We’ve been asked by newer visitors to our blog to explain what the eCAF is.
It stands for ‘e-enabled Common Assessment Framework’ – an in-depth personal profiling system for every child seeking services. It gathers a large amount of highly personal information about the child and his/her family. The government estimates that around half of all children will need services at some point in their childhood, and thus will be subject to the eCAF process. You can read more about it here.
It was originally intended that the databases to hold each child’s eCAF assessment would be at local level, but just before recess the government announced that they intended to construct a single, national database.
We already have one national child database under construction: ‘Contactpoint’, which will contain the basic details of every child from birth. An indicator on Contactpoint will show whether an eCAF is also available for inspection.
Although the government insists that this will be a consent-based process, we have heard from several practitioners in pilot areas that, in reality, consent is being bypassed, and that people are being told that they may not get services unless they agree to have an eCAF carried out. They also say that the system is chaotic. One recent caller said that everyone in their office agrees that something has got to be done.
Practitioners themselves are worried about their future employment prospects if they talk openly about the eCAF problems, hence our new ‘eCAF Alert’ site that allows practitioners to leave comments. We hope to build a better picture of what is going on before the government forges ahead with the creation of this national eCAF database.
If you want to help, please put the ‘eCAF Alert’ logo on your blog/website. You can download the code from the eCAF alert website