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Assessments Explained.

10 Feb 2019

Different assessment. 

There are many different types of Assessments, Here are just a few 

Initial Assessment.

A section 47 Assessment.

Early help Assessment.

Team around the family Assessment.

Pre-Birth Assessment.

Child and Family Assessment.

Common Assessment Framework (CAF).

Core Assessments.

PAM's Assessments.

Parenting Assessment.

Risk Assessment.

viability assessment. connected persons assessment.

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10 Feb 2019

The Child and Family Assessment Explained.

The Child and Family Assessment 

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22 Jan 2019

Fostering assessments Explained. 

Fostering Assessment

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14 Jan 2019

Parenting Assessments Explained. 

Parenting Assessments

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11 Feb 2019

All Assessments carried out by the Local Authority follow this structure.

Genogram ....

Every assessment must include an up-to-date Genogram which provides detail about immediate and extended family members and significant connected people. Genograms should be completed with the family's participation. An up-to-date Genogram agreed with the family should be appended to the social worker's report for child protection conferences.

Chronology (Life Events).

Every assessment must be informed by an up-to-date Chronology of historical information regarding the family held by Children’s Social Care, including decisions on further action and referrals which resulted in no further action by Children’s Social Care. If there is a pre-existing chronology this must be referenced in Life Events.

Analysis.

It is the social worker’s responsibility to analyse all the information gathered from the enquiry stage of the assessment, decide the nature and level of the child's needs and the level of risk.

During the course of the assessment the social worker should ask if the parents misuse drugs or alcohol, mental health illness or any other known issues, and record the response even if information and evidence from elsewhere suggests otherwise.

Using an up to date Chronology on Life Events, the assessment must include an up to date analysis of historical information regarding the family held by Children’s Social Care, including decisions on further action and referrals which resulted in no further action by Children’s Social Care. Consistent with the Regional Assessment Framework (to follow),

The assessment will constitute of four domains.

1. Child’s development needs as they relate to.

Their Health.
Their education.
Their emotional and behavioural development.
Their identity.
Their family and social relationships.
Their social presentation.
Their self-care abilities and skills.

2. Parenting Capacity as it relates to the care given to the child.

Their ability to provide basic care.
Their ability to ensure the child is safe.
Their ability to give and demonstrate emotional warmth.
Their ability to provide appropriate stimulation.
Their ability to provide appropriate guidance and boundaries.
Their ability to provide the child with stability and security.

3. Family and environmental factors as they relate to the child in the context of.

Who’s who and how significant they are with in the family.

The community and community resources.
The family’s social integration in the community.
The family’s income, employment and housing.
The extended family network.
The family’s history and how they function as a family.

4. Risk analysis and evaluation.

They will evaluate and weigh up all evidences, concerns, and strengths, and consider each individually and how they might interact with each other.

Judges likelihood of harm and the severity of any harm on the child over a specific period of time. Known harm and likely harm should be weighted in terms of significance and probable impact on the outcomes for the child.

Evidences the parent/carer’s ability to ensure the child is protected from physical, emotional, sexual harm and neglect.

Demonstrates an understanding of causal factors and impact on the child now and in the future should nothing change.

Provides an evidenced opinion regarding the potential for sustained change in keeping with the child’s timescale.

Expresses an evidenced opinion on parental cooperation and motivation to change.

There are 4 potential outcomes from an Assessment, which must be authorised by the Manager:

That there are indicators that the child is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm, in which case a Strategy Discussion/Meeting must be conducted with a view to incorporating a Section 47 Enquiry.

If there are indicators that immediate action is required to protect the child, consult the Duty Manager and consider Police Protection, applying for an Emergency Protection Order or arranging for the child to be Looked After.

If the outcome of a Section 47 Enquiry is that the child(ren) has suffered or is likely to suffer Significant Harm and following the decision of the Strategy Meeting that an Initial Child Protection Conference is convened, this should be done within 15 days of the Strategy Meeting which identified the need for the Section 47 Enquiry.

If it appears appropriate for the child to be Looked After, (see Threshold Criteria for Looked After Children Procedure).

If there are indicators that the child has other high level needs other services should be provided through a Complex Child in Need Plan.

If the child is not a Child in Need or has low level needs requiring the provision of information, signposting to another agency and/or no further action. This can include a referral or re referral to services provided under the Early Help.

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2 Jun 2019

Core Assessments Explained. 

A Core Assessment is an in depth assessment and should be completed within a maximum of 35 working days. It must be led by a qualified and experienced social worker, (in accordance with the Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000)).It aims to inform the enquiry process and establish whether action is required to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child or children who are subject of the enquiries.

Core Assessments can commence:

At the same time as a Section 47 enquiry is initiated. 

During or at the conclusion of an initial assessment which recommends that such a complex assessment is required;

When new information obtained on an open case indicates a core assessment should be undertaken.

At the request of the court in respect of private/civil proceedings.

The Core Assessment addresses:

The childs developmental needs;

The parents/caregivers capacities to respond appropriately to these needs;

The wider family and environmental factors;

The risk factors associated with the Section 47 Enquiries.

The assessment is not an end in itself, but a process that will lead to an improvement in the well being of or outcomes for a child or young person.

The conclusion of an assessment should result in:

An analysis of the needs of the child and the parenting capacity to respond appropriately to those needs within their family context

Identification of whether, and if so what, intervention will be required to secure the well-being of the child or young person

A realistic plan of action, including services to be provided, detailing who has responsibility for action, a timetable and a process for review.

Generally, the assessment process should be undertaken in partnership with the child and key family members. 

There may be exceptions when there are concerns that a child is suffering or may be suffering significant harm and to do so would place the child at increased risk of suffering significant harm.
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2 Jun 2019

Common Assessment Framework (CAF) Explained. 

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is a process for gathering and recording information about a child for whom a practitioner has concerns in a standard format, identifying the needs of the child and how the needs can be met. It is a shared assessment and planning framework for use across all childrens services and all local areas in the UK. It helps to identify in the early stages the childs additional needs and promote coordinated service provision to meet them.

Its purpose is to play a key part in delivering front line services that are integrated and focused around the needs of children and young people. Its aim is to support early intervention and improve joint working and communication between practitioners. It is described as a common language for assessment purposes, which gives a consistent view for delivering the most appropriate response.

In the Green Paper, Every Child Matters proposed the introduction of the Common Assessment Framework due to concerns that the existing arrangements for identifying and responding to the needs of children were not achieving the five outcomes identified in the Every Child Matters agenda.

The CAF was then developed so that practitioners in all agencies working with children could communicate and work more effectively together. It is intended to provide a simple, non- bureaucratic process for a holistic assessment of a childs needs and deciding how these needs should be met.

The CAF is for children who have additional needs in one or more of three areas:

Their growth and development

Additional educational requirements

Family and environmental issues and any specific needs of the parent/carer

If any of the above needs are identified by the practitioner, they can record the level of concern and interventions required.

The CAF consists of:

A pre-assessment checklist (helps decide who would benefit from a common assessment)

A process (enables practitioners to undertake a common assessment and then act on the result)

A standard form (record the assessment)

Delivery plan (and a review form)

Standing alone (a consent statement)

Having a CAF does not guarantee the provision of particular services and the guidance suggests that local areas will need to determine where to focus their resources in line with local priorities. The guidance also suggests that there is a four- step common assessment process that must be followed by practitioners which represents best practice and should protect the child from risk of harm. 

The Four Step Common Assessment Process:

Identify the needs early: identifying whether the child/ young person may have additional needs and do this possibly through going through their CAF pre- assessment checklist. They may also discuss the situation with the child possibly involving the parents/ carers unless this is inappropriate. The practitioner must check whether the child has already had a common assessment in the past. Once the practitioner has reviewed all the information, they can decide whether a common assessment is the way forward and will need agreement from the child and/or their family.

