Assessment of Parental Capacity to Change where Children may be At Risk of Harm: Evaluation of the C-Change pilot project

Dendy Platt*, Katie A Riches, Dinithi Nisanka Wijedasa, Marsha Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Purpose After identifying a gap in social work practice in the UK, the authors developed and piloted a practice method for use by social workers in assessing parental capacity to change where there are serious concerns about the wellbeing of a child. The purpose of this paper is to present the results from the pilot evaluation of the C-Change approach to assessing parental capacity to change. Methods One hundred and seven (n = 107) social workers and family support workers from three local authorities in England, were trained and supported to use the approach in practice. Feedback questionnaires and self-efficacy style questionnaires were administered to all participants before the training (T1), at the end of the training (T2), and three months after the training (T3). Qualitative interviews were held with a sub-sample of 12 participants. Results Most of the respondents (87%) at three-month follow up (n = 53) had used the C-Change approach in practice and self-efficacy questionnaire scores of the social workers and family support workers were significantly higher than they were before the training (p < .001, r = 0.25). Limited but statistically significant improvements in (self-assessed) decision-making abilities within the child’s timescale were evidenced (p < .05, OR = 2.9). Findings should be approached cautiously because the study used predominantly self-report measures, there was no comparison group and the study was led by the team that developed the C-Change approach. Conclusions The C-Change approach was well-used by practitioners and their supervisors. There were improvements in their self-reported knowledge and skills in assessing capacity to change, and there was some limited evidence that the C-Change approach may support improvements in decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105265
Number of pages11
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Early online date19 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

Structured keywords

  • SPS Children and Families Research Centre


  • Child maltreatment
  • Social work
  • Assessment
  • Parent
  • Capacity to change
  • Decision-making


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