Guidance, Toolkits and Forms for practitioners
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. All available toolkits and guidance can be found in our Resource Library. If the resource you’re looking for is not shown on this page go to the Resource Library and use the Search options.
This toolkit should be used in conjunction with the County Durham Family Outcome Framework.
The aim of this toolkit is to provide practitioners with practice guidance on a range of significant issues which are known to have a negative impact on a child’s wellbeing and life chances and ensures:
- children, young people and families receive consistent high quality help and support;
- a strength based solution focused approach in our team work with families;
- an open, honest and transparent approach to supporting children and their families;
- direct help and support is offered to children and parents/carers;
- both children and adults needs are addressed, using a ‘think family’ approach to assessment and intervention;
- where appropriate will require a collaborative ‘Team around the Family’ using a single multi-agency family plan;
- a broad view of protection is taken acknowledging the broad determinates of health and well-being are addressed;
- the use of evidence based best practice;
- child focused practice;
- improved outcomes for children and young people.
Implementation of Practice Toolkit
Practitioners will be expected to make reference to and implement the guidance within this toolkit. Children Services Case File auditing process will be used to monitor the effective implementation of the guidance.
The Engaging with Children and Families toolkit 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.
It also includes the Three Houses Tool can be used in direct work with children to enable them to communicate about their worries, strengths, hopes and dreams and the Adolescent Three Houses is a version of the Three Houses tool designed for an older age group .
Queen or King of the Islandis 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.
The Engaging Families Toolkit and related practice guidance (see Practice Guidance section of this page or search the Resource Library) 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.
The Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2) is a practical tool, licenced by NSPCC, which supports practitioners in objectively measuring the quality of care provided by a parent/carer in meeting their child’s needs. GCP2 is a licenced tool and can only be used by practitioners trained to use it. Practitioners attending training will receive additional tools.
See the Other Training Available to Partners page in the Training section for available sessions.
This toolkit contains support materials that are available to all practitioners and provides information about the Graded Care Profile for use when working with families.
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.
Resilience/Vulnerability Matrix Guide provides a guide on the use of the risk/vulnerability and resilience matrix, including the descriptors within each of the domains.
The child development checklist 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 Bruising in Non-mobile Babies Pathway is a protocol that addresses 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 a "Bruising information for parents and carers" leaflet explaining the pathway of care for parents and carers and Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Partnership have produced a short animation film for practitioners which is available online and from the Resource Library.
The County Durham Family Outcomes Framework is designed to act as a guide for frontline practitioners and managers across the County Durham Partnership to help demonstrate improved outcomes for families under Phase 2 of the national Troubled Families programme, known in Durham as the Stronger Families programme.
Joint Protocol Housing 16/17 year olds outlines the responsibilities of each agency ( CYPS & Housing) in respect of Under 18s experiencing homelessness.
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.
Single Assessment and Team Around the Family: A Guide for Parents 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.
This Multi-Agency Home Environment Assessment Tool, Practitioner Guidance is intended to support practitioners in understanding and using the Home Environment Assessment Toolkit.
In County Durham, Early Help is not a single service or team, but a way of working with families that all of our key partners and stakeholders working with children and families can put in to practice. All agencies have an important role to play in helping children to thrive supported by universal services such as midwifery, health visiting and schools, as well as providing services to those children and families who need extra help to get back on track.
The County Durham Strategic Partnership Approach to Early Help sets out what we will do to make sure that children and young people get the Early Help they need.
Schools Self-Harm Guidance 2023
Self Harm Guide for Parents
The Protocol for Multi-Agency Engagement in Strategy Meetings & Section 47 Enquiries is a revised document which outlines the agreed multi-agency protocols for single point of contact arrangements for strategy meetings.
For Neglect Practice Guidance where practitioners have concerns about neglectful parenting they should take a look at the Neglect section of the Children and Families Practice Toolkit.
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. You can also find more information about the actual thresholds at the Thresholds Toolkit page.
This referral should be used where there is evidence or intelligence to suggest that a child is being or has been ‘exploited’.
‘Child Exploitation’ includes:
- Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
- Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
- County Lines
- Children involved or living within or affected by Organised Crime Groups
- Child Trafficking and other forms of Modern Day Slavery
Report Document can be downloaded in our Multi-Agency Procedures - Child Protection Section - Durham SOS ICPC Report by clicking the link below
To access the briefing of how to complete, please click the link below
Completing the actions highlighted on this checklist will help enhance your practice when working with anyone subject to Domestic Abuse (D A) and those who are causing harm. These actions will help identify risk and promote safety. Depending on your service area you might carry out all, most or some of these actions:
Remember to always check immediate safety. If anyone is at rick if immediate Harm call 999. Remember to always follow your agencies safeguarding procedures.
This form should be used by partner agencies to share information with the police which has been gathered during the course of their work and may be of interest to law enforcement. It can be used to share information regarding potential criminal offences, conduct or behaviour, including, but not limited to; exploitation (sexual, criminal, labour etc.), serious and organised crime (including terrorism, drug supply, use of firearms etc.) and community tensions and issues. The information will be recorded on the Police Intelligence System and used to support activity by the police and, where appropriate, partner agencies.
The Information should be specific to a particular person, vehicle, or incident. i.e. one report per event and information relating to separate events should be on their own form. The submission of the information should be timely to the event.