What we do when assessing your child's need
We carry out an assessment of need when you, or someone on your behalf, asks us for help with your children. The assessment helps us to understand what the problems are and how they can best be dealt with. It identifies your children’s needs and also tells us whether you need any extra help as a parent.
The assessment process will involve collecting information, talking this through with you and agreeing what might be done. You will be given a copy of the form we fill in recording about the assessment.
Three Stages to an Assessment
The assessment, by social workers and other professionals, will be carried out in a way that will encourage you to take part and have your say. The following is a brief outline of the 3-stage assessment process:
This stage gathers the views, from everyone concerned, about the important problems or difficulties facing your family. It also looks at your family’s strengths and at any significant factors affecting family members.
Looking at the problems or difficulties
The social worked will want to talk to all members of your family, including your children. The worker will take into account the ethnic and cultural background of family members and any specific needs that you or they may have. If required, interpreters can be provided.
Talking to children
It is important that the social worker understands the views of the children in your family. If the children are old enough to be involved in the assessment process, the social worker will encourage and help them to take part.
Social workers will normally want at least one session on their own with your children. This is so the children can speak without being influenced by what their parents might say. As a parent, you can help by explaining to your children that they should speak freely to the social worker.
Helping children give their views
Social workers use a number of ways to help children give their views. Some will not be old enough to communicate verbally, while others may find talking too difficult or may be too shy. A social worker faced with these difficulties can use other ways of helping children express themselves – perhaps through drawing or painting, tape recording or play.
The social worker will tell you how they will be trying to find out your children’s views.
Information from other agencies
The social will usually want to talk to other people who know your family or have been involved with you, and who might have helpful views. These other people might include, for example, teachers, health visitors, GPs and youth workers.
The social worker will discuss with you who they feel might provide useful information. They will ask you for your agreement to contact these people.
We will discuss with you any information that we get back from other agencies. You will then have the opportunity to give your views on what others are saying about you and your family.
This stage compares your child to the average child of the same age, and looks at their health and development. We will decide if your child a ‘child in need’ who requires help from Social us. A ‘child in need’ is a child who is not reaching a reasonable standard of health or development.
Looking at the effects on your children
The social worker will want to see if the problems your family is experiencing are affecting the health and development of your children. We will be thinking about:
whether your child is healthy
how they are developing intellectually and educationally
what their behaviour and emotional well-being is like
what they think of themselves
how they are developing socially
how well they get on with others in the family and outside
how well they can look after themselves
where they live and whether their physical environment is affecting their development
whether anything else is affecting their development, such as your work, unemployment, financial difficulties or the wider family
The social worker will compare your child’s development to the average for their age or circumstances, and will discuss with you what they think. If you want to know more about any of these things, please ask your social worker.
This stage sets down what needs you have that we can help with, and what the plan is to help you meet them.
Summary of Needs
This is the point at which the assessment is drawn together. You and the social worker should agree which are the important needs to work on. Some of the need will be best dealt with by you, by other family members or by friends. Others will need the help of people such as health, education, housing or voluntary organisations.
You and your social worker should agree who could best tackle the needs your family has. You may be able to organise all or some of this help yourself. If not, we may be able to help you to approach other sources of help.
Some children may also need support from us. These will be children whose health and development would suffer without help. The assessment should outline what services will be provided to your family and when you should get these services.
Everyone involved should have a clear idea of what they are going to try to do to help the situation, and when they are going to do it.
What you can expect from us
We will listen to you, offer advice and, if necessary, arrange support to help you solve your difficulties. However, please remember that we must make sure services reach the people who need them most.
There are many more people needing services than there are services available. Decisions therefore have to be made based on which are the most urgent cases. This means that, sometimes, even though everyone agrees that you need a certain kind of service, it might not be available to you at the time. We will always look for alternatives where this happens, but cannot guarantee to provide a particular service.
We believe that with a little help most families can solve their own problems. Our aim is to help you do that.
How to contact us
Children and Young People's Service
1 Grey Friars, Leicester, LE1 5PH
0116 253 1191 (Mon-Thur 8.30am-5pm, Fri 8.30am - 4.30pm)
0116 251 8040
0116 255 1606 (outside office hours only, at weekends, etc)
An interpretation service is available to help people whose first language is not English.
You can also contact the Children's Rights Service for more information, help and advice.