Graded Care Profile 2 Evidence, impact and evaluation

We’ve evaluated Graded Care Profile (GCP), a tool to evaluate family strengths and weaknesses, to see if it can help in the identification of neglect.

Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2) is the only authorised update of the tool. We've worked with the original author of GCP, Dr Srivastava, to make sure it is true to the original model but more user-friendly and comprehensive.

How neglect affects children

Neglect is the most common form of child abuse and the most common reason for taking child protection action in the UK. It can have long-lasting effects including mental health problems; poor physical, emotional and social development; behavioural problems; and low self-esteem.

It can be challenging for professionals to identify, measure and monitor neglect (Gardner, 2008). This can make it hard for decisions to be made about a child's future care.

How Graded Care Profile 2 is helping protect children

The right assessment tools can support practitioners to measure the quality of care being given to a child, and spot when they are at risk of harm.

The information from the assessment can then be used to ensure parents get the support and help they need to improve the level of care the child receives.

How we evaluated this service

Although the original Graded Care Profile (GCP) is being used by others, we've carried out the first UK-wide evaluation of this tool. We looked at how it is used and how effective it is in helping children and young people. 

We then used what we learnt in this evaluation to develop Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2).

Our evaluation took place in two stages.

1st stage


  • obtained feedback from practitioners, managers and service users
  • identified facilitators and barriers to effective use of the tool and in what contexts it can be used most effectively
  • explored perceptions of the tool's effects on child neglect practice – the quality of processes, outputs and interagency practice
  • explored perceptions of effectiveness of the GCP in helping practitioners to identify potential and actual neglect and assess the care of children
  • explored implementation of the GCP by Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs), local authorities and other agencies.

This stage had two components:

  • quantitative data from GCP scores for 137 cases, additional case information and practitioners' views about using GCP. Information was collected at two time points to consider changes over time.
  • qualitative data from interviews with practitioners, managers, local authoritiers and a small number of parents.

Interim findings and development of version 2

Interim findings showed that people found the GCP:

  • was helpful
  • could promote parental awareness of professionals' concerns
  • helped to target plans
  • presented challenges with some of the language used within the tool.

We amended and updated the tool on the basis of this evidence to create version 2 of the GCP.

2nd stage

We tested the reliability and validity of version 2 of the Graded Care Profile (GCP2).

4 pairs of NSPCC practitioners used the GCP2 with families. We looked at:

  • inter-rater reliability by comparing the GCP2 scores between each practitioner in a pair to see how similar or different they are
  • concurrent validity by comparing GCP2 scores to scores from another tool filled in by the same practitioner.
  • face validity through interviews with practitioners to ascertain the extent to which they feel version 2 adequately assesses neglect and quality of care.

Our stage 1 objectives had an emphasis on measuring the effect of the original GCP on practice. The design was to compare the use of the GCP to 'business as usual' by collecting information on cases where the GCP was used and comparator cases where it wasn't used.

It proved difficult to obtain the required number of cases, particularly comparator cases, so we had to change our approach. It was decided to collect only GCP cases, and to have more of a focus on perceptions of effectiveness.

This work was carried out internally by the NSPCC evaluation department.

Contact Robyn Johnson for more information.

What we've learned

The original Graded Care Profile (GCP) can help professionals identify risks and potential harm more effectively. Practitioners said that the tool promotes a child-centred approach and helps make neglect more visible.

GCP supports practitioners to develop a constructive working relationship with the family. It does this by identifying parenting strengths as well as weaknesses and by helping parents to understand the practioner's concerns.

Practitioners rated the usefulness of GCP highly. On a 5 point scale it was rated as 4 or 5 in over two thirds of cases.

Read the evaluation reports for GCP and Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2).

What we're doing next

We're currently supporting 35 external partners to deliver GCP2 to the families they work with. As part of this, we have been testing how other organisations are implementing the updated tool.

We will publish our findings when testing is complete.

How you can deliver this service

If you want to deliver Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2), we will provide:

    • a training course to support local delivery (minimum of 2 delegates)
    • support and advice to effectively implement the tool in your local area
    • access to over 25 documents to support practice, which can be tailored for local use.
    • a licence to use GCP2 in the agreed geographical area which allows you to use the tool and train staff
    • free annual events to come together and meet other authorities using the tool.

Get in touch if you'd like to discuss running this service in your local area.

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