Assessment in child care
Using and developing frameworks for practice
Second edition

Edited by Martin C. Calder and Simon Hackett

To see sections of this book in a PDF, please click here.

For frontline workers with responsibility for child protection, safeguarding and family support, this acclaimed book will:
  • help them to navigate the expanding complexities of child care assessments
  • guide them to deliver better outcomes for children and families
  • protect them at a time when legal expectations are high that the latest available evidence is accessed and utilised to inform assessments and care planning.

  • Experts in their fields, the chapter authors each draw on up-to-date research and integrate it into a body of knowledge that constitutes high levels of established wisdom to produce material whose purpose is to be helpful more than challenging.

    Invaluable to practitioners since the first edition was published in 2003, it 'covers all aspects of how to assess, when to assess and what to assess.' Community Care.

    The book's systematic and focussed access to the knowledge that underpins their work is also of value to researchers, academics and policy-makers, and especially useful to anyone undertaking postgraduate or post-qualifying studies.

    It draws on the published literature from many parts of the English-speaking world. While the attention given in some chapters to local legislation and context is greater than in others, the over-riding emphasis on enabling the exercise of professional judgement in carefully mapped contexts means that the book is useful in all parts of the world.

    'Thanks to the efforts of all the chapter authors, this book is a significant and worthy successor to the first edition.' Martin C. Calder. Fully updated, it:
  • incorporates responses to all major developments in the field
  • gives increased emphasis to the importance of addressing risk
  • includes completely new material, for example on working with parents with a learning disability.

  • This new edition also incorporates responses to the significant developments in UK legislation and guidance, including:
  • the evolution of the Assessment Framework into the Common Assessment Framework and the Integrated Children's System
  • the Munro review of child protection
  • a change of government and with it a shift from bureaucracy to organisational butchery
  • an eleventh hour concession in the 2013 edition of Working Together that workers can talk about the reality of what they work with every day - risk.

  • Large format paperback. 384 pages. 9781905541850. Published July 2013. £44.95.


    The over-riding emphasis in this book on enabling the exercise of professional judgement in carefully mapped practice contexts, drawing on an international published literature, means that the book is useful in all parts of the world.

    It is for anyone involved in or studying the assessment of children in need and their families:
  • Child and family social workers
  • Adult social workers seeking guidance on making referrals of parents
  • Social workers doing postgraduate/post-qualifying studies
  • Researchers, policy-makers, undergraduates, lecturers and their libraries
  • Other professionals involved in child protection, safeguarding or family support: health, education, policing, law, youth justice, early childhood, youth counselling.


    Available direct from RHP only by phoning 01297 443948 or by e-mailing

    20 copies - £40.46 each, with free delivery
    30 copies - £38.21 each, with free delivery
    50 copies - £35.96 each, with free delivery

    Discounts on larger quantities can be made by arrangement with RHP.


    'Essential reading for social workers, health and education workers, the police, legal advocates, youth offending teams and policy makers.' ChildRIGHT

    'Covers all aspects of how to assess, when to assess and what to assess... The strength of this book is in the range of perspectives about assessment theory and practice, which are supported by good evidence bases and interesting examples.' Community Care

    'This substantial publication is aimed at those seeking to develop and enhance their assessment frameworks for children in need and their families… The many contributors offer the reader both contextual and practical tools for use by social workers and other relevant staff.' Care and Health

    'An accessible volume, with learning organised in bite-sized chunks... almost encyclopaedic... a contemporary toolkit for assessors, and a good one at that.' Young Minds Magazine

    'Good practice guidance for evidence-based methods... The individual essays offer insight and wisdom into specific aspects... A key source book.' CAFCASS Practice and Research Digest


    Martin C. Calder

    Risk and child protection: triangulation, trials and templates
    Martin C. Calder

    Supervising and managing staff undertaking assessments
    Jane Wonnacott

    Assessment of child physical abuse: towards a framework for assessment
    Martin C. Calder

    Assessing neglect
    Duncan Helm and Brigid Daniel

    A framework for assessing emotional abuse
    Celia Doyle

    A framework for assessing failure-to-thrive
    Doroto Iwaniec

    Sexual abuse assessments: from perpetrator friendly to perpetrator challenging frameworks
    Martin C. Calder

    Serious injuries to infants: key risk assessment considerations
    Peter Dale

    Pre birth assessments: context, content and collaboration considerations
    Martin C. Calder

    Domestic violence: untangling the complexity to inform assessments
    Martin C Calder

    Assessing the needs of disabled children
    Jane Wonnacott, Anne Patmore and Margaret Kennedy

    Learning disability and parenting - improving understanding and interventions: doing the basics well
    Rikki Sneddon

    Parents with mental health problems: assessing and formulating parenting capacity, embedded within a service context
    Khadj Rouf

    Parental alcohol misuse: evidence-informed assessment considerations
    Martin C. Calder and Anne Peake

    The assessment of parental substance misuse and its impact on child wellbeing
    Michael Murphy and Fiona Harbin

