Headlines: April 15th, 2010

A new report says the common assessment framework – CAF – process can support improved outcomes for young people and their families by making sure they get appropriate and timely support. The study from the Local Authority Research Consortium says however, that more needs to be done to support early intervention and prevention by embedding CAF processes in the work of integrated teams.

The report is based on the findings from projects in 24 local authorities. It sets out the factors that have led to improved outcomes. These include young people and families being involved as equal partners, consistency in lead professional support to help families and professionals work together and multi-agency working and information sharing.

The study also points to the importance of engaging families and young people but says the local authorities pointed to the problem of dealing with parents who were reluctant to talk to children’s services departments. Involvement of schools varied from partial to full engagement but those who were involved gained a full understanding of the issues facing pupils outside school. Interventions put in place also helped improve pupils’ behaviour, attendance and willingness to learn.

LARC says that since its first report in may 2008 more progress has been made towards integrated working. Recommendations now relate to improving clarity around the process at both local and national level and its place in supporting early intervention. Geoff Gee from the National Foundation for Educational Research said: “LARC members are already seeing benefits from engaging in this research as they develop their understanding of how to improve local practice.”