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What is a ParentAssess Assessment: How is it different to PAMS?

View profile for Isabelle Swirles
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PAMS stands for parenting assessment manual software. It was an assessment used with parents or carers that have learning difficulties or additional needs. Its aim is to assess the parents capacity and to support them in understanding parenting knowledge or skills. PAMS has been synonymous in assessing parents with additional needs since it was created in 1988. As of August 2023, PAMS assessments are now closed. Therefore, a new assessment format will be used to assess carers with learning difficulties, this is the ParentAssess assessment.

ParentAssess was created in 2016 and has now been identified in the Good Practise Guidance and nominated for an Innovation of the Year award at Family Law Awards (2022). Similar to PAMS, ParentAssess is a specialist assessment framework for parents with learning difficulties. Assessors will also attend a 2-day training course for ParentAssess as they would have PAMS.

ParentAssess aims to cater towards parent with;

  • Mental health issues
  • Trauma
  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Offending
  • Autism

Feedback from PAMS assessments found that parents often felt they were being treated like a child. ParentAssess aims to support parents, it places precedence on the assessment not being a test. Rather it allows assessors to identify where parents need support then enable them the tools to achieve a better parenting technique. ParentAssess assessments aim to stop parents feeling isolated.

ParentAssess can be used with parents at any stage of social care involvement:

  • Early help
  • Pre-proceedings
  • Pre-births
  • Re-unification

ParentAssess uses a grading system of red, amber, and green to rate and answer questions, which is easily understandable to parents. Parents are asked how they perceive their parenting in different categories and this is compared to a professionals opinion. The professional may be the Social Worker or a Support Worker and the answers are compared side by side so the parent can see where the differences lie. This is done in the summaries at the beginning of the assessment to allow the parent to demonstrate progress throughout the assessment. 

How can we help?

We appreciate how distressing having Social Services involved with your family can be. Our Care Team at Johnson Astills Solicitors can offer advice, assistance, and representation at all stages of  Social Services involvement.

Should you require our assistance then please email us at or call us at either our Leicester Office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough Office on 01509 610 312 and ask for a member of our Care Team to discuss your options further.