Childhood by numbers

Tower Hamlets is about to launch its eCAF system. If you don’t know what eCAF is, and you are either under 18 or a parent, you really should find out. It’s an assessment system for all practitioners except social workers to use to determine how ‘at risk’ a child is of social exclusion, becoming criminal, getting pregnant, failing at school etc.

It will be carried out on any child needing services over and above routine education and health provision. Government estimates that this means 1 in 3 children will need to be e-caffed.

If you want to know how practitioners will work out a child’s degree of at-riskness, go here (pdf) and scroll down to Annex A (‘Definitions’) on page 26. There you will find 7 closely-typed pages of assessment criteria ranging from whether the child’s communication skills are excessively brusque to how well his family gets on with the neighbours. (And you thought you just wanted speech therapy?)

Apparently Tower Hamlets’ eCAF is about to go live, and they have even:

developed their own electronic version of the framework on a spreadsheet. It allows professionals to grade the level of risks and protective factors for each child by totalling up numerical scores for various categories of risk.

Just to reiterate: this assessment tool is not for use by social workers. It is for anyone else providing services to the child.


2 Responses to Childhood by numbers

  1. hope says:

    who are the other 3 councils ?

  2. archrights says:

    I think ‘Children Now’ might not have it entirely right. AFAIK there are five pilots, listed here:

    It’s complicated by the fact that most of these are consortia of councils in various parts of England.

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