Children's Assessment

An assessment will tell us whether a child is eligible to receive services. 

In emergencies, a social worker will look at the child’s needs, whether the family is able to meet those needs, and health and education.

They will decide with you what services would most help.

We aim to complete initial assessments within 7 working days and may also complete a more detailed core assessment within a further 35 working days.

To ensure that those most in need get the services first we have to prioritise the way we allocate services. The priority areas and the needs are:

  • Priority 1 - child or young person is in immediate risk of harm
  • Priority 2 - risk situations where the child or young person is likely to suffer significant harm
  • Priority 3 - where the child’s health and development will be impaired if services are not provided
  • Priority 4 - where advice, information and guidance will promote the welfare of the child or young person

Categories of need

  • actual or suspected abuse
  • children with disabilities
  • parental illness, impairment or substance misuse
  • family in acute distress
  • family problems prevent parents caring for their child properly
  • child’s antisocial behaviour
  • income below state subsistence level
  • absent parents

The time taken to respond to a referral will depend on the level of priority and need, for example:

  • If a child or young person is in immediate danger there will be a response the same day
  • If a child or family is in need of advice and guidance the response time can be up to seven days
  • If following the assessment it is decided that further services are required these will be arranged, again within our eligibility criteria. The services may be provided by Children and Family Services or by another service e.g. Sure Start.

See also the assessment procedure for children with disabilities.