SCIE Introduction to...children's social care

Ways of working

Framework for assessment in Children’s Social Care

Assessing whether a child is in need and the nature of these needs requires a systematic approach to gather and analyse information about children and their families. The framework is based on legislative foundations and requires a thorough understanding of:

The model below shows these three inter-related systems.

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Initial and core assessments

CSC will assess a child and their family’s circumstances before the child can receive a service. This assessment may be an ‘initial’ assessment, which currently must be completed within 10 working days. For more complex situations there may also be a ‘core’ assessment, which should be carried out within 35 working days. The type of assessment will reflect the complexity of the child and family’s situation. Core assessments are repeated every six months for families that receive services to decide how effective the help being offered is. Both types of assessment are based on the Assessment Framework.

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Following the Munro review of child protection services, the government is carrying out pilot studies in local authorities to look at changing the timescales for children’s assessment. The studies are also looking at amending statutory guidance, including the policy document Working together to safeguard children (2010).