We can undertake Viability Assessments in a range of ways via any of the following:
- Paper Assessment
- Day Assessment
- In the community
The Chief Executive or the Social Worker (Management Support) undertakes ‘paper’ (case papers) viability assessments.
Local authorities may request a paper viability assessment in order to seek an independent opinion in relation to an assessment plan. Also, solicitors acting on behalf of parents, sometimes request a paper viability assessment when a local authority’s plan is for no further assessment and they wish to contest this. On occasion, in conjunction with reviewing the court documents, it may be felt appropriate for us to meet with the parent/family.
We provide paper-based viability assessments at no cost to any party in care proceedings.
Day Viability Assessment
We offer a day viability assessment as a preliminary means of assessment to determine:
a. If the parent/s demonstrate commitment to engage in the assessment process
b. The best means of assessing a family e.g. on a day basis, in the community, residentially.
A day assessment will involve a review of the filed documents pertaining to the family, observation of contact and an interview with the parent/s.
Community Based Viability Assessment
A community based viability assessment is an intensive period of assessment, sometimes incorporating 10 – 15 hours of observation over a 2 – 3 day period. This approach will establish a clear and detailed account of family functioning and parental care, incorporating all aspects of daily care from when the child gets up, until they are settled to bed (e.g. between 7.30am – 8pm). This option is particularly useful where little is known about the family, and the child is still in the care of their parent/s. Findings would then inform further planning in relation to further assessments that may be required and/or the construction of a family support programme.
Residential Viability Assessment
We conduct residential viability assessments over a 4-week residential period. The level of supervision and monitoring remains very high, sometimes involving 24-hour surveillance of a child. This type of assessment often involves a new born baby and his/her mother (or both parents) joining us from hospital; this prevents a child being separated from their parent/s at birth. In other cases, some residential viability assessments have involved large families and are seen as a means to minimise disruption for the children.