National evaluation of the Graded Care Profile How the Graded Care Profile assessment tool helps practitioners identify when a child is at risk of neglect

Man and woman looking at papersThe Graded Care Profile (GCP) is designed to help practitioners spot when a child is at risk of neglect and get the right help to families earlier. We carried out the first UK-wide evaluation of this tool supported by Luton Safeguarding Children's Board, the GCP developer, Dr Srivastava and his colleague, Richard Fountain.

Our first report on the national evaluation of the GCP looks at the value of using the GCP in practice and why it was not used when it could have been. It draws on a range of perspectives including the views of practitioners and managers, parents, Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) and GCP trainers.

Our second report examines findings after suggested improvements to the GCP were incorporated into a second version of the tool called GCP2. We tested GCP2 for reliability and validity between September 2014 and August 2015 through NSPCC service centres.

Both reports are part of our Impact and evidence series.

Authors: Robyn Johnson and Richard Cotmore (National evaluation of the Graded Care Profile)
Robyn Johnson, Emma Smith and Helen Fisher (Testing the reliability and validity of the Graded Care Profile version 2)
Published: 2015

Graded Care Profile (GCP) helped professionals identify risks of child neglect and potential harm more effectively and promoted positive change for families. Useful features included the scoring process which helped to quantify neglect and make neglect more visible to professionals and to parents.

The GCP encouraged practitioners to focus on the child's experience rather than focusing on the adults' needs which helped in the assessment of care.

Using the GCP contributed to a constructive working relationship between practitioners and families by:

  • identifying parenting strengths as well as weaknesses
  • helping create a participative process that promoted parental engagement
  • helping parents understand professionals' concerns.

Most practitioners found GCP a useful tool across different age groups and a range of case types.

  • Practitioners gave a rating of 4 or 5 for usefulness in more than two thirds (68%) of cases (on a scale of 1-5 where 5 was "very useful").
  • Of those who were asked 87% of practitioners reported that GCP helped case planning.

Practitioners reported improved skills after using GCP. This included improvements in recording and reporting neglect and in communications with parents, managers and other professionals.

In the majority of cases (84%) of practitioners felt either fairly confident or very confident in using the GCP. 

Challenges to using the GCP effectively were identified and included:

  • language used in the tool was too complex and confusing
  • the gap between training and starting to use the GCP was sometimes too long
  • high staff turnover meant some practitioners left after training before being able to use the tool
  • management support for social workers in using the tool was variable. 

Factors that supported the use of GCP included:

  • management support
  • good quality training
  • a local champion for the tool
  • an implementation plan and a plan for ongoing monitoring and support. 

GCP2

Suggested improvements to the GCP were incorporated into a second version of the tool called GCP2.

The revised version of GCP called GCP2 has been found to be a reliable and valid assessment tool for helping practitioners assess child neglect:

  • there were strong correlations between GCP2 and 2 comparison tools (North Carolina Family Assessment Scale and Home Inventory)
  • there were high levels of agreement in ratings for the 4 GCP domains (physical, care of safety, emotional and developmental care ) when different practitioners used GCP2 with the same family
  • professionals participating in face validity research agreed that GCP2 achieves what it sets out to do.

National evaluation of the Graded Care Profile

Key findings: young people's version 4
Key findings 5
Executive summary 7
1. Introduction 11
2. Implementation challenges 20
3. Practice challenges and use of GCP 25
4. Strengths and limitations of the GCP 40
5. Perceptions of usefulness of GCP and effects on practice 51
Conclusions and discussion 68
References 74
Appendices 76

 

Testing the reliability and validity of the Graded Care Profile version 2 (GCP2)

Key findings 5
Key findings: young people’s version 6
Executive summary 7
Main report 9

"…it (GCP) really does focus on what it's like to be a child in that house … it's actually saying this is what needs to happen now for this child in order for these negative things to stop happening." 

"I think the GCP2 provides clear, evidence based information to assist local authorities to make decisions about a child's care, needs and any plans necessary." 

