PAMS stands for ‘Parent Assessment Manual’.
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.
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.
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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 co-operate with this assessment as your level of engagement and co-operation will also be assessed during this process.
During a PAMS assessment you will be asked about what your knowledge and understanding is on 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.
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.
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.