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Tools for Professionals

On this page we will keep a directory of common tools available for children’s services professionals which can support undertaking assessments, measuring risks and developing plans to support children and young people.

Staff should be familiar with the common tools which will support them to:

  • Undertake high quality assessments.
  • Bench mark to be able to evidence improvement or deterioration in the future.
  • Be assured that the family is receiving the right service at the right time.
  • Identify need

When using the tools please refer to the relevant policy, procedures and guidance published here:


1. Graded Care Profile – tool for the assessment of neglect

When would you use it?

  • “I feel this family is struggling to meet the needs of their children and I have concerns in a number of different areas.”

What is it?

  • Tool can be used by all professionals during assessment, intervention or pre-referral to other agencies including Children and Young People’s services.
  • It includes strengths and weaknesses and facilitates targeted interventions.
  • It is a detailed tool that grades a range of statements that may indicate the presence of neglect against a standardised framework.
  • focuses on specific facets of neglect that concern professionals.
  • The indicators include

–physical care (e.g. nutrition),

–safety (e.g. traffic and suitability of carers);

–responsiveness to the child (e.g. sensitivity and communication); esteem (e.g. stimulations and acceptance).





Please also see:

2. Home Conditions Assessment – tool to inform about the impact of poor home conditions on children

When would you use it?

“The home conditions are poor and I am concerned that this is having a negative effect on the children.”

What is it?

  • The home conditions assessment tool is a short assessment of the physical aspects of the home conditions and the impact this can have on the children who live there.
  • These impacts will differ depending on the age and development of the child.
  • Particular home conditions may prompt actions (e.g. clearing of rubbish in the home by the parents) which can inform plans.
  • The home conditions form can be completed in partnership with parents/carers,
  • The tool concludes with decisions, tasks, actions and consent issues.
  • Subsequent reviews should establish whether the home conditions have improved or deteriorated.




Please also see:

3. Child Sexual Exploitation Screening Tool – tool to inform whether a child is being exploited

When would you use it?

  • “I feel this child may be at risk of sexual exploitation as there are a number of indicators worrying me having read the CSE practitioner guide”.

What is it?

  • Where child sexual exploitation, or the risk of it, is suspected, frontline practitioners should complete the CSE screening tool
  • All medium and high risk completed screening tools must be sent to the integrated front door with a request for services form attached.
  • Where the threat is immediate it may be appropriate to inform Merseyside Police on telephone number 101 or if necessary through the emergency number 999.



Please also see:

4. Domestic Violence Risk Identification Checklist (RIC or DASH) – tool to help identify adult victims of domestic violence and abuse

When would you use it?

  • “A woman seems to be being stalked by her ex-partner. It appears he has been harassing her and there are domestic abuse concerns – does he pose a risk to her?”
  • There is evidence of potential domestic abuse within a household, is it significant?

What is it?

  • The purpose of the Dash risk checklist is to give a consistent and simple tool for practitioners who work with adult victims of domestic abuse in order to help them identify those who are at high risk of harm and whose cases should be referred to a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) meeting in order to manage their risk. The score provides evidence required to refer to Family Safety Unit.
  • Whilst domestic abuse is most often perpetrated by men towards women in an intimate relationship such as boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, this checklist can also be used for lesbian, gay, bisexual relationships and for situations of ‘honour’-based violence or family violence.
  • If you are concerned about risk to a child or children, following the completion of a DASH you should make a referral to ensure that a full assessment of their safety and welfare is made.



Please also see:


5. Barnardo’s Domestic Violence Risk Identification Matrix (DV RIM) – tool to help assess the risk to children from impact of domestic abuse between adults

The tool enables practitioners to assess the level of risks to children from male and female domestic abuse. The sheet contains a list of risk factors, vulnerabilities and protective factors which helps practitioners recognise whether a child is at moderate, serious or severe risk.



Please also see:

6. Brook Traffic Light Tool – supports professionals working with children and young people by helping them to identify and respond appropriately to sexual behaviours.

The tool uses a traffic light system to categorise the sexual behaviours of young people and is designed to help professionals:

*   Make decisions about safeguarding children and young people

*   Assess and respond appropriately to sexual behaviour in children and young people

*   Understand healthy sexual development and distinguish it from harmful behaviour

By categorising sexual behaviours as green, amber or red, professionals across different agencies can work to the same standardised criteria when making decisions and can protect children and young people with a unified approach.

When would you use it?

“I am concerned about a child displaying sexual behaviors that are inappropriate or potentially harmful and therefore in need of assessment.”

What is it?

  • This innovative resource helps professionals who work with children and young people to identify, assess and respond appropriately to sexual behaviours. It uses a ‘traffic light tool’ to categorise sexual behaviours, to increase understanding of healthy sexual development and distinguish this from harmful behaviour.
  • By identifying sexual behaviours as green, amber or red, professionals across different agencies can work to the same criteria when making decisions and protect children and young people with a unified approach.
  • This resource has been designed to help professionals think through their decisions and does not replace organisational procedures or assessment frameworks.



Please also see:

More tools will be added over time to create a one stop toolkit for professionals.

If you are a professional and you use a helpful tool to support your work with young people and families send it to us (email: [email protected]) and we will add it to the list.

7. Chronology Guidance

The WSCB has published a short guidance document for professionals working with children, young people and their families.

The document can be accessed here.