Resources for professionals
On this page you will find information and resources on a range of different topics. Click the titles to see more.
Tools for evidence informed practice
The tools below are derived from a range of sources and many are not Cafcass original documents. Each tool has been identified for use by Cafcass staff. Information on the source of each document is referenced in the further information section below.
Table last updated: 06/09/2016
Assessment/resource Guidance on use of tools (relating to key issues identified in the case plan) Further information on the tools Background to the application Private law: select these tools to gather information during interviews as required in most applications. Cafcass tool Tool for parental concerns about their child Private law: select these tools to gather information during interviews as required in most applications. Adapted from FOWLER, J (2003) A Practitioner’s Tool for Child Protection and the Assessment of Parents. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Available from the Cafcass Library. Tool for review of family and environmental factors Private law: select these tools to gather information during interviews as required in most applications. Adapted from Department of Health Framework for Assessment triangle. Information gathering tool. Tool for criminal history Adapted from FOWLER, J (2003) A Practitioner’s Tool for Child Protection and the Assessment of Parents. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Available from the Cafcass Library.
Assessment/resource Guidance on use of tools (relating to key issues identified in the case plan) Further information on the tools Domestic abuse - what we need to know Private/public law: use in interview to establish the nature, how recent, frequency and duration of domestic abuse, to assist in the benchmarking of risk against the Barnardo’s Domestic Violence Risk Identification Matrix. Cafcass information gathering tool to identify the nature, duration and context of the domestic abuse and to assist in the benchmarking of risk against the Barnardo’s Domestic Violence Risk Identification Matrix. SafeLives DASH guidance Private law: use in interview if domestic abuse is current to establish if a referral to MARAC is required. Safe Lives
CAADA DASH: http://www.caada.org.uk/marac/RIC_for_MARAC.html
Barnado's domestic violence risk identification matrix (DV RIM) Private/public law: an analytical tool, not completed directly with the parents/carers. This can be used to explore the level of risk in regard to domestic abuse. Barnado’s
Barnardos DV RIM: Analytical tool, not completed directly with the service user. This is to benchmark the level of risk to feed into the wider assessment process.
Domestic Abuse Practice Pathway Private law: to provide the practitioner with a structured, focussed and stepped framework for assessing cases where domestic abuse is a predominant feature. Cafcass tool (currently being updated) Safe contact indicator Private law: to be used during or post interview to analyse whether contact is safe / in child’s best interests. Derived from STURGE, C. & GLASER, D. (2000) Contact and Domestic Violence – The Experts’ Court Report. Family Law 615 (September).Available from the Cafcass Library. Tool for assessing whether a DAPP is appropriate Private law: To be used to inform decision-making on whether a DAPP is appropriate. Derived from STURGE, C. & GLASER, D. (2000) Contact and Domestic Violence – The Experts’ Court Report. Family Law 615 (September).Available from the Cafcass Library. SCODA - risk assessment with parental drug misuse Private law: to be used in an interview to establish an evidence base for analysis. These domains were developed by the Standing Conference on Drug Abuse (SCODA) and the Local Government Drugs Forum (LGDF). The four scoring categories developed for the DrugNet site. Tool for drug abuse Private law: Tool for gathering information about level and type of drug use. Adapted from FOWLER, J (2003) A Practitioner’s Tool for Child Protection and the Assessment of Parents. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Available from the Cafcass Library.
Alcohol use tool Private law: To be used in an interview to establish evidence base for analysis. GREAT BRITAIN. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH.(2000) The Family Pack of Questionnaires and Scales. London: The Stationery Office. Adult wellbeing scale Private law: to be used in an interview to establish evidence base for analysis. GREAT BRITAIN. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH. (2000) The Family Pack of Questionnaires and Scales. London: The Stationery Office. Tool for parenting knowledge and style Private law: to be used to explore parents’ understanding of their child’s needs according to age and stage of development.
Available from the Cafcass Library.
Understanding of concerns Public law: an assessment tool which can be used with the parent/s at the commencement of involvement.
This is to assist the Guardian to assess the parents/carers understanding of the concerns (which is a first step in assessing their capacity to change).
This can be reviewed at the end of the proceedings to reflect on what changes have or have not been made.
