The Prediction tool is designed to aid planning and decision-making for individual children. It provides a straightforward introduction to the language of risk and protective factors and encourages practitioners to think in terms of life-route and process. It interlocks with the Paperwork and Threshold tools, but it can also work as a stand-alone instrument.
Prediction provides practitioners and managers with a systematic method for making prognoses when formulating an intervention and for subsequently checking what they have predicted against known outcomes.
The practitioner assembles background information, setting out important facts about the life of the child from pre-birth to the day on which the prognosis is made. Connections are then mapped between the recorded facts, using findings from research to inform judgements, and noting sources.
A prognosis is made in each area of the child’s life in terms of possible 'best' and 'worst' case scenarios. The areas covered include living situation, relationships, behaviour, health and education.
The tool shows how these predictions can be used to fashion interventions that will lead to the most favourable outcomes. If the routines the tool describes are followed, the intervention strategy should be capable of enhancing the positive aspects of the child’s development and of reducing the negative aspects.
Prediction can be used at any stage of the child’s life and in the context of varying degrees of concern about an individual's welfare. Testing shows that it is particularly helpful where there is planning drift, in cases of neglect and where workers are unsure of what to do.