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Partnership agreed for delivery of C-Change Capacity to Change Assessment Training

An adult and child hand

18 October 2016

The University of Bristol has partnered with Interface Enterprises to deliver national training to support the embedding of the C-Change Capacity to Change approach.

C-Change is a flexible approach for assessing parents’ capacities to change where the children are in need, or at risk of maltreatment and is of interest to social workers and other practitioners.  It may be used, for example, to assist decision-making when care proceedings are being considered; in planning to reunite children who have been in care with their parent(s); and in providing support through Early Help services.

C-Change focuses specifically on parental capacity to change, with the aim of improving practitioner skills and better informing future planning and decision-making for children.  It is designed to be used alongside standard methods of assessing children and their families, such as the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need, Signs of Safety, or other equivalent approaches.

Parental capacity to change is an aspect of assessment that has proved difficult for social workers for many years, and is a growing area of interest in terms of current practice. Family courts, for example, are expecting greater attention to capacity to change in social workers’ reports for care proceedings.

There is limited availability of good quality assessment methods for practitioners regarding parental capacity to change, and C-Change fills an important gap. Problems it may help to address include delays in deciding to remove a child; decisions about removing a child from parents who might reasonably have been able to continue with the child’s care; and working with cases that appear to be ‘stuck’.

Training can be provided, in house, for practitioners working with children and families and needing to understand and assess parental capacity to change. 

A social worker recently trained in the approach commented: “It’s huge.  Although I’ve been practising for a long time, until I did this, you didn’t actually sit down and actually think about it.”

Dr Dendy Platt, from the Children and Families Research Centre in the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol said: “We know this approach fills an important gap in assessment. Our piloting suggests social workers’ confidence in assessing parental capacity to change increases significantly following training and use of the approach in practice.”

Wendy Weal, Managing Director, of Interface Enterprises added: “We have a mission to transform the lives of vulnerable children and families, and so are very excited by the prospect of this approach making a real difference. We know from experience that this will fill a real need for practitioners in their work, and we are excited to be able to support them, through training and use of the manual, to gain skills and confidence which in turn will improve the quality and accuracy of assessments.”

Further information

Further information about the C-Change approach can be found in Dr Dendy Platt's article on the PolicyBristol Hub.

Interface is a national provider of specialist support, training, information and resources for those working with vulnerable children and families. Interface was established by Wendy Weal, former deputy delivery manager for the families at risk division in the DfE. Wendy worked in local authorities for 22 years and later supported the government with reforms around working with vulnerable children and families. Interface Enterprises provide training, research and evaluation, and consultancy support across the UK.  

The Children and Families Research Centre focuses on research and teaching in child welfare and family policy. Staff have backgrounds in social policy, social work, sociology and psychology.  Current areas of research include adoption, fostering and kinship care; child protection; education of children in care; residential care; reunification; social work assessment; children’s wellbeing; evaluation studies in these areas; and projects focusing on practice development, impact and dissemination.    The Centre has a range of methodological expertise including qualitative and quantitative approaches, evaluative studies, and, arts-based and other innovative methods, particularly in relation to research with children.

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