Fowler (2003) A Practitioner’s Tool for Child Protection and the Assessment of Parents –
Jessica Kingsley Publishers ISBN 978 1 84310 050 8
Understanding of concerns, impact on child and actions to be taken Public law: an assessment tool which can be used with the parent/s/ carers at the commencement of involvement, to further consider their understanding of the concerns, the impact on the child, and any actions which the parents/carers need to take in order to address the concerns.
These actions can then be reviewed towards the end of the court proceedings.
Cafcass tool. Capacity to change Public law: an analytical tool which can be used after the interviews with the parents/carers to evidence their capacity to change.
This can be reviewed at the end of the proceedings to inform final recommendations.
Adaption of Di Clemente & Prochaska (1982) in Horwarth (2001) The Child’s World – Jessica Kingsley Publishers – ISBN 978 1 84310 568 8 Parenting daily hassles scale Private/public law: An assessment tool which can be used with the parents/carers to consider their view of the children’s needs and how they are coping with these needs. GREAT BRITAIN. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH. (2000) The Family Pack of Questionnaires and Scales. London: The Stationery Office. Neglect Appraisal Tool Public law: the tool methodology was derived from the Graded Care Profile which helps to ascribe levels of risk and was aimed for public law practitioners for their use when doing their gap analysis in order to help them independently assess levels of risk and so inform and evidence their position regarding interim removal, where neglect is a key issue. NSPCC A 12-step process for assessing the risk of re-abuse to a child, parenting capacity and prospects of rehabilitation Public law: an analytical tool which can be used to consider risks to the child/ren, should they return home to their previous caregivers.
This was the tool looked at in detail on the Child Protection Decision Making training.
For further detail on its use individual or group training can be commissioned.
Bentovim et al (2009) Safeguarding Children Living with trauma and Family Violence (Evidence-based assessment, analysis and planning interventions) Jessica Kingsley publishing ISBN 978 1 843109389 Home conditions assessment Private/public law: an assessment tool which can be used if making a home visit where there have been concerns about neglect and poor home conditions. GREAT BRITAIN. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH. (2000) The Family Pack of Questionnaires and Scales. London: The Stationery Office. Assessment of coercive control Private law: this tool should be used where the Safe Lives Dash has identified elements of coercive and/or controlling behaviour to assess this dynamic more fully in the context of the application. Cafcass tool.
Child developmental needs
Assessment/resource tool Guidance on use of tools (relating to key issues identified in the case plan) Further information on the tools Observation of contact
- Observation and Intervention Guidance
- Materials for Infants up to One Year
- Materials for children aged One to Five years
- Materials for Primary School Children
- Materials for Young People or Teenagers
Private/public law: an assessment tool which can be used to consider the quality of contact and ability of the parents/carers to meet the child/ren’s needs within this context. Cafcass tools. Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: Private/public law: the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a brief behavioural screening tool to consider whether a child or young person has emotional or behavioural difficulties.
The questionnaire can be completed with the parents/carers and also other professionals such as teachers.
For adolescents and teenagers there is a questionnaire for self-completion.
In community samples, multi-informant SDQs can predict the presence of a psychiatric disorder with good specificity and moderate sensitivity –can be used to evidence the necessity of specific intervention or assessment (expert).
The Stationery Office.
Adolescent wellbeing tool (DoH Family Pack) Private/public law: the Adolescent Wellbeing Scale can be used to consider the wellbeing of older children, the impact on them of their family circumstances and their support needs.
As with the Adult Wellbeing assessment tool, it is used to consider whether there are problems in regard to depression and anxiety.
Children’s beliefs about parental divorce tool Private law: to be used when working with children to understanding their beliefs about their parents’ divorce. Kurdek, L. A., and B. Berg. 1987. Children’s beliefs about parental divorce scale. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 1987 copyright, Professor Larry Kurdek, Department of Psychology, State University, Dayton, OH 45435-0001. Used by permission of Dr. Kurdek. Impact of parental conflict tool Private law: to be used post interview to analyse impact of parental conflict and the level of parental influence on wishes and feelings. Fidler, B. J., Bala, N., Birnbaum, D., & Kavassalis, K. (2008). Understanding child alienation and its impact on families. In B. Fidler, N. Bala, D. Birnbaum, & K. Kavassalis (Eds.) Challenging issues in child custody disputes: A guide for legal and mental health professionals. Toronto, Canada: Carswell.
Child’s wishes and feelings tools
Assessment/resource tool Guidance on use of tools (relating to key issues identified in the case plan) Further information on the tools ‘Say it your own way’: Children’s participation in assessment resources Private/public law: resource of direct work tools.
