A relational approach to assessing and enhancing parenting capacity: building better futures

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter will draw on practitioner evaluations of the Building Better Futures framework for assessing and enhancing parenting capacity when children are in need of support or protection. We review the participatory relational, strengths-focused principles that underpin the framework, which, distinctively, aims to help social workers to both assess and enhance parenting capacity by promoting parental engagement, growth and change. We give an overview of the key principles and features of the BBF framework and summarise our process for the iterative refinement and evaluation of the framework in real-world child welfare social work practice.
We present social workers’ evaluations of using the framework and discuss its potential to facilitate a relational approach to parenting capacity assessment in child safeguarding and family support practice via:
Relationship-based practice: promoting parental engagement and enabling empathic understanding of parents.
Strengths-focused approach: enabling parental insight as a catalyst for change.
Enhancing parenting with a focus on child well-being: holistic assessments leading to targeted support while enabling social workers and parents to remain child focused.
Equipping practitioners: structured assessment facilitating purposeful engagement and a cultural shift towards relational, strengths-focused practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Perspectives on Parenting Support and Parental Participation in Children and Family Services
EditorsCarmel Devaney, Rosemary Crosse
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Electronic)9781003334248
Publication statusPublished - 08 Sep 2023


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