Based on the PAM (Parenting Assessment Manual) model of intervention, a skilled social worker works alongside senior family support staff to provide intensive assessment in the community, family centre or family home. The assessment takes place over extended periods (8 weeks or 12 weeks to be agreed by the LA) and our intervention is interactive with a strong emphasis on education. The assessments are generally geared towards parents/carers with a level of learning difficulty or specific additional needs. By spending extended periods with the family, assessors are able to identify whether any gap in parental capacity is able to be bridged in a time frame conducive to their child or children. Provision of a Mid Point Review Report provides early identification of strengths or deficits and offers the LA valuable safeguarding information should the assessment need to be suspended at that point. There would be no additional cost to the commissioner if the assessment was suspended.
CF Social work have pioneered and developed this effective assessment process whereby we locate ourselves within the family home or another safe alternative over a period to be agreed with the LA but generally ten days. During this time, senior family support workers and skilled social workers maintain a 24 hour presence in the home in order to intensively observe all interactions and dynamics within the family and complete a comprehensive parenting capacity assessment whilst maintaining the child’s safety at all times. RRA’s are generally used when a child is able to remain at home under PLO; is subject to an interim Order and is in a placement or the child is subject to an Order, is in a placement and the LA are seeking to revoke the Order. CFSW are also instructed on cases where there is a disagreement amongst the parties regarding a Residential Assessment and viability needs to be tested. Benefits of this type of intense assessment include a thorough exploration of motivation, adherence to consistent boundaries and ability to make and maintain routines.
CF Social Work have undertaken over a 1000 Parental Capacity Assessments in complex child care proceedings throughout the UK and Abroad. The excellent and consistent quality of our assessments is evidenced by repeat commissioning from LA’s and Legal Professionals who value our flexibility and ability to commence assessment from receipt of the Letter of Instruction and Court Bundle. We are able to draw from an extensive network of skilled and experienced employed and independent social work professionals to engage with families at very short notice and provide detailed, analytical and well-evidenced assessments, to inform clear and substantiated planning throughout court proceedings. Our 100% record of providing reports to deadline ensures that cases within the Public Law Outline Revised Agenda remain on the ‘standard’ track of 26 weeks.
CFSW can pull upon the skills and experience of local Child and Adult Clinical Psychologists to offer Multidisciplinary assessments by working alongside experienced Independent Social Workers. This unique combination provides balanced and analytical specialist assessment particularly in cases where attachment difficulties or mental health issues may be apparent. CFSW also have access to other specialist and therapeutic services to include: Psychodynamic Counsellors, Substance Misuse Experts; Specialists in therapeutic interventions with child victims of sexual abuse and high risk offender assessment experts. The skills within the team allow CFSW to respond to a variety of requests using a combination of skilled experts.
Predominantly used where child sexual abuse is prevalent, these unique assessments provide a valuable insight into the protective capacity of the non abusing parent and highlight safeguarding concerns associated with lack of awareness; failure to accept responsibility; parental vulnerability and other issues that may prevent safe and protective care. Experienced assessors provide an educative element to their work assisting the non abusing carer to raise their awareness regarding child sexual abuse and sexual offending behaviour. The assessor also examines the non abusing carers own value base and their insight into the specific needs of their child and or the child victims. These assessments draw on research from the Lucy Faithful Foundation, Ray Wyre Associates and others to provide well informed evidence to inform care planning for children. Robust quality assurance and data protection procedures ensures client confidentiality at all times.
Through extensive training and experience and through the management of a child sexual abuse treatment and referral service, the company Director Cheryl Finlayson leads through her expertise in this specialist field of assessment. Cheryl continues to undertake assessments herself and provides supervision and ongoing training to ISW’s commissioned for their skills and experience in this specialist area of social work drawing on the research of other experts in the field.
We pride ourselves on the quality and comprehensive nature of our viability assessments. It is our view that an assessment of this type should give the LA sufficient information to place any child in an emergency situation or give them confidence to commence a full kinship/connected persons assessment based on the detailed viability report provided by our employed and contracted social work assessors.
Our Independent Social Workers have a wealth of experience in the provision of detailed and analytical Form F assessments. Many of our assessors have a history of working within the fostering and adoption service. All reports are quality assured by a senior manager with six years experience of managing assessors and QA processes for a leading national independent fostering provider.
CFSW have been commissioned repeatedly over 4 years to complete Special Guardianships Reports in complex child care cases throughout the UK. We have an excellent track record of successfully and safely recommending family members as Special Guardians when adoption or long term options outside of the family had previously been the only consideration. Our reports are detailed, analytical, evidence based and timely with a 100% track record for meeting all deadlines. CFSW complete all references, assist the applicant to complete all relevant medical, DBS and Financial Forms and provide a Support Plan if required.
CFSW have worked closely within the Public Law Outline Framework since its infancy and are familiar with the Revised Agenda (26 week rule) in child care proceedings. We have assisted many LA’s to complete a substantial number of Connected People Assessments ensuring that the case remains on the ‘standard’ track and within the 26 week deadline. Our connected people assessments pay close attention to the often contentious issue of contact and the nature of the child’s and the carer’s past and future relationship with the birth parent. Our assessment includes family members in developing a viable kinship care arrangement and provides a comprehensive final report to allow the child to remain in their family of origin or friend network whilst further planning and assessment takes place. We have a strong track record of completing 100% of all assessment work to time-scale.
In addition to completing spot purchased assessments we have provided individual and or teams of skilled social workers within several LA’s to undertake bulk assessments assisting to clear the backlog for busy social work teams. We have the capacity within our practitioner database to react swiftly to need and to complete all assessments timely, whilst maintaining quality. All reports are quality assured by senior social work staff and encrypted before being submitted to social work teams. This ensures quality and client confidentiality at all times. Our ability to pull together teams within very short notice from our comprehensive database to complete assessments according to specified deadlines, supports local Authorities to meet key performance indicators and targets around completion.
The company has carried out vast volumes of Sec 7 and 37 Private Law Assessments and has been commended on the quality of our work by both District and County Court Judges and legal firms alike.
CFSW have completed many Age Assessments and more specialist assessments in Immigration cases for Legal Firms throughout the UK. Cheryl Finlayson, Director, was instrumental in a case that changed UK immigration law. VW (Uganda) v Secretary of State for the Home Dept.
CFSW are able to provide skilled and experienced experts to work therapeutically with children and young people who may be affected by abusive or neglectful experiences. These experiences may include issues of separation and loss, or relate to a child’s exposure to abuse, whether sexual, physical, emotional or neglect. The therapeutic interventions we are able to provide range from psycho dynamic intervention to more holistic approaches. The team include Play Therapists, Art Therapists, Sport Therapists, Sexual Abuse experts and workers skilled in life story work.
CFSW are able to provide ISW’s experienced in the organisation and management of Family Group Conferences. We understand that the need for FGC’s will likely increase under the Public Law Outline Revised Agenda and as such CFSW have the provision and capacity to respond at very short notice to individual or volume of work.
CFSW are able to Design and Facilitate specialist Training Programmes using the skills within our database of experts. We have access to our own portfolio of Training Packages to include a range of programmes on Sexual Abuse. Alternatively, our trainers could design and deliver bespoke workshops, seminars and training events across a range of subjects utilising the expertise within our existing ISW database. Our senior managers are experienced in developing and facilitating training in a variety of settings and have both completed a ‘Train the Trainer’ programme.