What’s ‘eCAF’ then?


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


5 Responses to What’s ‘eCAF’ then?

  1. […] What’s ‘eCAF’ then? […]

  2. […] What’s ‘eCAF’ then? […]

  3. Jonathan Adams says:

    It seems to me that given the breadth of access and the depth of intimate data this scheme will provide, it represents a chillingly ideal opportunity for predators to target vulnerable children.
    When we consider that 6% of the population are clinical psychopaths, the more folks who have access to this highly sensitive information, the greater the risk of harm to the children it professes to help.
    I wonder if there is any data yet available as a correlation between incidence of child abuse since the system’s inception?

  4. Rick says:

    When you say the government estimates that half of all children will need services, what do you mean by “services”?

    I knew nothing about this database until I came across your site by accident. It sounds like a totally disproportionate response.

  5. archrights says:

    @Rick: ‘Services’ means any service that is not ‘universal’. Universal services are education and primary health care, but if a child or young person requires anything that is not normally provided to everyone in their age group, they are deemed in need of extra services and thus come under the heading of requiring an eCAF.

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