Frequently used acronyms

Common acronyms & interventions

CAF – Common Assessment Framework – a voluntary process providing early intervention support for families. This may be where there are a number of agencies involved and the family would benefit from a coordinated approach or where an agency identifies a need for additional support that they are unable to provide or where it is difficult to identify support needed. Completion of a CAF des not guarantee it will be accepted.


Early Help Teams – This service provides support that has been identified through the Common Assessment Form (CAF) process. Early Help can also prevent further problems arising. Early Help Teams have Family Support Practitioners (FSP’s) who offer help and advice to families in need with difficulties such as parenting, safety planning, mediation and direct work with children/young people. They arrange Family Network Meetings (FNM’s) to bring together family, friends, community and professional support to help the family as a whole. This support is available for parents and their children 0-19 (up to 25 for those with additional needs).


HV –Health Visitors are qualified nurses or midwives with specialist community public health training and can offer families with children aged 0 to 5 years support for the health and wellbeing of their whole family, antenatal visits, development checks, support and advice until a child goes to school. Suffolk Health Visitors can be contacted via the Health Visitor Hub 0345 6078866.


HCP – Healthy Child Practitioners are based in Children Centres supporting parents of 0-5 yr olds with a variety of parenting support including breastfeeding, toilet training, sleep, behaviour, weaning etc… Health Visitors often make referrals to HCP’s and support is generally short term.


MASH – Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub – A consultation line for professionals to discuss whether a concern about an adult or child’s welfare & safety should be the subject of a safeguarding referral. The hub consists of around 60 professionals from health, police, education, social care, probation, youth justice, mental health services and housing.


CIN – Child In Need – The Children Act (1989) Section 17, states that a child shall be considered In Need if:

  • They are unlikely to achieve, maintain or have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision of services by a local authority.
  • Their health and development are likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provisions of such services and/or.
  • They are disabled.

If the assessment determines the child or children are Children in Need, a multi-agency plan will be developed with the family indicating which agencies will provide services for the child and family.

A Social Worker will work with the family and the plan in reviewed at CIN meetings every 6 weeks with the main agencies supporting the family.


CP plan – Child Protection Plan – If a child is made the subject of a child protection plan, it means agencies consider the child/children to be at risk of significant harm.

A child protection plan is a plan drawn up by the local authority. It sets out how the child can be kept safe, how things can be made better for the family and what support they will need. The main agencies and Social Worker form a Core Group and meet regularly to discuss the plan’s progress with parents and the plan is reviewed at a Review Child Protection Conference.


EHCP – The Education and Health Care Plan is a document which sets out the education, healthcare and social care needs of a child or young person for whom extra support is needed in school, beyond that which the school can provide.

Children with an EHCP will usually be entitled to extra one-to-one support in school (though not necessarily full-time) and will have outside agencies involved in their support, such as physiotherapists, behavioural experts or sensory impairment teachers. An EHCP is for any child or young person that has a significant and complex Special Educational Need or Disability. An EHCP is required when a child’s needs cannot be met by the usual support that is available to them in their school or setting.

Many children with SEN (Special Educational Needs) receive support in their school or setting without an EHCP, however their support would come from resources already available within school. This is called SEN Support. Following support at the SEN Support level, some children or young people’s needs may be deemed significant and complex and therefore require an EHC assessment by the Local Authority.


SENCO – A Special Educational Needs Coordinator is a teacher who is responsible for special educational needs in school. PNMHN Perinatal Mental Health Nurse – This service offers help to women during pre-conception, pregnancy and up to a year of birth, who are struggling with a current or historic mental health condition, which includes severe: Post-natal depression, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, Anxiety or OCD.