    Involving children and young people in assessments
    Helen Charnley, Grace Roddam, Dave Laverick and Jane Wistow

    Re-assessing fatherhood: the absence of the 'new man' in social work practice
    Lena Dominelli

    Assessments and social ecology: the importance of community
    Gordon Jack

    A framework for assessing parenting capacity
    Simon Hackett


    Martin C. Calder
    is Director of Calder Training and Consultancy Limited, which he established in 2005, having managed the child protection and domestic violence services for Salford. Martin trains extensively on frontline assessment issues and also where the practical becomes political. He continues to be driven to develop and deliver a range of evidence-based assessment tools for frontline staff. He is now involved in addressing in significantly more detail issues facing frontline managers dealing with ever increasingly complex cases. Further details on his work and remit are available at

    Simon Hackett is a Lecturer in the Centre for Applied Social Studies at the University of Durham, UK. He has a wide range of interests relating to childcare practice and research. A qualified social worker, Simon was previously employed by NSPCC and was involved in the investigation of allegations of institutional abuse in North Wales children's homes, arising from the Waterhouse Inquiry. A co-founder and a former Programme Director of G-MAP, a leading community-based organisation working with young people who sexually abuse others, he has substantial practice and training experience in sexual aggression work. He is an active researcher in the field and, with Helen Masson, is currently leading a two-year project examining policy and practice in the adolescent sexual aggression field across the UK and Republic of Ireland. He has published variously in relation to child maltreatment, social work practice and sexual aggression. Since moving into academia Simon has taught extensively on child protection matters on the post-qualifying award, developing unique frameworks for practitioners.


    Helen Charnley
    is a lecturer in applied social sciences at Durham University. She has worked as a generic social work practitioner, researcher and educator in the UK, in West and Southern Africa. Her recent research has focussed on the use of participatory approaches that support service users to explore questions that are important for their own lives. She extends these approaches in her teaching, working together with a wide range of individuals and groups who use social work services, to support the learning of social work students.

    Dr Peter Dale trained originally as a psychiatric social worker, then as a counsellor. His PhD study completed in 1996 explored the effectiveness of counselling/therapy with adults who were abused as children. Subsequent research has focused on parents' perceptions of child protection interventions; and risk assessment following serious injuries to infants. As well as being a widely published author of books and journal articles, he has extensive experience of undertaking independent risk assessments in care proceedings in England and Northern Ireland. For further information visit

    Brigid Daniel, MA (Hons), PhD, CQSW, originally studied psychology and following qualification as a social worker practised in Edinburgh. She then worked at Dundee University on post-qualifying courses in child care and protection, at Stirling University as Senior Lecturer in Social Work and returned to Dundee as the Professor of Child Care and Protection. She is currently Professor of Social Work at Stirling University in the School of Applied Social Science and head of Social Work. Her research interests and publications are in the areas of child development, children's resilience, work with fathers and child neglect.

    Lena Dominelli holds a Chair in Applied Social Sciences in the School of Applied Social Sciences and is Associate Director at the Institute of Hazards, Risk and Resilience Research at Durham University. She currently undertakes research on disasters and climate change. Alongside the wealth of experience she has worked as a university educator and researcher, she has worked in social services, probation and community development. She has published widely in social work, social policy and sociology. Her latest book is Green Social Work. She is recognised as a leading figure in social work education globally. Professor Dominelli was elected President of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) from 1996 to 2004, and currently chairs the IASSW Committee on Disaster Interventions and Climate Change and attends UN meetings on this topic. She has received various honours from governments and universities.

    Dr Celia Doyle has retired and acts as an independent writer/consultant to the University of Northampton Early Childhood Studies division, where she used to work as a Senior Lecturer. She has over forty years' experience in the field of child protection, with her main research interest being the emotional abuse of children, particularly the nature of supports which can ameliorate their circumstances. She has also written extensively on working with abused children and on child sexual abuse.

    Fiona Harbin is a senior lecturer in the School of Social Work at the University of Central Lancashire. Prior to joining the School, she worked as a social work manager, staff development officer and freelance staff trainer and supervisor. Fiona has a particular interest in parental substance misuse and has researched and written widely in this area. She worked for six years as a senior social worker in this field, specialising in assessment and interventions with children and families. Fiona is committed to research informed practice and is the UCLan co-ordinator for Making Research Count. She is currently involved in research into children and families' experience of the Common Assessment Framework.

    Duncan Helm is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Stirling University. Working in the School of Applied Social Science, he directs a large professional education programme in child welfare and protection. He is a registered social worker with extensive experience in child welfare and protection as a practitioner, researcher and educator. Duncan's teaching and research interests are in assessment and the exercise of professional judgement under conditions of uncertainty.

    Dorota Iwaniec is Emeritus Professor of Social work and the former Director of the Institute of Child Care Research at Queen's University Belfast. Before coming to Queen's in 1992 she worked in Leicester as a practitioner, researcher and trainer. She has been involved in failure-to-thrive research for the last 25 years and has finished a 20-year follow-up study on children who failed-to-thrive. She has published extensively in the area of childcare.