Please cite the two reports as:

Johnson, R. and Cotmore, R. (2015)  National evaluation of the Graded Care Profile. London: NSPCC.

Johnson, R., Smith, E. and Fisher, H. (2015) Testing the reliability and validity of the Graded Care Profile version 2 (GCP2). London: NSPCC.

Impact and evidence hub

Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.

Our impact and evidence

Impact and evidence series

Our evaluation and research reports that look at the impact of our services or summarise the evidence about what works to protect children from abuse and neglect.

Find out more

Looking for something in particular?

Our Information Service can help you find the latest policy, practice and research in child protection.

Call 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk for more information.

Submit an enquiry

Related resources

Spotlight on preventing child neglect

What works in preventing child neglect. Part of the NSPCC’s Impact and evidence series.
Find out more

Thriving communities: a framework for preventing and intervening early in child neglect

Concrete actions for national and local decision-makers and commissioners to help stop child neglect.
Find out more

Realising the potential: tackling child neglect in universal services

Sets out a model showing the way universal services practitioners can provide effective early help for child neglect.
Find out more

Hurting inside: learning from the NSPCC helpline and Childline on neglect

What children are telling us about living with neglect and key statistics on contacts to our helplines about child neglect. 
Find out more

Neglect and serious case reviews

A systematic analysis of neglect in serious case reviews in England, between 2003 and 2011.
Find out more

Child abuse and neglect in the UK today

Research report into children’s experiences of abuse and neglect.
Find out more

Evidence Based Decisions

Reviewing family situations to protect children at risk of harm.
Evidence Based Decisions service

Thriving Families

Helping to define, detect and tackle neglect and provide the right support for families.
Thriving Families service

Graded Care Profile

Assessing the care of children and identifying neglect.
Graded Care Profile service

SafeCare

Encouraging, informing and promoting better parenting to protect young children from harm.
SafeCare service

Improving parenting, improving practice

Helping parents who are struggling to care for their children.
Improving parenting, improving practice service

Neglect or emotional abuse in teenagers: Core info leaflet

Leaflet on what is currently known about teenagers’ experiences of neglect and emotional harm. Part of the Core info leaflet series.
Find out more

Emotional neglect and emotional abuse in pre-school children: Core info leaflet

Leaflet summarising what we currently know about children under 6 who have been emotionally neglected or abused. Part of the Core info leaflet series.
Find out more

Neglect or emotional abuse in children aged 5-14: Core info leaflet

A leaflet summarising how neglect and emotional abuse affects children aged 5 to 14. Part of the Core info leaflet series.
Find out more

Neglect

Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child's basic needs. It's dangerous and children can suffer serious and long-term harm.
Read more about neglect

Emotional abuse

Children who are emotionally abused suffer emotional maltreatment or neglect. It's sometimes called psychological abuse and can cause children serious harm.
Read more about emotional abuse

CASPAR

Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.

Sign up to CASPAR

Information Service

Our free service for people who work with children can help you find the latest policy, practice, research and news on child protection and related subjects.

For more information, call us or email help@nspcc.org.uk.

0808 800 5000

Submit an enquiry

Support our research

Research like this helps keep children safe from abuse – but we can’t do it without our generous supporters. 

Donate now

Follow @NSPCCpro

Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.

Follow @NSPCCpro on Twitter

Library catalogue

We hold the UK's largest collection of child protection resources and the only UK database specialising in published material on child protection, child abuse and child neglect.

Search the library

New in the Library

A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.

Sign up to New in the Library

Helping you keep children safe

Read our guide for professionals on what we do and the ways we can work with you to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.

Read our guide (PDF)

Impact and evidence hub

Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.

Our impact and evidence

Get expert training and consultancy

Grow your child protection knowledge and skills with CPD certified courses delivered by our experts nationwide and online.
Get expert training

Sharing knowledge to keep children safe

Read our guide to NSPCC Knowledge and Information Services to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.

Read our guide (PDF)