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Common Assessment Framework - information for parents

How the professionals that work with your family work out what support your child needs.

What is a common assessment?

The Common Assessment is a way of working out what extra support your child may need and how best to provide this support.

With your agreement, professionals who work with your child will have a conversation with you to discuss your child's needs and strengths. The assessment will record what is going well for your family, what extra support may be needed for your child and which professionals are best placed to help.

You and your child can choose to be involved and can ask a professional for an assessment if you think you need some extra support. You can also have a say in which worker you want to help coordinate your action plan, they are called the lead professional.

An action plan, agreed with you and your child will be put in place to make sure your child gets the right support. The common assessment form will be used to identify a range of professionals who can work together with you to find the best way forward.

How will this help my family and what is the process?

The common assessment exists to help you support your child. It can help identify the right professionals to be involved and lead to quicker solutions.

  1. someone who works with your child may suggest an assessment or you may ask for one if you think your child needs extra support.
  2. you will have a conversation with your child's worker and help fill in the assessment. Your child's worker will make sure you are happy with the information recorded and who it will be shared with.
  3. you will then discuss the support needs for your child and your worker will suggest a team of people who they feel could help. These may include professionals such as learning mentors, youth workers, childcare professionals, social workers, teachers, and others if necessary.
  4. you and your child can identify one professional from the team who you would like to be your one point of contact. This person will be known as the lead professional and will coordinate the support package for you.
  5. once the team is in place you will all receive a copy of the assessment. Everyone including you and your child, if appropriate, will attend a meeting to discuss moving forward. This is called a team around the family meeting (TAF).
  6. from the meeting an action plan will be agreed and everyone will have responsibilities to follow-up on, this will include you and your child. These actions should address your child's support needs and your lead professional will coordinate the delivery of the required services.
  7. the action plan will be reviewed after a short time and everyone will work together to address extra support needs. After a period of time your family should feel supported and your child's needs should have been met.

The whole process means that you should only have to tell your story once. You will have one main point of contact and a dedicated team of professionals working together to find solutions.

More information

If you want to speak to someone about the common assessment process you can talk to the professional(s) working with your family.

See also:

  • Dorset Threshold Tool

    Dorset's tool for assessing the needs of a child or young person and what support to offer them and their family.

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