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Social Worker's Report on Family Assessment must be made under these directives. Framework DOH 2000.

3.8 There is an expectation that within one working day of a referral being received or new information coming to or from within a social services department about an open case, there will be a decision about what response is required.
A referral is defined as a request for services to be provided by the social services department.
The response may include no action, but that is itself a decision and should be made promptly and recorded. The referrer should be informed of the decision and its rationale, as well as the parents or caregivers and the child, if appropriate.

3.10 Depending on the child's circumstances, an initial assessment may include some or all of the following:
interviews with child and family members, as appropriate;
involvement of other agencies in gathering and providing information, as appropriate;
consultation with supervisor/manager;
record of initial analysis;
decisions on further action/no action;
record of decisions/rationale with family/agencies;
informing other agencies of the decisions;
statement to the family of decisions made and, if a child is in need, the plan for providing support.
As part of any initial assessment, the child should be seen.
This includes observation and talking with the child in an age appropriate manner.
This is further discussed in paragraphs 3.41 to 3.43.

3.11 A core assessment is defined as an in-depth assessment which addresses the central or most important aspects of the needs of a child and the capacity of his or her parents or caregivers to respond appropriately to these needs within the wider family and community context.

While this assessment is led by social services, it will invariably involve other agencies or independent professionals, who will either provide information they hold about the child or parents, contribute specialist knowledge or advice to social services or undertake specialist assessments.
Specific assessments of the child and/or family members may have already been undertaken prior to referral to the social services department.

The findings from these should inform this assessment.
At the conclusion of this phase of assessment, there should be an analysis of the findings which will provide an understanding of the child’s circumstances and inform planning, case objectives and the nature of service provision.
The timescale for completion of the core assessment is a maximum of 35 working days.
A core assessment is deemed to have commenced at the point the initial assessment ended, or a strategy discussion decided to initiate enquiries under s47, or new information obtained on an open case indicates a core assessment should be undertaken.
Where specialist assessments have been commissioned by social services from other agencies or independent professionals, it is recognised that they will not necessarily be completed within the 35 working day period.
Appropriate services should be provided whilst awaiting the completion of the specialist assessment.

3.16 As indicated in paragraphs 5.39 to 5.41 of Working Together to Safeguard Children (1999) sometimes it will be appropriate to undertake an investigative interview of a child who may have been a victim to a crime or a witness, with a view to gathering evidence for criminal proceedings.

These interviews should take account of information known from any previous assessments.

A child should never be interviewed in the presence of an alleged or suspected perpetrator of abuse, or somebody who may be colluding with a perpetrator.
The guidance (which is currently being revised) in the Memorandum of Good Practice on video recorded interviews for child witnesses for criminal proceedings (Home Office and Department of Health, 1992) should be followed for all video-recorded investigative interviews with children.

3.17 All such interviews with children should be conducted by those with specialist training and experience in interviewing children.
Additional specialist help may be necessary if the child's first language is not English; the child appears to have a degree of psychiatric disturbance but is deemed competent; the child has an impairment; or where interviewers do not have adequate knowledge and understanding of the child's racial, religious or cultural background.
Consideration should also be given to the gender of interviewers particularly in cases of alleged sexual abuse.

3.21 The term family proceedings is one that is defined statutorily in section 8 of the Children Act 1989.

It includes all public law applications (care, adoption, emergency protection, contact) and a large range of private law matters concerning divorce and separation, including those within applications under section 8 for contact, residence, specific issue and prohibited steps.

Care Applications and Assessment
3.22 In court proceedings involving the local authority, such as an application for a care or supervision order, the local authority’s main evidence will be set out by way of one or more formal statements.
These include the relevant history and the facts to support the threshold criteria (ie. significant harm) for an order under section 31.
Information concerning the welfare checklist (section 1(3) to which the court must have regard will also be included in the application.
3.23 Before making any order, the court must also consider the no order principle (section)
1(5). The court will look to the detail of the local authority’s care plan for evidence as to how the care order, if made, would be implemented.

Guidance about the structure and contents of care plans was issued in 1999 (Care Plans and Care Proceedings under the Children Act 1989 LAC (99(29).

Guidance Notes and Glossary for:
Referral and Initial Information Record, Initial Assessment Record and
Core Assessment Record


In order to meet the assessment time scales set out in The Governments Objectives for Children’s Social Services (1999) a decision should be is made on what the response will be to a referral within one working day of it being received.
The Referral and Initial Information Record records the reason the referral or request for services was made and how it was responded to by the SSD.
For example, some referrals can be dealt with by the provision of information and advice, or by a referral to another agency.
When referrals require a response from a social services department then an initial assessment should be carried out.
The Referral and Initial Information Record therefore has two purposes:
to record basic information on the child and family; and to record the SSD and other relevant agencies response to the referral.
The Initial Information Record can therefore be used by social services departments to process referrals and to record essential information gathered at the point of referral.

