Cafcass has announced several new tools and resources to support case analysis when working with children and families. This follows a review to identify where they could make improvements to their assessment toolkit and was informed by practitioners.
The new tools include:
- A pathway to help structure the analysis of cases featuring domestic abuse to ensure systematic review of risk and a tool to assess coercive control
- Tools to assess levels of risk related to neglect, parents’ capacity to change and risk of re-abuse in public law (care) cases.
- Tools for direct work with children with disabilities or additional needs
- A tool to assess a child’s level of risk of child sexual exploitation.
The review, led by Sarah Parsons (pictured), Assistant Director and Cafcass’ Principal Social Worker, drew on the expertise of a group of practice managers, supervisors and practitioners from across Cafcass, and incorporated feedback from teams.
Talking about how the tools are helping drive up the quality of their casework and the importance of improvements being practitioner-led, Sarah says: “It has been our model of assessment, since initial introduction of the tools matrixin 2014, to apply the tools as standard practice.
"Audits have shown that they are being used in a high proportion of cases as intended and have helped improve assessments, with an increase in the quantum of work assessed as Good and Outstanding. We want to build on this to achieve even greater consistency in our work and ensure that practitioners are getting the most out of available resources.
“Supporting proportionate working, the tools complement the core social work skills and professional judgement of our practitioners. They have clear benefits in helping us structure and improve the depth of analysis, which in turn better informs our recommendations to court.”
"One of the first steps in enhancing the toolkit and improving accessibility was to go to teams to ask how practitioners were experiencing the tools. We asked what else we could add to the kit to further strengthen and support their assessments. It’s important that everything we do practice-wise is informed by our frontline staff and their case experience.”