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Assessment Services

We undertake comprehensive family assessment/intervention programmes with parents to ascertain their ability to care safely for their child/ren. We work with a range of families, varying from those requiring predominantly skills development and support to those where serious abuse and/or neglect is known to have occurred. In the main, we work with families where there are serious concerns about the risk to a child’s well-being.

A comprehensive family assessment includes the evaluation of risk factors such as family history, domestic violence, substance abuse, alcohol misuse, mental health issues, chaotic lifestyle and poor parenting experience. In addition, the family’s strengths and protective factors are assessed to indentify resources that can support the family’s ability to meet its needs and better protect the child/ren.

We show due sensitivity to the individual needs of children and families, and all parents are treated as individuals with potential for change.  Throughout the assessment & intervention process we treat all family members with dignity and respect. We strive to work in partnership with families, promoting parental engagement and participation throughout the process, seeking to build on strengths and empower parents to acknowledge, own and address concerns.  This enables us to establish a clear and accurate picture of needs, risks, protective factors and potential to change.  We ensure parents/carers are fully aware that the child’s safety, health and welfare must be given first priority.

All assessments are guided by ‘Assessment Requirements’ (as identified by the placing Local Authority) or ‘Joint Instructions’ and an Assessment/Placement Plan is constructed prior to the commencement of any assessment.   

Comprehensive family assessments always consist of two elements, i.e. parenting assessment and risk assessment.

Parenting Assessment

The assessment and intervention is in line with the ‘Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families’ and within this framework we systematically collect and analyse information to support our professional judgement. The assessment therefore takes into account the three domains:

  • The child’s developmental needs;
  • Parental Capacity – the parent(s) ability, commitment and motivation to respond appropriately in meeting these;
  • The wider family and environmental factors.

We provide a Child Protection/Child-Centred Approach in which the safety, health and well-being of every child comes first.  This remains the primary focus of our work with parents.  Throughout the process the assessment team (Team/Case Manager and allocated Family Assessment Workers) incorporate a range of direct individual work, group work and daily observations, as well as utilizing other external resources as deemed appropriate to meet the needs of the family and its individual members.  

Risk Assessment

The risk assessment process:

  • is ongoing
  • expands as new information emerges, so that family strengths as well as problem areas need to be continuously redefined and considered in case planning
  • systematically assesses the family’s strengths and needs in order to link to the most appropriate level of services
  • takes into account the frequency, intensity, nature and duration of risk factors and child protective factors which may decrease or increase the risk of abuse and/or neglect.

Flexible Services to meet individual needs

Both Centres are able to provide a wide variety and combination of various assessment arrangements in order to meet the needs of children and their families & to provide detailed information and analysis for decision making purposes.

Whilst most of our assessments are conducted between 4-12 weeks, we can work to a range of timescales and, due to our resourceful tailoring of assessments, we can undertake assessments in varying formats.

What is our uniqueness?

Dudley Lodge is committed to providing a first class service and believes that the components of our uniqueness are :

The QUALITY of our assessments;
The FLEXIBILITY of our assessments;
DECISIVENESS - placements do not last any longer than they need to;
The STABILITY of the staff team; and
Our INDEPENDENT STATUS

Assessment Formats

Residential Assessment

We provide a range of Residential Assessments for families at both our Dudley Lodge and Bonner House Centres. We undertake the majority of our residential assessments within timescales between 4 - 12 weeks.

However, within these timeframes, we reserve the right to suspend/terminate an assessment if, at any stage, it is felt that it is not in the best interests of the child for the placement to continue. Should such a situation arise, full consultation with the Social Worker and Children’s Guardian would take place, and a final decision would be made in conjunction with these professionals.

 

Hurdle#

Hurdle works with Coventry and Warwickshire women and men who are at risk of, or who have already suffered, the removal of one or more children from their care.

This includes:

  • parents who have recently lost custody of their child;
  • families who have completed an assessment at Dudley Lodge and returned to the community with their child in their care;
  • expectant mothers and fathers who are at risk of their baby being removed from their care at birth.

For more information about Hurdle and its services please visit Hurdle.org.uk or email info@hurdle.org.uk.

 

PAM's Assessment

In a significant number of the families we work with one or both parents experiences a learning difficulty. We have many years of experience in this area of work and we have a good reputation for offering a quality service to these individuals.

The PAMS Assessment (Parent Assessment Training Manual) was developed by Dr Sue McGaw, a nationally renowned Clinical Psychologist in the field of working with parents with learning disabilities.  It covers:

  • child care and development,
  • behaviour management,
  • independent living skills,
  • safety and hygiene,
  • parents’ health,
  • relationships and support, and
  • the impact of the environment and community on parenting.
 

