Common Assessment Framework (CAF) referral

Find out how to submit a CAF referral and how to check if an existing CAF is open, using the new portal.

The CAF aims to provide a simple process for a broad assessment of children's needs and strengths, taking account of the roles of parents/carers and environmental factors on their development. This means that practitioners are then better placed to agree with children and families about appropriate ways to offer support.

Suffolk County Council children and young people services have adopted an evidence-based approach to working with children/young people and families called signs of safety and well-being. The common assessment framework has been revised to take this new model into account. Key changes to the CAF include:

  • Creation of a genogram or family network.
  • An opportunity to help you identify and assess the family’s strengths and build on these to address identified needs.
  • Simplified data collection page for those cases where following completion of the assessment, the support identified requires a referral to Suffolk County Council Early Help Service.

From Monday 12 November 2018, the CAF referral form must be completed and submitted using the new secure Suffolk Children and Young People’s Portal. Use the green button below to access the portal.

The first time you complete a form you will be prompted to create a new portal account. Registering for an account is quick and easy, and you only need to do it once. To ensure the information you submit is secure, you will be required to log into your account every time you access the portal.

Further support including a portal user guide and walk through videos are available on the portal overview page.


Log into the CYP Portal

Is there an existing CAF?

The CAF needs to be undertaken with children/young people and their parents/carers. It is important to listen to the child and the parents' views so that you can form a joint understanding of their needs and of what helps, so professionals should first discuss with families whether there is an existing CAF open. Where information is not known, please state this.

You need to fully understand and analyse the child/young person's story in order to build on their strengths and find solutions that work for the family.

 We would encourage all professionals to contact their local Early Help Team before completing this form (Common Assessment Framework (CAF) information for professionals | Suffolk County Council). 


Reopen a closed CAF

To request that a CAF be re-opened you will need to access Suffolk Children and Young People's Portal. Once you log in to the portal there is an option to select to re-open a previous assessment. This request is only possible if the assessment was closed less than six months ago. You can access the link to the portal using the green button on this web page.


Below are a selection of guides to help you complete your assessment with families. There are further tools on the Suffolk Children and Young People's Portal.