Brian Taylor is Professor of Social Work at Ulster University where he has lead role for social work research. He spent ten years in practice and management, and fifteen years in professional training and organisation development before moving to the University. This included three years as Project Manager for the implementation of the Children (NI) Order 1995 in the Northern Health and Services Board area. He was a member of the Cross-Border Child Protection Research and Knowledge Transfer Sub Committee of the North-South Ministerial Council for the island of Ireland. Brian leads the University social work research cluster on Decision, Assessment, Risk and Evidence Studies, and this is now the primary focus of his research and teaching. He is the founder-convenor of the Decisions, Assessment and Risk Special Interest Group of the European Social Work Research Association. Brian has published widely on these topics, including a post-qualifying text book on Decision Making, Assessment and Risk in Social Work now in its third edition.
There are increasing pressures on social workers to address the possibly of harm to families in the future, not just the presenting needs today. There are also increasing demands to make our practice more ‘evidence-based’. Our assessment tools and processes need to take both of these dimensions into account. This presentation will consider the purpose and function of child welfare assessment tools in relation to:
• using the best knowledge available to inform practice;
• the potential for predicting harm; and
• the strengths and limitations of standardised assessment tools.