Where children are considered at risk of harm, parents’ engagement with services, and their abilities to achieve the changes needed to meet the children’s needs, present considerable challenges for practice in social work and family support. This project will involve the design, implementation and evaluation of methods and materials to support social workers’ assessments of engagement and capacity to change in the context of local authority social work. The approach will link with routine practices such as assessing parents where children are subject to a child protection plan, parenting assessments for the courts, or planning for reunification. The work will be undertaken collaboratively with three local authorities in the South-West of England. The intended benefits include:
• Development of understanding, amongst the relevant staff, of what affects parents’ engagement and ability to change, and how / whether difficulties can be overcome.
• Clearer decision-making regarding children at risk.
• Better targeting of interventions to support parents of children at risk.