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  • Writer's pictureSarah Lowe

How listening to parents helped shape ParentAssess


Being assessed to see if you can continue to care for your child can be a very stressful time for any parent. It's hard to be open with a social worker and talk about your life and the difficulties you have faced.

There are things which can make it easier for the parent to take part in the assessment itself and to understand the outcome.

We have listened to parents and many have told us what can help and also what can make it harder for them.


The feedback has helped to shape ParentAssess in the following ways:



Parents said they wanted to know what’s entailed in an assessment

Assessors provide an assessment plan to the parent before starting.



Parents wanted to explain their viewpoint

Parents start with grading their own parenting and explaining how they see things using the traffic light system.



Parents wanted to know what is expected of them

This is shown using the traffic light system at the start of the assessment.



Many parents said they didn’t like the use of cartoons and drawings which they felt were childish and often confusing.

ParentAssess only uses photo of things the parent will see in everyday life.



Parents wanted the assessment to reflect their culture

ParentAssess adapts questions and makes sure they are relevant to the parent’s specific culture.



Parents wanted to be told if they got something wrong immediately, so they had the chance to put it right

Assessors provide feedback to parents as issues arise and then check if change is achieved.



Parents didn’t like being ‘tested’ and feeling judged

In ParentAssess we try to understand the parent and learn about their adaptive strategies. There are no right and wrong answers, just areas where they may need more information or support.



Parents wanted an opportunity to learn

Assessors use a variety of interactive tools and approaches to help the parent learn and develop.



Parents said the long reports with long words were hard to read

ParentAssess provides a Short Parent Report which is easier to read.

Jargon is avoided



Parents found the tables used in PAMS hard to understand

We designed an Outcome Table which is very easy to understand and explains everything using traffic lights.

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