Paramount Recruits Experienced PAMS Assessment Team

Family courts require high-quality information to help them make the best possible decisions. Parenting assessments which are methodical, multidimensional and incorporate evidence-based assessment tools are more useful to the courts in making such important decisions. The assessment of parenting can be highly subjective. As such, tools to minimise this subjectivity are important.

Parenting Assessment Manual Software (PAMS) is a very effective tool. It is a methodical and functional method of looking at parenting, incorporating evidence-based and multidimensional assessment tools. Since 2011 there has been a growing interest in the field around the incorporation of PAMS within parenting assessments for courts, suggesting that judges find it useful in their decision-making process.

Accordingly, PAMS assessments are an integral part of our core service offering. Our PAMS team has received their training directly from Pill Creek Publishing, who began developing the programme in 1998 and managed the subsequent transition to a software version in 2004, through to the most recent version 4.0 in 2016.

 

The PAMS assessment covers:

  • Child care and development
  • Behaviour management
  • Independent living skills
  • Safety and hygiene
  • Parents’ health
  • Relationships and support
  • Impact of the environment and the community on parenting

 

Each parenting skill is assessed by knowledge, quality and frequency. By breaking these elements of parenting down into testable components, PAMS begins to make an assessment of quality that is evidence-based.

After the PAMS assessment has been completed it will provide a clear, visual family profile of functioning that targets both parenting support needs, as well as child protection issues. An easy to understand visual Child Profile and Parent Profile gives clear identification of the family strengths, needs and risks associated with their parenting.

For more information on the PAMS assessment framework, including a timetable of works & costings, please get in touch.

Care Proceedings Guidance Issued to Social Workers & Guardians

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Directors of children’s services and Cafcass have published a new document designed to “resolve disagreements” between local authorities and family court guardians about social work evidence in court.

Published today, Cafcass and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) said the agreement was a bid to help develop a collaborative approach to care proceedings in the face of record demand.

Collaboration

The guidance sets out how children’s guardians and social workers should work together on assessments, care plans and pre-proceedings work.

“This agreement represents a commitment to developing a collaborative approach designed to resolve disagreements between the local authority and Cafcass about the social work evidence base being relied on in decision-making,” the agreement said.

“In our view, two social work agencies with the same professional standards and training should be able to agree on the evidence base on which recommendations about the future of the most vulnerable children in the country will be based.

It sets out a commitment that guardians examine social work evidence before they put forward a different position in court, to see if the evidence can be agreed on.

Cafcass has committed itself to sharing national and local-level data with local authorities to better understand thresholds for care and removal. Local authorities have committed to informing Cafcass  about imminent applications, while Cafcass guardians will reach views about assessments and care plans “at the earliest possible opportunity”.

Guidance

The agreement sets out how Cafcass and local authorities should work together on certain parts of care proceedings:

Guidance for working together on assessments

  • The guardian role is to analyse local authority assessments, not repeat them. “The guardian should always carry out enough direct work of their own to be able to give effective primary evidence in court.”
  • If there are clear gaps, the guardian can identify how they can be bridged. The guardian and social worker should be able to make recommendations about the child’s situation in the interim and be clear about timetabling or case management issues in the interim.
  • To be effective means “reaching agreement if possible on the main narrative in the case”. This includes the reason for proceedings, the analysis of the impact on the child, what needs to be done to bring about positive change for the child during proceedings and throughout childhood.

Guidance for working together on care plans

  • For both social worker and guardian, the plan should flow from the evidence base. “It would be unusual if an agreed evidence base led to different conclusions about the way forward but if it does, attempts should be made to resolve differences out of court before referring the issue to the court.” These discussions should include the independent reviewing officer.

Guidance for working together pre-proceedings

  • Using the principles of schemes like Cafcass plus to allow for early scrutiny of local authority cases, with an aim to either divert cases away from care proceedings, or narrowing down the issues.

Andrew Webb, the ADCS lead on family justice, said the agreement “confirms the expertise of social workers in the courts”.

He added: “The commitments made by both ADCS and Cafcass will help not only on a day-to-day basis, but on supporting the system which is under continuing demand and financial pressure and shows no signs of easing.”

Anthony Douglas, the chief executive of Cafcass, said the agreement “reaffirms the positive working practices already in place across most local authorities and Cafcass”.

Paramount Joins Aston Business School Growth Programme

We are delighted to announce that Paramount Care Solutions has been carefully selected from a number of SME businesses in the Midlands to participate in the Aston Business School Growth Programme.

The programme aims to support SMEs to grow by improving their productivity, refining business processes and ultimately creating jobs within the Midlands.

The Aston Business School Growth Programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Starting early February 2017 the programme will work with around 20 SME and Social Enterprise leaders.

By participating in the programme, Paramount aims to achieve status as a OECD high growth firm in 2018.