Assess those needs: gathering and analysing information on strengths and needs using CAF. The practitioner must have discussions with the child, and their family if appropriate, and bring in information other practitioners have provided about the case. This information must all be recorded onto the CAF form, signed by the child or parent on the final version of the assessment form. The National eCAF makes sure that practitioners complete a certain number of fields when recording information to ensure consistency and a minimum standard across the board. These fields are flagged with a red asterisk on the CAF form.

Deliver integrated services: determining a plan and delivering interventions to meet those identified needs. This is all recorded on the CAF form. If a multi- agency response is required then the practitioner must form a TAC (The Team Around the Child) to agree a lead professional if relevant, the actions to be taken to meet the needs, how the integrated services will be delivered and the process for monitoring and review. The practitioner cannot guarantee that another organisation will provide its services without consultation; therefore, it is best if the practitioner has a good knowledge of local services.

Review progress: reviewing the actions and delivery plan. Identifying further actions where necessary and supporting the child/ young persons transitions. If the needs are found not to be met, the professional must go back to stage three. If the needs have been met, the manager can close involvement.

The CAF is a voluntary assessment, and therefore, a child/ young person or parent/ carer must give their consent at the start of the process with the full knowledge of what will happen. Once the assessment has been completed, the child and or parent/carer must give their consent again for the information to be stored and shared with other services.

As per the guidance, practitioners must make sure they provide accessible copies of relevant documents to the child/ young person and parent/carer as appropriate. When constructing the common assessment the practitioner must obtain informed consent for undertaking the CAF and for recording information as mentioned above. However, they must additionally ensure that any information that is shared is accurate and up- to- date, necessary for the purpose for which it is being shared and shared securely. They must furthermore obtain explicit consent for sharing the information detailing exactly what the consent is for and in what circumstances it will apply. The consent must be oral or written though written is preferable through a signature on the CAF.

The practitioner must follow all the agreed local policies for recording and renewing consent. It is important to think about whose consent one is after. If the child has the capacity to understand their decisions then they may give consent; children over 12 are generally expected to have sufficient understanding. This is presumed in law for children aged 16 and over.

The practitioner must make sure that when they are assessing the childs understanding that they explain the issues in a way that is suitable for their age, language and likely understanding. Even if it is decided that the child lacks sufficient understanding to give consent, and so receive consent from the parent/ carer, the child must still be included in all discussions with the parent/ carer about how their information will be used. If it is decided that parental consent is required, the consent from one person will be sufficient. If the family cannot agree, the practitioner must carefully choose whose consent should be sought. If the parents are separated, consent will be asked from the parent with whom the child resides. If a care order is in force, the local authority will additionally have to be contacted and asked questions on consent. 

All practitioners undertaking common assessments must have an enhanced level DBS check. Line managers are responsible for ensuring that DBS checks are carried out. It is recommended that once a CAF has been closed, it should be archived for a year, and then destroyed after a further 6 years.
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2 Jun 2019
Remember to put this on to your front door.
Remember to put this on to your front door.

Section 47 Explained. 

Children's act 1989, section 47........

The local authorities have a statutory duty and have legal powers to protect children and young adults to investigate and gain access to you and your family in order to carry out a section 47 investigation. This is usually because someone has raised concerns about the care, safety or the well being of your children. They will be looking to carry out this section 47 investigation which is also called a child protection enquiry.

A section 47 assessment means they will do an investigation to determine the strengths and truths of any allegations made against you over any abuse, neglect or harm that may have been caused to your children (legal term is significant harm).

Children services have 48 hours from when the concerns are raised to put forward and to hold the initial strategy meeting (where the decision is made to proceed with a section 47 assessment or not). They then only have a maximum period of 15 working days from the strategy meeting to come out to your home and carry out the section 47 assessment. The whole process must be completed within 45 working days of receiving the referral. If they do not turn up within the first 20 days (the 24 hours plus the 15 working days allowing the 2 weekends so add on 4 days for the 2 Saturday's and Sunday's) then you are well within your legal rights to tell them to bog off as they couldn't have had to many concerns in the first place or they would have returned to carry out the assessment in the required protocol timescale.

I must add if they feel it is a case of urgency then it will be a lot sooner than 15 days, if you refuse to let them in or to carry out the assessment then there protocol would be to go back to there team manager/head of department/director where they will decide on the balance of probability if the alligations hold grounds to go to court and ask the Judge to grant an emergency protection order (EPO) or an interim care order (ICO) the chances are they won't bother to take it that far and they will probably close the case. if this happens then they will archive your file.

Once the section 47 assessment is completed then they have 45 days to finish and complete there report. They then need to decide to either drop the case or to take it further on to a case conference to make a decision if your children need to be placed on to a child in need or a care protection plan.

A care protection plan means that there needs to be enough reasonable belief or evidence to suggest the children in question are at risk of emotional, physical or sexual abuse or neglect under the children’s act 1989, section 47.

possible outcomes are:

• No further action.

• A referral to an appropriate service.

• Immediate provisions of child in need.

• Beginning of a core assessment.

• Commencing of a strategy meeting.

• Emergency action to protect the child.

Remember these golden rules If a social worker from the child protection duty team turns up on your doorstep. DON'T PANIC!!! a section 47 assessment is only to determine whether your children's needs are being met.

Remember Professionals have no human rights they are not operating in a personal capacity but one of only of a professional capacity.

You don't have to answer the door to them !!!

You don't have to let them in !!!

Remember section 17 Of The Children's Act...

All social workers are acting as representing bodies on behalf of children's services as such they must have the parents full consent to be able to carry out an assessment on you or your children. They need your permission to be able to enter your property or to speak or see your children. Legally they have no right to push for entry what so ever.

If you know for 100% certainty that the allegations where made by a neighbour, ex-partner, or anyone with a malicious intent (any public body) just wanting to cause you harm then chances are they will not have ground to pursue the case any further.

You can allow them to see and view your home from the doorstep or living room window, this will allow them to see that your home is clean and tidy it will also allow them to view your children via the window and that they are clean and happy and not in any immediate danger or harm.

If you refuse them entry and sent them packing is they will go back to the director of childrens services and report it to their team manager, they will then go through all your notes and all allegations and any concerns that have been previously raised regarding you and your family/situation in more depth including your current partner, family members etc. They will then make a decision based on all the facts as to whether or not they have a strong enough case to take it further.

Remember if you have already allowed them through your door previously and in to your home then you can't use this afterwards as you have already granted them entry into your home and private family life.

Remember if the concern or allegation was made from another representing body like police, school, health visitor or hospital or you aren't 100% sure who it was then my advice is to play ball with them. They will have grounds to continue with the case and to take it further.

Remember these golden rules before you let them in to your home !!!!

From the moment you know they are coming out to your home then start to keep an up to date timelined diary and make sure you keep a record of absolutely everything.

It is your human rights as a parent to record everything and i would strongly advise that you all do so whatever they say on the matter. It is totally legal for you to record them without their knowledge. It is illegal for them to record parents without their knowledge. The General Regulations Data Protection Act was put into place to protect us the public body not them the representing body. We can record with or without their knowledge for personal reference. Most judges will not usually allow recordings to be submitted as evidence as it could have been edited but to transcribe it up into black and white written evidence then this can be submitted as evidence.

If you record inside your own property then remember this .....

Place a postcard size notice on your front door somewhere that isnt obvious to the eye. Then it cannot be your fault if a professional does not notice it. Make sure you put the date on it aswell and take a timestamped photo of it then anything recorded inside your own home can be used as hard evidence these recording cannot be rejected by a Judge, the notice should read something along the lines of the picture at the top of this tab.

If they turn up unannounced please do not feel like you have to just let them in. If it is an inconvenient time then give them your telephone number and ask them to contact you to arrange an appointment that suits your convenience.

