Reverse Residential Assessments

Reverse Residential Assessments for private law firms

About us

Established in 2006, CF Social Work Ltd (CFSW) is a well-established and respected company located in Suffolk, currently working with many Local Authorities including Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, the Home Counties and London Boroughs. We specialise in delivering a host of assessments (1), recruiting Consultant Clinical Psychologists, Qualified and experienced Social Workers, Social Worker Assistants and Quality Assurance professionals (Senior Social Workers). For full information please follow the link to: and for testimonials from past clients.


The purpose of this document is to provide Local Authorities with information about the effectiveness of Reverse Residential Assessments (RRA). Reverse Residential Assessments are a trade-marked product of CFSW (developed and pioneered in 2009 Reg No UK00003357891); built on a wealth of specialist advice, knowledge and skills, spanning over 30 years of experience in Social Care.

We are inviting Local Authorities to commission Reverse Residential Assessments from CFSW to achieve positive outcomes for families and to reduce public sector spend on high cost services.

Whilst the LA Social Worker continues to manage and hold responsibility for each individual case, our Independent Social Workers are able to deliver the RRA in its entirety, providing regular updates through a comprehensive assessment approach. CFSW will save the LA money in SW time, reassured by the quality of the service that the RRA will deliver the agreed objectives and outcomes throughout the process.

Since 2018, CFSW have delivered 37 successful RRA’s to LA’s where sustained change has been achieved within the family unit. 100% of assessments commenced and ended as per the LA specified dates.

What is a Reverse Residential Assessment (RRA)?

A Reverse Residential Assessment is generally used when a child is able to remain at home under the Public Law Outline (PLO) process, or is subject to an interim Order. However, it can also be if the child is subject to an Order, is in a placement and the Local Authority are seeking to revoke the Order and transition the child home.

CF Social Work are also able to be instructed on cases where there is a disagreement amongst the parties regarding a Residential Assessment and parental viability needs to be tested. Benefits of this type of intense assessment include a thorough exploration of motivation, adherence to consistent boundaries and the ability to make and maintain routines.

One of the main reasons the Reverse Residential Assessment is preferable to a Residential Assessment is that the parent or parents, and baby or child, benefit from familiar soundings and an existing support network of friends, family and neighbours. Plus, parents and baby do not have to share a totally new environment, which could be far from home, with a number of families in the same situation.

RRA’s are most successful when delivered to families of new-born babies who have not yet formed an attachment with a foster carer and who do not have a fractured relationship with their birth mother at this point. Whilst the concept of RRA’s can be applied to children and young people who have been removed from their parents, an interim assessment period is vital to ascertain whether the RRA would be successful.
If the child were older, the risk of removal, if the assessment were deemed to be negative, would likely impact on their emotional development and require them to transfer any attachment they may have formed to their parent, to a foster carer or alternative adult. This may prove difficult for them after a period in the care of their birth parent. Clearly the risk of harm must be evidenced in order for an RRA to be instructed, however emotional disturbance would be less likely in the case of a new-born child should it be necessary to remove them during the assessment.

Each family will have a team of four Social Work Assistants (SWA) who will reside at the parents’ home on a rolling shift pattern, with 24-hour breaks in between shifts, for a 6 – 8 weeks period. Every effort is made to ensure a consistent staff team around each family. The RRA will be formally assessed by a Qualified Independent Social Worker, guided by the day to day assessments from the SWA’s and Quality Assured by a Senior Social Worker.

How do RRA’s work?