Viability Assessment

We can undertake Viability Assessments via the following:

  • Paper Assessment
  • Residentially
 
 

Ways We Assess

During the referral stage and before the family commences their assessment with us, the referrals manager will discuss with you the family's needs, including any strengths and concerns. Decisions around the levels of monitoring a parent(s) and their child(ren) require, will depend on the level of concerns and risks to the child.

The majority of parents undertaking assessments with us will begin with a high level of monitoring so a baseline assessment of the parents’ parenting capacity and their needs can be completed. We discourage excessive supervision levels if these do not match the risk, for instance, 24-hour surveillance for a family where risks are long-term as opposed to immediate. 

We encourage regular reviews of supervision levels during meetings but also ad-hoc dependent on progress and/or concerns.

There may be occasions where the risk dictates that 24/7 surveillance or fully monitored CCTV needs to be implemented to ensure the safety of the child/ren during the assessment. Due to the staffing provision that this requires, these high levels of surveillance incur an additional fee of £295 per day. 

CCTV Options

Whilst we can provide CCTV in our flats, the cameras are positioned to focus on the child. As such, the CCTV camera in the parents' bedroom only focuses on the child's sleeping area. This does mean there are some 'blind spots.' Additionally, the cameras are only installed in rooms such as the lounge and bedroom. Therefore, any corridors, hallways in the flats will not be covered by CCTV.

  • Background CCTV: This is not monitored by a worker. It is simply a tool with the benefit of subsequent viewing. This does not incur any cost.
  • Fully Monitored CCTV: A worker is designated to observe the CCTV (alongside a plan of visits and direct supervision in the flat). The child may come into staff care overnight or would be positioned within camera view in their cot with a Night Waking Worker observing. This cost an additional £295 per day. 

 

CCTV Frequently Asked Questions 

When is CCTV considered necessary?

The use of CCTV is often considered necessary when there is immediate concerns/risk to the child. Such as a parents Mental Health, issues around Domestic Violence between parents, where parents are not meeting the child's needs or responding appropriately and consistently to their child, in addition to safety concerns, such as co-sleeping.

How long is CCTV in place?

CCTV should only ever be in place when there is an immediate risk to the child. It is not intended for long term use or as a way to monitor parents with their children during their assessment.  Should a family be placed on CCTV at admission into the Centre, this is often reviewed within 7-14 days. During times where CCTV has needed to be implemented during an assessment, for instance, when a parent has co-slept, the length in which the CCTV is implemented will vary and will depend on the progress of the parent and the reduction of risk to the child.

Are there places where the child cannot be seen?

There are some 'blind spots' within the flats for which the child cannot be seen. The cameras are only installed in rooms such as the lounge and bedroom. Therefore, any corridors and hallways in the flats will not be covered by CCTV.

What happens if the child goes off-camera?

As a parent walks from room to room, immediately below the camera etc., the child will not be in view of the camera. Additionally, the bedroom camera is only on the child's sleeping area, and the rest of the bedroom gives privacy to the parent. Therefore, a parent needs to understand this and agree to co-operate by keeping their child within the viewable area. If it is noticed that a child is 'off camera' for an extended period of time, staff will call up to or attend the flat to address this.  Further, unless specifically requested, the CCTV is for video viewing only.

Does CCTV include Audio?

CCTV does not automatically include Audio. Should Audio be required, this would need to be requested. 

Are there times where CCTV is not considered appropriate?

We do not consider CCTV an appropriate way to observe older children during the day due to their age, stage of development and need to be able to move around the flat freely. In these instances, consideration would be given as to whether 24/7 staff surveillance should be implemented. 

What does 24/7 staff surveillance include?

If the family poses a high/unpredictable risk to their child(ren), we recommend 24-hour direct supervision to be implemented. This can either involve a worker always remaining with the child(ren) or staff needing to spend prolonged period of time with the family during the day and CCTV being in place during the night. This cost is an additional £295 per day.  

How long are CCTV recordings stored?

CCTV recordings are stored for a maximum of 30 days. However, this is dependent on the number of cameras in use and the frequency of movement within the flat. In these instances, the memory and the level of available storage space decreases and thus, the number of days in which we are able to store CCTV recordings is reduced, sometimes to five days.

What happens if access to CCTV recordings is required?

We are not able to provide recordings of full days. If professionals require access to recordings, the recordings of specific incidents can be provided.

What other supervision is provided?

On admission to the Centre, whether on CCTV or not, families will also be fully supervised whilst carrying out basic care tasks with their child and will be visited at least hourly by a member of staff in addition to all-time out of the Centre being fully supervised.  Supervision levels are reviewed regularly throughout the assessment

In the initial four weeks, the assessment will focus on a Relationship-Based Practice approach with the family. Focusing on supporting them to settle into the Centre, parent and child wellbeing, helping parents understand the expectations of the assessment and getting to know their child and their child's needs.