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What to expect in the assessment

The purpose of the social worker assessing you is to decide if the best place for the child to live is with you. For a lot of the questions asked, there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers; the questions are designed to understand you and your ability to look after the child. If there are aspects you might need help with in regards to caring for this child, the social worker will be able to take this into account when deciding what ongoing support you and the child might need. Therefore try to be yourself, although we know you want to present yourself in the best light and you may well be nervous. The assessment process is also an opportunity for you to ask questions.

The assessment will consider three main sections below:

The child

  • What the child’s specific needs are that you need to be able to meet, such as: 
    - Education
    - Health
    - Identity
  • How the child will feel being part of your family


  • The strength of your current and previous relationship with the child
  • Your experience of caring for children
  • Your abilities to care for the child and meet their needs now and until they are 18
  • Your understanding of why alternative living arrangements are being considered for this child
  • Your ability to keep the child safe
  • Your ability to promote the child’s identity and positive self-esteem
  • Your ability to sustain contact between the child and his or her parents
  • Your understanding of any current or future risk posed by the child’s birth parents and your ability to manage this risk
  • Your personal history
  • Your current relationship
  • Your employment and income
  • Your health
  • Your lifestyle, hobbies and beliefs

The environment

  • The house you live in and its suitability for this child
  • The neighbourhood you live in and its suitability for this child
  • Any other household members
  • Any other relevant environmental factors, such as transport links

Checks and references

To verify some of the information about you, with your permission, we will ask other people and agencies to provide us with information. The following are things we often ask for:

  • A reference about your health from your GP
  • Police checks
  • Data Barring Service (DBS) checks (formerly known as CRB)
  • References from ex-partners
  • Personal references from three people who know you well
  • A reference from your current employer
  • A financial questionnaire
  • A pet questionnaire
  • Interviews with other children who live in your house
  • Interviews with your birth children

The above list is not exhaustive and it applies to the average person. If there is a particular matter that is more specific to you, we may want to seek a more relevant reference on that particular matter eg working in the armed forces; owning a gun; specific health reference from a specialist in that field; having lived abroad for significant periods of time.

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