40% of the parents who have been assessed by Symbol since 1998 have been under the age of 21 and many under 18.
Concerns have existed as to these young people’s ability to learn; many have been unsuccessful within the education system leading to poor educational attainment and resulting low confidence. Many lack confidence in their ability to take part in any structured learning situation and are avoidant of such situations.
A percentage of these individuals have a diagnosed learning disability and others have borderline or low average abilities. Undertaking detailed cognitive assessments forms part of our assessment process where this has not been clarified prior to entry. As a result over the past 12 years, Symbol has developed a wealth of experience and expertise in assessing young parents who do not meet the threshold for a diagnosis of a learning disability.
The assessment of young parents, many of whom have a care background themselves presents specific challenges and the need for an intervention based assessment programme. The assessment needs to be multi faceted to gain the necessary evidence regarding both the needs of the children and the ability of their parents to meet these needs.
The assessment process requires a specific set of skills as a consequence of the immaturity of the parents and, frequently, a lack of good quality parenting models. Symbol has developed an appropriate assessment process with the need to assess the parent’s social adaptation skills and manage challenges of personality and behaviour at its core.
Young people under 18 are allocated a Case Mentor who leads a dedicated team to support the young person in their own right and in their assessment as a parent. Such assessments will be subject to weekly review and a typical programme of 1:1 support throughout the first part of their assessment. Young parents may be admitted with or without their children who may visit for their part of the assessment rather than be resident.
A formal multi agency review meeting is convened at Week 4 of the assessment.
As an Outstanding Ofsted Provider, we are registered to take teenage parents of all ages including under 16’s.