A child and family assessment’s goal is to gather enough information about the child and family to understand their needs and make decisions about the following:
The nature and severity of the concerns or needs described in the referral, as well as what intervention or support is required, whether the child meets the criteria for ongoing services as a ‘Child in Need.’
A maximum timeframe of 45 working days from referral to completion allows for flexibility and individualization of response. Still, the speed should be determined by the needs of the specific children and risk. The evaluation must include visits to the child.
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If there are any concerns about a child’s safety, the Kent & Medway Safeguarding Child Protection procedures must be followed.
The Child and Family Assessment will be based on the following criteria:
The information contained in the inter-agency referral form (and, if attached, the joint assessment);
A proactive process of sharing and gathering information through conversations with critical relevant professionals and networks (for example, the child’s GP, school, Health Visitor, Children’s Centre Manager, and so on). Parents/caregivers must consent to share information in ‘Child in Need’ referrals. Evidence of consent may be required.
Any historical data held by the agency; or any other local authority;
A visit to the family’s home to answer any outstanding questions. If the child is of sufficient age and understanding, they should be seen alone with the permission of the parent/carer, and the bedroom should be observed. If this permission is not obtained and there are concerns about child protection, the Kent and Medway Safeguarding Children procedures must be followed.
The “voice of the child” must be included in the evaluation.
The collection of pertinent information will:
Focus on the child’s developmental needs; Focus on the capacity of the parents/caregivers to meet the child’s developmental needs;
Reflect the family’s strengths as well as any challenges;
Consider whether the parent/caregiver has needs separate from the child that may necessitate the provision of adult community care services.
Consider the impact of any family or environmental factors on the child’s well-being.
Note: If there is a suspicion of exploitation or trafficking, the National Referral Mechanism should be contacted. See Digital Referral System: Report Modern Slavery for more information.
The Child & Family assessment will determine whether the child is a ‘Child in Need’ eligible for services and, if so, priority decisions. Completing an assessment will ensure the provision of services is on time. In some cases, service will be provided concurrently with the assessment process if the assessing social worker deems it necessary.
Within 24 hours of receiving a referral to Children’s Advice and Duty Services, all decisions will be recorded on the allocation record and signed by the relevant senior practitioner (CADS). Following the completion of the assessment, the child’s parents/caregivers and, if age appropriate, the child involved in the assessment will be given a copy of the assessment.
Within 24 hours of the assignment, the professional referrer should be contacted and notified in writing of the assigned social worker. The referrer should be given feedback on the outcome of a referral.
Diagram of Child Safety
The assessment should be holistic, drawing together a family history concerning prior information and chronologies and recognizing the child’s and family’s existing strengths and skills. Its goal is to identify the needs of the child and other family members and to agree on the desired outcome of any involvement. It will be structured with the full and active participation of the parents/caregivers and child. Other family members should be included as needed.
The child’s voice, wishes, and feelings must be ascertained and recorded where possible, and due consideration must be given to them, considering their age and understanding. A variety of age-appropriate techniques or techniques to overcome communication barriers can be used to gain an understanding of the child’s feelings. It should be uncommon for the child’s voice to be ignored in an assessment. Practitioners should consider current research and communication techniques for children and adolescents.
Concerns should be directed to the appropriate agency if they arise due to a parent’s (or person with parental responsibility’s) disability, mental health, or substance abuse issues.
Information sharing with parents/caregivers and children
The assessing social worker must give parents/caregivers a copy of the assessment report and share it with children of sufficient understanding. Any disagreements with the assessment will be documented. If You Want To Complain, the family should have already received a copy of the leaflet. The evaluation must include clear conclusions and recommendations. It will identify the needs of the child and family and what outcomes should be achieved to make improvements and bring about change.
The following are some of the recommendations:
Kent & Medway Safeguarding Children Procedures have been or must be invoked to protect the child; Legal action is required to protect the child;
The child meets the criteria for a specialist service, such as Disabled Children’s Team; the child is a “Child in Need,” and a “Team Around the Family” / multi-agency group should be identified to develop and implement a “Child in Need” plan;
The child does not meet the eligibility and threshold criteria for Children’s Social Care/Social Children’s Work Services and can be referred to an alternative specialist children’s service or a lower-level service, as appropriate. At this point, a standard assessment should be considered and discussed with the family. A “No Further Action” outcome should be uncommon.
The decision will be documented in writing to ensure that the decision-making process is explicit, especially where risk management is an issue.
Children’s Social Care/Children Social Work Services will consider what alternative arrangements may be required to meet the child’s needs, including whether a joint assessment will be appropriate, and, where appropriate, discuss with the family and referring professional to enable the family to be linked to the most appropriate service or support. The case will then be closed and returned to the referring/lead professional, who will meet with the family to discuss and plan the next steps.
If a child is eligible for a ‘Child in Need’ service, the results of the Child and Family Assessment and subsequent updates will be made available at relevant review dates to inform child and family planning.
Family Support Assessment
Case management is useful in a variety of settings. You will be using the nursing process to conduct an in-home assessment in Sentinel City® to develop a plan of care for a family. The process of collecting, analyzing, and synthesizing data from a variety of sources can help the nurse to gain an understanding of family strengths, values, and needs related to physical and social determinants of health to promote the health and well-being of the family unit.
Complete the Family Support & Home Assessment virtual simulation activity which can be found by clicking Enter Virtual Simulation.
Once you enter Sentinel Hospital
You’ll enter the lobby and be led to the hospital map
Clicking SKIP will take you directly to map
Select Location: Family Services Or SIMPath Competencies: Collaboration for Improving Outcomes
Once you are in the room, the Family Support Assessment Form will be available. Complete the Family Support Assessment Form by asking the client predetermined questions. When the form is completed, click Submit. Develop a Family Support Care Plan to address the needs of this family using your institutions’ care plan template or use this care plan template.
Include a properly formatted community health nursing diagnosis that addresses either preschool age children, single mothers, or pregnant women.
Increased risk of (disability, disease, etc.) among (community or population) related to (disability, disease, etc.) as demonstrated in or by (health status indicator, or etiological/causal statement).
Example: Increased risk of obesity among school-age children related to lack of safe outdoor play areas for children as demonstrated by elevated BMI rates.
Reading and Resources
Chapter 16 pages 297-316, Chapter 23 pages 395-404, Chapter 20 pages 367-375, Chapter 26 pages 439-447 in Fundamentals of Case Management Practice.
Review clinical guidelines of the AHRQ
Clinical Guidelines and Recommendations
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