Common Approach to Assessment, Referral and Support

The Common Approach to Assessment, Referral and Support (Common Approach) was developed by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY), with support from the Australian Government under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children. The Common Approach to Assessment, Referral and Support Taskforce made a significant contribution to the development of the approach. The Taskforce included expert representatives from a range of professions working with children and youth, as well as representatives from the Australian federal, state and territory governments.

Providers are encouraged to use the Common Approach in service design to accurately reflect the intent and focus of the service and provide information on progress and outcomes. Using the Common Approach can facilitate holistic and creative practice and encourage consistent language.

The Common Approach Wheel is not prescriptive. It is a conversation tool, not an assessment, screening or outcomes tool. The Wheel can be used in combination with tools and resources already in use. The Wheel can also be implemented across agencies to encourage consistent language across different programs.

The Common Approach Wheel is designed to assist practitioners to work with children, young people and their families to identify their needs across the following six life domains:

  1. Physical health
  2. Mental health and emotional wellbeing
  3. Relationships - including social networks and relationships, and family relationships and functioning
  4. Material wellbeing - including housing and self-care and living skills
  5. Learning and development - including school attendance/learning and sport/recreational activities
  6. Safety - including child and family safety.

The Common Approach to Assessment, Referral and Support is designed to assist practitioners to work with children, young people and their families to identify their needs. Further information is following:

The wheel above illustrates how the Common Approach to Assessment, Referral and Support is designed to assist practitioners to work with children, young people and their families to identify their needs across the following six life domains:

1. Physical Health

Community

  • health services are available when needed

Family

  • family’s health
  • healthy eating
  • can get to health appointment

Child

  • is healthy and active

2. Mental health and emotional wellbeing

Community

  • support from friends and community
  • trusting relationships with other adults

Family

  • mental health of family members
  • parent child relationship
  • support from family
  • ‘Things that make my child happy are…’

Child

  • emotionally well, happy and supported

3. Relationships

Community

  • friends and neighbours are known and helpful
  • connection to community and culture

Family

  • family spends time together
  • family closeness and support

Child

  • sense of belonging and identity, including cultural identity

4. Material basics

Community

  • stable housing
  • access to transport
  • access to local services

Family

  • enough food and clothes
  • is working or looking for work
  • enough space at home

Child

  • feels provided for

5. Learning

Community

  • sport or outdoor play
  • activities, clubs and groups

Family

  • spending time with children
  • goes to pre-school/school
  • ‘My child is good at…’

Child

  • enjoys learning
  • age-appropriate development

6. Safety

Community

  • safe neighbourhood
  • safe at school

Family

  • house is safe
  • good family interactions
  • ‘Things that frighten my child are…’

Child

  • sense of safety
  • feel safe at home

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