MGA 20

Making good assessments

A practical resource guide



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Preparing and assessing potential adopters and permanent foster carers is key to a successful placement: many of the children who require new permanent families have had troubled and problematic backgrounds and have complex needs.

But what makes for a good assessment? What are the critical areas that must be covered? How can workers ensure that the assessment process is an enabling and rewarding experience for the applicant?

This practical resource guide has been designed to help agencies and family-finding services develop their own assessment programme. With its creative and imaginative format, it can be used flexibly within group settings, individual or family discussions.

Making good assessments will help to provide knowledge and understanding to underpin assessments. It fits with current thinking and philosophy but allows scope for development. It provides a broad-based foundation which can be built on for ongoing work.

This authoritative guide will enable family placement workers to approach their assessments with greater confidence. It will ensure that they address key areas, embrace a holistic approach, and attain high standards.

Who is this book for?

Adoption and fostering workers, panel members, decision makers, and those responsible for making successful placements for children.

What you will find in this book

The major themes, which are presented as eight modules, will enable an exploration and understanding of:

  • Attachment, loss and trauma
  • The motivation to parent and expectations of children
  • The impact on the family, resilience and survival
  • Parenting capacity
  • Identity and difference
  • Contact and children’s needs
  • The particular needs of children already in the family
  • The particular issues arising for applicants from different groups, e.g. single, lesbian and gay, and disabled

Each module provides a broad introduction to the topic, along with articles and excerpts from experts, and presents a range of imaginative exercises to be used with applicants and children. The guide also contains useful case scenarios that can be referred to as well as a comprehensive bibliography.


Pat Beesley worked for many years as a consultant and trainer in BAAF’s North East England team. Her professional background includes social work in generic, hospital and children’s mental health teams as well as extensive experience as a social worker and manager in fostering and adoption. Her expertise in assessment stems from her wide experience of preparing, assessing and supporting adoptive parents and foster carers as well as training in these areas.

Discount for bulk orders 

We are offering a discounted price of £25 per copy for orders of five or more copies of Making good assessments. Please note, this discount will not show up in your shopping basket but will be applied manually when your order is processed. 


The chapters, modules and tasks are clearly structured and this allows this guide to be accessible to both practitioners and potential carers. The overriding purpose here is to provide applicants with the strategies that are appropriate to maximising their understanding of the assessment process and beyond. It is, therefore, useful for practitioners who need accessible resource for carers. The guide helps to highlight, and resolve, some of the practical tensions that practitioners and carers often face in the assessment process.

Lydia Brown, Social Work Practitioner, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council Practice 26:4

This is a really useful resource as a basis for all core assessments in social work, while focusing on fostering primarily.

Five stars,