3.3 Family Assessments (Child and Family or Strengthening Families Assessments)
Last reviewed in April 2022
Next review in April 2024
- Timescales for Family Assessments(Jump to)
- Process of Family Assessments(Jump to)
- Outcomes of Family Assessments(Jump to)
- Single Assessment Process Flowchart(Jump to)
Timescales for Family Assessments
Assessments must be completed within a maximum of 45 working days of the date of the referral to Children's Social Care.
Any extension to this time scale must be authorised by the first line manager, with reasons recorded. For example, there may be a need to delay in order to arrange for an interpreter, or to avoid a religious festival. Any such delay must be consistent with the welfare of the child.
The timescale will be shorter where the criteria for initiating Section 47 Enquiries are met at any stage during an Assessment, in which case the Assessment should be regarded as concluded and a Strategy Discussion held immediately to decide if a Section 47 Enquiry is required.
Process of Family Assessments
The Assessment should be led by a qualified and experienced social worker supervised by a experienced and qualified social work manager. It should be carefully planned, with clarity about who is doing what, as well as when and what information is to be shared with parents or carers.
The planning process and decisions about the timing of the different assessment activities should be taken in collaboration with all those involved with the child and family. It should involve:
Parents should be openly involved in the assessment process (see Information Sharing and Confidentiality) unless this may:
The first line manager should authorise any decision to discuss the referral with other agencies without parental knowledge and the reasons for such action recorded.
Professionals approached by Children's Social Care and asked to share information about the child and the family must respond in accordance with the guidance in Information Sharing and Confidentiality and record:
If the child and / or carers have moved into the authority, all professionals should seek information covering previous addresses from their respective agencies. This is equally important for children and carers who have spent time abroad.
Children's Social Care should make it clear to families (where appropriate) and other agencies, that the information provided for this assessment may be shared with other agencies and contribute to the written form completed at the end of the assessment.
If during the course of the assessment it is discovered that a school age child is not attending an educational establishment, the local authority with education responsibilities must be contacted to establish the reason for this.
Outcomes of Family Assessments
A Family Assessment is deemed completed once the assessment has been discussed with the child and family and authorised by the manager.
The possible outcomes of the Family Assessment are:
A manager must sign and approve the outcomes of a Family Assessment and ensure:
Taking account of confidentiality, written information on the outcome of the Family Assessment should be provided to professional referrers and family members. Exceptions are justified only where this might jeopardise an enquiry or place any individual at risk.
Feedback should be provided to non-professional referrers about the outcome of this stage of the referral in a manner consistent with respecting the confidentiality and welfare of the child.