Common Assessment Framework
The SASSI is designed specifically to help identify and assess substance misuse problems. However, in order to do this, it gathers a wealth of other indicators relating to attitudes, personal characteristics, social environment and psychological adjustment , which can help to populate both substance misuse and more general information requirements of the Common Assessment Framework.
More about SASSI and CAF
Some SASSI responses address directly the issues raised in the CAF. Others give the interviewer the opportunity and permission to delve further, to ask open-ended questions requiring narrative answers, and hence to encourage the Young Person to participate more fully in the process.
The quality of SASSI evidence rests on three foundations. First, there are “face valid” or direct and open questions which invite the honest self-report of the Young Person. Second, there is the decision about the probability of the existence of a defined substance misuse problem. This is based on known statistical parameters, and is objective. Third, there is the hypothetical psychological profiling, which is based on a wealth of clinical experience, and is also objectively measured. This profiling can act as a pointer to various aspects of adjustment, and can prompt the interviewer to ask targeted questions to confirm and explore further. The interaction of these various forms of information and evidence provides a sophisticated analysis which can be summed up as “intelligent use of psychometric testing”.
The SASSI can shed light in the following areas of the CAF:
SECTION 1 – Development of baby, child or young person
- Health – binge drinking, harmful use/abuse of substances which impairs everyday functioning, negative life consequences.
- Emotional & social development – Excessive self-recrimination, suicidal ideation, psychological maladjustment in specific areas, attitudes to drug and alcohol use, readiness to change.
- Behavioural development – Lifestyle issues, motivation to achieve and change, self-confidence, self-efficacy, patience, perseverance, insight, relative risk of offending / re-offending, attitudes to offending, likelihood of offending being substance-driven.
- Identity, self-esteem, self-image, social presentation – Family relationships and support, feelings of rejection or alienation, depression, loss of energy, lack of worth, suicidal ideation.
- Family and social relationships – Pro- or anti-social family relationships, substance-misusing peer influences, capacity to associate causes and consequences, detachment from feelings, lack of insight.
- Self-care skills and independence – Dependence and independence in family activities, reliance on peer group, lack of parental involvement.
- Participation in learning, education and employment – Interference of substance misuse with educational opportunity, access to appropriate and consistent adult support.
- Progress and achievement in learning - Young person’s view off parental / adult interest in their activities.
- Aspirations – Appreciation of need to change and motivation to achieve and change, self-confidence, self-efficacy, patience, perseverance or feelings of being overwhelmed by the enormity of the task.
SECTION 2 – Parents and carers
- Basic care, ensuring safety and protection – family as a safe environment, family influence in substance misuse, quality of care, engagement with substance misusing or anti-social peers.
- Emotional warmth and stability – Young person’s view of the supportiveness of their family and the quality of relationships.
- Guidance, boundaries and stimulation – Presence or absence of appropriate boundaries, consistent / inconsistent parenting, factors bearing on risk of offending. Attitudes and participation in legitimate education and leisure activities, social integration and self-confidence.
SECTION 3 – Family and environmental
- Family history, functioning and well-being – Issues of criminal activity / anti-social behaviour, involvement in alcohol and drug misuse, likelihood of Substance Abuse Disorder / Substance Dependence Disorder (DSM IV criteria)
- Wider family – General family support issues
- Social and community elements and resources, including education – Neighbourhood issues in terms of substance misuse activity - influence of peer groups, friendships and social networks
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