CAF guide for parents of SEND children

A CAF is a tool that helps services to identify what support you and your children may need and it helps to make sure that this support is offered as early as possible and in a co-ordinated way.

We use this tool for children and families who access a range of service including the Portage the Early Years SEND support service and the. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • CAF provides a process that ensures that as parents you are central to the support for your child
  • It ensures that your child’s needs are considered in the context of your family and offers the opportunity to address wider family and social issues that may be impacting on your child and their development and you family.
  • It provides the opportunity for regular reviews of progress with the range of professionals involved with your child and a ‘one plan’ approach
  • If it is decided that your child needs an Education Health and Care Plan, CAF is well placed to gather and co-ordinate information and demonstrate the support and work that has been undertaken to support your child prior to an EHCP request being made.

CAF has three elements:

  • An assessment – this helps us gather information from you ,any services or professionals who know you and your children and other assessments that may have been undertaken
  • A Plan - We consider this information and with you detail a plan of the support that you and your family needs. This is usually referred to as a TAF plan. TAF stands for Team around the Family. The plan is supported by all the people who support you and your family and they also take responsibility for making sure things get done.
  • TAF meetings or reviews – this is when all the Team around the Family comes together with you to look at the progress that has been made, any issue and challenges and to plan next steps. These will take place approximately every 6 – 8 weeks,

A lead professional

One of the people involved with your family will be named as the’ lead professional’. This means that they will co-ordinate support and organise meetings and be a single point of contact for you and other people supporting your CAF. The lead professional can be the person who is completing the CAF assessment or another person involved in the support if you prefer.


When all support is in place, the actions on the plan have been met and if required an EHCP is in place, CAF process will no longer be needed. Where there are other unmet needs identified for your family, the CAF will remain in place with regular review meetings taking place.