“The Assessment Framework requires that each child’s needs are individually assessed, as well as the parent’s capacity to care for each child, and the impact of family and environmental factors on each child’s development and on the parents’ capacity to meet this particular child’s needs. It provides a conceptual framework or ‘scaffold’ for practice and is not intended for use as an instruction manual: its use needs to be supported by appropriate practice and research-based knowledge and tools to support practice.” https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DFE-RBX-10-08.pdf
Knowledge of child development is vital for good assessments. The understanding of Maslow’s hierarchy of need along with the expected development stages of children (stepping stone) gives a scaffold in which it is possible to see if a child is developing at the expected rate. Obviously there may be factors that will alter a child’s development that are linked specifically to that child that would alter their development and can be accounted for. Therefore it is imperative that children are treated as individuals and their situations taken into consideration. (Serious illness, premature birth or complications, Specific conditions such as downs syndrome) Looking at the aspects involved in the development of a child or young person, it is helpful in order to discover any difficulties or strengths a child that is being looked after has. Linking these with expectations can help to provide an overview of the child’s experiences and build on positive development in the future. The health of a child is a basic need and a pointer that looked after children initially have to undergo. Medicals and ensuring they have received their inoculations, eye tests and dental check-ups ensures the basic medical information of a child can be gathered and any problems highlighted can be dealt with. It is also often a reason or an aspect that influences some other area of the child’s development. For example, a child who needs glasses but has never visited an optician may, and often does, display behaviour problems and learning difficulties; dependent on the severity of the eye problem. In establishing and correcting that issue, often the behaviour problems also subside. Other areas that affect a child’s development are their ability to form and maintain relationships. This is something that initially is learnt from their primary carer. Clingy children are often misinterpreted to have good attachment where in reality it is a poor attachment and a learned behaviour to gain the basic needs of food and warmth. Family relationships and self identity are often a difficult aspect to deal with for looked after children. Families in essence are all unique. How a child is brought up depends on cultural beliefs and heritage. Therefore a child from a totally different culture (simply a child from an urban setting placed in a rural community for example) will display totally different behaviours and developments. A child’s self identity is linked to their background and family. Understanding this and ensuring a child is able to develop this identity is important. This in the case of looked after children can be very difficult. This is where using the CAF is important in matching children to families/ carers. Self care and independence can illustrate where a child has been left and not shown or given guidance in basic needs such as cleanliness and being able to gain skills for life. It can also show that a child has not had adequate parenting and has had to manage tasks beyond what is expected of them to live adequately. Children who have a great independence are often left to themselves and therefore learn to cope alone or look after siblings. Understanding child development, the expected outcomes at each age and then understanding the child can give a very good picture of the child’s experiences and lifestyle. This however doesn’t...
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