Assessing the Health Needs of Children

Appleton, J and Whittaker, Karen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3493-9396 (2018) Assessing the Health Needs of Children. In: The Child’s World. Third Edition. The Essential Guide to Assessing Vulnerable Children, Young People and their Families. Jessica Kingsley Publishers (JKP). ISBN 9781785921162

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This chapter will explore the health contribution to the assessment of children and young people’s needs, focusing on early help through to child protection. The chapter begins with a brief overview of health needs and health needs assessment, outlining the purpose of needs assessment and how it is inextricably linked to public health practice, at both an individual child/family level and at a broader population level. It then moves on to describe the universal early intervention and prevention public health programmes available for children and their families across the UK, and their underpinning theoretical principles – for example, in England, the Healthy Child Programme (HCP) 0–19 years (DH 2009a, 2009b). Child health promotion programmes provide a gateway to health needs assessment, increased levels of preventive interventions, and early help and support by public health professionals.
A range of health professionals are involved in assessing children’s health needs, and their roles, linked to key points in children’s lives, will be briefly discussed. The chapter will then move on to explore some general principles underpinning effective assessment, including engagement with and relationships with children, young people and their parents/families, ethical assessment, assessment as intervention, some of the tools used to support the assessment process, and assessment work in the context of the community and home environment. Throughout, the chapter acknowledges the requirement (of s10 of the Children Act 2004) for cooperation between the agencies involved in promoting and safeguarding children’s welfare, the importance of effective multidisciplinary and interagency working, and the involvement of a range of professionals in the assessment of a child and family’s health needs.

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