When is a Parenting / Risk Assessment necessary?

An Independent Social Worker will undertake Parenting / Risk Assessments on behalf of Local Authorities when concerns arise in relation to a parent’s ability to adequately and safely care for their child.  Concerns of a child protection nature may come about because the parent has misused drugs or alcohol, they may have mental health issues or a learning disability or there might be domestic violence in the parents’ relationship.

Taking into account that the child is likely to have been exposed to factors of neglect, physical and emotional abuse and/or sexual abuse, avocet’s Parenting / Risk Assessment will assess the parents’ capacity to change whilst ensuring the child remains the focus of the assessment process.

What is the process?

Stage  1

An avocet Independent Social Worker would aim to meet with the professionals involved with the family to discuss the assessment process.  In cases where the Local Authority is following the Public Law Outline (PLO) a letter of instruction will usually be provided.

Stage 2

Our Independent Social Worker would then meet with the parents to discuss the details of the assessment process and agree a schedule of work.  The Parenting / Risk Assessment process will also involve reading Local Authority case files and where appropriate the bundle of paperwork prepared for court proceedings.

Stage 3

Our Independent Social Worker will meet with parents individually and together, observing the parents with their child and where appropriate, talking to and engaging with the child on their own.  Individual professionals involved in the child’s life will also be contacted and asked to provide information for the assessment.


avocet aims to complete a community based Parenting / Risk Assessment in 12 weeks.   Any unavoidable delay to the assessment will be through a process of negotiation.

A Parenting / Risk Assessment with a parent with a learning disability might take longer than 12 weeks to complete.


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