Common Assessment Framework is used by various professionals and agencies to use one process of sharing information and integrate working on a young person (revise & re-word more info) The CAF process is seen as a core element in integrated working and promotes more effective use of time used to assess young people, seen by many as a universal and neutral system used by all agencies. The CAF emerged from the 2003 Green Paper 'Every Child Matters' which marked a policy of the integration of practitioners and services. (Wise, C, & Harrison, R, 2005)

Requirements before starting the CAF

As undertaken the role of a youth worker I chose Candi (my 16 year old daughter who lives with her mother from a previous marriage) as the young person I would like to help fill in the CAF form. In the case of the assessment undertaken for the assignment, it was explained to Candi the purpose and outcome of the assessment and she was not being formally assessed, and that the process was to critically evaluate the CAF and set out the module guide and shown to Candi, although unsure at first, Candi was happy to proceed. I choose Candi as the candidate because of the fact of the young people who I practice with are young offenders and because of their court orders, they identities need to be guarded and a majority of the young people flatly refused to take part.

The question is asked of what led to the assessment of the young person which has to clear and an agreed statement by all involved and if any other agencies that are involved with the young person including the young person and families/carers.

Key areas of the CAF is to try and engage the young person with families in the process and try and develop a better understanding of the process and indentify the young person's 'needs' at the earliest perceivable stage, however, with most agencies and services, a majority of families are reluctant and wary of sharing information especially if persons have been involved with any agencies and services in the past. This reluctance is why the young person and family must have the full understanding of the whole process and the benefits so the training of the practitioner must be full and up-to-date (revise) however as a youth worker and assessing the young person, the practitioner has to keep own values and standards apart "if I'm talking to a particular person, it is not a question of trying to lead to my values, but often to try express some different values" (Smith, M, 1994)

Candi has never been involved with any agencies before or assessed officially by any services before, when asked how she would feel about being formally assessed she said she would feel frightened and very nervous of the process and even with her mother present she would be frightened to say the wrong thing in case of herself or parents into trouble.

If there is two or more services involved with the young person, a team would be arranged around the child meeting and then the lead professional would be identified, (reword) however there is a reluctance to become the lead practitioner in the CAF process as that practitioner becomes the bench mark for any further action taken by future agency's or professionals, the reluctance is out of fear of making mistakes from the pressure of lead practitioner. (revise)

Current family and home situation

While filling this section, Candi felt unsure how to answer the question and looked towards her mother for approval, before giving any personal details about family. This section can difficult for the young person if under 16 and a parent or carer is present, before the assessment is carried out, there are no details of the present family situation whether problems are evident or not, Candi lives as part of a one parent family with her younger sister who is 11 years old and times can difficult with looking after her while her mother works, however some young children come from broken homes with various amount of difficulties or living in children's home, or with friends which only can build as the young person's anxiety.

Agency involvement with young person

The assessment process used when carrying out can be very intimidating and very personal, however family or carer support is crucial throughout as personal and private information is obtain, plus information of any agency involvement, doctors, health visitors, connexions and any educational provision and so-forth can to hard to ascertain at the time of the assessment with the young person. Candi found personal details

The process of the CAF tries to consider a Varity of ethical issues with over 30 answers to the question of ethnicity which can be a personal and confusing question to ask to ask a young person. So it is preferred to ask the family or young person to self define their ethnicity and no assumptions should be made by the practitioner. (revise)

Development of the young person

To try and ascertain the development of the young person with worries/needs and strengths/resources a variety of information (revise) involving health, emotional and self esteem with among others which can be difficult to try and collect information about unless if in close contact through personal contact through different circumstances with a more impersonal atmosphere to get to know the young person has a more trusting surrounding. Candi found this section hard to explain, especially about her emotions. Candi did not understand why these questions needed to be asked and their purpose. It was explained emotion needs are important part of a young person's development and any worries or needs had to be ascertained in order to help the young person and not (revise)

A majority of young people when asked about the Common Assessment framework and what the process was used for would be unsure unless the young person has been explained what the process can be used to try improve areas of life improvement (revise) and improve personal development, however if explained how it may involve a child protection or safeguarding procedures if certain aspects should arise during the assessment process, which could cause concern to the young person, the young person could not be as forth-coming with personal information about family life in general, and especially if the parent or carer is involved in the process. However, the whole process is for the positive aspiration welfare of the young person. (revise)

Parents and carers

Information gathered in the section entitled 'Parents and carers' involving information including basic care, emotion warm and boundaries for example can be very personal to the young person and the parent/carer could interfere with any question asked. As with most young people, personal information including emotions can be quite hard to divulge especially if the young person is experiencing life stages including puberty and adolescence. (revise)

Family and environmental

Family and environmental functions including the well-being of the young person plus resources including education but financial consideration can a delicate subject however can give a valuable insight to family matters. Financial difficulty can cause an array of problems which influence social and personal development of the young person either by not enrolling into further education or by ascendance of parents/carers working unsociable and unpractical hours causing family disruption in the family home.(revise) Candi found this part difficult to fill in considering the relationship with ourselves and her mother being there during the assessment. I felt Candi did not answer the questions totally honestly and to her fullest (revise)

Well-being scale

Well-being scale of the child/person by the assessor and the well-being scale 0-10 given by the parent/carer is also used too which can regarded as a redundant tool as a number of different factors can influence the scale however a general indication by the parent/carer on their opinion of the young person's well-being however it can never give a true reflection (revise)

Improvement and review

Improvement and review which includes the views of the parent/carer/young person (revise)

Young person's goals

Young person's personal goals and general view of assessment (revise)

Practitioners goals

Practitioner's goals and view of assessment (revise)

Conclusions, solutions and actions

Conclusions, solutions and actions is the table or a chance to indentify key areas for change with recommended actions by the whom and estimated time of action which should have all those involved working towards the same agenda and encourage families to what is happening as easier progress is to be made. Specific goals are to be made either short or long term but still be specific in the review time.

The view and thoughts of the young person should be evident throughout the process and capture any comments which are relevant and helpful, "adolescence is therefore seen, as youth workers, as a moment of questioning - a moment in which young people reflect critically in their sense of self, their beliefs and values" (Young, K, 1999 p.28)

The CAF process can help identify needs at an early stage and help education authorities achieve better engagement with young person and with school attendance; future academic aspiration and help the young person improve health and family relationships with siblings and parents/carers.

Noted on bottom of CAF form is a note of exceptional circumstances and significant harm to the young person which asks the question of following safeguard procedures if at any time the practitioner feels that there is an issue. "Those who work with young people have a responsibility to safeguard and promote their welfare" (C. Wise & Harrison. R, 2005 p33), this is an important issue for any practitioner or person who works with a young and is an important responsibility and requires vigilance (reword) and attention to the young person who may not be fulfilling the needs and development potential. (C. Wise & Harrison, R, 2005)


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