What do I need to know about how to support a mother and her child when there is a child in need assessment?
Children’s Services should carry out an assessment if it appears that a child is in need. However, she does not usually have a right to a particular service once the assessment is finished; this will be based on what the child’s assessed needs are assessed as being and whether the particular service is agreed at a funding panel. There are some exceptions to this. Families do have a right to support in some circumstances e.g. in relation to direct payments for eligible disabled children and children with an education, health and care plan (EHC). For more information see FRG’s advice sheet on Family Support.
If the social worker assesses that the child needs extra support and social work help then a child in need plan should be drawn up with the family, setting out what help will be offered.
Children’s Services can provide help to the mother as well as to her child under the child in need plan as long as it is to help the child’s safety or wellbeing. This means that she can be given extra help to parent her child, if that is assessed as being needed.
If the mother is unhappy with the assessment or with the support being offered (if any) you may be able to help her tell the social worker and/or their manager what she disagrees with and why or by making a formal complaint .
Our FAQs for parents on extra help/family support cover a number of issues about assessments and may help you support a mother who is struggling with an assessment issue.