When they return.

Do not allow them to just enter you property. Ask to see there I.D badges, make a note of there names and there H.C.P.C registration numbers then ask them politely to wait on your doorstep while you go inside to confirm they are who they say they are. Now close the door on them. Never just walk away leaving your door ajar, you will be taking the risk of them stepping inside and gaining entry in to your home. Remember if they get so much as a foot over your doorstep then you have granted them access and rights to your home and your family. Once the door is securely shut go inside and check on the H.C.P.C. register to make they are registered and fit to practice. If they are not on the H.C.P.C register I strongly advise you to ask them to leave DO NOT LET THEM IN !!! ask them to send another Social Worker out who is infact registered and who is fit to practice. Remember if they are not on the register they are either a trainee or they have previously been suspended or stuck off the register due to negligence, malpractice, gross misconduct or worse by endangering a child previously.

If they are registered and you allow them in to your home they will be asking you questions regarding there concerns about you and your family life this is not the section 47 investigation it is just to introduce themselves and to gain a little knowledge and background information about you and your family. They will normally arrange a second appointment with you to come back a second time to carry out the assessment.

They will be interviewing you and your family in depth when they carry out the assessment. They will also want to see and talk to your children on there own aswell.

They may want to contact your g.p and your children's health visitor ect.... to ask them for there views and input, they may ask them to write up a report or statement aswell.

You have the right to also ask them to contact someone of your own choice who can vouch for yourself and your family and for them to write up a statement of truth on their views and input aswell in your favour.

You are entitled to a full copy of your section 47 assessment case files whether the allegations against you and your family are upheld or not. Make sure you ask them at the time and while they are carrying out the section 47 assessment while they are still in your home. After they have left your home it is then to late as they can refuse and legally they do not have to give you a copy. The only way afterwards is to submit a subject access request which can take up to 40 days for them to send you a copy of your files which will be to late to get if they do decide to take your case further with holding a child protection case conference. Remember they won't offer this information freely or willingly but ALWAYS remember to ask for a copy while they are still in your home.

never ask for anything over the phone!

Always cover your ass, only correspond via email and print of a copy of every single email sent and received. Always leave a paper trail to counteract any further allegations they may make against you.

Never sign anything especially a section 20 !!!!

If you feel intimidated or under pressure and you have no other choice but to sign, then always remember to sign the document, contract or agreement with V.C printed in eligible clear capitol letters and using a dot inbetween the V and the C use this before or after your signature it doesn't matter which way around just as long as it is clearly printed along the same line and next to your signature. The capitals V.C stands for Vi Coactus (V.C.) it is a Latin term meaning "having been forced" or "having been compelled." In Latin, cōgō means "to compel," or "to force." The passive particle of cōgō is coāctus meaning "having been forced" or "having been compelled." The signer uses V.C. with there signature to indicate and to alert the reader that the agreement or document was only signed by you under duress or you felt pressurised in to doing so against your own free will without you fully understanding what you are signing. Doing this invalidates your signature, making the document, contractor agreement null and void. Legally this means that the document, contract or agreement cannot be used as evidence against you in anyway what-so-ever not as as reference or in a Court. Make sure you use reference to this in your evidence.
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2 Jun 2019

Risk Assessments Explained. 

Risk is the possibility that an event will occur with harmful outcomes for a particular person or others with whom they come into contact. 

Risk factors are those things that are identified in the childs circumstances or environment that might constitute a risk, a hazard or a threat. The more risk factors present (or the more serious one single factor is) then the greater the risk of harm.

The aim should be to:

Reduce risk and make children safe;

Empower children and parents;

Understand an individuals strengths;

Know what has worked or not worked in the past and understanding why;

Be positive about potential risks;

Develop a trusting working relationship;

Work in partnership with parents and children;

Help children and parents to access opportunities and take worthwhile chances, but realistic that it might not achieve the desired outcome;

Make decisions based on all the choices available and accurate information.

Measuring the level of risk is crucial to determining both the need for intervention, support and protection as well as shaping an appropriate response to identified needs within a timely manner. Professionals have to make difficult judgements in seeking the right balance between ensuring that responses are proportionate and enabling children and families to participate and have control over their lives whilst also ensuring that they are free from harm, exploitation and abuse.

It is important to acknowledge that risks cannot necessarily be eliminated, but they can be managed and reduced. Risk management should therefore be understood as risk reduction, with no situation considered entirely risk free. There is no definitive, fail-safe method of predicting risk of harm to children and young people. Risk assessment matrices and check lists can be helpful in guiding understanding but they cannot be absolutely relied upon to provide definitive answers to levels of risks faced by children.

Framework for Risk Assessment.

Stage 1 - Gather Information;

Stage 2 - Assess Harm and Risk of Harm;

Stage 3 - Decide the Response;

Stage 4 - Decide the Outcome;

Stage 5 - Review Risk Assessments During On-Going Intervention.

The framework is cyclical, highlighting the need for continual review of all assessment and care plan outcomes through analysis of new information and evidence, while incorporating changes that have occurred for the child and family as a result of intervention or due to other factors.

To complete a balanced assessment, risk factors cannot be considered in isolation - they must be assessed in conjunction with identifiable protective factors. These protective factors can influence the direction or strength of the interaction between risk factors and the decision as to the appropriate response or outcome.

However, where protective factors are identified within a family, they must be verified or checked before they can be assessed as mitigating or reducing the identified risks. Accepting what a parent or relative describes as a protective action without verification may result in a child being placed at further risk of harm.

In assessing protective factors there is a need to differentiate between:

Factors which may provide immediate safety for the child, but do not decrease the overall and on-going risk of harm (for example, the child staying elsewhere, away from the risk, temporarily);

Factors which reduce the overall risk of harm for the child and therefore influence the decision about intervention (for example, the continued and verified presence of a protective adult/parent/family member in the household).

Comprehensive information, and knowledge and understanding of both risk and protective factors is required to analyse what balance or interplay of risk and protective factors exists for a child. The interplay of these factors is analysed during the assessment stage.
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2 Jun 2019

PAM'S Assessments Explained. 

Expecting Parents With Learning Disabilities.

Where there are concerns that parents / carers have a learning disability, the PAM (Parenting Assessment Manual) should be undertaken by a social worker trained in using this assessment tool. If this assessment concludes that the parents / carers do have a learning disability then it is important that the parents support needs are considered and they are informed of the need to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. The social worker should ensure, where possible, they have a legal representative at the Initial Child Protection Conference (ICPC) and at the Birth Protection Planning Meeting (BPPM).

The meeting should take place at the hospital where the birth is planned or expected, or where the responsible midwifery service is or would be if the parents have not booked service provision prior to the birth.

The meeting should be chaired by a Surrey Children's Services Team Manager or Assistant Team Manager and involve:

Community Midwife;

Maternity Services Manager;

GP;

Health Visitor;

Police;

Named Nurse/Doctor for Safeguarding;

Social worker;

Obstetricians;

Other professionals as appropriate e.g. mental health services, probation, substance misuse professionals;

Where required, a legal adviser..

The purpose of the meeting is the same as that of other Strategy Discussions/Meetings and should determine:

Whether a Section 47 Enquiry and pre-birth Assessment is required;

Particular requirements of a pre-birth Assessment, including what areas are to be considered;

Role and responsibilities of agencies in the assessment;

Role and responsibilities of agencies to provide support before and after the birth, particularly the role of adult services working with expectant parent(s);

Identity of responsible social worker to ensure planning and communication of information;

Timescales for the assessments and enquiries, bearing in mind the expected date of delivery;

A contingency plan in case of premature labour;

At the Legal Planning Meeting, the social worker must ensure the impact of the learning disability is fully explored as it is likely that once in the court arena, the parents solicitor will request a capacity assessment. This will assist the court in determining whether an official solicitor should be appointed to act as Guardian for the parent with the learning disability under the Mental Capacity Act 2005...

