CASA (Common and Shared Assessment) replaced the CAF (Common Assessment Framework) in Merton from 2013 - though CAFs will continue to be accepted where these are still in use as the principles of both remain fully consistent with each other.

Since 2005, Merton has been using the Common Assessment Framework (CAF), and subsequently the CASA, as a common tool across all agencies to help early identification and assessment of the needs of children and young people. This  includes services who either directly or indirectly work with children and young people, or services who work with adults who have children. CAF/CASA was introduced as a strand within Merton Child and Young Person Well Being Model (MWBM)  to support and promote more joined up working across all sectors in providing Early Help to families as soon as this is identified. Implementation has been, and continues to be, supported by a multi-agency pool of trainers.

With the introduction of the MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) in Merton from spring 2013, aligned with simultaneous restructure of Children's Social Care and Youth Justice Services, Merton Child and Young Person Well Being Model (MWBM) 2013 has also been reviewed and relaunched as a simplified 3-band model.  In tandem with this,  the Common and Shared Assessment (CASA) was introduced as the revised early help tool to be used at Universal/Enhanced MWBM (Green) Levels. The CASA aims  to help practitioners get a complete picture of a child or young person's additional needs at an early stage.  Information is gathered and assessed, and support provided, in a structured way that is consistent across all agencies and with the child and family involved throughout.  

Where Child Protection concerns are identified,  a telephone referral is immediately made to Merton MASH at Specialist MWBM Level, which will be supported by then submitting a dedicated Safeguarding Children Referal Form to Merton Mash within 24 hours.  As this formerly would have been submitted on a CAF in Merton, this now distinguishes use of CASA in Merton as an early assessment tool, as opposed to the former CAF dual usage as both as referral and assessment tool. However, where a CASA is already available to case-holding practitioners, this holistic assessment record should also support (or replace) the above dedicated Referral Form.

Where concerns are relatively complex, but without requiring statutory intervention, Merton's Enhanced MWBM Level services, led by Social Workers, will coordinate support for the child or family. The three teams providing advice, guidance and support at this Enhanced Level are:

More complex coordination at Enhanced (amber) Level will be coordinated and recorded using Children's Social Care's Single Assessment processes by the relevant team's Social Worker.

For other cases at MWBM Enhanced (green) Level, the CASA form is used to record and, with family consent, share the assessment information with others involved.

The parents consent (or that of the young person if appropriate) is always sought before a CASA (or Single Assessment) can be undertaken at  MWBM Universal or Enhanced level. The form guides through all aspects of life that affect a child's development, from health, education and social development, through parenting issues to family functioning and relationships.

The CASA thus helps practitioners to

  • identify and assess a child's additional needs early
  • develop a common understanding of those needs
  • consider what has been tried already? what works well? what doesn't work so well? what needs to change? how to bring about this change?
  • agree how to work together to meet those needs: who will do what? by when?

A central logging system allows practitioners to check whether a CASA (or previous CAF) has already been undertaken by someone else involved with the child by contacting Merton Central CASA Team.  The Central CASA Team can then provide contact details of whoever led on previous CASA (or CAF) where appropriate. Through thus facilitating joint working and helping to reduce duplication, this helps avoid putting the child and family through having to tell their story over and over again to different people.

Useful links

Other CASA pages

MSCB (Merton Safeguarding Children Board)

Merton MASH

Merton Children's Social Care

Enhanced - Early Intervention - Services

Universal - Early Intervention and Prevention - Services

Merton Partnership Services

National links

Contact us

CASA Team, Merton MASH
12th floor, Merton Civic Centre,
London Road, Morden
SM4 5DX

Telephone: 020 8545 3234 / 3993
Email: casa@merton.gov.uk