The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) offers a basis for early identification of children’s additional needs, sharing of this information between organisations and the co-ordination of service provision. Where it is considered a child may have additional needs, with the consent of the child, young person or parents/carers, practitioners may undertake a common assessment in accordance with the national practice guidance to assess these needs and to decide how best to support them. The findings from the common assessment may however give rise to concerns about a child’s safety and welfare. Practitioners should be particularly concerned regarding children whose parents or caregivers are experiencing difficulties in meeting their needs as a result of domestic violence, substance misuse, mental illness and/or learning disability (see paragraphs 9.13–9.66). All staff members who have or become aware of concerns about the safety or welfare of a child or children should know:
- who to contact in what circumstances, and how; and
- when and how to make a referral to local authority children’s social care services or the police.