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What is a Residential Assessment Unit?

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Where concerns have been raised about a parent’s ability to provide safe care for their child, a residential assessment may be considered as opposed to a community based assessment to assess if they can parent the child safely and appropriately.

A residential assessment is considered as an in-depth and independent parenting assessment whereby a person is assessed and observed by professionals while living in a residential assessment unit. This option may be offered by the Local Authority prior to Court proceedings being initiated or during Court proceedings. A residential assessment can be requested by any party during Court proceedings and the Court will consider whether or not one is necessary.

Residential assessments commonly last around 12 weeks, however the duration of assessments differ from person to person and it will depend on what services are offered by the unit. Residential units will complete a paper based viability assessment of a person to see if they feel they can provide an assessment and what services they would require in their time at the unit. It may also mean that depending on the situation which has led to Local Authority involvement, a risk assessment of the person may need to be completed to ensure that they would not pose a risk to the child, other residents at the unit and staff.

The assessment will consider a person’s competence in all tasks involved in the adequate care of a child. This may include the following:

  • a child’s basic care needs
  • guidance and boundaries regarding the child’s behaviour
  • safety and supervision of the child
  • emotional warmth towards of the child stimulation of the child

An assessment may also consider more in-depth aspects of a person’s life and will consider their past history such relationships, family relationships and any substance misuse history or domestic violence.

Residential units vary in the respect that the accommodation may include self-contained flats or could be individual rooms with a communal kitchen, bathroom and living areas. A person may be monitored through CCTV either on a constant basis or intermittently; this may also include audio. The staff at the unit may intervene in a person’s care for their child if they feel that the child is at risk of harm.

Half way through the assessment a mid-way report may be drawn up to inform the parents of how they are progressing whilst at the unit; this will accompanied by the final report which is written at the end of the assessment. The report will be used to inform the Local Authority if they should initiate care proceedings or the Court (if there are ongoing care proceedings) of the person’s ability to parent their child safely and to a good enough standard.

Here at Emery Johnson Astills we are experienced in assisting clients during all stages of Local Authority involvement and can advise you on the different assessments that you can be offered. If you need advice or assistance with Local Authority involvement then please our Care Team on 0116 2554855.