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Parenting Assessment

A parenting assessment is a tool that allows families to examine the strengths and areas of growth in the family unit specifically focusing on the parent-child relationship(s).  The parenting assessment will examine the quality of the parent-child relationship, the parent’s ability to effectively meet the child’s needs, how the parent copes and responds to challenges, how the child responds to the parent’s engagement, and the family’s holistic functioning.  Specific goals of each parenting assessment may vary. The goals are set by the referring worker, family, and clinician at the time of intake. Through the parenting assessment process clinicians are generating an in-depth individualized report outlining clinical observations including both the strengths and areas of growth identified within the parent-child relationship(s) and family unit as a whole.  Clinicians will give the family and referral source as report including recommendations for services, ideas to address the areas of growth, express concerns that were observed, and address the goals of the parenting assessment directly. 

Parenting assessments are for families, case managers, social workers, guardian ad litems, or other individuals and/or entities who desire to assess the strengths of the parent-child relationship(s).  Often families involved with child protective services complete parenting assessments to assist with establishing case plans, measure progress, and/or gather clinical data to be utilized in conjunction with other data sources when making recommendations to the courts regarding reunification of child with parent  after a child has been removed from a parent’s full-time care.

The parenting assessment process includes an array of appointments that include clinical care consultations with the referring agency and/or individual, initial intake sessions that include clinical interviews with the parent(s),  parent-child(ren) sessions in dyads, and family session that include the parent(s) and child(ren) together as a family unit. Parents will be completing an array of assessment measures and screening tools specific to their social-emotional needs and wellness. Parents will be required to provide a copy of one of the following mental health evaluations with a completion date and/or evaluation update date occurring within six months of the intake of the parenting assessment process: Standard Diagnostic Assessment, Psychological Evaluation, or Neuropsychological Evaluation. Parents may be required to provide other relevant clinical documentation if applicable such as rule25 assessments (or other relevant substance use assessments), psychosexual assessments, and various other forms of assessments and formal documentation in addition to signing releases of information allowing clinicians to complete clinical consultations with additional service providers as deemed appropriate on a case by case basis. Upon the finalization of the parenting assessment report parent(s) will have a final appointment to review their thoughts and reactions to the parenting assessment process. Additionally, this time serves as an opportunity to see if the parent(s) feels the behaviors and interactions were typical of what happens in everyday life or if there were differences.  During this session the clinician provides the parent(s) with a signed copy of the parenting assessment to review and outlines the various findings of the parenting assessment and clinical recommendations in addition to answering any questions the parent(s) may have.

The length of a parenting assessment can vary greatly as there are many factors such as the goals of the parenting assessment, number of people in the family, safety concerns, and if there is efficient follow through of all involved parties during the parenting assessment process. However, the average assessment that typically involves one parental figure, two children, and one referring agency (i.e. child protections) typically takes between one and a half  months and two months to complete with efficient follow through of all involved parties and can take longer if there are more than two children in the family unit and/or separate parenting assessments are being request for two parents.

It is always our hope that parent(s) are compliant with the parenting assessment process and placing their child’s best interest at the forefront. However, from time to time we do encounter non-compliance during a parenting assessment. Non-compliance with providing the appropriate documentation and/or hindering clinical consultations by refusal to sign appropriate releases of information will result in one of two actions that is determined by the clinician on a case by case basis: 1.) It may be deemed the parenting assessment is unable to progress and a clinical summary outlining such will be provided to the appropriate individuals and/or entities 2.) Documentation of parental obstruction of the parenting assessment process will be included in the parenting assessment report in addition to outlining the potential implications of the parental obstruction.  Furthermore, Birchlawn Place Counseling Center, INC and clinicians place the utmost priority on the physical and emotional wellbeing of any children participating in the parenting assessment process thus if at any time a clinician deems either are at risk the parent-child interactions within the parenting assessment process will immediately be ceased and next steps will be determined on a case by case basis. There is zero tolerance associated with parent(s) being under the influence of any form of substances aside from properly utilized prescribed medications while on the premises. Clinicians will work diligently to address all non-compliance directly with the parent(s) providing them ample opportunity to make alternative decisions during the parenting assessment process.

Parenting Assessments involve both clinical time that is often covered by most health insurance plans and non-clinical time that is not covered by health insurance plans.  All clinical assessment sessions are billed to insurance whenever possible; however, the parent(s) and/or entity that is financially responsible for fees associated with the parenting assessment will be responsible for any co-payments and non-clinical fees associated with the parenting assessment process.  Non-clinical fees are billed at $150.00 per hour rate with a 10-hour minimum ($1,500.00) for non-clinical time spent, analyzing clinical data from the clinical assessment sessions, reviewing medical/mental health records, reviewing child protections records, clinical coordination of care, and developing, writing, and finalizing an in-depth individualized parenting assessment report. If more than 10-hours of non-clinical services are required additional time will be prorated at the $150.00 per hour rate.  Parenting assessments typically takes between one and a half and two months to complete with efficient follow through of all involved parties and concurrently can vary greatly as there are many factors that contribute to how long it takes to complete parenting assessment as noted above. In consideration of the typical length of completion of a parenting assessment the $1,500.00 minimum non-clinical fees will be due in three payment installments with a $500.00 payment due at time of intake, a $500.00 payment due at the one-month mark of the parenting assessment process, and a $500.00 payment and any additional prorated non-clinical fees above and beyond the $1,500.00 minimum if applicable when the parenting assessment is completed. Should the parenting assessment not be completed due to termination of services by any parties involved in the parenting assessment process or the parent(s) cease attending scheduled appointments all prior payments made are nonrefundable as this revenue will be utilized to compensate the clinician completing the parenting assessment for non-clinical services that were rendered prior to services being terminated.  Should there be a need for court appearance to discuss the parenting assessment report there is a different fee and policy involved and those cost are not included in the parenting assessment fees outlined above.