It is critically important that the pre birth assessment identifies as early as possible whether the parent has a learning disability. These parents are particularly vulnerable and in cases where removal of the baby might be the outcome, evidence illustrating what measures have been taken to support the parents and ensure the Human Rights Act 1998 has not been contravened will be required. This is particularly pertinent where the parents learning difficulties preclude them from giving informed consent to the proposed plan.
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22 Jan 2019

Viability assessments, connected person assessments Explained. 

Special Guardianship assessments are called viability assessments this also applies for connected person assessments aswell here is what they are looking for.

Viability assessments are usually conducted by friends and family social workers in the Local Authority family placement service or by sessional workers commissioned by the team manager. In exceptional circumstances locality workers may need to conduct a viability assessment.

A viability assessment considers the likelihood of carers being able to meet the physical and emotional needs of the children now and throughout their childhoods; 

whether they will be provided with stability and boundaries and whether they will be safe. Police and medical checks are initiated. 

The outcome of the viability assessment is shared with the carer, the child's social worker, the children's guardian (if the child is the subject of care proceedings) and the commissioning manager.

Discussions with the prospective carer(s) cover the following:

His/her level of motivation for providing a permanent home for the children;

Current family relationships and functioning;

The carers' experience of parenting their own children;

The difficulties that may have led to the family breakdown and his/her insight into this;

Where children are already placed the assessment covers how well the carer is coping at the present time.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY CARERS AND OTHER PEOPLE CONNECTED TO A "LOOKED AFTER" CHILD.

The qualities and abilities that make a good carer

What they are looking for...

What is already evidential with in the proposed family ?

Well settled in their present home.

High commitment and dependability.

Evidence of ability to maintain long standing relationships.

Warm supportive relationships within the family, sharing responsibilities.

Evidence of good parenting of own children and of secure attachments.

Ability to deal with the strain of changing family roles.

Sufficient time and space to devote to everyone in the family.

Strong sense of kinship and belonging with positive family traditions.

What support network does the carer have?

Sufficient support network.

Members of the network supportive of the prospective carers and willing to help with child care.

Can the carer meet the child's educational needs?

Ability to promote the child's educational and health needs.

Good relationships with the children's schools.

Supporting positive out-of-school activities and interests.

Ability to work with professionals and to seek out and accept help.

Commitment to using training and professional support (foster carers).

What is the child’s relationship like with the proposed carer?

Prospective carers and their children, if any, have positive, well-established relationship with the children to be placed.

Enjoyment of the child’s company, liking the child.

Evidence of good quality relationship between the child and carer.

What are the child’s views with regard to the proposed placement?

what are the wishes and feelings of the child regarding this placement?

Ability to listen and communicate with the child.

Evidence that carer understands the child’s needs and has the ability and capacity to meet them long term.

Can the carer offer and meet the needs of the child?

Ability to set appropriate boundaries and manage the children's behaviour.

Ability to accept the individual child as they are and to provide appropriate care.

Ability to promote the child's self-esteem.

Capacity to offer warm, stimulating care.

Capacity to understand, adapt to and meet the child's changing needs.

Does the carer have the understanding of the child?

Capacity to be realistic about the possible problems and special needs which the child may present.

Understanding and acceptance of the real reasons which led to the child's removal from the parents' care.

Ability to protect the child from further harm.

Long term commitment to the child and ability to put their welfare first, even when it conflicts with loyalty/ concern for the birth parents.

Acknowledgement of the parents' difficulties which led to Social Services intervention.

Does the child have additional emotional and behavioural needs as a result of their experience?

Knowledge of the child’s development understanding the impact of poor parenting.

Has the child any siblings if so has a sibling assessment been done? What are the plans regarding contact and can the proposed carer facilitate contact?

Awareness of, the child's need to maintain links with significant people and ability to manage contact arrangements.

Commitment to helping the child develop an understanding of their history and promote a positive identity including their ethnic and cultural identity.

Shared moral or religious code.

What they don’t want is ..

multiple relationships.

relationship breakdowns.

High number of moves in the last 10 years within and between countries. Plans to move in the next year.

High number of people who would be Involved with the child.

where the current accommodation is temporary, overcrowded and/or poorly maintained and there are no realistic prospects for re-housing within near

future.

Where the family is in debt to the point that it cannot manage its finances, is in danger of losing the home due to arrears or would be wholly dependent on the fostering allowance to support the family.

Lack of empathy for the child and persistent complaints about there behaviour.

Rigid, coercive discipline without time, patience and coaxing to obtain the child’s compliance.

Regular use of physical punishment, threats or bribes.

Chronic inconsistency or inability to set ordinary boundaries.

Unwillingness or inability to understand or meet the identified educational, medical or emotional needs of the child, including those who may require a high level of specialist care.

where medical and/or psychiatric history and current state of health give serious cause for concern about the prospective carer's.

where the medical opinion is that the carer may not survive all the years of the child's dependence or retain sufficient energy and vigour to meet the child's needs until independence.

if the carer has a drug or alcohol dependence that is likely to affect the carer’s ability to offer safe care.

Criminal record of prospective carer and adults in the household. Certain types of offences will automatically bar the offender from caring for a child. i.e. any conviction for an offence against a child under Schedule 1 of the Criminal Justice Act. Other offences will need to be discussed in detail to

establish if they may impact on the care of the child. Any conviction for an offence involving violence will be of particular concern.

where the needs of other children and or dependent adults in the household/network are likely to conflict with the needs of the child to be placed.

where there have been serious difficulties in how the prospective carers parented their own children,

particularly a history of abuse or neglect.

Presence in the household of children of similar age, and/or children, who have major needs/difficulties of their own.

Assessors would need to explore thoroughly the implications of placing another child for the carer's own children. Do the carer's own children have an existing positive relationship with the child/ren needing placement? What are the children's views, wishes and feelings? How does the carer envisage juggling everybody's needs? Presence of household members, who have a negative, potentially or actually abusive relationship with the child/ren.

Unwillingness or inability to protect the child from abusive parents and enforce restrictions on contact with birth parents.

Poor relationship with one or both of the child/ren's parents. How is this shown? How is it likely to impact on proposed contact arrangements?

Persistent discord and divided loyalties in the network.

Evidence of collusive, enmeshed relationship with the child/ren's parents

Lack of co-operation with social services and other professional services.

Inability to demonstrate an understanding of children's development and needs.

Name:
Comment:
1 Jun 2019

Pre-birth Assessment Tools Explained. 

The Local Authority will be looking at and carefully considering a range range factors when considering whether or not to carry out pre-birth assessments on families they will be trying to tease out issues that they feel have potential for having a significant negative effect and impact on your unborn baby.

They use the word “parent” loosely and interpret it as the mother and father, the mother’s partner, anyone with parental responsibility, and anyone else who has or is likely to have day to day care of your child. This means anyone involved who is a potential parent or carer in the assessment I'll try to cover as much of the framework for assessment as I possibly can.

I will try to provide you with as much useful guidance about the timing of a pre birth assessments as I can.

Antenatal care begins as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed and midwives continue care in the postnatal period for at least 10 days following birth.

Once your pregnancy is confirmed your G.P will make an appointment for you to see the midwife. Your booking Appointment with your midwife takes place ideally between 8-12 weeks gestation, and if your midwife feels its relevant they will make a referral to Children's Services at this point. So be aware of this and remember it's more like an interview than an appointment. If you get it right at this stage then your laughing my advice is blag it deny everything!! If you have had previous involvement with Children Services and your have had any previous cases closed then when they ask JUST SAY NO! Remember pregnancy makes us women very forgetful and our concentration spam is very limited don't offer yourself up on a plate, let them find out for themselves and do there own homework, it ain't down to us to do there job for them.

