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A short guide to the assessment and preparation of children

The importance of assessment and care planning The assessment and preparation of children is one of the most important parts of a deinstitutionalisation (DI) programme. Supporting and enabling the child to return home to their family, if safe and practical, should be the primary consideration. However, we recognise that it is not always possible or safe for all children to live with their families. For a small number of children, alternative family care will be needed. 

This handout includes information for preparing children to return home or to move to alternative family-based care services. To ensure that the new placements are based on the best interests of children, a comprehensive assessment of the child and their family will be needed. 

The aim of assessment and care planning 

The purpose of an assessment of children and their family is to understand the ability of the family or other carers to meet the child’s needs and to make a plan to meet the child’s needs. This involves gathering information which identifies the development, protection and welfare needs of a child and considering the social, environmental and cultural aspects and context of the child’s life. A plan can then be made which is appropriate for the child.

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