GLOSSARY
1. SSD Case No.
This is the index number given to the referral by the Social Services Department. 2. Is the Parent/Carer aware of the referral?
This refers to awareness at the point in time the referral is being made.

15. Reason for referral/request for services
In this section brief details are recorded about the reason for the referral, or services requested by, or on behalf of, the family.
It is important to note these details, even when the services requested cannot be provided, or can not be provided immediately.
16. Further Action
It is important to indicate what action has been taken and what action is planned, by whom and from which agency.
This includes no further action.
The referral should be collated with previous referrals and/or files, which should be consulted and information in them drawn upon as part of the analysis and decision making processes.
The worker who has completed the referral should always sign and date the record.

The record should then be passed to the relevant manager to confirm the action recommended, in accordance with the Social Services Department’s policy.

Initial Assessment
In order to meet the time scales set out in The Governments Objectives for Children’s Social Services (1999) an initial assessment should be completed within 7 working days of the referral being received.

The Initial Assessment covers:
The Child’s Developmental Needs.
These are set out under the seven dimensions in the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families.
As it is an initial assessment of the child’s needs, some dimensions which are interrelated have been placed together, for example, Identity and Social Presentation.
Parents’/Carers’ Capacities to Respond Appropriately to the Child’s Needs.
It is important that parent’s strengths as well as weaknesses are recorded.
Key issues which research has shown to affect parent’s ability to respond appropriately to their child’s needs have been included.
Family and Environmental Factors which have an Impact on the Family.
The environment within which children and families live can play an important role in reducing or increasing the stresses on families, depending on the support available to them.
The purpose of the Initial Assessment is to decide whether the child is a child in need, the nature of any services required, from where and within what times scales, and whether a more detailed core assessment should be carried out.
The fact that a decision is made to carry out a core assessment should not prevent a child or family receiving services which are necessary to support them.

Reason for Initial Assessment
Brief details of why an Initial Assessment is being undertaken should be recorded in this section.

Parents’/Carers’ Capacities to Respond Appropriately to the Child’s Needs It is important to record the strengths of all parents/carers as well as any areas of difficulty they are experiencing.
In relation to the issues affecting parent’s capacity to respond to the child’s needs, research has shown that problems with mental health, domestic violence, drug and alcohol misuse, a history of childhood abuse or being a child abuser are likely to affect parenting.
It is important to record not simply that an issue is present but to whom it refers and its effect on parenting capacity.

Family and Environmental Factors
It is important to record factors that support families as well as those that increase stress.
For example, extended family may offer a great deal of support to a young lone parent, alternatively they may compound their difficulties.
It is also important to note how family and environmental factors have impact on the child and family.

Immediate Action
This section is used to record any actions taken during or on completion of the initial assessment.
More than one box may be completed.
For example, a family may be allocated a specific service, such as sponsored day care in addition to a referral being made to another agency and a strategy discussion.
It is important to remember that if a core assessment is planned, during the process a family should receive services as appropriate.
When deciding which services to offer, it is important to take account of the family’s likelihood of being able to access or choosing to access these services.
Strategy Discussion If at any stage during the process there are suspicions or allegations about child maltreatment and concern that the child may be suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm there must be strategy discussions and interagency action in accordance with the guidance in Working Together to Safeguard Children (1999).

Immediate legal action to protect the child includes court orders applied for by the local authority, Police Protection and orders applied for by parents to protect a child, such as an injunction.

Further Action
Professional judgement is required to determine whether a Core Assessment is appropriate.
In some cases more specialist assessment(s) may be commissioned and this should be recorded. For example, a psychiatric assessment of a parent.
The worker who has completed the Initial Assessment should always sign and date the form.
The form should then be passed to the relevant manager to confirm the action recommended.
A copy of the completed Initial Assessment should usually be sent to appropriate family members.

All decisions will have to take account of the child’s safety and whether permission has to be obtained from other agencies to share information.
In some cases it will not be appropriate to include all the initial information.
For example where a neighbour made a referral but wished to remain anonymous.

The core Assessment Record is underpinned by the same principles as are in the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families and therefore may be viewed as making a major contribution to the operationalisation of the Framework.
It is important to remember that the Core Assessment Record is a tool, and requires the skills, knowledge and professional judgement of practitioners and their managers to use it effectively.
Good tools cannot substitute for good practice, but good practice and good tools can achieve excellence.

Details Concerning Core Assessment
This records the background details to the core assessment.
The reason(s) the assessment is being undertaken and details of any specific matters, including disability, affecting the child.
This section should be completed prior the beginning of the core assessment and will draw on information already known about the child and family from the initial assessment or existing records.

Child’s Developmental Needs/Parenting Capacity
This section records information about the child’s developmental needs and the parents’ capacities to respond to these needs appropriately.
There are two pages for each developmental need of the child; health, education, emotional and behavioural development, identity, family and social relationships, social presentation (for children under five this is combined with identity) selfcare skills (for children under five this is combined with emotional and behavioural development).
The first part of each section records key needs for each child. A Yes/No box is included next to each of the key needs.
The purpose of these boxes should be understood clearly.

