Serendipity is able to provide the following assessments:


• Viability

• Residential

• Community

• Pre-birth

• Psychological / attachment

• Form F / Kinship Care


Residential Assessments


Assessment placements are offered on a 6 or 12 week basis, both of which can be extended if necessary. The Assessment itself is an interactive, evidence based process through which support opportunities are created. It looks at all aspects of an individual’s parenting capacity and appropriate areas of a child’s development needs in accordance with the Framework for Assessment. Although standard models of assessment are used in every case, each family residing at Serendipity is treated individually.


As well as direct and indirect monitoring and CCTV in all communal areas, the main assessment tools used by Serendipity are:

• Graded Care Profile (GCP)

• The Parent Assessment Manual (PAMs)

These are incorporated into the Framework for Assessment.


To assess the parenting capacity of parents with learning disabilities, we use the Parenting Assessment Manual (PAMs) written by Dr Sue McGaw. This is an assessment resource specifically designed to assess parenting skills and the parent’s ability to meet the child’s developing needs. Assessments are based on parental knowledge using the McGaw cartoons, observation and a work book that each parent completes so that gaps in parenting knowledge and life skills can be identified. Both the professional and parent's perception of the family's needs are considered. The assessment incorporates observations, questionnaires (written & visual aids) and structured interviews as well as a parent history.


The Graded Care Profile is a standardised method of assessment, founded on bi-polar scales encouraging the identification of strengths as well as weaknesses. This is measurable as it is evidence based. The Framework for Assessment in conjunction with the GCP and the PAMs resource provide a comprehensive format and a good indication on the parental capacity to provide good enough parenting in order to meet the developing needs of the child.


Whilst the primary purpose of the assessment is to observe, monitor and evaluate a parent’s ability to meet their child(ren)’s needs, the assessment will also begin to address relevant issues through the compulsory Choices and Changes sessions.


The Choices and Changes Programme is tailor-made to the individual parent according to their needs and can include parenting skills, anger management, positive coping strategies and any other issues identified in the placement agreement. Children are cared for by a crèche worker whilst their parents undertake any sessions required.


Our interventions are based on solution focused techniques, mindfulness and motivational interviewing.


Whilst at Serendipity, an Independent Psychologist undertakes a comprehensive assessment of attachment and parenting capacity for each parent as part of their placement.


We also offer outreach work and advice on the support required when a family leaves Serendipity. We feel that it is vital, as part of the assessment programme, that all families receive a planned exit, identifying specifically the areas of support a parent would need if they were to continue to parent their child in the community.


Any parent coming to Serendipity needs to be committed to an independent, residential assessment and willing to undertake the compulsory Choices and Changes programme. They would also need to agree to conform to the rules of Serendipity that include the prohibition of the consumption of alcohol on the premises.


Family assessments focus on some of the following areas:


Child protection                                                            Parent needs    

Child welfare                                                                 Parent ability / skills

Ensuring safety                                                              Strengths / weaknesses

Basic care                                                                      Perception of self / others

Supervision                                                                    Family structure                                     

Guidance & behaviour control                                     Substance misuse /Alcohol harm

Nutrition                                                                        Anger management

Emotional needs / Stimulation / Play                            Domestic violence

Physical needs                                                               Life/Social skills support

Developmental needs                                                    Criminal history

Attachment perspective                                                 Budgeting

Professional concerns                                                    Support networks

Capacity to change                                                        Previous / present relationships

Wider family network                                                     Experiences from childhood


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