The STEPWISE Approach

"Stepwise" is an approach based on work by Eric DeMello and John Yuille. This requires a structured approach that any assessment team will need to follow to produce an effective assessment of needs and risks and a plan that positively manages risks and meets the identified needs in a way which is appropriate to the individual child and family concerned.

The use of the term 'team' refers to the professionals and the family members who will together carry out the assessment and then implement the plan, together with the family and family network. It also includes the social work manager who must ensure that the assessment and plan are sufficient to manage the identified risks to the child concerned, and to meet their needs. Supervision is a key tool in which each of the steps can be evaluated, hypotheses discussed, and evidence tested.

Where risks or needs are immediate these steps can be taken very quickly in order to secure the immediate safety of the child, which must take priority. The steps then provide a structure for reflection and proper analysis leading to an effective longer term plan.

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