Guidance for Social Workers on Assessments

Initial Preparation: 

  • Ensure the Home Sharing application form has been completed. Check that the applicants have completed the Home Sharing Training Course (if applicable).
  • Admin that needs completing:
    • Garda Clearance
    • HSE Clearances
    • Medical Reports (& reimbursement for Medicals if there is a cost)
    • 3 References
  • Send out the full Assessment form (23 page document) to the family with a cover letter. Send the letter out with a date for your first home visit. Give the family at least one week notice so they can make a start on the Assessment form.

General Guidelines: 

  • If it’s a couple being assessed, the Social Worker needs to meet with them jointly, particularly on the first visit. Meet with each applicant separately on the 2nd visit. Also meet the children (if applicable) on one of the visits. A short meeting with the children without their parents during the assessment is beneficial to establish that they have been included in the process. 

First Visit: 

  • Use this visit to get to know the person/family in an unstructured interview style. Cover their early life, work experience etc.
  • Explain the medical form. Inform them you will be writing off for their 3 references. Check with them that they have 3 appropriate referees listed on the applciation form and that they are happy to use these. If one of the potential hosts has experience working in the disability/care sector, a reference from this employer should be sought. The other two references should be referees that know ‘the family’, not just one of the host carers.
  • Show the family the sample Welcome Booklet and ask them to work on doing their own one. If they give you a draft one with pictures at the end of the assessment, it’s simple to type it up and scan the photos in the office.
  • Explain any elements of the assessment form that the family may need assistance with. Ask the family to have the assessment form completed by the 2nd visit.

Writing up: 

  • After each visit, it is important to get your notes typed up as soon as possible. Using a Dictaphone can be the most efficient way of doing this. Either method is fine once you get the information written up as it can be used for you report later on.

Subsequent Visits:

  • Ensure to review the notes from the previous visit. Cross reference your notes with the Assessment form that has been completed by the family to ensure all information and areas are being covered.

Sample Template for the Social Work Assessment Report: 

  • Outline of Assessments Visits
  • Photograph of the Host Family
  • Pen Picture/General Description of Prospective Host Family, Lifestyle etc
  • Individual Profile (of each individual host)
  • Current Circumstances of prospective Host Family & children
  • Motivation of Family to become Host Family
  • Preferred client profile for hosting
  • Attitude towards Home Sharing process
  • Reporting, Allegations & Managing Behaviour
  • Strengths identified in prospective Host Family / What the prospective Host Family would have to offer the profiled person – an impression
  • Needs identified in prospective Host Family
  • Availability – Specific about what they can offer
  • Overall summary of Assessment of prospective Host Family
  • Recommendations