The Common Assessment Framework is used to assess the needs of the child or young person, and also provides a framework for assessing the wider needs of the family and community in improving outcomes and providing earlier intervention. We know that issues affecting parents or siblings can affect the development of other siblings or family members.
In Northamptonshire, we want to encourage greater integration and multi-agency working between adult’s and children’s services. We want to ensure that we can shape all these services more closely around the needs of families and draw together all the positive work and interventions taking place with a family in a coordinated approach. In short we want all of the children’s and adult’s workforce to ‘Think Family’ and create a ‘Team around the Family’.
The Local Operational Teams (LOTs) will support practitioners working with different siblings from the same family.
The Team around the Family brings together young people, parents and practitioners, regardless of agency boundaries, into a small, individualised team for each particular child who has been identified as having additional needs. Parents/carers and young people have a full role in the TAF, their parents’ / carers’ needs are recognised and their central role to meet the needs of the child should be acknowledged.
The membership of the TAF may change as the needs of the child and family change. The TAF operates as a supportive team; there is direct benefit to parents who have opportunities to discuss their child and family with key practitioners in one place. There is also benefit to practitioners who might otherwise feel isolated and unsupported in their work with the child and family. A successful TAF meeting will have taken into account the views of the child/young person and parent.
The TAF will:
- Be chaired/facilitated by the practitioner/agency who completed the CAF assessment until a Lead Professional is agreed (if there are two or more assessments being brought to an initial meeting of the Team around the Family, the practitioners/ agencies concerned should liaise with the family and with each other to agree who should chair the meeting)
- Share Common Assessment information (with the consent of the young person/family) so it can be analysed and understood.
- Identify how support can be offered to the child and family to meet needs assessed through use of a CAF assessment.
- Jointly agree possible solutions and appropriate actions, including actions for the family and child to undertake where appropriate.
- Record these actions and timescales on a CAF Delivery Plan.
- Provide copies of the plan to all TAF members (including the family of the child/young person, as appropriate).
- Arrange as necessary, additional requests for involvement/referrals, supported by a Common Assessment, as a pathway to other targeted and specialist services.
- Agree who should act as Lead Professional. Consideration must be given to the views of the child/young person and/or family (see guidance on Lead Professional).
- Review the support given to the child and family.
- Make a decision that when needs have been met, a Common Assessment is closed.
The Best Practice Model TAF:
- Is encouraging, positive and supportive to all members, including the parent, carer or young person.
- Gives all members an equal voice.
- Arrives at collective agreements.
- Acknowledges differences of views and negotiates workable solutions.
The Role of a Team around the Family (TAF) Member The role of a TAF member includes
- Having a vision based on children and young people’s identified needs and not to be led by the availability of services from agencies.
- Responding to requests for involvement in a Common Assessment Framework TAF openly and honestly;
- Where attendance at a meeting is not possible, to inform the requesting agency of the reasons for this and to provide information of what support could be offered to the child/young person or family.
- In cases where the request is inappropriate and/or does not meet the relevant eligibility criteria, to explain this to the requester and to signpost to other appropriate services.
- Supporting the Lead Professional by providing relevant information for the Common Assessment (CAF).
- Keeping the Lead Professional up to date with any developments in between the TAF meetings.
- Ensuring that informed consent has been gained to share information and that children, young people and/or their parents/carers are an equal part of the team.
- Recognising and being supportive when the Lead Professional role needs to change and accepting and helping to identify who may be the more appropriate person to take on the role of Lead Professional.
- Delivering actions as agreed in the TAF plan.
- Contributing to the monitoring of the TAF plan and reviewing outcomes.