Statutory Child Protection Assessment: Working with parental attitude


  • Tony Stanley Senior Lecturer in the School of Community Studies, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT). A registered social worker, previously worked with Child Youth and Family.
  • Niki Hannan Faculty of Humanities, CPIT. Adult Education Practitioner for over 20 years, primarily involved in teacher education. Specialises in designing and delivering training courses, and evaluating and giving feedback to teaching staff.


child protection, child protection social work, risk assessment tools, statutory child protection assessment,


Assessment is a defining function of child protection social work, and risk assessment tools have been increasingly introduced to assist this work. Importantly, these tools can serve organisational needs at the expense of parent/caregiver involvement and this can compromise the client/worker relationship. This paper argues that child protection assessments need to take place within the context of an established relationship, and this is important because of the key messages contained within the child death review literature; the most notable being ‘disguised compliance’. While recent practice initiatives are aimed at the enhancement of child protection practice, the day-to-day reality is still one of time and resource pressure for child protection workers, and this may result in them not detecting ‘disguised compliance’. To address this, we draw on two bodies of work, namely the social work and adult education literatures, and conclude that the ‘child protection/client’ relationship is an important model for the assessment of disguised compliance, and one in which the safe management of it can occur.


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How to Cite

Stanley, T., & Hannan, N. (2022). Statutory Child Protection Assessment: Working with parental attitude. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 19(2), 31–36. Retrieved from