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The Child Well-Being Scales Description The Child Well-Being Scales are designed to meet the needs of program evaluation in child welfare services. The scales cover the four areas of parenting performance: o Parental role performance – the direct, interpersonal activities performed by adults in their caretaking and socialization role as parents; o Familial capacities – the parents’ attributes, as well as other family resources, that facilitate or inhibit satisfactory parental role performance; o Child role performance – the child’s age-appropriate interpersonal and task behaviors in various social contexts (home, school and community); o Child capacities – the child’s personal attributes that facilitate or hinder satisfactory role performance The scales focus on issues common to a broad range of child and family oriented services, with particular emphasis on problems encountered in child protection. Each scale measures a concept that is related to one or more physical, psychological, or social needs that all children have: the degree to which this set of needs is met defines a child’s state of overall well-being. Please note that a failure in parenting may have many causes other than willful or careless negligence on the part of the parent(s). They may lack financial or other resources to remedy a harmful situation; they may be mentally disturbed or incompetent; they may lack knowledge or appropriate education; or they may be unable to cope with a difficult child. Most of the scales focus on actual or potential unmet needs of the children, rather than the ascribed causes of the unmet needs. Some scales address parental capacities, motivation or resources. The scales were designed to be explicitly defined. The descriptors are expressed in observable terms that relate to the actual functioning and behavior of parents and children. Reliance on inference and predictions is minimized. Administration The scales are designed to be completed by a service provider and are based on all credible information available on a family. Accurate completion requires some direct contact and home observation of the family. The person utilizing the scales must obtain and integrate information from a variety of sources. The scales are designed to be completed several times during the term of an intervention, so that change, or lack of change, in problems over time can be determined. Suitable time periods for administration would be every three to six months. The scales are intended to track relatively long-term changes, rather than changes from day to day or week to week. The scales are written to be self-explanatory, but some self-study is required to become familiar with the content. Rating Instructions At intake Each scale should describe the family situation and behavior at the time of referral to the agency. The intake process should be considered a period of discovery. Incidents or conditions that were reasons for the family’s referral must be included – unless such reasons were shown to have been false. When completing the scale, choose the level that best describes the family or child. Do not force an answer. When information is not available, a “don’t know” response is preferred. If you believe an explanation of any rating is needed, please make a comment on the rating sheet. Scales 1 through 28 On these scales, the family should be rated as a unit. Write in one rating on each scale for the family. At intake Choose the rating that best describes the situation at the time the family came to the agency (at referral). At follow-up Choose the rating that best describes the situation now, based on the most recent information. If the situation is not the same for all children in the family, indicate the most serious problem experienced by any child. If there are two caretakers who do not provide the same quality of care, indicate the lowest quality of care that constitutes an adverse influence on the children. For example, if one of the children in the family is not adequately fed, but the others are, the rating on Scale 2, Nutrition/Diet, should reflect the harsh behavior toward that one child. Scales 29 to 43 These scales are child-specific and a rating is made for each child in the family or under the agency’s supervision. On the rating sheet, write in a code for each child for each scale. At intake Choose the most serious abuse or problem identified for each child at referral. At first follow-up Choose the most serious abuse or problem experienced by each child during supervision by the agency, since referral. At subsequent follow-ups Choose the most serious abuse or problem experiences by each child since the last follow-up. If more than one incident has occurred, or if a single situation contains different elements, you should indicate the most serious condition. Remember that the examples given are just that. The situation, condition, or behavior in a particular case may be different in its details, but may still be comparable to the examples stated in the scale. You will need to decide what scale level most closely resembles your own case. Not every example under a given level needs to hold true for you to decide that the level constitutes the best description. Experience has shown that service providers’ ratings on these scales are reasonably reliable, so you should have confidence in your ability to complete the scale satisfactorily.
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