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Assessment of young parents compared to assessment in other areas of youth work is distinguished by its family inclusiveness and questions pertaining to the young person’s child/children, care arrangements, court orders and support networks.
While assessment of young parents is similar in many ways to general youth work assessment, it usually unfolds at a slower pace due to disruptions and delays that come with pregnancy or the involvement of young children. Often a solid assessment can’t be made until you have observed the client navigating crises and hurdles over a period of time. Rather than sit down face-to-face and adopt a question and answer approach, you might instead prefer to take mental notes over time until you feel well placed to make a more formal assessment.
Why are different perspectives essential to your assessment?
Depending on where the referral has come from (Child Protection, maternal and child health nurse, hospital etc.) you will begin engagement with certain information about a client, their history and current situation.
It’s of the utmost importance that you obtain as much information as you can from the client themselves. Not only will this help the client to engage and to feel like they’re being heard (at time when it’s likely they’re feeling particularly disempowered) but it also helps you to piece together a fuller and more balanced picture of the situation than may have been presented at referral. The information you gather from the client might even contradict information provided by other services or offer a wholly different perspective on certain aspects of the referral.
Note, how assessments are made and unfold can vary greatly across organisations and from worker to worker, be guided by your own policy and procedures.