    Gordon Jack is Professor of Social Work at Northumbria University. He worked for 15 years as a practitioner and manager in local authority children's services in the north of England before taking up his first academic post at Exeter University in 1991. He moved to Durham University as Reader in Social Work in 1996, and took up his current post in 2011. Much of his research has involved the use an ecological framework to investigate the effects of environmental factors on family functioning and child wellbeing. Most recently he has investigated the influence of children's place attachments on the development of their identity, sense of security and belonging.

    Margaret Kennedy has pioneered work in issues of disability and child protection. She has written extensively on the subject and is co-editor and co-author of the ABCD – ABuse and Children who are Disabled - training and resource pack. She chaired the BASPCAN Disability and Abuse working party and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Adult Protection. Margaret is disabled and is a qualified nurse and social worker. She is a certified counsellor and has an advanced certificate in Child Abuse Studies. She has also studied the issues of Christianity and Child Abuse. Margaret has lectured and taught extensively throughout the British Isles: her audiences have included police, social workers, health workers, clergy, pastoral workers, probation officers and medical staff.

    Dave Laverick is a Workforce Development Consultant in a local authority where he has worked for nearly thirty years. Much of his experience has been in Residential Children's Homes. His work with children and young people has always focused on participation, and supporting young people in the decisions that they make on their futures and on the services they have journeyed through. Service user participation remains a clear focus of his current role which includes training with young people.

    Michael Murphy is a senior lecturer in the school of Nursing Midwifery and Social Work at the University of Salford, where he also works for the Children and Families Research Centre. He works on the post-qualifying award in childcare in the north west of England. Michael has published extensively in the areas of interagency child protection processes, and of children brought up in substance misusing families.

    Anne Patmore is an experienced and qualified social worker, trainer and practice assessor whose main areas of professional interest are safeguarding children, equality and diversity and working with disabled children and their families. She is an Associate of In-Trac Training and Consultancy who has a wide range of experience in both statutory and voluntary settings. Anne is the co-author of Mastering Approaches to Diversity in Social Work, published in 2012 (Jessica Kingsley Publishers).

    Anne Peake is a Chartered Educational Psychologist working for Oxfordshire Children's Services. She has worked in joint education and social services posts in Liverpool, the London Borough of Haringey and Oxfordshire. Her professional interests are in safeguarding children and young people, children who are in the looked after system/adopted, and autism. She is the co-author of the book Strong Mothers: a resource for mothers and carers of children who have been sexually abused (RHP, 1997). She recently organised a day conference on Anxiety, Autism and Attachment under the auspices of the British Psychological Society-Division of Educational and Child Psychology, her presentation was on using Life Story work for some anxieties. She is currently working on risk/resilience frameworks for work with children and families. She is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

    Grace Roddam is mentor to young people in the care system supporting their involvement in the recruitment, training and evaluation of social work staff, in the education of social work students and in participatory research. Grace is co-author, with Helen Charnley and Jane Wistow, of 'Working with Service Users and Carers' in Adams, Dominelli and Payne (Eds.) (2009) Social Work: Themes, Issues and Critical Debates.

    Dr Khadj Rouf is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working for the NHS in Oxfordshire. She qualified in 1994, and works within a psychological therapies service, providing interventions for adults with mental health problems. She has a special interest in parental mental health, and her doctoral thesis explored the clinical decision making of mental health staff when working with parents. Khadj has written professionally about mental health issues, and both personally and professionally on the issue of child abuse.

    Rikki Sneddon works within Local Authority Social Work practice in Scotland while also providing Independent Training/Consultancy across the UK. He has over 25 years' frontline experience in working with Children and Families as Practitioner, Manager and Operational and Strategic Child Protection lead. He is a widely respected professional within his field. Recent projects include production of the National Multi-Agency Risk Framework Guidance in Scotland. Rikki lives in Glasgow with his family. Further information about Rikki can, if required, be obtained via LinkedIn at

    Jane Wistow (formerly Simmons) is a social worker, educator and doctoral student exploring the tensions and contradictions of children and young people's involvement in decisions that affect their lives. She is author of Involving Young People in Decisions about Service Provision and Delivery, Social Work Monographs, UEA, 2007 and co-author, with Helen Charnley and Grace Roddam, of 'Working with Service Users and Carers' in Adams, Dominelli and Payne (Eds.) (2009) Social Work: Themes, Issues and Critical Debates.

    Jane Wonnacott is a qualified social worker and the Director of Professional Practice for In-Trac Training and Consultancy Ltd. As an independent trainer and consultant, she has worked with local authorities, LSCBs, voluntary agencies and health professionals, delivering training and developing policy and procedures, as well working on Serious Case Reviews as an overview author or panel chair. Jane has a long-standing interest in supervision and has developed and delivered supervision training courses both in the UK and abroad. She co-wrote, with Tony Morrison, the Children's Workforce Development Council's guide and training programme for the supervisors of social workers in the first three years of their professional development, and is also author of Mastering Social Work Supervision (Jessica Kingsley Publishers).