• SWA’s reside with a family 24 hours/day for a period to be determined by the referring LA (14 days at 24/7 is generally followed by a phased reduction in hours although can be longer if required) completing daily reports and completing observations;
• Can begin immediately after hospital discharge;
• The Independent Social Worker (ISW) completes a comprehensive assessment, with an initial assessment, mid-point (week 3) and final report at week 6. If no progress is evident at the mid-point review then CFSW will not unnecessarily extend the assessment period; thus, saving the family undue stress and the commissioning Authority expense
• Where appropriate it can be incorporated into the PAM model to support vulnerable clients with LD to develop parenting skills.
• Effective matching of skilled staff to families in terms of ethnicity, gender and cultural origin;
• Providing the family with the best possible chance of achieving change and fully testing their parenting capacity within their home and in the community;
• Utilizing universal services to maximize outcomes for the child and decrease overall cost for the LA;
• The RRA includes a robust examination of all family and parenting systems, which inform evidence-based recommendations;
• Upholds the Munro Principles of developing closer relationships with families within the family environment.
• A variety of professional input is included to each RRA to provide a balanced approach to the assessment, pulled together to provide a report which captures parental achievements and challenges.
• It is standard practice that the ISW will attend the Court Hearing (as requested) and the assessment will form part of the Court Proceedings to support decision-making for the child/ren as to parental capacity assessed across a period of time. Attendance at Court will be instructed by the local authority as listed in the Order.
• CFSW’s robust Quality Assurance System safeguards the child throughout the assessment 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
• Other than new born babies, we would not use the RRA approach from the outset, but begin with an assessment in the community (further details on the CFSW website) to ensure that they will not be destabilised by returning to their own home if it is not safe to do so. However, if that process were successful, then the RRA can be applied to a successful transition and reintegration of the child into the home.

The Role of the SWA

• Is to provide 24/7 observations of the family;
• To complete daily records of observations and share with the ISW;
• To offer guidance and support if required and identify areas of strength or weakness in parental capacity.
• To identify and report any and all safeguarding issues as they occur providing 24/7 safety assurance to the LA.
• To attend set up meeting and all reviews as part of the process.

The Role of the ISW

The ISW will take on the following responsibilities during the RRA:

• Initial Set up meeting with family and all professionals
• Mid-Point Review and Report
• Final Review
• All interviews of the parents, family members and connected people using techniques geared to their learning i.e. PAM’s
• Monitoring and supervision of SWA’s
• Final Report and Recommendations
• Quality Assurance of all SWA daily reports
• Summary of Observations from SWA’s.
• Constant liaison/feedback with LA social workers/managers.

USP’S (Unique Selling Points) offered by CFSW – FREE OF CHARGE

• Case always directed, monitored and quality assured by a CFSW Senior Social Worker, irrespective of whether an CF Social Work Independent Social Worker has been requested.
• CF Social Work offer a 24/7 out of hour’s duty service facilitated by senior social work staff. This service supports the SWA team out of work hours and provides a further level of safeguarding assurance to the referrer and the family. This service supports and works in conjunction with the LA emergency duty team who would automatically be made aware of any safeguarding concerns immediately they become known.
• All daily reports from SWA’s are quality assured by a senior social worker at CF Social Work before being forwarded to the LA. This provides a further level of safeguarding and reassurance to the referrer.
• All safeguarding concerns are shared immediately they become known via telephone and email with the referring social worker or EDT or out of hours. A full report of the incident is sent the same day. All other reports are sent through to the social worker in a timely way.
• In the event that the child needs to be removed during assessment, a summary of observations can be provided, if requested by the LA social worker. This report will be written by a senior social worker from CF and can be used as evidence in court if necessary.
• All Social Work Assistants are monitored and supervised (24/7) throughout their work by Senior Social Work staff from CF Social Work.
• CF Social Work has a dedicated RRA team, to include dedicated logistics and administration staff who are trained and supervised to work exclusively on this specialist area of assessment.

These USP’s are unique to CF Social Work and are integral to the package offered.

Cost to the Local Authority or Referring Agency:

Due to the uniqueness of RRA’s and the fluctuating timeframe of the assessment and the requirement of 24/7 observation by SWA’s, all quotes are agreed at the time of enquiry.

Please contact us to discuss your individual needs.

For further information contact:
Cheryl Finlayson
Senior Social Worker
Mob 07792902612
Diana Houlder
Assessment Coordinator CF Social Work Limited
Mob 01473 725794


CFSW are now CQC registered.

We have provided Reverse Residential Assessments to Legal Firms on a private basis and we have also worked with many Local Authorities over the years including Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, the Home Counties and the London Boroughs.

Call 01473 725794 for more information…


We put the needs of children, young people and their families and carers at the heart of everything we do.