The booking interview is a time of collection of information and an opportunity for the midwife and mother to plan her care in pregnancy. It is an ideal time for the midwife to assess health and social needs of families and to consider packages of care and support suitable for individual needs.

Antenatal appointments are arranged to suit the individual clinical needs of the mothers and the initial choices may change if complications of pregnancy arise. 

In the case of home births all postnatal care is provided in the home by the community midwife.

For births in hospital with either the midwife, GP or obstetrician, initial postnatal care is provided by midwives and support staff on the maternity wards. Hospital stays are getting shorter with many women going home within a few hours of birth but generally 12-48 hours are the more normal lengths of stay.

On transfer home care is undertaken by the community midwife for at least 10 days following the birth. Care can be extended to up to 28 days if a particular clinical or social need is identified. 

Following the birth of the baby most Health Visitors arrange a primary visit within 21 days of the birth, which coincides well with the handover of care from the midwives.  

They should hold an initial TAF "team around the family" meeting, attended by the midwife, the local family centre, the health visitor, the parents and the social worker and Ideally with your family GP attending. The reason for this meeting is to explore your family history and determine whether a formal pre-birth risk assessment should be considered and decide whether or not if a pre-birth assessment is needed this meeting should of been done by your 20 weeks gestation.

If a Child and Family Assessment identifies any of the following circumstances, a pre-birth risk assessment will be considered.

The pre-birth assessment should begin as quickly as possible.

The interview is usually at your home or at the GP's surgery. It is here that your midwife will go through your choices for childbirth discuss all your options.

If Childrens services are called in they will be looking for the following risk factors of parents, partners, all household members and anyone else that your baby may be left in the care of, or around once born.

They consider the following as risk factors .....

• Where there are concerns over your parenting capacity and not being able to meet your unborn baby's needs, particularly where parents have either severe physical or perinatal/mental health illnesses or maybe supporting needs like learning disabilities that may present a risk to your unborn baby.

• Are victims or perpetrators of domestic abuse/violence (domestic abuse may start or get worse when a woman is pregnant). 

• Where an adult has already been identified as presenting a risk, or a potential risk to children. Such as someone found by a child protection conference to have previously abused children, someone who has committed a crime against children, or who is a Registered Sex Offender.

• Are already known to Children's Services such as previous parental involvement whether as a child or an adult, where historical concerns have been raised over previous children suffering harm, abuse or neglect where other children have previously been subject to a child protection plan or to legal proceedings or have been removed from parental care.

• Where the expected parent is very young and a teenager/young adult themselves or are a Child Looked After (CLA) or a Care Leaver. this should include both prospective parents not simply the expectant mother. Where this is the case then they will be carrying out a dual assessment and looking at your own needs aswell as your ability to meet your baby's needs.

• Have a history of violent behaviours.

• Where concerns exist about a mother’s ability to protect.

• Are living in poor home conditions, homelessness or temporary housing.

• Any other circumstances or issues that give rise to concern.

• Where alcohol or substance abuse and a risk of affecting the health of your baby.

The Local Authority will be watching at this early stage of the possibility that legal proceedings may need to be initiated either as a framework around a parent and baby foster placement or because separation of parent(s) and baby is indicated.

The pre-birth assessment should be completed to a standard that meets the requirements for evidence in Court Proceedings and should be signed of by their team manager.

Circumstances indicating an immediate Pre-Birth Assessment:

• Always if a previous child/young person has died unexpectedly in the care of the parents and the cause of death is a result of anything other than ‘natural causes’

• Always if a previous child has been removed via Care Proceedings due to abuse or neglect or other Risk of Significant Harm or if they have a current child who is the subject of Care Proceedings or within a PLO process.

• Always if the parents have a child living with them who is currently the subject of a Child Protection Plan.

• Always if there is a current Sec 47 investigation on the unborn that is likely to lead to an Initial Child Protection Conference or Child In Need Plan.

• Always if for any reason (in addition to the above) it is possible that the mother and newborn will need to be separated at birth and CSC will be part of the planning (not including a parent’s request for adoption).

• Always if either of the prospective parents is a Child Looked After (CLA) or Care leaver.

• Should be considered if the parents have a child under 8 who was the subject of a CPP within the previous 18 months.
 

Areas they cover:

1 Name and Expected Date of Delivery:

e.g. Unborn Baby ……….EDD: 01.01.11

2 Family Structurs, Names, addresses, dob, relationships with extended family members.

3 Reason for the Assessment, This should be one of the circumstances set out above.

 4 Sources of Information, Names of professionals and dates as well as any records that have been presented.

 5 Ante-Natal Care, Medical History.

This section is usually completed by your midwife. The central question there looking for is whether there is anything in your medical history that is likely to have a significant negative impact on your child.

Assessment they will carry out and the potential risk to the child they will be looking for.

This section will usually be completed by the Social Worker.

Particular care should be taken when assessing risks where the parents are themselves children i.e, under the age of 18 years and in particular if they are themselves Children Looked After. Attention should be given to evaluating the quality and quantity of support that will be available within the extended family, the needs of the parent(s) and how these will be met, the context and circumstances in which the baby was conceived, and the wishes and feelings of the child (or children) who are to become parents.

If the perspective parent is a Child Looked After then attention should be paid to their long term plan and how assessing for independence should incorporate the thinking of ‘independence with responsibility for a child’.

Questions they are considering are:

• Partner support

• Whether this was a planned or unplanned pregnancy

• Feelings of mother about being pregnant

• Feelings of partner / putative father about the pregnancy

• Any issues about dietary intake

• Any issues about medicines or drugs taken before or during pregnancy

• Alcohol consumption

• Smoking

• Previous obstetric history

• Current health status of other children

• Miscarriages and terminations

• Chronic or acute medical conditions or surgical history

• Psychiatric history – especially depression and self-harming

• Housing/Finance

Relationships

• History of relationships of parents
• Current status
• Positives and negatives
• Violence
• Who will be main carer for the baby?

• What expectations do the parents have of each other re: parenting?

Abilities

• Physical
• Emotional (including self-control)
• Intellectual
• Knowledge and understanding about children and child care

• Knowledge and understanding of concerns and the reason for assessment

Social history

• Experience of being parented
• Experiences as a child, and as an adolescent
• Education

• Employment

Behaviour

• Has there been any violence in the relationship?
• Violence to others?
• Violence to any child?
• Drug misuse?
• Alcohol misuse?
• Criminal convictions?
• Chaotic (or inappropriate) life style?
• Unemployment / employment
• Debt
• Inadequate housing / homelessness
• Criminality
• Court Orders

• Social isolation

Home conditions

• Are they chaotic?
• Does the home pose a health risk / unsanitary / dangerous?
• Over-crowded?

• Is the home a temporary one or is it a foster placement with an uncertain long term plan?

Mental Health

• Mental illness?
• Personality disorder?
• Any other emotional/behavioural issues?

Learning Disability Communication

• English not spoken or understood?
• Deafness?
• Blindness?
• Speech impairment?
 

Support – quality and quantity

• From extended family
• From friends
• From professionals
• From other sources
Is support likely to be available over a meaningful time-scale?
Is it likely to enable change?

Will it effectively address any immediate concerns?

