Framework for assessment
The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their
Families was introduced by the Government to assist Local
Authorities in identifying the needs of children and understand
what is happening to them in order to offer appropriate
Improving the life chances to children in need can only happen
when all the agencies, Health, Children, Schools and Families
(CSF) and Community Services work together.
Frequently asked questions
What does the Framework do?
The Framework sets out how the Assessment is going to be done,
how we are to gather information, explore facts and feelings,
understand what is happening and use it to find out what is
happening and what support is needed.
The Framework covers three main areas:-
- Child's development needs - education, health, emotional and
behavioural development, identify, relationships, social
presentation and self-care skills.
- Parenting capacity - basic care, ensuring safety, emotional
warmth, stimulation, guidance and boundaries and stability.
- Family and Environmental factors - family history and
functioning, wider family, housing, employment, income, family's
social integration, community resources.
What will Children, Schools and Families do?
Many of the families referred to or seek help
from Children, Schools and Families will only need
advice or practical support, or many will be involved
with Children, Schools and Families for a short time. Some
families will however, have problems that are more serious or
complicated, and need a more detailed assessment, and the involvement of other
agencies. This detailed assessment would then lead to a plan being
agreed and services offered.
How does the Framework for Assessment change the way Children,
Schools and Families works?
When CSF Personal Service get
information about a family, that is a referral, a decision will be
taken within one working day about what will happen next. There are
- The referral is closed because advice and support has been
offered, or the request is not appropriate for CSF to deal with,
therefore no further action is required.
- The Department will start an assessment which will be
undertaken by a key worker. The Framework for the Assessment of
Children in Need and their families sets time limits within which
an assessment must be completed.
What is an Initial Assessment?
An initial or simple assessment will be completed within 7
working days. This would involve a brief assessment, to address
whether the child is 'in need' and what services, if any, are
required. The child must be seen during the initial
assessment. CSF approach other
departments to ask them to assist, depending on the circumstances
of the child and their family. This information will help decide
whether a more detailed assessment is needed. This is called a core
What is a Core Assessment?
A core assessment is more detailed and should be completed
within 35 working days. Other agencies may be asked to provide
information, offer advice and support or do their own assessment.
For example, the Education Department may contribute to
the CSF assessment, or do
their own assessment depending on the child's circumstances. This
assessment should also identify the services and support the child
and family need.
If there are concerns or allegations about a child, a meeting is
held to discuss the information and decide what will happen next.
Support can be offered by completing a core assessment, or by
offering the services required to support the child and their
family. If it is agreed that a child is suffering significant harm,
an investigation will be started by CSF. The Police and
other agencies e.g. Health may also be involved.
What is a Child Protection Case Conference?
The investigation may show that the family needs support, and a
core assessment is completed, identifying whether services are
required. The investigation may decide that a Child Protection Case
Conference should take place. The parents or carers of the child
are invited to attend the conference.
The conference will happen within 15 working days of a decision
to start an investigation. The conference will decide whether to
place the child's name on the Child Protection Register or not.
What happens if my child's name is placed on the Child
If a child's name is placed on the Child Protection Register, a
Child Protection Plan is agreed with the parents or carers, and any
other significant people working with the child, and meetings are
What happens if my child's name is not placed on the Child
If a child's name is not placed on the Child Protection
Register, but it is agreed that the child is in need and the family
need support, a core assessment will take place.
At each stage, CSF must follow the
assessment, and look at the child's developmental needs, parenting
capacity and family and environmental factors. CSF must work with the
child, their family and any other significant person who is
involved with the child, e.g. teacher or health
visitor. CSF must also look at
providing support and services to assist the child and their
family, if appropriate.
What does this mean for me?
The time limits for CSF to make decisions
and complete assessments, means that advice, support and services
can be offered to children and their families as quickly as
possible. If CSF can not help, or the
services should be offered by another agency, the child and family
will be advised who can help them.
Sometimes, people do not want to speak to CSF, or are worried
about Social Services being involved with their family. It is very
important that Social Services talk to you. We need to have the
right information, and we want to try to offer support and advice
to help you. If you have any worries, speak to the social worker,
or ask for someone else to speak to Social
Services/ CSF on your behalf. We
want to work with you to help you.
Will you need to speak to other professionals?
Yes, we may need to speak to other professionals. If we do we
will need to obtain permission from you, this is obtained using a
Last Updated on 6/8/2010