Parenting Assessments

Timely comprehensive and appropriate specialist assessments of parenting capacity which allow robust decisions about children’s futures to be made within the shortest possible timescales

“Time is not just money in these cases. Time can lead to tragedy.”
— (Prime Minister David Cameron, 31.10.11)

Symbol provides skilled, multi-disciplinary assessment of families where there is concern over their ability to parent their children. Our emphasis is on the presenting needs and safety of children within each family. Over the years 2009-2011 Symbol assessed over 480 families.

Parents and their children can be assured that they will receive a professional and thorough assessment, with the needs of the children concerned of paramount importance.

Great emphasis is placed upon safety factors and this is evidenced through robust recruitment practices, thorough risk assessments and collaborative working with all other relevant professional agencies.

Service users are respected and they receive the help, support and advice they need to complete their assessment with a realistic chance of leaving the service with their children. In the event that they are not successful, they can be assured that the service operates openly and honestly, focusing upon providing appropriate and effective support in dealing with such difficult news.
— Ofsted 2010

Each family works with a multidisciplinary ASSESSMENT TEAM, the members of which each bring unique skills and specialisms to the assessment, and a small SUPPORT TEAM who facilitate care of the child or children. During the assessment parents develop and maintain their primacy of care with their own child whilst the underlying nature of that care and the effects of skilled intervention upon parenting abilities is assessed; in essence we are considering parenting potential.

The Symbol Family Service Assessment Team includes a Specialist Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Senior Social Workers, Specialist Speech and Language Therapists and a Specialist Health Visitor. These personnel undertake the primary assessment, identify key targets for change and specific intervention strategies, work with clients in individual and group sessions, undertake structured and informal observations and monitor change in the parents. The Assessment Team then prepares reports for court proceedings.

We aim to develop skills in the adults we work with to enable them to live more successfully within the community; to care for themselves, to maintain their financial position, to budget, to cook, to maintain a healthy, happy environment both for themselves and for their families as they grow. Many of our families do not benefit from good extended family support, and part of our role is to determine the support that may be required to replace this.

‘I’m much better at cooking healthy meals now’, and, ‘I now know how important it is to sterilise all my baby’s things, I didn’t know that before.’

‘Important information is clearly explained about me and my child keeping healthy’.

‘I’ve found these sessions really helpful’ and ‘I’ve learnt how much my child learns through play. I didn’t realise this before’.
— Families being assessed by Symbol

Whether our service is provided at our residential unit or in the community, we are able to build a supportive environment where children and parents are given the maximum opportunity to enable the Professional Team to make sound robust decisions for their future.

Enquiries and referrals are welcome in respect of preliminary, full and accelerated assessments, all of which can be undertaken on a residential or community basis.