Collection of worksheets – some similar with the Cafcass How it looks to me but there are others that can be used to explore the child’s experience at home and in placement.
DfES and Barnardo’s. Cafcass’ Needs, wishes and feelings pack
See below Resources for Practioners
Private/public law: use these tools to facilitate direct work with children and young people
Use these tools as required to gather information during interviews with children and young people or post interview to analyse the evidence and inform recommendations.
Cafcass tool. Adapted worry meter Private/public law: this meter (from little bit happy to hugely happy) is to be used with the Cafcass emotion stickers to add depth to the feeling the child or young person has picked. Cafcass tool. Board game Private/public law: the aim of the game is to build a sense of trust with the child or young person. The emotions of the board allow them to openly discuss their thoughts and feelings without feeling like they are being questioned. It is made to feel like a game, as the practitioner is intended to join in and share thoughts and feelings. Cafcass tool. ‘I’ll go first’ toolkit Private/public law: to be used when working with children with disabilities. The Children’s society
Resilience and vulnerability
Assessment/resource tool Guidance on use of tools (relating to key issues identified in the case plan) Further information on the tools Rosenberg self-esteem tool Private/public law: a 10-item scale that measures global self-worth by measuring both positive and negative feelings about the self. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton.
Child Sexual Exploitation Screening tool Private/public law: this tool can be applied to all children (male and female) under the age of 18 and its purpose is to enable practitioners to assess a child’s level of risk of CSE in a concise and consistent manner. Cafcass tool. International resilience project - 15 point checklist for resilience Private law: to be used during and post interview. 15 point checklist for resilience, adapted from Grotberg 1997 in DANIEL, B. and WASSEL, S. (2002) Adolescence: Assessing and Promoting Resilience in Vulnerable Children 3. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Available in the Cafcass Library.
Resilience/Vulnerability Matrix (Calder, 2006) Private/public law: an analytical tool which can be used to explore the resilience and vulnerability factors in children which enables an assessment specific to the individual child. CALDER, M. C. (Ed.) (2008) Contemporary risk assessment in safeguarding children. Dorset: Russell House Publishing Ltd. Available in the Cafcass Library.
Assessment/resource tool Guidance on use of tools (relating to key issues identified in the case plan) Further information on the tools Contact: Making good decisions for children in public law A contact planning tool to consider the what level and type of contact is in the child’s best interests. Research in Practice. Learning Curve A resource tool which provides.
good guidance to evaluate assessments of parents with learning disabilities and also guide the Guardians own enquiries.
A Manual for practitioners prepared by Penny Morgan and Andy Goff for Norfolk ACPC. Attachment in children and young people A resource tool, consisting of a summary chart of attachment behaviours. Research in Practice. Children’s needs parenting capacity
Child abuse, parental mental illness, learning disability, substance misuse and domestic violence
A resource tool consisting of research and guidance on holistic assessment of factors which impact on parenting capacity and the impact of these on children. Department for Education 2011. Tool for assessing and supporting family and friends care A practice tool is to assist practitioners in the processes of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of prospective placements with family and friends (kinship care) and identifying the assistance families might need to provide a safe and effective long-term home for a child.
This is primarily a tool for local authority social workers, but can be a good source of reference when considering the quality of such assessments which have been completed.
Research in Practice. Assessment and analysis framework A resource and holistic assessment tool consisting of the assessment framework and factors to consider in regard to parenting capacity, environmental factors and the child’s developmental needs. Child and Family Training Protective and resilience factors A source of reference and review of resilience factor relating to the assessment framework. Child and Family Training Risk and harm factors A source of reference and review of risk factors relating to the assessment framework. Child and Family Training. Assessing parents’ capacity to change A structured approach to assessing parents’ capacity to change which details further assessment tools which can be used.
This is primarily an overview assessment tool more suited to local authority social workers; however provides useful guidance and signposting.
Research in Practice. Assessing risk of further child maltreatment: How to use the tool A resource tool summarising factors which make re-abuse more likely. Research in Practice. Strategic Prompt: Parental substance misuse A briefing to provide decision-makers with an overview of the cross-cutting policy landscape and the available evidence for the development of effective local services. Research in Practice
Resources for practitioners
In some cases Cafcass workers may meet and undertake direct work with families. This will help them prepare a report to the court on what they consider to be in the best interests of the child. Cafcass workers may choose to use some of the tools below:
Child impact tool
This tool is designed for practitioners to work through sequentially, gradually building up to talk about potentially more distressing aspects of a child’s life. It can be used as part of a wider safety assessment and analysis and can be disclosed to the court in its own right as a record of what the child has said. The practitioner guidance provides some more information about how this tool should be used.
