Our website is set to allow the use of cookies. For more information and to change settings click here. If you are happy with cookies please click "Continue" or simply continue browsing. Continue.

  • Capacity to Change
Family Law eNews FL eNews

Weekly news and comment straight to your inbox

Sign Up Here
Buy a ticket or book a table today FLA 17

Capacity to Change

Understanding and Assessing a Parent's Capacity to Change within the Timescales of the Child


This title brings together chapters commissioned specifically for the audience in the social care, health, education and legal professions.

Paperback i

Book printed softcover

Keeping children at home with their families, whilst seeking to protect them from significant harm, remains a challenge for legal, social care, health and education professionals. At a time when expert evidence is relied upon less to inform critical decisions in children’s lives, this edited book brings together a range of professionals who are specialists in the issues involved when assessing whether a parent has the ability to change in order to meet their child’s needs, and to do so within the child’s time scales.

The aim of the book is to provide a structure that explains the process of case formulation in child and family assessments, focusing on the needs of the child and the parent’s capacity to meet them in the child’s timescales. From a developmental perspective the book explores a wide range of issues, each with a focus on the central issue of capacity and timescales, including attachment needs, child abuse and developmental trauma, the needs of the adults including their mental health, learning difficulties, and drug and alcohol misuse.

The needs of the child are explored from a range of perspectives including their own voice, their parenting experience and life at school. Contributions include issues identified from a social work, legal and health perspective, as well as assessment and formulation.

Using evidence and clinical practice the book provides a formulation matrix for understanding the necessary process that is required in undertaking robust child law case assessments. The book is written with reference to models of practice and evidence, but also written by practitioners sharing case examples and insights into clinical work.

It is aimed at the legal profession and those seeking to gain greater understanding and skills in child law and practice.

Listen to a podcast by Dr Bryn Williams

Part One:
  • Capacity to change in the children’s timescales 
  • Early intervention: Outcomes for babies and young children in the care system
  • Outcomes for children with attachment disorders and understanding their long-term needs
  • Psychological needs and outcomes for abused and neglected children
  • Psychological needs of children with neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Children and young people’s experience: The voice of the child in their experience of timescales
  • Learning and educational needs of children and young people 
  • Protection and working towards safety and stability for the child
  • The needs of children caught in private law proceedings when their family disintegrates
Part Two:
  • Understanding and assessing motivation to change
  • Capacity to change in parents with mental health issues
  • Capacity to change in parents who are violent
  • Capacity to change in parents who are a sexual risk
  • Capacity to change in parents with drug and alcohol problems
  • Capacity to change in parents with learning difficulties
  • Understanding the legal processes and implications in the assessment of capacity to change in the child’s timescales

Problem Parenting and Assessing 'The Capacity to Change' in Accordance with the Need of the Child

"An important book,objective and non-judgmental in its stance, as well as compassionate...offers a wealth ofprofessional guidance and advice on a particularly delicate and heart-rendingsubject which centres on the welfare of children...Revealing as it doesthe latest thinking in this difficult area, this book should be requiredreading for the insights it provides to all professionals in this field"
read the review in full
Phillip Taylor MBE and ELizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
Ursula Rice, Director, Family First Solicitors

In order to take what Lord Justice McFarlane (in Re G (a child) [2013] EWCA Civ 965, paras 49–50) described as the ‘most draconian’ decision when removing a child from the birth parents, professionals are required to exercise a collective decision making process. One that brings together social workers, teachers, health professionals, other child care specialists, solicitors and barristers to assist the ‘decision maker’ in determining whether a child’s experience within their family is safe and, if not, whether change can occur so that the child is safe. The subject of this book emerged from hearing the repeated ‘echo’ of legal and social care professionals asking the question ‘do you consider that the parent has the capacity to change in order to be an adequate parent, and to do so in the timescales necessary for the child?’ when being invited to offer a psychological opinion, often in the role as an ‘expert witness’.

Have a question about this product? Please get in touch by completing the boxes below.

You May Also Like

Assessment of Parents within Care Proceedings

Assessment of Parents within Care Proceedings

This new title considers the law and practice in relation to applications made within care...

Available in Lexis®Library
Family Law Reports

Family Law Reports

"The unrivalled and authoritative source of judicially approved case reports, covering all areas...

Available in Lexis®Library
DIY Divorce and Separation

DIY Divorce and Separation

The expert guide to representing yourself

If you are looking to represent yourself in court this book will de-mystify the legal process and...