Developing a process for assessment of the emotional and behavioural needs of “looked after” children: the Five Rivers model

Publication Date21 December 2015
Pages324-338
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/JCS-06-2014-0032
AuthorCelia Beckett,Richard Cross,Jaqui Hewitt-Taylor,Pam McConnell
SubjectHealth & social care,Vulnerable groups,Children's services
Developing a process for assessment
of the emotional and behavioural
needs of looked afterchildren:
the Five Rivers model
Celia Beckett, Richard Cross, Jaqui Hewitt-Taylor and Pam McConnell
Celia Beckett is based at Health
and Social Care, Bournemouth
University, Bournemouth, UK
and Five Rivers Child Care,
Salisbury, UK.
Richard Cross is based at Five
Rivers Child Care, Salisbury, UK.
Jaqui Hewitt-Taylor is based at
Health and Social Care,
Bournemouth University,
Bournemouth, UK.
Pam McConnell is based at
Five Rivers Child Care,
Salisbury, UK.
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to describe the development process of building an assessment
model to assess the emotional and behavioural needs of looked after children.
Design/methodology/approach The paper is a technical paper developing and evaluating a process for
comprehensively assessing childrens needs using a combination of three existing tools.
Findings The paper identifies a model to assess looked afterchildren and highlights some of the early
benefits and challenges which have been encountered using this model.
Practical implications This paper suggests a model and timeframe to ensure that detailed assessments
of the mental health of looked afterchildren are effectively carried out.
Social implications There is a potential for an improvement in assessment of looked after children that will
lead to the identification of appropriate interventions and services.
Originality/value The paper is new in identifying a combination of assessment measures and a timeline to
complete these.
Keywords Behavioural, Looked afterchildren, Development and well-being assessment, Emotional,
Relationship Problems Questionnaire, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire
Paper type Technical paper
Introduction
This paper details the process of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project between
Bournemouth University and Five Rivers Child Care, that ran from October 2012-March 2015.
The project was established to develop a stepped assessment package that would help to
identify the emotional and behavioural needs of children who are looked afterto ensure that
the right services are accessed and to monitor their progress. The package that was chosen
was based on statutory requirements and thebestavailableevidence-basedmodelsof
assessment. Five Rivers Child Care is a social enterprise in the independent sector providing
residential, educational and fostering placements for looked afterchildren of all ages
(see Acknowledgements for further information) generally for medium to long term placements.
It has assessment at the core of its ethos as part of the comprehensive range of services to create
a complete child care service. For the past two and a half years Dr Celia Beckett has been working
with Bournemouth University to developpractice in relation to theassessment of childrensneeds,
so that interventions can be clearly targeted.
Received 19 June 2014
Revised 13 February 2015
23 March 2015
Accepted 23 March 2015
PAGE324
j
JOURNAL OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES
j
VOL. 10 NO. 4 2015, pp. 324-338, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1746-6660 DOI 10.1108/JCS-06-2014-0032

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