Viability Assessments


When a child is not able to live safely with their parents, Social Workers should seek to identify potential carers from within the child's network of family and friends and determine whether they will be able to provide safe care to meet the child's needs until they reach adulthood.

An initial viability assessment is used to determine which members of a child's family and friends network are a potentially realistic option and 'viable' placement to care for a specific child(ren) and should therefore be subject to a full assessment as a potential carers.

In practice, this means that Social Workers may be required to undertake viability assessments with several family members and often to tight deadlines, especially where the alternative care plan for a child may be adoption. Social Workers need to be sensitive that viability assessments often take place at a time of emotional turmoil for members of the child's family and friends network, who may only recently have become aware of the issues the child faces and/or be struggling to come to terms with what has happened. Full guidance to help social workers when undertaking viability assessments is available below.

This guidance and additional resources were added to the online procedures in January 2021.