Effective Chronologies in Childcare

National Risk Framework Definition: Chronologies provide a key link in the chain of understanding needs/risks, including the need for protection from harm.

Paper based chronologies can often be difficult for a busy nursery team to monitor, update and fully utilise. The chronologies function in your INM Child Wellbeing module provides a central location where these which can be accessed, reviewed, and updated.

What are Chronologies?

A Chronology is a series of significant events and changes that occur in a family or child’s life. Each event should be considered for the impact it has on a child and in a child’s life. A Chronology is not: a detailed account of every single event in a child’s life, an observation, or an assessment but with good analysis, a Chronology will assist with assessing and planning.

Why are chronologies so important?

The purpose of a chronology is to record significant events or incidents that impact (positively or otherwise) on a child or young person’s wellbeing. A single-agency chronology provides a brief description and summarised account of significant events relevant to a child.

They can be used by anyone as a tool when working with children and families, allowing an understanding to develop of the impact of any change of events in the life of the child. This can provide an invaluable insight into both the immediate and long-term effects of these individual events on a child’s emotional and physical development. A chronology allows for patterns to be seen and for changes when observed to be recorded.

Chronologies also have a wider application than risk assessment and management. A chronology can be a valuable tool for planning and supervision. When staff are very busy juggling many different demands, progress in working with a child may drift. Months can pass without any action and such unacceptable delay is not always easy to identify from a record. A chronology with accurate dates can help to flag up delay and drift.

Core elements of a chronology include:

  • Key dates such as dates of birth, important life events.
  • Facts, not opinions.
  • Transitions and life changes.
  • Key professional interventions such as reviews, hearings, tribunals, court disposals.
  • Significant events and any action taken, if no action was taken, a justification as to why.
  • Outcomes
  • Review dates
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