Framework of Assessment

What is the Framework of Assessment for a Child in Need and their Family?

When the local authority have received a referral with regards to a child, they must assess whether the child represents as a Child in Need.

How they go about this is monitored by a statutory assessment framework to help them draw the correct conclusions with regards to the needs of the child and to allow them to make the best decisions for the child’s future.  The framework gives the local authority a systematic way of analysing, collecting and understanding information relating to the welfare of the child from three different views: the child’s developmental needs; the capacity of the child’s parents to provide for those needs and safeguarding them from harm; and the impact of relatives and outside factors (environmental, etc) on the child and his/her parents. Both strengths and weaknesses need to be identified.

The assessment progresses through four, overlapping, stages:

  1. The acquisition of information
  2. Putting meaning into the situation
  3. Reaching an understanding with the family of what is happening
  4. Drawing up an analysis of the child’s needs and the parenting capacity as a basis for formulating a plan.

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;
  • Knowing whether and, if so, where intervention will be required to secure the well-being of a child;
  • A plan of action, detailing who has responsibility, establishing the criteria for success, a time-table (based on the timescale for the child within which changes must occur) and a process for review.