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10.6 Local Protocol for Children's Assessments

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This protocol sets out how we manage cases when a child is referred to us. It outlines what children and their families can expect from any assessment and gives information about how we make assessment decisions. It is consistent with the statutory guidance: Working Together to Safeguard Children.

This chapter was introduced into the manual in February 2015.

When carrying out assessments we will ensure that:

  • Assessments are timely, clear and proportionate to the needs of individual children and their families;
  • Assessments will also identify the needs of:
    • Disabled children;
    • Young carers;
    • Children involved with the youth justice system.
  • Assessments will be informed by the wishes and feelings of the young person concerned, their parents, family members if appropriate and, when they are cared for outside of their family, their carers. The assessments will make these views explicit;
  • Additional plans clearly state how we will meet identified needs if appropriate;
  • Agencies and professionals are clear on how they are involved in the assessment process and make contributions;
  • Where appropriate, other specialist assessments, such as the assessment for children with special educational needs (Education, Health and Care Plan) and disabled children, inform our statutory assessments;
  • The statutory and specialist assessment processes are coordinated so that the child and family experience a joined up approach. This should mean that there is a single planning process that is focused on outcomes;
  • Internal review points with other professionals and the child and family will be managed throughout the assessment process;
  • There is a process for assessment for children who are returned from care to live with their families;
  • Information is available such that each child and family understands the type of help offered and their own responsibilities: this will help ensure that the outcomes for the child are improved;
  • When undertaking their assessment, social workers will make use of certain specific tools that are designed, in particular circumstances, to support their information gathering and analysis. These are: the Questions and Scales of the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families, Signs of Safety (including Scaling), the Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Model (DVRAM), the Child Sexual Exploitation Screening Tool, the NWG Child Sexual Exploitation Risk Assessment Tool and the Parenting Assessment Manual assessment (PAMS).

There are published and accessible complaints procedures to enable children and their families to challenge our decisions and provision of services.

All decisions are recorded in line with the local authority’s procedures. Recording should include information about the child's development. This means we can monitor progress to ensure their outcomes are improving. This will reduce the need for repeat assessments during care proceedings, which can be a major source of delay.

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