Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 2B: Approach to multi-agency assessment in child protection 80 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 2.260 Partnerships and appropriate, necessary and lawful sharing of information across sectors are important in the interruption of patterns of harm, such as sexual exploitation for example, in relation to known places of concern. 2.261 Contributing factors such as poverty and structural discrimination, including racism, should be considered as part of the context of risk. 2.262 A practice insight on this topic has been drafted to illustrate and explain key practice considerations, offer a resource, prompt reflection and signpost selected sources. It can be found in the Practice Insights supporting document alongside this Guidance. 2.263 Analysis. Child protection assessment informs planning and action. This requires analysis of the probability of risk of significant harm, and the nature and immediacy of the impact of these risks upon the child. Analysis of immediate risks may inform immediate options. Protective episodes may be part of a pattern. Analysis must include consideration of patterns and an overall consideration of best interests. Steps and analysis in child protection processes are outlined in Part 3 of this Guidance. 2.264 Where risk of significant harm is persistent, assessment following immediate child protection should go beyond the current balance of strengths and concerns, and take into account ‘capacity to change’. This includes identification and analysis of factors that are likely to promote, complicate or prevent those changes which are needed to ensure safety and stability for the child. Assessment of capacity to change is an essential component of robust reunification assessment and planning in those situations where a child has been removed from parental care. Further definition of this dimension in assessment is provided below. Capacity to change 2.265 When child protection planning is needed to address complex and persistent risk of harm within the family, a central component of planning should be an appraisal of parents’ ‘capacity to change’. This refers to their abilities and motivation to change, given sufficient support, in a timescale that meets a child’s needs. 2.266 Capacity to change is associated with parents and practitioners forming a shared understanding of concerns, parents accepting responsibility for their own actions, sustaining changes over time and taking up offers of (reasonable, sufficient and accessible) support from services. Successful behaviour change is likely to depend upon motivation to change, the relative significance of goals to the person, and the person’s self-perception in terms of confidence and competence. 2.267 Constructive collaboration with families is associated with parental change and reduction in repeat reports of abuse and neglect. Lack of parental engagement is strongly associated with recurring abuse.