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1.2.9 Guidance on Writing a Chronology

Contents

  1. What is a Chronology?
  2. What to Write in a Chronology


1. What is a Chronology?

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A chronology is a sequential list of events (including positive changes and achievements) with dates, recording all significant facts and changes in a child or young person's life. It is the responsibility of the child's allocated social worker to write up the chronology on ICS. The ICS help guide 5 explains how to put a chronology on ICS including how to copy and paste from a Word document and how to add events via the child's Case History.

Chronologies start from the child's birth or before birth where there was a significant event such as the death of an older sibling before the child was born or pre-birth assessment. A chronology should be started as part of the process of completing an assessment, and be updated during the period of Children's Social Care (CSC) involvement with the child.

The chronology is a useful way of gaining an overview. It should be used as an analytical tool to help understand the impact, both immediate and cumulative, of events and changes on the child or young person's developmental progress. It can help structure information to inform an assessment and decision-making.

A chronology should be concise and relevant - it is not a life story and should not duplicate the case history. It must be updated as and when new events occur.

A chronology should draw on sources of information from case files and information from other agencies. The source of information needs to be identified; any relevant documents should be referenced. The involvement of family members in building a chronology provides an opportunity to check the accuracy of information and it can assist the assessment by obtaining family members' perspectives on particular events.


2. What to Write in a Chronology

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Events in a chronology should be 'significant'. This will vary from child to child and according to the purpose of the chronology and the time span. All chronologies should be written as though they will be used as court documents. Social workers will need to use their professional judgment in determining what constitutes 'significant' in relation to each child being mindful of the fact that the chronology may be used at a later date in court. Sections 5.10 - 5.12 of ICS help guide 5 provide some useful information on what to include in chronologies.

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