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Community Pract. 2009 May;82(5):28-31.

Health visitors' child protection work: exploratory study of risk assessment.

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Kirklees Primary Care Trust.


This paper outlines a small-scale research project that utilised a modified grounded theory approach in order to explore the role of risk assessment in health visitors' child protection work. A review of the literature investigated the role of risk assessment in current health and social care policy. Structured focus group and interview work enabled the opinions of health visitors to be collected about the factors that enable them to identify, analyse and manage issues of risk to children.Transcripts were analysed with reference to the literature review. The health visitors considered aspects of their relationship with clients to influence the identification, analysis and management of risk to children. The results suggest that health visitors are not convinced that the Common Assessment Framework or health assessment tools assist in their management of risk to children. The findings of this study are based on data collected from a small sample of health visitors, and conclusions are therefore tentative, but aim to contribute to wider professional debate about risk management in child protection work.

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