NYSCP Home Environment Assessment Tool - North Yorkshire

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Home Environment Assessment Tool

Home Environment Assessment Tool (HEAT)

INTRODUCTION:

The assessment tool has been developed with practitioners. It is designed to help
practitioners identify those families where there may be early signs of neglect so that prompt action
can be taken to address and support families to improve home conditions and safety for their
children.

The HEAT should not be used in isolation and should form part of the overall assessment
that is being undertaken.

The tool recognises that practitioners must make judgements about the safety, order and
cleanliness of the homes in which children live. The tool has been designed to help practitioners to
be objective about their observations and evidence their concerns.

WHEN TO USE THE ASSESSMENT TOOL:

Professionals should follow their own service specific guidance as to the requirements of
when to complete the assessment tool with families.

The HEAT assessment tool should be used as part of a wider assessment of a family’s needs
to provide insight of the home environment.

The HEAT assessment can be used as a prompt to support a service’s specific assessment
rather than completing this assessment in addition.

USING THE ASSESSMENT TOOL:

Consent:

The assessment tool should be completed jointly with families; this creates greater openness
and a common understanding of the areas that may cause concern. Consent should be gained as
part of this process. The questions in the assessment tool have been worded in a positive way to
minimise the risk of families feeling anxious about the assessment. The delivery of the assessment
families should also provide some reassurance that a supportive approach is being adopted.

If consent is not gained, then practitioners need to document this, analyse risk and consider
seeking further safeguarding advice.

It is important when carrying out the assessment, that the practitioner has a clear picture of
the home environment from the child’s point of view.

Where there is more than one child within the family, the HEAT should be completed from
each child’s perspective e.g. a young baby who is at crawling stage will be more affected by dirt on
the floor however an older child may be more affected by dental decay.

SCORING:

Answers to the HEAT: Answer Yes if there are no issues and No if issues are evident.

Depending on the age of the children, different items may give more or less concern, but in
general the higher amount of ‘No’ responses, the greater the concern.

Items should be scored on the basis of what is observed.

A single item may be enough to raise a significant concern as well as a number of items
together.

Specific details should be recorded by the practitioner of what is actually seen to help develop
specific actions to address improvements required.

WHAT TO DO IF THE HEAT RAISES CONCERNS:

Whilst for many families the completion of the assessment tool will raise no concerns, for
those that do, the practitioner should use the assessment tool to help gain an understanding of why
difficulties are evident so that appropriate and supportive actions can be identified that will help the
family to make the required improvements.

Unless an issue raises a concern that a child or a young person may be at risk of immediate
or significant harm, practitioners should take appropriate supportive action to address the issues of
concern with families. Actions that are agreed with the family, together with direct help and support
should be provided to the family and a review should be carried out within a reasonable timescale.

Actions should be agreed with the family and recorded in the actions section of the HEAT.

If the concerns raised require additional support, a practitioner should follow North
Yorkshire’s Early Help process
. Within this process it may be appropriate for a practitioner to
complete an Early Help Assessment with the family, with a view to holding a Team Around the
Family depending on the conclusions drawn from the Early Help Assessment. For more information
on the Early Help process in North Yorkshire see the Early Help One Minute Guide.

If concerns raised place the child in immediate danger, a practitioner should contact the
police on 999. If a practitioner believes the concerns raised place the child at significant risk and
harm a telephone contact to North Yorkshire Multi-Agency Screening Team (MAST) can be made on
01609 780780. A written referral to MAST can be made via the Universal Referral Form and must be
completed and submitted within 24 hours of a practitioner’s telephone contact. For more
information on the safeguarding referral process in North Yorkshire, visit the Worried About a Child
page on the NYSCP website.

Download the HEAT

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