Adult mental and physical health, substance use and domestic abuse KSS 4

Last updated: 6 June 2023

mother and baby with bottle of alcohol

Photo: fotolia/silentalkex88

This page sets out the knowledge and skills listed under KSS 4 (adult mental & physical health, substance use, domestic abuse) in the Department for Education’s post-qualifying standard: knowledge and skills statement for child and family practitioners (KSS). Against this, we have mapped Community Care Inform guides, research, learning tools and other resources to help social workers meet KSS 4 as part of learning and development during the ASYE, and other career and continuing professional development. The links to the resources are in blue; click to follow them to the page you’re interested in.

 What does the statement say?

 Resources to help you

A child and family social worker should be able to:

•      Identify the impact of adult mental ill health, substance misuse, domestic abuse, physical ill health and disability on family functioning on children, including those who are young carers.

•      Access help from other professionals to identify and prevent adult social need and risk, including mental health and learning disability assessments.

•      Coordinate emergency and routine services and synthesise multi-disciplinary judgements as part of ongoing social work assessment.

•      Use a range of strategies to help families facing these difficulties.

•      Identify concerning adult behaviours that may indicate risk or increasing risk to children. Assess the likely impact on, and inter-relationship between, parenting and child development.

•      Recognise and act upon escalating social needs and risks, helping to ensure that vulnerable adults are safeguarded and that a child is protected and their best interests always prioritised.

Working with domestic abuse, substance use and mental ill health explores the impact on children and parenting in families where these difficulties co-occur (sometimes referred to as “the toxic trio”), and how to support and engage children and adults.

The guide to parental mental illness explores how it can affect parenting and family wellbeing and how to address barriers to working with families.

Domestic abuse knowledge and practice hub contains guides, quick guides, lessons from research and CPD sessions including:

Practice scenario videos of a social worker talking to a parent about alcohol misuse, a victim of domestic abuse and a perpetrator include commentary and reflection questions look at different strategies for helping families facing these difficulties.

Parental substance misuse: working with children, parents and carers and Adults who use alcohol and other drugs: lessons from research provide key points for effective practice and interventions in families where substance or alcohol use is a problem.

Parenting assessments provides tips on incorporating an understanding of parental difficulties such as mental illness and domestic violence into assessments, as well as messages from research about what makes for an effective assessment.

Multi-agency working: leading the professional network and chairing meetings covers working with other professionals and encouraging a coordinated approach.

Mental health problems directory provides an alphabetical list of conditions with a summary of the condition, the causes and symptoms and how it is diagnosed and treated (see also the medical conditions A-Z).

Learn on the go podcast: parents with learning disabilities discusses ways to build good relationships with parents and how to make parenting assessments a more positive, supportive and constructive experience.

Interactive supported learning

If your organisation has a workforce licence, you can access interactive quizzes and case scenarios to help you test your knowledge. The quiz on domestic abuse covers research, practice and the law.

Find out more about supported learning by contacting our helpdesk.

Links to resource maps for other parts of the KSS:

You might be interested in…

Online resource map for all parts of the KSS
PDF version of the resource map for all parts of the KSS
Quick guide to the knowledge and skills statements and their role in the ASYE, accreditation and ongoing professional development
Map of resources for the practice supervisor KSS