The Core Assessment Record is not a questionnaire. The Yes/No boxes are included to ensure that information identified from research as significant for the child’s development or wellbeing is recorded.
They will assist practitioners and supervisors to quickly identify the key factors in an assessment. However ticking the boxes alone is not enough.
It is important that further information is included to provide the context for information which is recorded.
The space to record this information is limited.
This is not to encourage practitioners to be brief, but to be relevant. Practitioners should consider the significance of information before it is entered into the record.

Following information about the child’s needs, information about the parents’ capacities to respond appropriately to those needs is recorded.
Parents’ capacities are detailed across the six areas identified in the parenting capacity domain of the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families :
basic care;
ensuring safety;
emotional warmth;
stimulation;
guidance and boundaries;
and stability.
Key parenting responses, identified from research, are included for each area.
It is important to record the strengths as well as weaknesses of parents.

Summary, Analysis and Plan
Research, the findings of Inquiry reports and Social Services Inspectorate inspections have frequently highlighted weaknesses in this area of assessment.
A great deal of time and effort goes into the information gathering stage.
This results in an assessment that focuses on describing what is happening.
However, often less attention is given to the analysis of the information gathered.
Analysis takes the assessment process beyond surface considerations and explores why particular strengths and difficulties are present, the relationship between these and the implications of them for the child and other family members, as well as considering what types of services would best help the child and family members.
The second part of the Core Assessment Record therefore is concerned with analysis and planning.

Summary
The second part of the record starts with a summary of the needs, strengths and difficulties identified in each of the domains.
Young people and parents are asked for their views.
This provides an opportunity for them to contribute to the assessment summary.
If possible they should be encouraged to write their views themselves or to indicate them in some other form of communication, which can then be recorded.

Analysis
The next section is for practitioners to analyse the significance and consequences of the needs, strengths and difficulties identified in the assessment. This is a key stage in the assessment process.
Practitioners should consider the inter-relationship between each of the domains of the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families.
For example, a child’s difficult and demanding behaviour may be a major contributory factor to a parent’s depression, which may in turn lead to the home environment being neglected.
It will be helpful to list key protective and stress factors in each domain and indicate how they relate to those identified in the other domains. It is important that strengths as well as difficulties are identified.
Parental and family strengths should be built on and used to inform the plan.

When analysing the information gathered, practitioners should also evaluate the impact on the child and family of any services already provided.

Objectives and Plans
This section records the objectives and the actions which are to be achieved to ensure that all the child’s identified needs are responded to appropriately.
The objectives of the plan should be specific, measurable and have clear time scales.
The actions should include those to be taken by the child and family members, social services and all other relevant agencies. It is important that the child, as appropriate, and family members are involved in agreeing the objectives and actions to be taken and that they are able to comment on the plan.
This will enable the plan to serve as a written agreement.

The review of care plans and child protection plans are set out in Volume 3 of the Children Act 1989 and Guidance and Regulations (paragraphs 2.59 to 2.62) and in paragraphs 5.90 to 5.95 in Working Together to Safeguard Children (1999) respectively.
It is good practice for children in need plans to be received regularly, at least every six months (see paragraph 4.36 in Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000)).
There is an outcome section for each objective which should be completed at the review. This enables progress to be monitored and any necessary changes made to the plan.

Using Age-related Records
The Core Assessment Records are age related.
As with the Looking After Children Assessment and Action Records, social work staff should use the record which relates to the child or young person’s chronological age.
It is recognised that for some children this may result in some sections of the record being inappropriate to their needs.


For example, the section of the Education Dimension which records GCSE results may be inappropriate for a young person with profound learning disabilities.

However, the preceding question, Young person’s educational progress is at expected level provides the practitioner with an opportunity to record the young person’s achievements.
It will also be important to record how the parents respond to the identified needs of the child.
It must be remembered that the Core Assessment Record is only a tool and requires the skills, knowledge and professional judgement of the practitioner to use it effectively.

The Core Assessment Record and other Children in the Family

The Core Assessment Record is designed to be completed for each child in need in a family.
A disabled child may have an impact on other children in a family, and this may result in siblings requiring support in their own right.
In such situations a professional judgement will have to be made about whether a Core Assessment Record should be completed for other children in the family to ensure that support provided is based on a clear understanding of all the children’s needs.

Identify This dimension is important for disabled children as they may have picked up messages that to be disabled is ‘wrong’, ‘bad’ or a burden on others. They, therefore, may reject who they are and lack confidence and self-esteem. Having determined how the child perceives him or herself, it is important to record how they view their identity as a disabled person.


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No child can be identified by any posts on this website. Every child should be able to move on in future without reminder of past intervention by any authority. Many victims of the U.K. System are the children.
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