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Development of a Framework for the Assessment of Vulnerable Children and their Families

Research Staff

Dr. Helen Buckley, Jan Horwath, Sadhbh Whelan,

About the Project


This research project commenced in January 2002 and took place over a three year period. It was a collaborative action research project, which was commissioned by three health boards. The project was jointly conducted by Trinity College Dublin and the University of Sheffield under the directorship of Dr Helen Buckley, Trinity College and Jan Horwath, University of Sheffield.

What did the research focus on?

The aim of the project was to develop a framework for practice that would provide professionals with detailed guidance on the assessment of vulnerable children and their families. The project included extensive consultation with professionals involved in the provision of services to children and families.

What did the research involve?

Initially, between February and May 2002, information seminars were held in each of the three participating health boards to advise staff about the research. Later that year fifteen focus groups were held with pracititioners and managers from the three health boards, and some voluntary organisations, to discuss in detail what type of Assessment Framework would be useful. In September 2003 a draft Assessment Tool and Practice Guidance were produced. These were then piloted for a six month period in five sites across the three health boards. After the piloting phase an evaluation was carried out with participating staff and the documents were modified in line with the feedback received.

Final products of the research

The Assessment Tool and the Practice Guidance have been published, this is currently out of print. Please email to be added to a waiting list.

Last updated 15 March 2010 by The Children′s Research Centre (Email).