Resources for professionals
On this page you will find information and resources on a range of different topics.
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: 08/08/2022
Child Impact Assessment Framework
Direct work with children resources
Guidance on use
‘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. DfE and Barnardo’s 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 Observation of Contact 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). Department of Health 2000: The Family Pack of Questionnaires and Scales. Adolescent wellbeing tool (DoH Family) 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. DoH 2000 ‘This Much’ and ‘Backdrop’ ‘This Much!’ and ‘Backdrop’ are two applications available to Cafcass practitioners for direct work with children. These two simple tools aim to help children and young people communicate effectively.
Videos and guidance on how to use both applications can be accessed through CafcassLearning and searching for ‘This Much’.
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
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.
General assessment tools and guidance
Guidance on use
Background to the application
Private law: select these tools to gather information during interviews as required in most applications.
Cafcass Tool for parental concerns about their child Private law: select these tools to gather information during interviews as required in most applications. Cafcass – adapted from Fowler, 2003 Tool for review of family and environmental factors Private law: select these tools to gather information during interviews as required in most applications. Cafcass – adapted from DoH (date unknown) Tool for criminal history 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. DoH 2000 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. From Rosenberg, 1965 International resilience project – 15-point checklist for resilience Private law: to be used during and post interview. Adapted from Grotberg, 1997 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. From Gorden et al. (2000)
Public law tools
Guidance on use
Understanding of concerns 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 Understanding of concerns, impact on child and actions to be taken 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 Capacity to change 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) Neglect Appraisal Tool 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 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) Domestic abuse – what we need to know use in interview to establish the nature, duration and context of domestic abuse. Cafcass Child Exploitation Screening tool 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 and/or CCE in a concise and consistent manner. Cafcass Parenting daily hassles scale 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. DoH 2000 Mental health thinking tool This is a tool to help organise FCAs thinking and critically review evidence in cases where parents have mental health difficulties. It is not designed to be a prescriptive or definitive measure of risk and should be used in the context of the overall structured professional judgement, in conjunction with the broader evidence in the case. Dr Sheena Webb, Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust for Cafcass, 2017. Sexual behaviours traffic light tool This tool lists examples of presenting sexual behaviours within four age categories. All green, amber and red behaviours require some form of attention and response, but the type of intervention will vary according to the behaviour. This tool must be used within the context of the guidance provided and should not be used in isolation. Brook Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool adapted with permission from True Relationships & Reproductive Health. (2012). Home conditions assessment An assessment tool which can be used if making a home visit where there have been concerns about neglect and poor home conditions. DoH 2000 Resilience/Vulnerability Matrix (Calder, 2006) 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. From Gorden et al. (2000) Rosenberg self-esteem tool A 10-item scale that measures global self-worth by measuring both positive and negative feelings about the self. From Rosenberg, 1965
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
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