Childhood First wanted to find a way to see a complete picture of a child and their individual therapeutic progress, and to evaluate their work using both qualitative and quantitative techniques. It was important to include all the measures used with a child and evaluate progress on a six monthly basis, both to show the child's journey and to share information with anyone working with the child in an accessible way. 

They developed an integrated Systemic Therapy (iST) Assessment Framework to present all the important data related to each child and used CORC support and resources to develop this in a way that made it easy for clinicians to understand and follow a child's progress.


Childhood First have been developing the iST Assessment Framework using many separate assessment formats to evaluate the progress of children and young people in their therapeutic community. Whilst this provided information about different areas of the child's development, it would be difficult to see the whole picture and some data may be missed in meetings due to it not all being collated. 

CORC seminars on understanding and presenting data were helpful in thinking about how to develop the Framework and both the regional support officer visit and CORC central team were able to help Childhood First community researchers navigate the measures, data collected and technical support for integration of the measures with the Framework. Childhood First were also able to use this support to keep their data collection procedure regular and up to date.

Key learning from the project

  • There are ways of presenting the information collected through measures in a way that is accessible way to someone who has never seen or heard of them i.e. by using mixed methods and integrating all the data we gather
  • Use of qualitative descriptions makes it easier to understand the data collected using measures e.g. dips or peaks in progress.

Who was involved

The Framework was developed for use by senior staff, key workers, directors, trustees and social workers. Information was collected by the community and head office researchers and clinical director.

Outcomes and impact

  • An unexpected outcome was encouragement to explore options of being able to licence the iST Assessment Framework, a very positive response to the project
  • Anyone working with a child, regardless of their prior knowledge of measures, is able to understand and follow the progress using the new assessment framework. 
  • Clinicians can see a whole picture of the child and their progress over time.
  • For Looked After Reviews, the format used in the framework shows clearly the changes for the child and can support the continuity of the placement.

Next steps

  • Ensure the Framework is implemented and integrated across the therapeutic community at Childhood First.
  • Potential development of the iST Assessment Framework into an externally facing technique, and possible licencing it.

Many thanks to Yesha Bhagat for providing us with this case study.

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