Guidance for professionals, parents and carers to accessing children's services

A summary of safeguarding thresholds

This section of Wiltshire Pathways details guidance, tools, forms and contacts relating to the application of multi-agency safeguarding thresholds to ensure all children and young people in Wiltshire receive the right support at the right time.

It is meant for anyone who works directly or indirectly with children, young people and their families whether in a statutory, voluntary, private or independent agency/setting.

Its purpose is to help identify the degree of need of children and their families and to ensure an appropriate response, using the guidance here to complement and enhance professional judgement.

It is fundamentally about working better together and intervening earlier to provide services at the soonest opportunity. Whether an Early Help CAF or a My Support Plan is the assessment tool used for this is, to some extent, less significant; what is important is the act of assessing needs and developing effective and smart plans to achieve good outcomes – all done collaboratively with the child and their family and empowering them to own and contribute to their plan.

Click on the links below for further information:
Early Help Tools and Safeguarding Thresholds Guidance
Early Help Forms
The full “Safeguarding Thresholds Guidance” document
Early Help – Useful Contacts

IMPORTANT: If you think a child or young person is at immediate risk of significant harm, or is injured, contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0300 4560108 (out of hours emergency duty: 0845 6070 888) or if there is immediate danger phone 999.


Document Links Notes / Explanation / Summary
Multi-Agency Safeguarding Thresholds Guidance for Safeguarding Children & Young PeopleThe complete “Safeguarding Thresholds Guidance” document – revised December 2014.
Multi-Agency Safeguarding Thresholds Guidance – Presentation slides This presentation, intended for use with staff groups, highlights the importance of early help as well as providing information on what is new in the revised thresholds document and where further information can be found.
Quick assessment tool To help define the nature and level of your concerns and decide an appropriate next course of action – through either the Statutory Safeguarding, Early Help Safeguarding or SEND pathways. (Will replace the Pre-CAF Checklist).
Multi-Agency Safeguarding Thresholds and Levels of Need – A3 PosterLaminated copies of this A3 poster are available on request from
Multi-Agency Safeguarding Thresholds and Levels of Need – Young Person version of PosterThis A4 poster/information sheet is an explanation of the guidance suitable for young people.
Early Help Tool Windscreen DiagramMulti-Agency Safeguarding - Levels of need and service thresholds.
Early Help Tool: What to do flowchartA visual reminder of questions to ask and appropriate steps to take.
Early Help Tool: Pre-Assessment checklistHelp deciding whether an Early Help CAF needs completing.
Early Help Tool: Wiltshire WheelA visual tool that children, families and professionals can use to show what their main concerns are. Can be repeated after intervention to show distance travelled.
Early Help CAF (exemplar)A completed example of a 'good' Early Help CAF for reference.
Early Help CAF in Practice – Closing a CAFHow to close an Early Help CAF.
Early Help CAF in Practice – Running a TACRunning a Team around the Child (TAC).
Early Help CAF in Practice – Meeting ProblemsHow to deal with problems in a meeting.
Early Help CAF in Practice – Overcoming barriers to parental engagementTips for overcoming problems with parental engagement.
Focus on: Child Mental HealthSpotting early signs of child mental health and what to do.
Focus on: Child Sexual AbuseSpotting early signs of child sexual abuse and what to do.
Focus on: Missing ChildredSpotting early signs of missing children and what to do.
Focus on: NeglectSpotting early signs of child neglect and what to do.
Focus on: Military FamiliesUnderstanding the needs of some military families and what to do.
Level of need ‘descriptor’ tables Provides a steer on where particular obstacles to a child’s health and development sit across our thresholds (no means exhaustive nor intended as a substitute for professional judgement or discussion with others).
What to do if you suspect serious abuse or neglectWSCB flowchart showing immediate actions if you suspect child abuse and/or neglect. Also refer to the South West Child Protection Procedures site for further information.
Expectant Young Mums – CAF PathwaysFlowchart showing a summary guide of actions to support expectant young mums. See also the related practice standards document.
Lead Professional for Early Help CAF: roles and responsibilitiesExplanation of the role and responsibilities of a lead professional for an Early Help CAF.
Guide to key assessment toolsBrief explanation of key assessment tools, including Early Help CAF, My Support Plan, My Plan and Single Assessments, etc.
FAQs – Early Help CAF and My Support PlanA helpful guide to the use of Early Help CAFs and My Support Plans.
Early Help OfferOutlines the key universal and targeted resources and support available in Wiltshire to support children, young people and their families. This list is not exhaustive.
MAF Meeting Dates (Multi Agency Forum)Locally owned and managed, MAFs are a valuable opportunity to discusss Early CAF cases (with consent and anonymised), obtain peer guidance, keep up to date with service developments and strengthen local networks. See attached schedule for details.
Spotlight on Wiltshire’s Children’s Social CareBrief summary of MASH, Social Care Child definitions, and examples which warrant the intensive and specialist support available through Children’s Social Care.
Early Help CAF and Social Care Protocol Also known as the "step up, step down" process, this document explains how Children's Social Care work closely with the early help professionals to ensure the child's journey is seamless across safeguarding thresholds..
Joint Working between Adult and Children’s Services A joint working protocol to support and protect children and young people living in households where there is parental domestic abuse or where parents use drugs or alcohol or have mental health problems
Acronyms and abbreviationsGlossary of terms often used.

