About Capacity 2 Change
Capacity-to-change (referred to as C2C) is an assessment model that aims to improve decision-making in the child protection system (see Harnett, 2007; Harnett & Day, 2008). The C2C assessment model provides a framework for carrying out assessments over time, that leads to a greater understanding of the family than is possible in a cross-sectional assessment of the family at one point in time.
The C2C assessment framework draws on signal detection theory (SDT) to understand decision-making under conditions of uncertainty. Under conditions of uncertainty (i.e., family risk factors do not clearly outweigh protective factors or vice-versa) a ‘correct’ course of action simply cannot be determined and any decision that is made must inevitably involve bias and will be prone to error.
The solution must be to strive for greater certainty about the capacity of parents to make changes in areas of family functioning that are problematic and sustain these changes. Assessing capacity to change differs from an assessment of ‘parenting capacity’ through the recognition that there must be a time dimension in the assessment.
Over the period of the C2C assessment, practitioners are encouraged to be proactive in setting goals for the family and monitoring success in attaining goals and maintaining changes made. The goals set must be meaningful and achievable for the family. An integrated theoretical framework of child development and family functioning is crucial for guiding the selection of meaningful goals that is the focus of the C2C assessment process.
The C2C assessment provides an opportunity for families to demonstrate their capacity to make changes in family functioning and as such is a collaborative rather than an adversarial process.