…or ‘why you should be worried about eCAF, even if you don’t have children and never intend to do so’.
The government has just brought out a paper entitled: ‘Think Family – improving the life chances of families at risk’
It invites local authorities to become ‘family pathfinder projects’ in a scheme to share information about all members of a family thought to be ‘at risk’. At risk of what?
“Families at risk is a shorthand term for families with multiple and complex problems such as worklessness, poor mental health or substance misuse. Our focus includes those who already have complex and ongoing problems as well as those who are at risk of developing them.”
The paper suggests that the eCAF is a good starting point for identifying parents and other family members who are ‘at risk’:
“For individuals with multiple needs, an overarching assessment should bring together pieces of information that would otherwise be scattered across the system. Frontline practitioners should build on this knowledge base when reviewing progress or designing support. This assessment process should build on progress made through the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) for children and young people, implemented as part of the Every Child Matters agenda. The CAF provides a shared and holistic assessment for children and young people with additional needs. It takes account of family risk factors and can therefore also help to identify and direct support towards the unmet needs of other family members – a parent’s learning disability, or an older sibling’s substance misuse, for example.”
Children are to become the access point to the family in order to find out what’s going on – or what might happen in the future – behind closed doors. It’s not only families, either. The document refers in passing to the plans to develop the eCAF in adult services in order to bring together health and social care data on elderly people and those with mental health problems. There aren’t going to be many people left to protest once they start rolling eCAF out to everyone else.