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Specialist Parenting Assessments

Drawing on our expertise in adult and children’s social work, we provide specialist parenting assessments using the ParentAssess framework. We specialise in providing parenting assessments for parents living with cognitive impairments and developmental delays such as learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorder or dementia. Due to the specialist nature of our parenting assessments, we are unable to accept instruction where Legal Aid Agency rates apply.

We have a wealth of experience working within statutory social work teams for adults living with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorder and dementia.  This is a very important element to our skills and knowledge because, combined with our training in different parenting assessment models, we can address aspects of parenting assessments that are sometimes lacking.  We can be instructed by local authorities or solicitors representing parents to complete parenting assessments.

When undertaking parenting assessments, one element of the assessment process is assessing the parent’s capacity to change.  People learn in different ways and sometimes a list of written instructions or verbal instructions are not helpful and stifle a person’s ability to learn where other methods might prove more beneficial.  Also, the manner in which an assessment is undertaken can sometimes be the difference between a parent feeling as though they are a part of the assessment process or not.  We also have a wide-ranging knowledge in the areas of care assessments for adults and young people, mental capacity and best interests.  We can identify where support or assessments are required for parents which many in turn improve their ability to provide good enough care to their children.

The ParentAssess Framework

The reason we use the ParentAssess framework for parents living with cognitive impairment and developmental delays is because Government good practice guidance and case law emphasise the need to ensure that parents are fully involved in the process (even before any court proceedings) to comply with the Care Act, Equality Act and Human Rights Act. We are Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) trained which provides us with the skills and knowledge to achieve best evidence when interviewing children and vulnerable adults.

The ParentAssess report is easy to read and understand by those being assessed and instead of scores, a traffic light system is adopted to identify any areas of concern or opportunities for learning. It is designed to be understood by parents who live with learning disabilities, but it is also suitable for people living with additional needs such as those related to:

  • Mental Health
  • Trauma
  • Exploitation
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Alcohol or Drug Misuse

ParentAssess takes into consideration good practice principles that have been identified in Government guidance and case law. As well as a full report for the court and lawyers, a simplified, summary assessment is written for the parent being assessed.  The assessment will explore areas where parents can learn the necessary skills to provide good enough care and the child’s experience of being parented is also considered.  ParentAssess is designed to identify good enough care ensuring that the threshold for good enough care isn’t set too high.

The assessment process is divided into five sections (child’s experience, parent’s daily living skills, how the parent functions, specific issues and support) that explore parents’ ability to care for their child in the medium and long term.

How long does a parenting assessment take and how much does it cost?

Because we are often assessing parents living with cognitive impairments or developmentaldelays, we do not rush our assessments and work at the pace of those we are assessing.  Sometimes, one visit every 1-2 weeks is all that can be tolerated.  If that is the case, it is OK. A parenting assessment for a single adult and child takes around 50 hours to complete, usually over a 12 week period.  This includes sessions with the parent, observations, reading relevant documents and writing the report itself. Because of the specialist nature of our parenting assessments, we do not accept Legal Aid Agency rates. Our rates are £2750 plus VAT for a single parent and child assessment.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of parenting assessments, please do not hesitate to contact us.