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What is an assessment?

An assessment is where we find out about your child's needs and the problems you are having, and work out what help we can offer you.

We need to get a full picture of your situation to make sure we can help and that we offer the most appropriate help. If your child's needs are straightforward, the assessment will be straightforward too. If your child's needs are more complicated, the assessment will be more detailed.

A friend or a relative can be present during the assessment, if you wish. If English is not your first language, or you use British Sign Language, we can arrange for an interpreter to be present.

Why do we do assessments?

The Children Act 1989 says that we have to promote and safeguard the welfare of what it calls "children in need". "Children in need" are children who :

  • are unlikely to reach or maintain a reasonable standard of health without help
  • are likely to suffer significant impairment to their health and development without our help
  • have a disability.

An assessment helps us work out whether your child and your family needs our help.

What happens at an assessment?

Before the assessment takes place, we will talk to you about who needs to be involved and what information we need.

A social worker will meet with your family either at one of our offices or at your home.

The social worker will ask you and, wherever possible, your child some questions about :

  • your child's development
  • how you look after your child
  • your wider family, community and environment

The assessment will take into consideration your ethnic and cultural background.

What happens after an assessment?

If the assessment shows that your child/your family needs our help, we will draw up a plan of action to show what we're going to do; we want you to be involved in this.

We will start to give you the help that you need as soon as we can.

Information we share with others

Any information you give us will be confidential. We will ask your permission if we need to share the information about your family, for example with your GP or nursery.

However, if there are concerns about the safety of your child, or if we have information about criminal matters, we will need to talk to other professionals. In these circumstances we may not ask your permissions to contact other agencies such as school, health services or police.

Comments / Complaints

If you are unhappy with the assessment, you can record your point of view on the assessment record.

There is another area of this site all about how to comment on our services or make a complaint.

Find out more

Contact the Customer Service Centre for more information.
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