History of being responsible for children

• Are there any convictions for offences against children?
• CP Registration/ Child Protection Plan • CP concerns – and previous assessments?
• Court findings?
• Care proceedings? Children removed?
Is there anything regarding “history of being responsible for children” 
If so also consider the following:
• Category and level of abuse • Ages and genders of children • What happened?
• Why did it happen?
• Is responsibility appropriately accepted?
• What do previous risk assessments say? Take a fresh look at these – including assessments re non-abusing parents.
• What is the parent’s understanding of the impact of their behaviour on the child?
• What is different about now?
History of abuse as a child
• Convictions – especially of members of extended family?
• CP Registration
• CP concerns
• Court findings
• Previous assessments
Attitude to professional involvement.
• Previously – in any context?
• Currently – regarding this assessment?
• Currently – regarding any other professionals?
Attitudes and beliefs re convictions or findings (or suspicions or allegations) 
• Understood and accepted? 
• Issues addressed? 
• Responsibility accepted? 
 

Attitudes to child.

• In general 
• Re specific issues 
• Expectations of what having a baby means/ how it will alter their lives.
 

Dependency on partner.

• Choice between partner and child? 
• Role of child in parent’s relationship? 
• Level and appropriateness of dependency? 
Ability to identify and appropriately respond to risks? 
 

Ability and willingness to address issues identified in this assessment.

• Violent behaviour 
• Drug misuse 
• Alcohol misuse 
• Mental health problems 
• Reluctance to work with professionals 
• Poor skills or lack of knowledge 
• Criminality 
• Poor family relationships 
• Issues from childhood 
• Poor personal care 
• Chaotic lifestyle 
Planning for the future • Realistic and appropriate? 
 

Analysis and conclusions.

The assessment looks at the following issues: 
1. Concerns identified. 
2. Strengths or factors identified. 
3. Is there a risk of significant harm for your baby?What is the risk? Who poses the risk? In what circumstances might this risk exist? 
4. Will this risk arise:  
a) Before your baby is born? 
b) At or immediately following the birth? 
c) Whilst still a baby (up to 1 year old)? 
d) As a toddler? or pre-school? or as an older child? 
If there is a risk that the child’s needs may not be met. 
5. What changes they expect you to make for the well-being of your child? If there is a risk of significant harm to the child? 
6. What changes must be made to ensure safety and an acceptable level of care for your child? 
7. How motivated are you in to making changes? 
8. How capable are you of being able to make changes? And what is the potential for success? 
Name:
Comment:
14 Jan 2019

Connected Person Assessments Explained. 

Connected Persons Assessment......

The following questions are what you will be asked while carrying out the connected persons assessment.

Section 1

A brief description of the child/young person

question:

Could you give me a brief description of (child)?

Just the first things that comes into your mind when you think of him/her.

Section 1, A description of the child/young person guidance,

These questions are intended to ‘surprise the unconscious', so the prospective guardian should be

encouraged to describe the first thing that comes in to their mind about the child. Encourage brief responses to avoid straying on to other subjects of the interview.

Strengths in the relationship might be indicated by:

• The prospective guardian should be able to provide a description that is detailed and is specific to this child.

• The prospective guardian shows warmth, interest and pleasure in the child.

• Description is balanced in terms of strengths and difficulties of child.

Difficulties in the relationship might be indicated by:

• The prospective guardian can provide only vague, generalised information (for example ‘just an ordinary little girl').

• The prospective guardian is ‘cool', detached, disinterested in child. Or indicates hostility, sees child as a burden, or appears frightened of the child.

• Description of child is largely negative and critical.

Section 2

AVAILABILITY – Helping the child to trust

The following questions are about how far the child is able to trust in close adults. We will be thinking about what happens when they get upset or worried about something.

questions:

• Can you think of a particular time when the child was upset or worried about something?

• What did the child do just before, during and afterwards?

• Why do you think the child behaved in this particular way?

• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?

• What did you do at this time?

• How did that work out?

• Was this your usual approach when the child is upset or worried or have you found other ways of helping?

• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?

Section 2, AVAILABILITY - helping the child to trust guidance,

The child.

The child's capacity to trust is developed in the context of The prospective guardian who is physically and emotionally available. The assessment addresses the issue of trust by focusing on the child's capacity to seek comfort when anxious or upset – i.e. to trust that a close adult will be available and responsive at these times and then return to play and exploration.

For this section of the assessment, it can be helpful to consider secure and insecure attachment patterns to help make sense of how the child behaves when he or she is stressed.

Securely attached children

A child will have the means to talk to The prospective guardian as children's services provide comfort

reassurance and support when the child runs into difficulties and enables the child to return to play

and exploration. For example, a toddler might play happily, away from the parent, but glance back or

vocalise to the parent to ensure that they are still there. However, if the child hurts himself, he will run

immediately to the parent for comfort. The quality of the exploration – relaxed, inquisitive, absorbed –

is important here. Comfort seeking for a child is a means to an end – the end being to restore

equilibrium so that further exploration and activity can occur.

Insecurely attached children

Children with avoidant attachment patterns are unable to use The prospective guardian as a secure base and may try to be self reliant when in difficulty. The child is not avoiding a relationship with the caregiver, but is avoiding displays of emotion, especially negative emotion, in order to not to cause stress to The prospective guardian and to maintain some kind of physical closeness. The child may focus on toys or activities rather than seek comfort and may seem ‘unmoved' by difficult events. Such children, may mistakenly be seen as ‘resilient' or said to have no attachment, when in fact they are highly anxious but their learned strategy is to minimise attachment behaviours because they lack trust in the response.Children who have ambivalent attachment patterns have learned to get their needs met by showing their emotions and making constant demands in the hope of achieving The prospective guardian's availability and attention. These children may retreat to The prospective guardian when they are upset, indeed they may be clinging to The prospective guardian much of the time, but without being able to explore, play and learn. They cannot move confidently away from The prospective guardian because they do not trust that the caregiver will continue to be there for them if they do so.

Children with disorganised patterns who have experienced frightened or frightening parenting are left with a dilemma - how do I approach someone for comfort when they will raise my anxiety rather than reduce it? Infants and very young children are left without any effective strategy and they may display confused and confusing behaviour – perhaps ‘freezing' in the presence of The prospective guardian, or approaching and then turning away.

Older, disorganised children learn to use a range of behavioural strategies that are designed to control the The prospective guardian and make the environment more predictable. These behaviours (punitive aggression, compulsive self-reliance, compulsive guardian ) can already be developing in the pre-school years and make it difficult to interpret what the child is thinking and feeling.

The prospective guardian.

Strengths in this dimension might be indicated by:

• Plenty of physical time available to focus on the child.

• Emotional space and availability (i.e. not preoccupied with own difficult feelings and unmet needs or emotionally detached and cut off).

• The capacity to reflect on the child's needs to build trust in them as guardians and to think about ways in which they might support the child to do so.

• Alert to child's needs and signals (e.g. able to identify and describe a time when the child was

worried or upset, how the child showed this/did not show it, what signs they might look for in the child to signal distress etc).

Difficulties in this dimension might be indicated by:

• Lack of time/energy.

• The guardian's own unmet needs (perhaps from the past) are coming to the fore.

• The guardian seems overwhelmed by the child's demands.

• The guardian feels marginalised by child.

• The guardian themselves from the child.

• The guardian doesn't believe a child should need that much attention.

Section 3

SENSITIVITY – Helping the child to manage feelings and behaviour.

Children vary a great deal in how they manage strong feelings such as anger, guilt, excitement and sadness some children show them easily, some go ‘over the top’, some bottle them up. The following set of questions is about how far the child is able to

manage his/her feelings.

questions:

• Can you think of a particular time when the child had strong feelings about something?

•  What did child do when they had these feelings – just before, during and afterwards?

• Why do you think the child behaved in this particular way?

• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?

• What did you say and/or do at this time?

• How did this work out?

• Was this your usual approach when the child has strong feelings or have you found other ways of helping?

• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?

Section 3, SENSITIVITY - Helping the child to manage feelings and behaviour guidance.

The child.

