The following tools and guidance are for practitioners working with families and undertaking assessments. The documents provide a sound evidence base upon which to form robust analysis, decision making and actions. Toolkits are listed below with guidance documents appearing further down the page.
Toolkits & Guidance
County Durham Children and Families Practice Toolkit (June 2021) (download and open using Adobe Acrobat to access all resources)
The Practice Toolkit provides practitioners with practice guidance on a range of significant issues which are known to have a negative impact on a child’s wellbeing. It also provides a range of resources of national and local evidence based intervention. Parenting Programmes is for Professionals and Practitioners to explain what programmes are available and what they provide. You can also access free online Solihull Parenting Programme courses for all parents and carers in County Durham by visiting www.durham.gov.uk/solihull.
There are many services in Durham that provide support to adults and children who may be concerned about their mental or emotional health – click the title for a list of these services – ADULTS or CHILDREN (and when it opens you can click on the names to get more information).
Strategic Partnership Approach to Early Help for Children, Young People and Families This is a key document concerning the vision for the Local Authority’s Children’s Services on Early Help.
Child Protection Reports for Education
Home environment assessment tool and HEAT analysis and action plan This checklist should be used by all staff and enables an assessment of the suitability of the home in relation to basic amenities, health and safety issues, supervision etc.
The Home Environment Assessment Guidance (Updated) provides further information on conducting a Home Environment Assessment.
County Durham Family Outcome Framework is designed for frontline practitioners and managers across the County Durham Partnership to help demonstrate improved outcomes for families.
The Stronger Families Nomination Form is available here.
The Family Plan should be used to develop and record the plan of action following the Stronger Families nomination.
Screening Tool for Alcohol related risk is for practitioners assessing alcohol related risk.
The Family Pack of Questionnaires and Scales contains a number of scales and questionnaires to use when assessing families, including the Adult Wellbeing Scale, Adolescent Wellbeing Scale, Parenting Daily Hassles questionnaire, Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire, Recent Life Events questionnaire.
Three Houses tool can be used in direct work with children to enable them to communicate about their worries, strengths, hopes and dreams.
The Adolescent Three Houses is a version of the Three Houses tool to be used with adolescents.
A Day in the Life Tool, this tool can be used to support practitioners talk with children and young people about their daily lives in order to help understand their daily lived experience.
Blank Resilience/Vulnerability Matrix provides a blank resilience/vulnerability matrix which can be saved or downloaded to enable practitioners to determine where a child’s sources of resilience and vulnerability lie.
Use of the risk and resilience matrix when planning for children provides a guide on the use of the risk/vulnerability and resilience matrix, including the descriptors within each of the domains.
Attachment and Bonding Checklist enables practitioners to assess attachment between children and their parents. An Attachment brief guide describes different attachment styles, ie secure, disorganised etc
Queen or King of the Island is a tool for undertaking direct work with children to establish who they feel safe (or not) with, and with whom they would wish to have contact. The Queen or King of the Island Exercise is a guidance on using the King or Queen of the Island tool.
My Retracking Tool is a tool that is useful for engaging with children and young people.
Using the child development checklist This document provides a comprehensive guide to developmental milestones at all stages of a child’s development and will enable practitioners to assess whether children and young people are making expected progress.
The Neglect Practice Guidance should be read by all practitioners undertaking assessments where there are concerns about neglectful parenting.
The Thresholds Document is designed to provide practitioners with an overview on what level of support and intervention a family may need. It is intended to be a quick reference guide to support professionals in their decision making, including conducting further assessments; referring to other services; and understanding the likely thresholds for higher levels of intervention.
Find further information relating to mental health and self-harm, and endorsed by multi agency partners in:
The Engaging Families Guidance aims to provide practitioners and managers with guidance to assist the effective engagement of families in the offer of support across all levels of intervention from early help and targeted services through to statutory services.
Seeing the Child guidance supports practitioners who are assessing the child’s development as part of their work with children and families.
Engaging with Children – Single Assessment Guidance This handout has useful tips to consider when engaging with children and young people with some suggested questions covering topics such as a day in the child’s life, health, school, friendships, relationships and family life.
Explaining Assessment to Family Members This is intended for social workers and provides some suggestions on how to explain assessments to families. It may also be useful for practitioners undertaking Early Help Assessments.
Engaging with parents/carers provides some useful guidance on engaging with parents and suggested topics/questions.
Bruising of Non-mobile babies pathway– This protocol sets out to address the need for appropriate responses by Health Visitors, Doctors, GPs and other Health Professionals by requiring all professionals to refer bruising in non- mobile children for assessment by a Consultant Paediatrician and Social Care. Non-mobile children are defined as not yet rolling, crawling, cruising or walking independently or are older children who are not mobile because of a disability. Practitioners should include all children under 6 months. There are a range of participatory tools, including Signs of Safety, available from subscribing to the website https://practicetools.org/toolkits. There is also an information leaflet explaining the pathway of care for parents and carers available here and from the “Information leaflets to download and print” page in the Parent and Carers section of this website. Nottingshamshire Safeguarding Children Partnership have produced a new animation film for practitioners which is available here.
Joint Protocol Housing 16/17 year olds outlines the responsibilities of each agency ( CYPS & Housing) in respect of Under 18s experiencing homelessness.
PROTOCOL FOR MULTI-AGENCY ENGAGEMENT IN STRATEGIES & SECTION 47 ENQUIRIES Revised protocol for single point of contact arrangements for strategy meetings, available here.