My parenting assessments involve: reading previous files (in different Local Authorities where necessary); and meeting (where appropriate and possible) with both parents, the children, parents and children together in contact, other family members, and other professionals and key people with an insight into the family. I also speak to the Guardian and Social Worker to ensure my assessments meet expectations and explore as many angles as possible.
I have developed the following model of analysis from my original research:
My assessments address 'why' and 'so what' rather than just 'what' in the case. I pride myself on trying to identify a dynamic or chain of causation which has so far been missed.
I never use a specific 'template' for parenting assessments, since the structure will invariably be different for each case. The letter of instruction (or equivalent set of questions) will influence how I structure the report. However, I ensure that I cover the identified issues, and develop an understanding of how the family operates and what this means for the child. I use the Framework for Assessment's Parenting Capacity domains as starting points, but the child will already have had a Child and Family Assessment - I am looking to go beyond that.