Specialist assessments


CARE-Index assessments of parent-child relationship

The CARE-Index assesses parent-infant interaction from birth to about two years of age based on a short, videotaped play interaction of 3-5 minutes. The measure assesses parents on three scales: sensitivity, control and unresponsiveness. There are also four scales for infants: cooperativeness, compulsivity, difficultness, and passivity.

The scales

1. Are highly correlated with the infant Strange Situation assessment patterns of attachment
2. Differentiate abusing from neglecting, abusing-and-neglecting, marginally maltreating, and adequate dyads
3. Can be used during intervention, and
4. Can be used to assess the effectiveness of intervention.

We use the CARE-Index in the course of psychological and parenting assessments to help us understand how babies experience their parents, and also what parents might need in order to provide more sensitive care to their babies.

However, we also take instructions for standalone CARE-Index assessments for families in the community. To make a referral contact use here.

Risk assessments

Our risk assessments are based upon the best practice, structured clinical risk assessment tools and are carried out by chartered, consultant clinical psychologists with specialist training in the application of risk assessment tools as well as considerable experience of working with parents in care proceedings and in working with the Family Court system.

Our team have particular expertise in working with families where there has been a history of non-accidental injury and fabricated or induced illness is suspected.

Risk assessments are carried out through clinical interviews, relevant psychometric testing, and analysis of the court documents, particularly medical and police records. A report detailing the risks identified as well as any risk management recommendations and indications for therapy is provided four weeks from receipt of a letter of instruction.

Orchard House provide the following specialist risk assessments:

  • Risk of violent behavior and re-offending
  • Risk of harm to self
  • Domestic violence risks
  • Risk of perpetration of child sexual abuse 
  • Risk of perpetration of child physical abuse, including following the perptration of a non-accidental injury
  • Risk of sexual re-offending or sexually harmful behaviour
  • Risk to children from fabricated or induced illness

To make a referral for a risk assessment or for more information, please contact Sammy Edwards on 01823 351785.

Assessments of parents with learning disabilities

"An increasing number of adults with learning difficulties are becoming parents. In about 50% of cases their children are removed from them, usually as a result of concerns for their well-being and/or an absence of appropriate support. There are a range of barriers to the provision of appropriate support to parents including negative, or stereotypical, attitudes about parents with learning difficulties on the part of staff in some services. Effective support involves a wide range of strategies, including early identification of parents with learning difficulties; support during pregnancy; assessment of support needs; skills training; help at home; parenting groups; flexible support to meet families’ individual and changing needs; helping parents to engage with children and family services; and multi-agency working."

The Norah Fry Research Centre, University of Bristol (2006)

The Assessment Team and the Family Support Workers have received specialist training in working with parents with learning disabilities and are highly experienced in working with vulnerable parents who have limited experience of parenting.  We are able to administer cognitive assessments early in the assessment process in order that all assessments and interventions are appropriate and tailored to the family’s needs. 

Clinical psychologists work closely with the team in providing intervention and feedback to parents where cognitive impairments are known to be present. Our staff team are particularly skilled in using video-feedback, a technique considered best practice in supporting parents to learn, change and develop. 

We also use the CHANGE resources, both to guide our easy-read documents for parents, and also to educate parents using the 'You & Your Baby' book.

Please note, we do not conduct PAMS assessments as standalone reports, although we use some of the tools in the context of our broader assessments.