Cath Talbot and Martin Calder : Assessment in Kinship Care

Review by Fran Dale, Named Nurse Child Protection

Assessment in Kinship Care edited by Cath Talbot and Martin Calder is a skilfully devised book incorporating chapter contributions from notable professionals across the field of social care and health, and law.
Although not explicit in its intended readership, this book is a vital addition for health professionals working closely with children, young people and their families.

Each chapter is a stand-alone. However, there is a natural progression within the text to encourage the reader to follow through from its commencement with research evidence to the proposed re-conceptualisation of the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families.

The book lives up to its name by exploring the in-depth factors involved in kinship placements, providing practitioners, managers and supervisors with a wealth of research on which to  address the ‘gap between evidence and current practice’ (p126), which is still causing concern.

The chapters have good clear introductions, and are exceptionally well referenced, enticing the reader to read more widely around each subject area.
The authors introduce alternative notions of what constitutes kinship care highlighting the diversity, difficulties and potential risks of placements, elements to be borne in mind by all professionals in a decision-making role.

The good use of recent cases hitting the media, and the application of research reminds us all that assessments should always be mindful of risks.

In conclusion, this book emphasises that there is nothing more important than the voice of the child, and practitioners should take heed. As a Lead Nurse for Safeguarding, providing training and education for social care and health practitioners I intend to utilise the material to inform future practice.

Talbot, C. and Calder, M. (2006) Assessment in Kinship Care, Lyme Regis, Russell House Publishing

ISBN 1–903855-86-1

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