Child and family assessment KSS 6

Last reviewed: 6 June 2023 

family reading

Photo: Rawpixel Fotolia

This page sets out the knowledge and skills listed under point 6 (child and family assessment) 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 6 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:

•      Carry out in-depth and ongoing assessment of social need and risk to children, with emphasis on parental capacity and capability to change.

•      Use professional curiosity and authority while maintaining a position of partnership, involving the family members, including fathers.

•      Acknowledge any conflict between parental and children’s interests, prioritising the protection of children.

•      Use child observation skills, genograms, ecomaps, chronologies and other evidence-based tools ensuring active family participation.

•      Incorporate contributions from other professional disciplines.

•      Hold an empathic position about difficult social circumstances, the relationship between poverty and social deprivation, and the effect of stress on family functioning, providing help and support.

•      Take into account how individual histories might affect the ability of adults and children to engage with services.

•      Recognise and address behaviour that may indicate resistance to change, ambivalent or selective cooperation with services, and recognise when there is a need for immediate action, and what other steps can be taken to protect children.

Writing chronologies explores how to put people first in chronologies and use chronologies as a key tool in assessment and analysis, rather than seeing them as an administrative chore.

Parenting assessments looks in detail at what parenting assessments involve and the messages from research about effective approaches and tools to use in different circumstances, with a particular emphasis on parents’ capacity to change.

How to apply systemic practice in your work includes the use of ecomaps and genograms, with case studies to help you think about how you assess and support families.

How to use professional curiosity to understand social and emotional responses helps use unlock further reasoning and hypotheses when working with family.

Guide to risk assessment of child neglect sets out a framework to help practitioners better identify and assess neglect.

Pre-birth risk assessments looks at different models of assessing risk for unborn children with case examples and tips on overcoming challenges

Using attachment theory in assessments explains how to use attachment-related knowledge and tools to understand the dynamics of parent-child interaction.

Attachment-based trauma and parenting considers how a parent’s trauma history might affect how they engage with services, as well as their parenting.

The trauma-informed practice hub includes further information about a trauma-informed approach and the impact of ‘adverse childhood experiences’.

Working with fathers in child protection: lessons from research explores the potential barriers in work with fathers, and how to overcome these.

Learn on the go: poverty, child protection and the care system discusses research into poverty and deprivation and how this links locally to the proportion of children in care and on child protection plans.

Initial meetings with young people: an intersectional and systemic approach explores how race, gender, class, sexuality and abilities overlap in a person’s identity and how this can inform relationship building.

Anti-racist social work: podcast considers why adults and children from some cultural groups may have less engagement with services and how practice could better reach them.

Rethinking ‘disguised compliance’ critically considers the use of this term in practice and suggests relationship-based approaches to working with families who are resistant to change and cooperate selectively with services.

Links to resource maps for other parts of the KSS:

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