Being a parent is not easy and every parent has a different style of parenting. If social services have child protection concerns about your children you may be asked to have a PAMS assessment.
What does PAMS assessment stand for?
PAMS stands for ‘Parent Assessment Manual’. PAMS is a guide used by social services to work with and assess parents and families when there are child protection concerns. A social worker might undertake the assessment or they may ask another child care professional who is qualified to carry out the assessment.
Who is a PAMS assessment for?
The PAMS assessment takes into account parents who have a learning difficulty/disability and gives the assessor techniques which they should use when they are working with parents and families with a learning difficulty/disability.
If you do not have a learning difficulty/disability but you have any preferences about how information is communicated to you then you must raise this with the person assessing you. For example, you prefer to be shown how to do a task rather than being told verbally or in writing.
What is covered under a PAMS assessment?
During a PAMS assessment social services will look at key areas of your parenting including the following:
- child care and development
- behaviour management
- independent living skills
- safety and hygiene
- parents’ health
- relationships and support
- the impact of the environment and community on parenting
By looking at all of these different areas social services will get a good idea and evidence of how your family functions and the quality of your parenting skills.
It is important that you cooperate with this assessment as your level of engagement and co-operation will also be assessed during this process.
What happens during a PAMS assessment
During a PAMS assessment, you will be asked about your knowledge and understanding of each area of parenting outlined above. You will then be observed during different exercises to see how you put your parenting skills into practice. You might receive advice from the person who is assessing you and they will look at how you take on the advice and whether you remember the advice.
If you are not sure about the process or have any questions do not be afraid to ask the social worker or the person assessing you as this may make the difference between a positive and negative assessment.
The PAMS assessment might take place at your home at a children’s centre or out in the community.
It is hard to say how long a PAMS assessment will take as it will vary depending on who is doing it but they usually take up to 12 weeks.
When a PAMS assessment has been completed you will receive a full report from the person who did the assessment. The assessment may be positive, negative, a mixture of positive and negative or recommend further assessment. The social worker should go through the report with you and answer any questions you have.
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What is the PAMS model?
The PAMS model is an evidence-based parenting assessment based on the ‘Parent Assessment Manual’ (PAMS) used by social workers. The assessment includes a combination of various clinical assessments, parent profiling, worksheets and an interview with the parent where key areas of parenting are discussed to evaluate their skills and approach.
What is the purpose of a PAMS parenting assessment?
The goal of a PAMS assessment is to determine whether the parent is capable of providing their child with the care they need in all fundamental aspects of parenting. This is done to alleviate child protection concerns associated with the parent being diagnosed with a disability or learning difficulties.
What questions are asked during a PAMS assessment?
During a PAMS assessment, you may be asked questions regarding:
- Your diagnosis, disability or learning difficulties
- Your early life experience, including your family situation, the parenting style you’ve experienced, your relationship with your siblings, etc.
- Your experience with the care system – have you or your parents been in the system
- Your attitude to education, your education history and your parents’ approach to education
- Your employment history and stability
- Your ability to build and maintain long-lasting relationships throughout your life (from childhood to adulthood)
- Your criminal history and any history of violence and aggression
- Your mental health history, including current and past diagnoses, such as postnatal depression
- Your history of substance misuse, now or in the past
- Your attitude towards local authorities and other professionals
What other factors can be considered during a PAMS assessment?
Based on your answers and your behaviour during the interview, the PAMS assessor will also note and evaluate:
- Your personal hygiene and overall presentation
- Your parenting knowledge
- Your attitude towards parenting (always aim to be positive)
- Your current relationship with your children
- Your ability to take responsibility for your child
- Any issues within your family
- Your overall attitude towards authority
- Your willingness to change and improve your parenting
All advice is correct at time of publication.