Journal Article

Judgements or Assumptions? The Role of Analysis in Assessing Children and Young People's Needs

Duncan Helm

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 41, issue 5, pages 894-911
Published in print July 2011 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online July 2011 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Judgements or Assumptions? The Role of Analysis in Assessing Children and Young People's Needs

Show Summary Details


Professionals involved in assessing the needs of children and young people are required to make sense of complex information. Judgements may be made intuitively or through more explicit, analytical thinking. Judgements are required in relation to risk and need and will impact on children and young people's lives in the immediate future and ultimately across the lifespan. While there are many demands placed on those developing best practice in assessment, two themes appear consistently from studies of serious case reviews and inspections. The quality of assessments has improved but there is a persistent difficulty with levels and quality of analysis in assessments. Also, there is a repeated failure amongst professionals to pay sufficient attention to what children and young people may be saying about their own needs and experiences. There are tensions between policy and practice in the exercise of analysis and judgement. Neither governance nor good intentions may be sufficient to address current weaknesses in practice and practice can benefit from further study of judgement in child welfare and protection. Contemporary policy and practice developments may be a connecting contributor to ongoing professional failure to analyse and failure to represent the child's lived experience accurately and empathically in assessment.

Keywords: analysis; assessment; judgement; children

Journal Article.  6864 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.