Local Keywords

Child and Family Assessment

Assessments are undertaken of the needs of individual children to determine what services to provide and action to take. They may be carried out:

  • To gather important information about a child and family;
  • To analyse their needs and/or the nature and level of any risk and harm being suffered by the child;
  • To decide whether the child is a Child in Need (Section 17) and/or is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm (Section 47); and
  • To provide support to address those needs to improve the child's outcomes to make them safe.

With effect from 15 April 2013, Working Together to Safeguard Children removed the requirement for separate Initial Assessments and Core Assessments. One Assessment may be undertaken instead. This single assessment approach was re-affirmed in Working Together to Safeguard Children.

The maximum timeframe for the assessment to conclude, such that it is possible to reach a decision on next steps, should be no longer than 45 working days from the point of referral. If, in discussion with a child and their family and other professionals, an assessment exceeds 45 working days the social worker should record the reasons for exceeding the time limit.

Assessments should be conducted in accordance with Chapter 1 of Working Together to Safeguard Children, and the Local Protocol for Assessment.


The child's parent, person who has Parental Responsibility for the child or person who had a Residence Order for the child immediately before the making of a Care Order or Interim Care Order.

Specified Offence

A "specified offence" means:

  • An offence against a child;
  • An offence specified in AAR, Part 1 of Schedule 3;
  • An offence contrary to section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. This relates to goods which are prohibited to be imported under section 42 of the Customs Consolidation Act 1876 (prohibitions and restrictions relating to pornography) where the prohibited goods included indecent photographs of children under the age of 16; or
  • Any other offence involving bodily injury to a child, other than an offence of common assault or battery.