Through our Community Based Parenting Assessment, we aim to:
- Undertake a thorough assessment of parents and children to make sense of how best to support the family, and offer support to the parents and children that will most likely improve the chances of them being able to make positive changes.
What do we mean by parenting?
Parenting means all of the things that are involved in looking after a baby or a child, and helping them get to adulthood safe and well.
- day to day basic care (keeping them clean, clothed and fed)
- ensuring safety (making sure they are not hurt by making sure adults are always watching them when they are active, not letting dangerous or frightening people to be around them, making sure that they are not left alone or with people who are not safe to care for them properly)
- love and affection (making the child feel special and cared for by you, by using kind tones and words, cuddles, kisses and closeness)
- play and talking (helping a child learn and help their brain develop by showing them colours, toys, activities and by talking to them so that they learn to speak too)
- how parents are with their child/ren that will help them learn how to manage their feelings and behaviour so they can do well in life
- stability (giving a child a sense of safety by being the same sort of person with them all of the time, making sure that they feel secure)
What are we assessing?
A Community Based Parenting Assessment will explore parents’ skills in looking after their child/ren, their knowledge about what their children need and their ability to give them what they need until they are grown up.
We are not looking for 'perfect' parents, but rather we are thinking about the child's safety and the assessment is to see whether parents are 'good enough' and they keep their child/ren safe.
The NSPCC says that 'good enough' means:
- meeting children's health and developmental needs
- putting children's needs first
- providing routine and consistent care
- acknowledging problems and engaging with support services.
Things that are not safe for children are:
- neglecting basic needs; putting adults' needs first
- chaos and lack of routine
- and an unwillingness to engage with support services
We know that domestic abuse, substance misuse, mental health problems and/or learning difficulties, or not having had good parenting experiences as children can make parenting particularly difficult so we will think about these things very carefully.
A parenting assessment also looks at whether the children have any special needs (like medical problems, developmental or emotional difficulties) which would affect what they need from their parents. We also look at wider family, support, home community to consider what might be available parents that will help them.
How do we assess parenting?
We work closely with the parents to build up the best picture of how a parent looks after their child/ren so we understand the parent’s strengths, as well as their vulnerabilities. We will:
- Talk to parents about their own experiences of being parented and how they think this affected them growing up and how its affect them now they are adults
- Talk to parents about their strengths as parents and understand areas where they feel they could improve or make positive changes
- Observe how parents look after their children, sometimes using a video recorder and other times through direct observation
- Spend time with the children getting to know them, and understand their wishes and feelings.
- Sometimes we will talk to people who know the parents well, like the extended family. We also talk to other professionals who know the parents and/or the child/ren
- We offer parents support that may help them change some of their problems. Examples of this include a parent with a drug and alcohol problem engaging with a professional drug and alcohol agency, or the New Way Service providing specialist input in cases of domestic abuse.
Each assessment undertaken may differ depending on the specific needs of the family. Before the parenting assessment begins, a parenting assessment plan is developed and shared with the family providing information about what will be explored each session.
A PAMS parenting assessment is an assessment that takes into account any learning difficulties or learning disabilities a parent may have.
PAMS assessments include the use of cartoons and pictures to help a parent demonstrate their parenting knowledge and skills. PAMS assessments include observations of a parent with their child, to see how a parent looks after their child in practice.
PAMS assessments are carried out at a parent’s pace. Parents have plenty of time to think about their answers and can take short breaks if they need to. This helps to ensure a parent with learning difficulties or learning disabilities is not disadvantaged when their parenting is being assessed.
Parents can have an advocate, family member or friend present during their assessment if they need this support.
Who is assessing?
The assessment will be undertaken by a Social Worker who has experience of working with children and families.
What are the outcomes of a Community Based Parenting Assessment?
This can vary depending on the case. If the case is in pre-proceedings or care proceedings then typically the following outcomes are possible:
- The parenting is ‘good enough’ and there is no need for ongoing children’s social care involvement
- The parenting is not ‘good enough’ but the parents are willing and able to engage in support that will enable them to make positive changes.
- The parenting is not ‘good enough’, and the parents are unwilling to engage in support, or the support is helping them make the positive changes.
The Community Based Parenting Assessment makes a recommendation on whether the parenting provided to the child/ren is good enough and what support is needed, if any. It is the Children’s Social Worker, on behalf of the Local Authority, that puts forward a care plan and decides whether an application should be made to the courts or not.
If you require any further information please contact Leigh Zywek on 01225 477394