What is a Children and Family Assessment in children’s social care?
If either you, or someone else on your behalf, has asked Redbridge children’s social care for help with some difficulty which affects your child (or children) this will usually come as a referral into the Borough’s Child Protection and Assessment Team (CPAT). Before the Team can provide help , they will need to know more about you and your family. This will involve collecting information, talking this through with you and agreeing what might be done. This is called a Children and Family Assessment.
Why is an assessment being carried out?
Through making an assessment of your situation, it should be possible to see what help and support you and your family might need, and who could best give that help. Information will be gathered and written down. Although a social worker and other professionals will normally take the lead in completing the assessment, this should always be done in a way which helps you to have your say, and encourages you to take part. Any information provided will be held in confidence. If there is a need to discuss this information with anyone else, such as a health or education professional, you will normally be asked for your permission. The only exception to this is if information comes to light which, in the social worker’s view, may indicate a serious threat to the welfare of your child. If this is the case, you will be told what your rights are in this new situation.
What will happen?
Completing an assessment usually means the social worker will meet with you and members of your family a number of times. When children are old enough to take part in the assessment, the social worker will encourage and help them to do so. The assessment will take into consideration your ethnic and cultural background. If required, help will be provided in your first language. When other people are already helping you and your family, it is likely the social worker will talk to them too. This will be discussed with you. If you do not agree with what the social worker says in the assessment, there will be an opportunity for you to record your point of view on the assessment record. The purpose of assessment is to draw up a plan of action to address the needs of your child (or children) and how you might need help to respond to these. You will be given a copy of the plan.
What will be expected of you?
It is acknowledged that parents want to do their best for their children, and completing the assessment will help the social workers recognise the strengths you and your family have, as well as your difficulties. You will be helped in the best way if you explain what you do well in your family and your difficulties in relation to parenting. You will be kept informed about what action is being taken. An assessment is an important part of working with you. In a very small number of cases, there are serious concerns about a child’s safety. Making sure the child is safe will be our first concern. Please ask your social worker to explain this to you. You have a right to know.
What you can expect from children’s social care
You will be listened to carefully and be given advice and support. If necessary you will be provided with interventions to help you to bring up your children and resolve any difficulties. With a little help, most families can sort out their own problems and you will be enabled to do that. You will be provided with the relevant services as soon as possible, although there are sometimes delays due to demand. If this happens, alternatives will be considered.
What to do if you are unhappy with the way in which an assessment has been carried out?
In the first instance, you should speak to the social worker that you have been working with and try and resolve any issues. If you remain unhappy, you can raise a formal complaint by using the on-line form on Redbridge i.