Setting the standards of best practice in the assessment of parents who have a Learning Disability

Now established in many areas of the UK

Over 300 Social Workers trained in ParentAssess

Does ParentAssess cover.....

Domestic Abuse? YES

Alcohol / Drug Abuse? YES

Mental Health? YES

Parental Functioning? YES 

Understanding of Risk? YES

Parent’s available Support? YES

Parent’s ability to Change? YES

Traffic Light Coding

Throughout the assessment the parent and the assessor use a traffic light coding to rate knowledge, confidence, information gathered, tools used and observations.             


Significant Concern​

Some Concern  

Strength / No Concern

Parents tell us they find this helps them to understand the process and what changes they may need to work on. Professionals tell us the traffic lights make the assessment outcomes clear.  

Key Elements of ParentAssess

  • Specifically designed for use in Family Proceedings 

  • Assessors are trained in working with parents who have Learning Disabilities and additional needs

  • Identifies strengths and concerns of parenting in 5 areas.

  • Ensures the parent is involved in the process

  • Summaries and tables are easy to read and interpret  

  • Any recommendations from cognitive assessments are considered

  • The child's experience of being parented is central to the assessment process. 

  • The issue of 'Parenting with Support' is carefully considered

  • The parent is informed of the outcome in a way they can understand.

5 Assessment Areas


The child's experience of being parented How the parent meets the physical and emotional needs of the child. This includes attachment. 

The parent's daily living skills How the parent is able to organise and manage daily life.

Parental functioning Explores the parent's history and considers how it impacts on parenting. Looks at issues such as the parent's ability to change, decision making, multi-tasking and how they manage risk 

Specific issues Considers additional issues such as domestic abuse, alcohol and drug use, offending and gambling. The assessment also covers cultural issues.

Support If any gaps are identified in the areas above then the parent's support network and their ability to access support is considered

Can ParentAssess be used for other types of parenting assessment ?


ParentAssess can also be used with parents who do not have a Learning Disability as it is a strengths based framework. 

To date ParentAssess has been used effectively with....

Parents who are Care Leavers

Parents with Mental Health Issues

Parents who have Autism  

Pre-Birth Assessments  

What Parents Say 

"I liked the traffic lights made me think about what I was doing"

"The traffic lights made me realise how me and the social worker see things differently and what the problems are"

"You made me see how it is for my child. I was doing things wrong but I never knew it"