Summary of Assessments

Dear Sir/Madam,

We would be grateful if you could forward this letter to the appropriate sections/departments dealing with current care proceedings or section 38 residential assessments who may wish to consider our Residential and Community based Parenting Assessments.

Jamma Umoja Integrated Assessment Services is an Agency based in Bromley and Croydon, providing court directed parenting and risk assessments for parents and their children where there are child protection concerns. Jamma Umoja is a registered resource in line with the requirements of the Care Standards Act 2000 [CSA 2000], and was registered by CSCI on 09.01.04.2004. Jamma Umoja is required to meet the National Minimum Care Standards for Family Centres as cited in the Regulations of CSA 2000. Jamma Umoja is inspected by OFSTED and you can read our latest inspection reports by following the following link http://www.ofsted.gov.uk Both of our residential Centres are rated as Outstanding. We also provide comprehensive Community based Assessments.

Jamma Umoja means families in union in Swahili.  Jamma Umoja was established in 1996 as a private limited company to offer social work services to families. Our aim is to provide an independent service which offers a spectrum of services in respect of children and their families.

We have a wide customer base which could be broadly divided into the following groups: Local Authorities, Solicitors and Children’s Guardians. Many of our assessments are in the context of Family Court Proceedings but we also take families where children are not the subject of orders.

Assessment Services

Twelve week residential parenting assessment

We offer comprehensive residential parenting assessments, using multi-disciplinary staff groups which generally run for 12 weeks.  We also offer six week Prognostic Assessments.

In the context of very tight court timetables and severe public funding constraints we recognise the need to work collaboratively and to think creatively for the sake of the child who otherwise might not get this chance at all. In six weeks what we would offer are; clear prognostic indicators, recommendations as to whether work should continue or not and whether the case could move into the community and whether this should be to another resource e.g. parent and child fostering, service users own home, supported accommodation

Our assessment protocol is based on the Department of Health Framework for Assessment, but also on Jamma Umoja’s own Assessment Cycle which embeds the concepts of assessment in the three domains into a framework of expectations and time scales within the assessment based on good enough parenting. Jamma Umoja also incorporates other micro-assessment tools to focus on the particular needs of each family.

In a residential assessment the family would usually be living at the centre full time.  However, sometimes where there are concerns about one of the parents they may not be resident but come in for specific sessions e.g. our commended Domestic Violence programmes: female service users may are attend day programmes to consider their potential to make changes in their lifestyle, choices of partners and ability to protect their children.

We also offer Viability programmes. These are shorter assessments to consider the possibility of further work being done.  The foundation of the areas of assessment is still the ‘Framework for Assessment’ but the emphasis is about engagement and predicting potential.  A viability assessment may be a starting point with a family where the parent(s) are resident in the centre but the child is still looked after elsewhere and a parenting programme is established, including contact being observed, to consider the potential success of reuniting the family.  These programmes are particularly pertinent where concerns may be chronic and the professionals are concerned not to disrupt a child’s placement, or where the risks are very high and it is felt there needs to be a gradual testing out of reunification.  Viability assessments are generally 4 weeks.

Community Assessments

Jamma Umoja offer Community Parenting assessments conducted mainly at the parents’ home but with attendance at our Centre in Croydon. These assessment programmes require four or five days per week of interventions with the mother and father and would involve observations of their care of the children within agreed contact arrangements.

In addition to these individual sessions, JU runs groups at our Centres (over one day), including the Men’s and Women’s Domestic Violence group, the Personal and Community Awareness and Positive Parenting Groups, which we would expect the parents to attend, where possible.

We explore what is the parents’ capacity to care for their children and assess what reasonable supports could enable them to offer good enough, safe care. We examine if the parents can place the focus of their efforts on the children thus demonstrating a potential to meet their needs and place them foremost.

On average, in addition to the group attendances and on site Key Work sessions, each week we would expect to undertake two announced home visits to address the issues set out in the Letter of Instruction and two unannounced home visits, which can take place at any time, in the morning, evening and at weekends in order to confirm stated lifestyles.

The Community Assessment would produce a comprehensive Report to help determine the way forward and is also designed to allow for an end to assessment if such is not considered viable or in the children’s best interests. We would file the Report one week after the end of the six week assessment period. Our community parenting assessment costs are in line with Legal Aid Agency hourly rates.

Specialist Assessment

Mental Health and Addictions

Our Dual Diagnosis Practitioner (DDP) undertakes acute addictions assessments with adults. He would offer a holistic package of work which includes relapse prevention work but also considers the impact of substance misuse on the adult’s parenting.

He also liaises with residents’ local agencies e.g. SMU teams and CMHTs around the resident’s history, any issues in relation to their progress in residence and in relation to issues of medication, including psychiatric medication and Methadone and Subutex Maintenance.

The DDP is part of the multi-disciplinary team and is involved in handover and case management discussion on a regular basis with families so his work is integrated into the wider assessment.

Psychological Assessments

Alan Finer Consultant Psychologist offers independent psychological assessments for adults. He is able to offer cognitive testing, full psychological assessment and forensic risk assessments.

Who can benefit from our Service 

We offer a service to male and female and same sex couples, sole carers male and female, and family groups eg mother and grandmother, who are caregivers for children and who are required to undergo assessment whether or not they are in proceedings.

We offer a service to children to assess what is in their best interests in the immediate and longer term future. We also undertake to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within our centre by ensuring that they are offered appropriate supervision and monitoring.

Over the past 19 years Jamma Umoja has developed skills and experience in working with families with complex needs including: Physical and Sensory Disabilities, Learning Disabilities, Mental Health Difficulties; Addictions, Domestic Violence, self-harming, and young inexperienced parents. Over the years we have also developed significant skills in offering culturally sensitive assessments.

Residential Capacity

Each of our Centres is registered by Ofsted to be able to accommodate up to 9 families but we will always take into consideration existing numbers of parents and children when planning admissions.  As Jamma Umoja has two centres we have some flexibility in this situation.

More information can be found on our website at: www.jamma-umoja.org or phone 020 8639 4500 for referrals or to discuss a case.

Regards,

Karen Gravesande-Hill

Hugh Hill

Directors

Jamma Umoja Integrated Parenting Assessments

January 2015