Critical to children's ability to engage comfortably and constructively with play or school work, as well

as in their relationships with family and friends is their ability to manage or regulate their feelings and

behaviour. Being overwhelmed by feelings such as anxiety or anger makes it very difficult for children

to become competent and confident in play, learning or activities with others.

This assessment focuses on how the child manages strong feelings, such as anger, as this is often one of the most problematic areas for troubled children of all ages. However, it may also be helpful to gather information about if and how the child expresses a range of feelings, such as sadness or happiness: are they being comfortably managed or suppressed or expressed explosively and excessively? Verbal and non-verbal, direct and indirect communication of feelings will be relevant. For instance, the assessment will need to include reports of rages and tantrums, but also headaches or tummy aches at times of stress.

The social worker needs to be aware that the child's capacity to express and manage the full range of

feelings appropriately in relationships relies on mind-mindedness (i.e. the ability to think about what

they and what other people might be thinking). In infancy it is the mind-mindedness of the caregiver

which contains and regulates the child's feelings. But as the growing child spends increasing amounts of time away from the caregiver, they will need to think about their own mind and the mind of others in order to regulate their own feelings and behaviour and take account of the feelings of others.

Of concern here is the need to identify and understand patterns of behaviour that would indicate the coping or defensive strategies adopted by a child when strong feelings surface – or the lack of

strategy and dysregulation that leads to extreme aggressive behaviours or to denial and dissociation.

The guardian's Strengths in this dimension might be indicated by:

• The guardian can think and talk about the child's feelings, recognise that the child has strong feelings at times, and that they are understandable, ‘in the circumstances'.

• The guardian has the capacity to ‘stand in the shoes' of the child, to think flexibly about what the child may be thinking and feeling and to reflect this back to the child.

• The guardian can think and talk about their own feelings and share them appropriately with the child and other people.

Difficulties in this dimension might be indicated by:

• The guardian lacks interest and curiosity in what is in the child's mind.

• The guardian appears overwhelmed by own strong feelings - or finds it hard to think and talk about own feelings. (N.B. There is a ‘normal variation' in this; it is extremes that are of concern. Key is the capacity to acknowledge and understand the child's needs).

• The guardian finds it hard to think and talk about the child's past – finds it too painful or feels that the child needs ‘a fresh start'.

• The guardian has difficulty in thinking flexibly about a range of possible reasons for the child

behaving in a certain way.

• The guardian is frequently negative or angry towards child without ‘pause for thought' about

why child is behaving in this way or how best to respond.

Section 4

ACCEPTANCE – Building the child’s self esteem.

The following set of questions is about how child feels about themself and how they cope if things don’t go well.

Questions Part 1

• Can you think of a particular time when the child showed how that they felt good about themself? (N.B. if there are no examples or these times are

unusual, go to Part 2).

• What did the child do when they had these feelings just before, during and afterwards?

• Why do you think the child behaved in this particular way?

• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?

• What did you say and/or do at this time?

• How did this work out?

• Was this your usual approach when the child shows good self esteem or have you found other ways of supporting this?

• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?

Questions Part 2

• Can you think of a particular time when the child showed how that they did not feel good about themself? (N.B. if there are no examples or very few

examples leave this section out and go to Part 3).

• What did the child do when they had these feelings – just before, during and afterwards?

• Why do you think the child behaved in this particular way?

• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?

• What did you say and/or do at this time?

• How did this work out?

• Was this your usual approach when the child shows low self esteem or have you found other ways of helping?

• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?

Questions Part 3

• Can you think of a particular time when things did not go well for the child? (for example, they lose a game, are not successful at something).

• What did the child do when they had these feelings – just before, during and afterwards?

• Why do you think they behaved in this particular way?

• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?

• What did you say and/or do at this time?

• How did this work out?

• Was this your usual approach when the child shows low self esteem or have you found other ways of helping?

• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?

Section 4, ACCEPTANCE – Building the child's self esteem guidance.

The child.

Children with good self esteem are able to enjoy their success, take the risk of trying new things and accept that they cannot be good at everything. Self-esteem, therefore, is often about aspiring to do well, while acknowledging realistically what can and cannot be achieved.

Many children have difficulty in accepting and valuing themselves and the exact nature of this

difficulty for each child needs careful attention within an assessment. The obvious starting point is the child's history, to see where there may have been some opportunities for the child to feel loved and

valued or where particularly harsh forms of rejection or scapegoating may have occurred. This Assessment builds on this by seeking specific examples of good self esteem, poor self esteem and the child's management of failure or setbacks. Because children with low self-esteem have to defend against the feelings that this induces, what the child says openly is not likely to give you a straightforward or accurate picture. Smiles, boastfulness or an inability to accept ‘failure' such as the loss of a game may be masking very low self esteem. Accepting the self is not just about valuing personal qualities or perceived success, but is linked to a developing self-concept and identity. In this broader context, children's ability to accept and value their gender, ethnicity, community, culture and religion are important parts of the self-concept. In the minds of children who experience various degrees of disruption and discontinuity, being lovable or unlovable, a good or a bad person may become linked to being a girl, being of a particular ethnicity or having a disability. Multiple sources of information and observation relating to self-esteem are important in assessment, planning and supporting placements, whether to confirm a pattern or to provide windows on some very different aspects of the child's sense of self that need to be addressed.

The guardian's strengths in this dimension might be indicated by:

• The guardian shows joy, pride and pleasure in the child.

• The guardian can praise the child easily and readily.

• The guardian can help the child to accept failures, setbacks etc in a kind, supportive way.

• The guardian can actively support the child in pursuing the child led experiences, interests and

activities.

Difficulties in this dimension might be indicated by:

• A tendency to focus on negative aspects of the child, little pleasure or pride evident.

• Finding it hard to accept/enjoy the child's individuality and ways in which the child is different

to other family members.

• The child seen as ‘a burden.'

• The guardian offers little active support to the child in pursuing the child led experiences, interests and activities.

Section 5

CO-OPERATION – Helping the child to feel effective and be cooperative.

The following set of questions are about how effective and competent the child feels. Examples of this are:

• Able to complete a task, such as a jigsaw puzzle or laying the table.

• Able to solve a problem, such as a shape sorter toy or how to draw something.

• Able to make a choice, such as which cereal to have or what to wear.

Questions Part 1

• How does the child usually manage when faced with a task, problem or choice?

• Can you give a particular example?

• Why do you think the child's behaved in this particular way?

• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?

• What did you say and/or do at this time?

• How did this work out?

• Was this your usual approach when you need the child to work with you or have you found other ways of helping?

• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?

Questions Part 2

The following set of questions is about how the child manages to co-operate and work together with adults.

• Can you think of a particular time when you asked the child to co-operate, compromise/work together with you? (for example, to get ready to go out, to finish a game and put toys away etc).

• What did the child do when asked to do this – just before, during and afterwards?

• Why do you think the child behaved in this particular way?

• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?

• What did you say and/or do at this time?

• How did this work out?

• Was this your usual approach when you need the child to work with you or have you found other ways of helping?

• How did the child’s behaviour at this time make you feel?

Section 5, CO-OPERATION – Helping the child to feel effective – and be co-operative guidance.

The child.

The more appropriately effective and assertive a child is able to be, the more likely it is that the child

will co-operate and compromise. Such a child has learned that assertiveness combined with willingness to make some concessions and co-operate with others is most likely to achieve their goals and maintain valued relationships.

This Assessment focuses on the extent to which the child can co-operate/work together with adults and this provides a window to the child's feelings of effectiveness. However, the assessment of effectiveness is rarely straightforward and this area may need additional consideration and analysis. Some children's sense of effectiveness has been so undermined that they cannot assert themselves at all and they behave in a dependent and passive way. Other children become so frightened by their own powerlessness that they can only feel comfortable when they are in total control of others, and so seem very powerful. Similarly, being undemanding and self-reliant can actually be quite controlling, since the message to the parent is, ‘I won't let you look after me'. Even very dependent children can be controlling, with the message, ‘I won't let you get on with your life - I need you too much.' Because of the nature and complex links between effectiveness and co-operation, the assessment needs to look at them separately and together. Thus, additional questions may be asked about the child's capacity to make choices or to complete a task competently and confidently.

