Parenting Assessment: All parenting assessments are based on the Framework for Assessment as incorporated in the Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, 2013) and the Parenting Assessment Manual (PAMS) by Dr. Sue McGaw.
Parenting assessments are child-centered with staff taking a systematic approach to gathering, recording and critically analysing information in line with the three domains set out in the Assessment Framework (HM Government, 2015):
- The child’s developmental needs;
- The parents’ or carers’ capacity to meet those needs; and
- The impact and influence of wider family, community and environmental circumstances.
The Parent Assessment Manual (PAMS) was developed by Dr Sue McGaw, a nationally renowned Clinical Psychologist in the field of working with parents with learning disabilities) and covers:
- Child care and development.
- Behaviour management.
- Independent living skills.
- Safety and hygiene.
- Parents’ health.
- Relationships and support.
- The impact of the environment and community on parenting.
Each parenting skill area within a domain is assessed for ‘parental knowledge’, ‘quality of parenting skills’ and the frequency of parenting practice. By breaking elements of parenting down into testable components PAMS starts to make an assessment of quality that is evidence-based. After completion, the assessor has a clear visual family profile of functioning that target parenting support needs, as well as child protection issues.
The main remit of the parenting assessment is:
- To assess the parents’ abilities to provide the primary care and protection of their child including basic routines and understanding the child’s developmental needs, (comprehensive assessment).
- To assess the parents’ understanding of the emotional needs of the child and their abilities to promote positive attachment to the child through play and interaction.
- To consider the parent’s wider family and support networks, as well as the abilities to work with professionals in the best interests of their child (care planning and care coordination intervention techniques), (family support intervention technique).
- To consider the environmental issues that might affect the parent’s care of the child such as employment, education, budgeting, housing, community resources etc.
- To explore the life experiences of the parents in order to consider how such experiences may or may not impact on their ability to parent and protect the child.
- To consider with the parent the possible need to receive outside support in connection with their own history or behaviour e.g. counselling, anger management, psychotherapy, drug or alcohol counselling etc.
- To assess the parent’s understanding of child protection issues in relation to their child and the likely impact of abuse to the child.
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