Step Five: Analyse

Children in Need

All children who are in need as defined by the Children Law 2008 will have some needs which require assessment and potential support and those needs should be analysed within this model. Needs may also include needs for protection, and where these are identified, at any stage in an assessment process, the risk assessment tools outlined below must be used.

Needs assessment must also focus on this specific child's needs in these specific circumstances - they should not be couched in terms of services, or generalised statements such as 'needs to be safe, to achieve etc." Intervention and support must focus on more specific, localised needs which will identify and build on the strengths and protective factors already present in this family and community network, and which will eventually enable this child to achieve good outcomes with the support of universal services.

For example, the child may have developmental and speech delay. Their needs are not necessarily for speech and language therapy, but are to be able to communicate with adults and peers. This can be achieved in a number of ways which might include speech therapy, but might not! Quality time with parents may suffice together with support for parents in reading and talking to their child.

Research is continuing into what make some people, including children, able to weather adversity and misfortune while others become hurt and damaged by the same experiences. This has led to the concept of 'resilience' as a key characteristic which can be identified and developed in children, and in their support networks, to ensure that they have the best possible life chances.  The "International Resilience Project" used the following definition:

"Resilience is a universal capacity which allows a person, group or community to prevent, minimise or overcome the damaging effects of adversity". 

The following act as useful indicators of vulnerability and resilience in terms of the 3 domains of the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families.- child development, parenting capacity, and environmental factors.



Sources of vulnerabilitySources of resilience
Young ageHigher IQ
DisabilityGood attachment
Earlier history of abuseGood self-esteem



Parent or Carer

Sources of vulnerabilitySources of resilience
Domestic violenceSocial support
Serious substance misusePositive parental childhood
Chronic serious psychiatric illnessGood parental health
Severe learning disabilityGood relationship with sibling
History of victimisation - abused as a childEducation
 Work role



Family and Environment

Sources of vulnerabilitySources of resilience
Run-down neighbourhoodCommitted adult
Poor relationship with schoolGood school experience
Weak fabric of social supportStrong community
PovertyGood services/supports
Social isolation 
Inter-generational cycle of abuse 


Consider the following questions when assessing resilience in children:







Further issues


The outcome of analysis should be to establish:

What are the dangers to the child?

What are strengths in the family, and wider network that might prevent that danger from happening?

What needs to happen to meet the child's needs and to achieve the desired outcome - the prevention of the danger happening?

How will we know we have made a positive difference - what are our success factors?

If we are evaluating the impact of a plan,

What difference have we made? How do we know the danger has been averted?

Has anything else changes, and if so, what impact does this have on our analysis?


This discussion should be held by the core group, the team around the child, in supervision or initially between 2 workers and then shared with the core group or with other involved professionals in order to produce as 'objective' an outcome as possible. The matrix diagram available on the intranet could be used to facilitate this discussion

Risk analysis

Risk analysis can be defined as 'establishing the likelihood that a particular event will occur'.  Much of the work is therefore necessarily the collection of information which will enable the professional to make a predictive judgement about risk in particular families. However, the most difficult aspect of this process has always been the analysis of the information collected - What weight are we to ascribe to particular factors?

In risk analysis, whilst the risks and vulnerability model referenced above provides a useful basis for assessment, the Resilience and Vulnerability Matrix is a helpful tool for putting this into action. This can be found here.

Neglect and emotional abuse

The Salford Graded Care Profile may be used for all situations where actual or likely neglect is the key risk identified in the information gathered to date. It is also helpful in emotional abuse in focusing discussion on the behaviours that demonstrate this so that professionals can be specific about what it is that needs to change. It is designed to be completed with the family, over several sessions, and can be adapted to suit the individual family circumstances and to engage them in discussion and debate about what is reasonable for children to experience. Young people can also be asked to complete it and a comparison made between their perceptions and those of their parents or professionals.

Guidance on using the Graded Care Profile and the Graded Care Profile form is available here.