Specialist Assessment Tools

There is a contradiction within the Assessment Framework. It is based on a holistic principle of assessment, incorporating the gathering and interpretation of information across all three domains of:

  • child’s development needs,

  • parental capacity

  • family and environmental factors.


At the same time, many assessments are very focussed on exploring specific themes such as substance misuse, domestic violence or neglect. The gathering of specific information in these areas are specialist areas of assessment. Gathering and structuring this information is different to the general summaries in the main assessment recording formats such as the Core Assessment.

During assessment, workers may need to consider neglect as a theme and judge whether the parents have the capacity to change. Workers enquire:

“How do I recognise neglect? How can I assess this in detail and incorporate the results into my analysis?”

“How do I assess whether the parent has the capacity to sustain the changes required to ensure that the children are safeguarded?”

The Specialist Assessment Tools provide a format to assist in the assessment.

We reviewed the research, evaluated existing assessment tools and identified areas where assessment support was weak. Where assessment tools were available, these were updated and adapted. Where there were no assessment tools, new ones were developed.

Examples amongst the 30 Specialist Assessment Tools include resilience and vulnerability, change, substance misuse and the effect of mental health.

The document
“Help with finding the right tool” organises the tools according to the domains of the Assessment Framework or assessment themes.