My family court record
This tool is not intended for submission to court. Instead, it allows the child to keep a record of their case and their involvement in it for them to look back on in future years, should they choose to do so. The child may choose to complete the sheets by themselves or with the support of the Cafcass worker, their parent or carer or social worker.
My Needs, Wishes and Feelings pack
My Needs, Wishes and Feelings is one of the tools Cafcass workers use to help a young person share their feelings directly with the court, if they wish to do so. This resource has been developed in consultation with Cafcass workers, external partners and children.
Forms for older children
- My needs wishes and feeling summary for older children
- About me for older children
- Important things that have happened to me for older children
- Things that make me feel safe for older children
- My thoughts for older children
- What I want to happen next for older children
- My needs option 1 for older children
- My needs option 2 for older children
- Feelings about my future option 1 for older children
- Feelings about my future option 2 for older children
- My plan for older children
- Express yourself for older children
- What I want to say for older children
- Factsheet for older children
Forms for younger children
- My needs wishes and feelings summary for younger children
- About me for younger children
- Important things that have happened to me for younger children
- Things that make me feel safe for younger children
- What I need now for younger children
- My needs for younger children
- How I feel about my future for younger children
- My plan for younger children
- Express yourself for younger children
- What I want to say for younger children
- Factsheet for younger children
Private law - work after first hearing
Date published on this page Last updated Contact log template 06.03.14 N/A Detailed contact recording template 09.12.11 29.04.14 Case plan template (public and private law) 01.02.10 29.04.14 Analytical writing template 13.07.11 N/A Non specific section 7 report template 04.07.14 11.04.17 Child impact analysis template 11.08.17 N/A
Children and Adoption Act 2006 template - private law
Date published on this page Last updated Contact activity directions and conditions - assessment for suitability and availability 01.02.10 01.12.10 Contact activity directions and conditions - information about compliance or non-compliance 01.02.10 01.12.10 Contact order monitoring compliance or non-compliance 01.02.10 11.04.17 Enforcement - assessment for suitability and availability 01.02.10 01.12.10 Enforcement - reporting non-compliance 01.02.10 01.12.10 HMPPS referral form 01.02.10 01.12.10
Public law and adoption
Adoption policies and guidance
Date published on this page Last updated Consent to placement of child with any prospective adopters chosen by adoption agency 01.02.10 25.11.11 Consent to placement of child with identified prospective adpoters 01.02.10 25.11.11 Consent to placement of child with identified prospective adoptors, and if placement breaks down, any prospective adopters 01.02.10 25.11.11 Advance consent to adoption 01.02.10 25.11.11 Consent to adoption 01.02.10 25.11.11 Consent to the making of order under s84 01.02.10 25.11.11 Withdrawal of consent 01.02.10 25.11.11 Consent to partner adoption 01.02.10 25.11.11 Statement not to be notified of application for an adoption order 01.02.10 25.11.11
Cafcass equivalents in other countries
Republic of Ireland
- Children’s Hearings department of the Scottish Executive
- Scottish Administration’s Children’s Reporter Website
- Ministry of Justice – Advice and information on the family justice system
- Department of Health – Information on health related issues and adult social care
- Gov.uk – Access to all government sites
- Department for Education – Information about children and families, young people, parents, education and skills
- Ofsted – The organisation that is in charge of all Cafcass inspections
- Joseph Rowntree Foundation – Independent social policy research and development charity
- Social Care Institute for Excellence – Information about good practice in adults’ and children’s social care
- Thomas Coram Research Unit – Carries out research related to children and young people in and outside their families
- Nuffield Foundation – Independent funder for research including into family justice
- Research into family proceedings that has used Cafcass data or staff
Cafcass policies can be viewed on the policies page.
Cafcass is not responsible for the contents or reliability of the linked websites and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. Listing shall not be taken as endorsement of any kind. Cafcass cannot guarantee that these links will work all of the time and has no control over the availability of linked pages.
To make suggestions for additional Cafcass forms and templates to be added onto this page please email [email protected]