About the Framework

ParentAssess is a framework developed for assessing parents who have learning disabilities and other additional needs within childcare proceedings. It addresses both the emotional and practical aspects of parenting and seeks to identify both the strengths and concerns. The traffic light system means the assessment outcomes are measurable and easy to read.


The framework can be used where children remain with their parents or where the children have been placed in foster care and supervised contact is in place.

ParentAssess uses a number of specific visual tools.   Video feedback is an important element to help the parents develop their skills. 

The Author 

ParentAssess was created by Sarah Lowe who has over 30 years of experience in the social work field and specifically with people who have learning disabilities. Initially Sarah worked in residential care supporting the rehabilitation of adults with learning disabilities as they left the large institutions and this gave her valuable insight into how to develop daily living skills and help people gain a better understanding of risk.

Since 2002 Sarah has worked as an Independent Social Worker specialising in undertaking assessments of parents who have learning disabilities. During that time she has gained an understanding of the difficulties facing parents who have additional needs and the importance of them being able to understand the assessment process.

ParentAssess has been used in the Family Courts since 2017 and is becoming well established across the UK

"The framework was easy to interpret and I could use it as a reference point to explain things to the parent and work out areas where support was needed"- Social Worker

"The Strengths and Concerns record helped to work through different areas of parenting in a methodical way. It helped to open up discussion" - Assessor .

Need a Specialist Assessment of a Parent who has a Learning Disability?


Several of the large ISW agencies have staff trained in ParentAssess or you can contact us and we will put you in touch with trained assessors in your area

Sarah has also worked as a senior manager within a Local Authority Disability Service giving her an excellent understanding of how children's and adult services can support people with a learning disability. 

Sarah has studied at the Tavistock and Portman Clinic and is CARE-Index and ADBB Trained