How the GCP2 assessment tool for neglect supports families and practitioners to achieve change

Publication date 2022

Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2) is an assessment tool that helps practitioners take a strengths-based approach to measuring the quality of care a child is receiving and supports them to identify neglect.

Previous research has already shown that the GCP2 is a reliable tool for assessing families where there are concerns about neglect.

We wanted to find out if GCP2 had further benefits and could contribute to changes for families such as changes to parents’ mental health or wellbeing.

Using a case study approach, we carried out interviews with:

  • the practitioner who carried out the assessment
  • the parent or carer assessed
  • a professional working closely with the family (for example, a family support worker or school teacher).

Four local authorities where GCP2 was well established, participated in the research.

Authors: Rachel Margolis, Jessica Johansen, Emma Smith and Emma Belton
Published: 2021

Download The GCP2 assessment tool for neglect: understanding how the Graded Care Profile 2 supports families and practitioners to achieve change
Download the report (PDF)

Key findings

GCP2 helps practitioners communicate concerns to families to bring about positive change

Assessments using GCP2 can help bring about positive changes for families.

Parents’ mental health can improve, their help seeking behaviours can increase, and they can develop new skills and have improved relationships with others.

Some children experienced positive changes, such as improvements in behaviour, health and development.

Aspects of GCP2 helped practitioners to communicate with families about why there were concerns about their children. The tool’s strengths-based approach and "traffic lights" system helped families to identify what they are doing well, understand concerns and see positive changes.

Changes to home environment are often easier for families to implement than changes to parenting behaviours

Parents often found it easier to put in place improvements to their home environment than to change their parenting behaviours.

The way in which practitioners could break down improvements to the home environment – such as regular cleaning and decluttering – made change feel like a manageable task for parents.

Using GCP2 can help practitioners make decisions about cases

Using GCP2 may lead practitioners to keep a case open for longer if they are concerned about the families’ need for ongoing support to keep their children safe. It can also help practitioners evidence that a case can be closed without concerns for the welfare of the children.

Change for families is affected by lots of factors

GCP2 is part of a range of assessments and interventions that a family may be receiving all of which may have contributed to the changes that were observed in this study.

The parent-practitioner relationship is key to enabling changes to occur

A positive relationship between the parent and the practitioner who carried out the assessment helped families to engage with the assessment and facilitated positive changes. Parents appreciated practitioners creating time to get to know them and their families before beginning the assessment.

I think “neglect” is a difficult word, it’s quite a strong powerful word isn’t it really so… I try and reword it as though you know it’s a tool to look at what’s going well which is what we do, what’s working well, what we’re worried about and you know how we can help you.

Practitioner
I’ve started speaking to [the children] more, even when I am depressed. I actually play games with them and do stuff with them to bring me out of it. This assessment and being with the [team around the family] has helped me absolutely brilliantly.

Parent
With her own mental health... she’s been seeing to her own needs… I have seen a change from last year, where she would just sit there on the couch just staring at you while the house wasn’t in a good state. Now, she’s taking pride in the family home, and making sure she’s having regular teas, regular breakfast times, and seeing to the kids, bathing them regularly.

Practitioner
Download The GCP2 assessment tool for neglect: understanding how the Graded Care Profile 2 supports families and practitioners to achieve change
Download the report (PDF)

Please cite as: Margolis, R. et al (2021) The GCP2 assessment tool for neglect: understanding how the Graded Care Profile 2 supports families and practitioners to achieve change. London: NSPCC.

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