New trauma-based parenting assessment

As the director of Holistic Independent Social Work service, I have personally experienced the Family Law Court process and Social Services involvement. I found that as a parent, my feelings were not considered which I felt had a significant impact on the assessment process and the outcomes. Although I was aware of the processes from my professional background, I am also a parent with emotions and sensibility’s and a past story of my own (elements of which were triggered during the assessment process).

I am of the view that going through these court experiences as a parent and in discussions with legal advisers, other parents and professional colleagues, it became increasingly evident that an assessment needed to be developed which takes into consideration the trauma a parent experiences due to a combination of the court processes and multiple professional agencies involvement in the family’s life.

As a parent I found I was never asked, ‘how do you feel?’ I was faced with a barrage of questions and inferences were made with regard to how quickly I responded, what I responded and how I reacted to those responses. Such outcomes can so easily have a detrimental impact on the safety and well-being of a child. In order to mitigate such instances,
Holistic Independent Social Work has developed a new Parenting Assessment model for public and private law cases which considers the trauma of the court proceedings during the assessment process. It also provides optional therapeutic support to the parents at the assessment stage.

The child’s safety, well being and voice remains the focus of all our assessments whilst also acknowledging the parent’s feelings, wishes and views. Our aim for the trauma based assessment is to produce an honest, quality assessment that would assist the court in making such life changing decisions that permanently impact the entire family and in particular the child.