Further guidance and information Link location
DfE mental health and behaviour in schools
My Support Plan (NEW)
NSPCC early signs of
South West Child Protection
WSCB Child Sexual Exploitation
WSCB Escalation Policy
WSCB Parent and Carers Guide: Keeping your child
WSCB safeguarding training courses
Accessing Children’s Services: Guidance for parents and
Accessing Children’s Services: Guidance for families being supported by Children’s Social
Referring a child or adolescent to Mental Health
Referring a child to Speech and Language Therapy


Document LinksNotes / Explanation / Summary
Early Help CAFThis form replaces the old CAF form. It includes a SMART action plan to reach desired outcomes, TAC delivery plan and review form.
TAC Delivery plan and Early Help CAF Review formPart of the Early Help CAF, this form describes how the team around the child (TAC) are to support the young person. The Early Help CAF review is a review of the effectiveness of those actions.
Monitoring Effectiveness of Early Help CAF: Parent questionnaireFor completion by parent/carers when their Early Help CAF closes.
Monitoring Effectiveness of Early Help CAF: Young person questionnaire For completion by a young person when their Early Help CAF closes .
Monitoring Effectiveness of Early Help CAF: Child questionnaireFor completion by a child when their Early Help CAF closes.
Monitoring Effectiveness of Early Help CAF: Lead Professional questionnaire For completion by the Lead Professional when the Early Help CAF closes.
MASH Referral FormWiltshire’s front door to Children’s Social Care – for referring when a child or young person is thought to be at risk of significant harm.
Gateway Referral Form Cases requiring intensive family support are referred to Gateway Panel. An Early Help CAF must be in place and at least one TAC meeting held prior to referral. Always speak to your Area Early Help CAF Coordinator prior to making a referral.
Specific Agency Referral Form (SARF)For use to engage a specific, single service to support a child with a single need (tier level 2a). Services accessible via a SARF are listed in the form itself.
My Support Plan Guidance and the form available via the Local Offer website


Email/Document Links Contact details
CAF Helpline (Mon-Fri, 9-5)01225 713884
CAF Coordination Team : send completed signed Early Help CAFs or My Support Plans for registration to this addressWiltshire Council DCE, Coordination Team, County Hall, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8JN
CAF Coordinator South – Dawne Dawes (Amesbury, Durring, Downton, Mere, Tisbury, Wilton and Salisbury)01225 757993 / 07500 573470
CAF Coordinator North – Paul Holdsworth (Calne, Corsham, Chippenham, Malmesbury and Wootton Bassett))01225 757956 / 07500 228436
CAF Coordinator East – Vicki David (Devizes, Marlborough, Pewsey and Tidworth)01225 757978 / 07500 226740
CAF Coordinator West – Michelle Riley (Bradford on Avon, Melksham, Trowbridge, Westbury and Warminster)01225 757990 / 07778 132987
CAF Coordinator Gateway Panel – Lucy Lewis01225 716891
MAF Dates Multi Agency Forum (MAF) dates for the school year and Contacts.
SEND Helpline (Mon-Fri, 9-4.30pm)01225 757985
MASH referral consultation service (single point of contact for reporting all safeguarding concerns)0300 456 0108
CAMHS referral consultation service01865 903330
Early Help Single Point of Contact01225 718230

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