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Parenting Risk Assessments

What is a Parenting / Risk Assessment?

A Parenting / Risk Assessment is a detailed, community based assessment designed to identify potential risks to the child (e.g. child sex abuse, neglect, emotional / physical abuse, drug abuse).  The risk assessment relies on information gathered from the child, parents and extended family and professional network.

As Independent Social Workers, Avocet seek to achieve the best outcomes for the child by helping parents develop their skills and knowledge through direct observation, providing guidance and assistance and demonstrating practical child care issues.

The Parenting / Risk Assessment collates all the available evidence and information about the child’s situation and sets it out in the form of a comprehensive report making clear and achievable recommendations about if and how the identified risks can be reduced and managed.

When is a Parenting / Risk Assessment necessary?

An Independent Social Worker will undertake Parenting / Risk Assessments on behalf of Local Authorities when concerns arise in relation to a parent’s ability to adequately and safely care for their child.  Concerns of a child protection nature may come about because the parent has misused drugs or alcohol, they may have mental health issues or a learning disability or there might be domestic violence in the parents’ relationship.

Taking into account that the child is likely to have been exposed to factors of neglect, physical and emotional abuse and/or sexual abuse, Avocet’s Parenting / Risk Assessment will assess the parents’ capacity to change whilst ensuring the child remains the focus of the assessment process.

What is the process?

Stage  1

An Avocet Independent Social Worker would aim to meet with the professionals involved with the family to discuss the assessment process.  In cases where the Local Authority is following the Public Law Outline (PLO) a letter of instruction will usually be provided.

Stage 2

Our Independent Social Worker would then meet with the parents to discuss the details of the assessment process and agree a schedule of work.  The Parenting / Risk Assessment process will also involve reading Local Authority case files and where appropriate the bundle of paperwork prepared for court proceedings.

Stage 3

Our Independent Social Worker will meet with parents individually and together, observing the parents with their child and where appropriate, talking to and engaging with the child on their own.  Individual professionals involved in the child’s life will also be contacted and asked to provide information for the assessment.  

Time-Scale

Avocet aims to complete a community based Parenting / Risk Assessment in 12 weeks.   Any unavoidable delay to the assessment will be through a process of negotiation.

A Parenting / Risk Assessment with a parent with a learning disability might take longer than 12 weeks to complete.

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