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Practice tools and guides

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Guidance, ideas and tools for developing evidence-informed practice.

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Public Law Outline: Mapping Resource (open access)

Published: Jul 2017

Public Law Outline: Mapping Resource (open access)

This learning resources map has been developed to support professionals working with families, legal teams and in the family court. The map is primarily aimed at those preparing and presenting evidence for court, and focuses on robust pre-proceedings work and the quality of written evidence including assessment and care planning.

The quality of court work has been the focus of the Family Justice Review, Knowledge and Skills Statement and other policy initiatives and has been highlighted as an important contributor to achieve the 26-week target for care cases and the best outcomes for children.

Existing Research in Practice resources are highlighted within the resource to help professionals develop analytical skills and use research effectively to support decision-making.

Aimed at: Children’s guardians, lawyers acting for the local authority, IROs, case progression managers, social work managers, social workers preparing and presenting evidence in court.

View the Mapping Resource.

Reflective supervision: Resource Pack (2017)

Published: Apr 2017

Reflective supervision: Resource Pack (2017)

Good reflective supervision facilitates safe practice with children and families.

This package of resources provides a summary of research evidence on reflective supervision alongside learning from practice, and tools to use in one to one and group supervision sessions.

The tools have been designed to support:
• Contracting
• Running group supervision
• Audit
• Critical thinking and analysis
• Emotional resilience
• Recording



These resources are the outputs of a Research in Practice Change Project.

Aimed at: Staff with supervisory responsibilities across early help, targeted support and statutory services with children and families.

A short video of the Camden group supervision model in action



Contact after adoption: Learning Resources (open access)

Published: Mar 2017

Contact after adoption: Learning Resources (open access)

The type and frequency of contact a child has with their birth family needs careful consideration and planning, and should be determined by the needs and best interests of the child, both in the long and short term.

This open access website provides resources for practitioners in making evidence-informed post-adoption contact plans and supporting birth relatives and adopters through contact and planning for their child.

The resources cover:
Each section contains:
  • Research briefings and practical tools for training and working with families.
  • Exercises and case studies to consolidate learning.
  • Video and audio testimonies from children, birth and adoptive families on contact and support.

‘Contact: making good decisions for children in public law’, was a joint project between Research in Practice and the University of East Anglia which brought together practitioners from local authorities and national organisations to work with Professor Elsbeth Neil and independent social worker Polly Baynes to develop these resources.

Aimed at: Those involved in making, reviewing and supporting plans for post-adoption contact.

These learning resources are open access.

Go to the contact after adoption website.
Child sexual exploitation: Practice Tool (2017) (open access)

Published: Feb 2017

Child sexual exploitation: Practice Tool (2017) (open access)

This is an open access resource.

This work was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) and is the original text from which the summary document ‘Tackling child sexual exploitation: Advice for Professionals’ has been drawn.

The document outlines the new civil definition of child sexual exploitation, developed by the Home Office and DfE, together with an overview of our current understanding of the issue and an evidence-informed set of principles for responding. This extended version of the ‘advice’ provides professionals with further background information about child sexual exploitation and offers additional commentary around some of the complexities of practically responding to the issue.

Aimed at: social workers and other children’s services professionals, the police, adult services professionals, teachers and other school staff, GPs, nurses (including school nurses), Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services practitioners, midwives, health visitors, early years professionals, youth workers, youth justice professionals, A&E staff, paediatricians, and voluntary and community workers.

Number of pages: 75

This PDF download is an open access resource.
Serious Case Reviews: Learning Resources (open access)

Published: Jul 2016

Serious Case Reviews: Learning Resources (open access)

Pathways to harm, pathways to protection: a triennial analysis of serious case reviews 2011-2014.

The site includes materials to support learning in practice for LSCBs, social work and early help, police and criminal justice, health and education practitioners.

These learning resources are open access.

Go to the Serious Case Reviews website.
Young carers and their families: Confident assessment practice (2016)

Published: May 2016

Young carers and their families: Confident assessment practice (2016)

The Care Act 2014 and Children and Families Act 2014 (section 96) place new requirements on children’s and adult social care to identify young carers and assess their needs.

Set within the context of these two Acts, and with a focus on whole family approaches to working with young carers and their families, this Practice Tool aims to equip people working in children’s and adult services with skills and confidence to work with young carers and their families. This is not an assessment tool, but a tool to support practitioners to develop the skills needed to build relationships with young carers and their families.

Aimed at:
  • frontline practitioners in children’s and adult social care who work with young carers and their families
  • workforce development teams delivering training to those working with young carers
  • health and education professionals working with young carers, including those in Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Number of pages: 23
Preview available.
Knowledge and Skills Statement for child and family social work: Mapping Resource

Published: Feb 2016

Knowledge and Skills Statement for child and family social work: Mapping Resource

Support professional development with this resource which maps Research in Practice's extensive catalogue of resources against the ten requirements of assessment laid out by the Knowledge and Skills Statement, and includes a template to record Continuous Professional Development and evidence of learning against each statement.

Aimed at: ASYEs, social workers, supervisors and team managers, learning and development leads, Principal Social Workers and practice leaders.

Number of pages: 13

This PDF download is an open access resource.
Assessing and supporting family and friends care: Practice Tool (2015)

Published: Dec 2015

Assessing and supporting family and friends care: Practice Tool (2015)

Since the Children Act 1989 there has been increasing emphasis in UK law and policy on placing children requiring substitute care with family and friends, and the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 states this should be the first option. The aim of this Practice Tool is to assist practitioners in the processes of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of prospective placements with family and friends (kinship care) and identifying the assistance families might need to provide a safe and effective long-term home for a child.

Aimed at: Practitioners and managers in children’s social care and wider children’s services.

Number of pages: 16
Preview available.
Product code: CH-PTL-004
Scoring standardised measures - All Measures and Guidance [Compilation] (2015)

Published: Jul 2015

Scoring standardised measures - All Measures and Guidance [Compilation] (2015)

A selection of freely available standardised measures that can be used to aid professional judgement when assessing parental capacity to change, including guidance on scoring and interpretation.

The measures and guidance include:
  • AUDIT – C
  • Depression, anxiety and stress scale
  • Emotional Regulation Questionnaire
  • Home Conditions Assessment
  • Maternal and paternal ante-natal attachment scales
  • Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support
  • Parenting daily hassles

These resources are open access.

Appreciative Inquiry in child protection - identifying and promoting good practice and creating a learning culture: Practice Tool (2014)

Published: Nov 2014

Appreciative Inquiry in child protection - identifying and promoting good practice and creating a learning culture: Practice Tool (2014)

This Practice Tool provides a starting point for practitioners, managers, supervisors and LSCBs in understanding Appreciative Inquiry and its potential as a tool in service evaluation and promoting and implementing service improvement. The purpose of this toolkit is to explain what Appreciative Inquiry is and to support practitioners and managers to use it as a method for evidence-gathering, analysis and action planning.

Number of pages: 12
Preview available.
Product code: CH-PTL-003
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