Do parents have a choice whether to have a child in need assessment?
2 minute read
Yes. Child in need assessments are voluntary. This means that parents or carers do not have to agree to have an assessment. Remember, a child in need assessment aims to find out what extra help and services a child and their family need. It is about making sure a child has what they need to be healthy and develop well. Help and services following a child in need assessment may prevent needs and difficulties escalating.
If a parent or carer feels that they do not want a child in need assessment it may be a good idea for them to:
- Take time to think about any worries they have about the assessment
- Note down the worries and any questions
- Speak to the social worker who is, or will be, doing the assessment (or another practitioner) about these
- Ask for further information about the assessment process
- Ask for further information about what may happen after the assessment
- Ask them what they would do if you decided not to agree to the assessment.
If a parent or carer does not agree to an assessment, the social worker involved may:
- Become more worried
- Become concerned that the family and child will not get the help they need
- Worry that the child and family may struggle, and things may get worse
- Look at whether children’s services need to start child protection enquiries or hold a child protection conference.
If a parent or carer decides they want to refuse an assessment, it is good idea if they:
- Show how the child’s needs are being met in some other way e.g. finding suitable services and help themselves
- Share this information with the social worker
- Contact Family Rights Group for independent advice about their specific situation, visiting our Parents forum is a good first step
- Get some independent legal advice about their situation from a solicitor.