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Graded Care Profile

October 2013

The Graded Care Profile is an assessment tool designed to help practitioners identify when a child is at risk of neglect.

NSPCC service referral criteria
Assessing families where there are concerns about parental neglect
References and further reading
Related resources


The Graded Care Profile is an assessment tool that allows practitioners to produce an objective measure of the quality of care given to a child by looking at four key areas: physical, safety, love and esteem.

The assessment is conducted during home visits and identifies the care-givers’ strengths and weaknesses and highlights areas for change.


Research tells us that practitioners feel there is a lack of agreement around what constitutes child neglect and when professionals should intervene (Gardner, 2008).

The Graded Care Profile (GCP) scale was developed by Dr Srivastava, a consultant paediatrician in South Yorkshire, to provide practitioners with an objective way of assessing when inadequate care could put a child at risk of harm.

Trained practitioners conduct home visits to assess the care given to a child across four areas adapted from Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs: physical care, safety, love and esteem (Maslow, 1954).

Different elements of care across each area are scored from 1 to 5, allowing practitioners to identify both strengths and weaknesses in the care given to the child.

The assessment gives an objective picture of the care that the child is actually receiving and highlights how parenting support and interventions can be targeted to improve the level of care the child receives.

NSPCC service referral criteria

The Graded Care Profile is currently being evaluated by the NSPCC in: Tidworth, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Crewe, Peterborough and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

The service is open to families where:

  • there is a level of concern about possible neglect (cases might range from concern that neglect might be an issue to where there are serious concerns regarding neglect, including where a child or young person is subject to a child protection plan)
  • the level of concern is clearly identified.

Assessing families where there are concerns about parental neglect

The NSPCC is leading in a national evaluation of the Graded Care Profile.

We will be working with partner agencies across the UK (including Local Safeguarding Children Boards, the health sector, children’s services and education) using the Graded Care Profile to assess cases of possible neglect.


In order to understand the impact of this service on children, we will be undertaking rigorous monitoring and evaluation and we will be sharing our findings.

We will be examining how to effectively identify potential and actual child neglect and the challenges in doing this and whether the identification of neglect contributes to improved quality of outputs and processes in practice with child neglect.

We are particularly interested in learning about the impact of using the Graded Care Profile on:

  • the recording and reporting of neglect
  • communications with family members and between professionals
  • evidence for thresholds and decision making
  • parental engagement
  • appropriate intervention
  • perceptions of neglect.

References and further reading

Gardner, R. (2008) Developing an effective response to neglect and emotional harm to children. London: University of East Anglia and NSPCC.

Maslow, A. H. (1954) Motivation and personality. New York: Harper and Row.

Srivastava, O. and Polmay, L.(1997) Field trial of graded care profile (GCP) scale: a new measure of care. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 76(4): 337-340.

Srivastava, O. P. et al (2003) Common operational approach using the Graded Care Profile in cases of neglect. in: Taylor, J. and Daniel, B. (2005) Child neglect: practice issues for health and social care. London: Jessica Kingsley. pp.131-146.

Related resources

Factsheet series on neglect
A series of factsheets to help professionals understand, identify and respond effectively to cases of child neglect.

News on child neglect
Keep up to date with the most recent developments on working with neglected children and young people and their families with CASPAR, the current awareness service for child protection policy, practice and research.

Practice resources and research on child neglect
Publications to help professionals working with neglected children or adolescents and their families.

Neglect homepage
See all of our resources for professionals on working to prevent child neglect.

Contact the NSPCC's information service for specialist information on NSPCC services, child neglect or any child protection topic

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