Initial Family and Friends (Viability) Assessment
It is sometimes the case that children can’t remain living with their parents. When this occurs, a suitable alternative is required and this is often in the form of adoptive or foster parents. However, research has shown that children placed in kinship care (cared for by other family members) generally do as well, if not better, than children placed in foster care with an unrelated family.
An initial family and friends assessment, also known as a viability assessment, is a tool used by local authorities to assess whether family members should be further considered as kinship cares without having to undertake a more thorough assessment. Once completed, the assessor will be in a position to conclude whether the family member is or isn’t suitable to be considered further as a kinship carer. This might be just one or several family members.
To date, there are no minimum standards or guidelines for local authorities to use when completing initial family and friends assessments and a range of approaches are adopted. I can be instructed by solicitors to complete an initial family and friends assessment where one hasn’t been completed or where the outcome of an existing assessment is called into question.
To ensure that a consistent and holistic assessment is completed, I use the assessment criteria set out by the Family Rights Group and adopt their good practice principles when completing viability assessments.
If you would like to discuss how I can assist further, please don’t hesitate to contact me.