The guardian's strengths in this dimension might be indicated by:

• The guardian thinks about the child as an autonomous individual whose wishes, feelings and

goals are valid and meaningful and who needs to feel effective (for example, ‘he gets settled

with his toys and it's understandable that he hates it when we have to go out').

• The guardian can look for ways of working together to achieve enjoyable co-operation with the child wherever possible (for example, ‘we make a game of clearing the toys up and he enjoys that so he doesn't mind going out so much').

• The guardian promotes choice and effectiveness wherever possible.

• The guardian can set safe and clear boundaries and limits and also negotiate within them.

Difficulties in this dimension might be indicated by:

• The guardian emphasises the need for control, for example - differences of opinion with the

child are a battle that they must win.

• The guardian finds it difficult to accept /enjoy child's need for autonomy and to allow

choice/promote competence and effectiveness.

• The guardian finds it difficult to allow child to take moderate risks.

Section 6

FAMILY MEMBERSHIP/Helping the child to belong.

The following questions are about how the child feels about belonging to this family or group.

• Can you think of a particular time when you have been aware of how the child feels about being part of this family or group (for example, things that he or

she has said or done which have shown they feel part of things or do not feel part of things).

• What did the child say and/or do?

• Why do you think the child spoke or behaved in this particular way?

• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?

• What did you say and/or do at this time?

• How did this work out?

• Was this your usual approach when this comes up you or have you found other ways of responding?

• How did the child’s behaviour/what the child said at this time make you feel?

For children who are members of more than one family, think of the main other (birth, adoptive, foster) family that they relate to:

• Can you think of a particular time when you have been aware of how the child feels about being part of this other family (for example, things that he or

she has said or done which have shown they feel part of not part of the family).

• What did the child say and/or do?

• Why do you think the child spoke or behaved in this particular way?

• What do you think the child was thinking and feeling?

• What did you say and/or do at this time?

• How did this work out?

• Was this your usual approach when this comes up you or have you found other ways of responding?

• How did the child’s behaviour/what the child said at this time make you feel.

Section 6, FAMILY MEMBERSHIP – Helping the child to belong Guidance.

The child

Family membership is a vital strand of emotional and psychosocial development. Assessment of this dimension requires a great deal of sensitivity to the child's experiences and views, but also to the very different ways in which families work and family membership is expressed . There are also important links to the child's need to develop a coherent sense of identity.

This assessment is not about the ‘strength' of the child's attachment or loyalty as a member of

different birth, foster or adoptive families, although issues of attachment and loyalty are part of the

story, but the quality and meaning of these family memberships to the child. Additionally, if the

arrangements are planned to be permanent, the extent to which they offer support for the child to

become a happy, settled, secure, resilient and pro-social member of the community into adulthood.

All families define their boundaries differently and develop very varied ways of signalling to each other

and the outside world ‘We belong together'. They also vary in the extent to which they include this particular child within their family boundary. Differences may be based on culture, class or ethnicity or simply ways of talking about ‘family'. These differences need to be listened to with care.

However, differences in messages of membership may also be about this child and whether this child

is willing or able to fit in with the family's expectations of its members. Therefore the way in which the child talks, is talked to and is talked about in the family will vary in meaning but will always be

significant. The meanings and long-term value of family relationships and memberships for the

particular child cannot be judged on simple criteria, such as whether or not foster carers are called

‘Mum and Dad', when children's memberships of multiple families are so much more complex than

that.

The guardian's strengths in this dimension might be indicated by:

• The guardian is able to give verbal and non-verbal messages of the child's inclusion in the family.

For children who are members of more than one family:

The guardian is able to talk openly and appropriately with the child about both the strengths and the difficulties of their other families.

• The guardian is able to support the child to get ‘the best' from both families.

Difficulties in this dimension might be indicated by:

• The guardian tends to treat the child differently to other children in the family (this may be very subtle, for example, providing a different sort of biscuit for a lunch box).

For children who are members of more than one family:

• The guardian is anxious that they might ‘lose' the child to the other family or that the other family's values might conflict with and displace their own in the child's mind.

• The guardian talks/thinks negatively about other family.

• The guardian creates unreasonable barriers to contact between the child and the other family.

Section 7

Caregiving and support

• What aspects of caring for this child give you the greatest sense of pride or

achievement?

• What has been or is the most difficult?

• What are the major sources of help and support for you as a guardian for this child?

• Can you think of any particular help that you would like with any of the things that we have discussed?

Section 7, guardian and support guidance.

The final section of the interview explores, with the guardian, the guardian's willingness to seek and use support.

Strengths in this area might be indicated by:

• The guardian showing pride and pleasure in caring for the child.

• The guardian being able to identify difficulties, but not be overwhelmed by them.

• The guardian indicating that they have tried and tested strategies and/or people that they can

rely on for practical and emotional support.

• The guardian being able to identify or be open to further help, if it is needed.

Difficulties in this area might be indicated by:

• The guardian lacking pleasure and pride in caring for the child.

• The guardian denying difficulties (unrealistically) or appearing overwhelmed by them.

• The guardian lacking support or denying the need for support (unrealistically).

• The guardian being resistant to further help if it appears to be needed.

Name:
Comment:
20 May 2019

Section 37 reports Explained. 

What is a section 37 Enquiry .....

A section 37 enquiry can be ordered by the Courts during public law proceedings but are mostly ordered by the Courts in private law proceedings.

The court may become concerned about a child's welfare during a Court case in family proceedings of private law. When ordering Section 37 Report, the court is asking the local authority to consider whether there should be further steps taken in order to protect the child. The local authority has a duty to make these enquiries under Section 37(2) of the Children's Act 1989. The professional carrying out this enquiry should report there findings to the court within an 8 week timescale.

Specifically the local authority is asked to consider whether:

• They should apply for a Care Order or a Supervision Order – if this is decided then it will usually go through the legal planning process with a Legal Gateway Planning meeting and then they will start Public Law Outline (PLO) Proceedings. Remember Care Orders or Supervision Orders can only be made in Care Proceedings.

• Provide services and assistance to the child and there family.

• Take any other action in respect of the child.

No parties involved in Court Proceedings can apply for a Section 37 direction, but parties can suggest one to be carried out to the courts. When a professional is carrying out a section 37 enquiry the child should always be visited and seen when possible and they should consult and update all the professionals who are involved.

Serious consideration needs to be given to any concerns that meet the threshold criteria and a meeting to establish if any Safeguarding Procedures or Strategy Discussion need to be implemented and put into place to protect the child.

The report must include the full assessments carried out on the family and all the findings from these assessments they must cover the key areas that the court has asked for guidance on.

This should include:

• The work covered for the assessment, e.g. who has been assessed and who they have spoken to.

• Any conclusions such as whether the child is suffering significant harm while in the care of there parents,

• Any risk of/or suffering any significant harm because of Domestic Violence or Abuse or lack of care by the parents because of this, Section 31(2).

• The reasons for any decision not to apply for an order.

Or....

If they decide to start care proceedings then get legal advice immediately if you are a victim of domestic violence then you are automatically entitled to free legal aid. If they tell you that you do not need legal representation at this time do not listen to a word of this absolute nonesence go get yourself a solicitor as soon as possible.

• They must Detail all service and professionals providing assistance to the child and there family, especially cases involving Domestic Violence or Abuse.

• They must state whether the case will be reviewed or not by the courts or the local authorities and when this will take place.

Name:
Comment:
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