There are a range of tools which can be used to capture the views of a child or young person. There are different tools appropriate for children or young people of different ages, levels of need, or understanding. There are no factors which should be a barrier to capturing the views of a child or young person as part of an assessment.
It’s recommended that a family assessment be carried out with adult and child family members. However if a young person’s level of competence allows them to understand the assessment process, a family assessment can be done with them without parental consent.
Children or young people should also be given the opportunity to attend and contribute to a ‘team around the family’-type meeting, where appropriate. If they do not attend or do not wish to attend, their wishes, thoughts, and feelings should still be shared. These can be provided in any format, including in written or picture form. Tools which can support the gathering of this information can be found on this page.
Any work that reflects the voice of the child or young person should also be submitted as an attachment alongside an assessment or review.
Children’s participation toolkit for social workers (activities and worksheets)
This resource contains various activities, worksheets, and templates to assist social workers and early help workers to involve children in the process of assessments and intervention planning, as well as conducting reviews in a positive, supportive, and enabling way.
The participation toolkit for social workers is available from the Social Worker’s Toolbox website.
‘Say it your own way’: worksheets facilitating children’s participation in assessment
‘Say it your own way’ has 40+ engaging worksheets to assist with a child’s participation in assessments. The worksheets help workers to find out a child’s daily routine, likes, dislikes, feelings, and wishes, as well as their views on their family, friends, helpers, home, neighbourhood, school, etc. The booklet also includes two examples of how to explain assessment in a child-friendly manner.
The ‘say it your own way’ toolkit is available from the Social Worker’s Toolbox website.
‘Animal talk’ activity: using animal pictures to get to know children and discuss their views and feelings
This tool contains 24 pictures of various animals and suggestions of how they can be used to get to know children and discuss their views and feelings in an interactive and fun way.
The ‘animal talk’ resource is available from the Social Worker’s Toolbox website.
Getting to know a child’s routine activity tool
This tool supports social workers to get an understanding of a child’s or young person’s daily routine in an engaging way. The document contains 40+ individual slips with various activities and feelings on, which a child is asked to sort out into three piles – ‘every day’, ‘sometimes’, or ‘never’, depending on how often they engage in this activity or have this particular feeling.
The ‘getting to know a child’s routine’ resource is available from the Social Worker’s Toolbox website.
Establishing a day in the life of a school-age child (sheet)
This tool supports professionals to get a good understanding of a child or young person’s daily routine. It should help to identify positives or strengths in their daily routine, as well highlighting areas where there may be concerns.
The ‘day in the life of a school-age child’ sheet is available from the Social Worker’s Toolbox website.
A culturagram is a family assessment tool used in social work practice. First introduced by Dr. Elaine Congress, it’s aimed at helping social workers and others understand families from different cultural backgrounds.
Find out more on the culturagram website or view an example culturagram.
Autism Toolbox website
The Autism Toolbox website is an online resource to support the inclusion of children and young people with autism spectrum disorder in mainstream education services. As well as introducing and describing some of the more common challenges a pupil with autism might face, it provides real life case studies from Scottish schools and practical examples of supports which practitioners can translate and use in their own school setting. It also signposts to other useful websites.
Find out more on the Autism Toolbox website.
Listening to children in Serious Case Reviews
A government report on the importance of listening to the voice of the child in Serious Case Reviews. Read the ‘listening to children in Serious Case Reviews report’.