We do this by helping you to understand what children need and how you can help them to feel safe and secure. We will see where you need help and support and see if we can help you to improve your skills in caring for your child or children.
Symbol works independently but in co-operation with your child’s Social Worker, your Care Manager, your Solicitor and your child’s Guardian.
At the end of your assessment we will write a report that we will talk to you about before we send it.
We may be asked to assess you in your own home- a Community Assessment- or while you stay at our Family Centre in Kent – a Residential Assessment.
Sometimes we are asked to meet you and your child or children first to see if we are the right people to work with you and to see if we think a Community or Residential Assessment would be best for you.
All families are different so assessments can be of different lengths and involve different staff working with you.
Staying with Symbol
If we are asked to work with you on a Residential Assessment you will stay with us at Newington Manor, in Kent. It may help you to read the following information before you come.
Coming to Symbol
If possible you should bring the following with you to Symbol:
- Baby buggy (If applicable)
- Baby car seat If applicable)
- Baby’s cot sheets
- Clothes for you and your child or children
- Some small toys for children
- Bottle steriliser, Bottles, dummies, comforters etc.
- Toiletries for family
All parent’s bedding, cots and beds etc are supplied by us.
You can bring personal items with you such as a stereo, a television, DVD’s and music. These will be kept in your bedroom unless permission is given to bring them to the communal areas. In your room you will also be given a locker/safe where you can lock away items.
Where you will be staying
At Newington Manor there are two types of places:
communal areas, which are areas everyone uses and private areas which only your family will use.
Living rooms are communal areas where you can sit and relax with the other residents in the evening. In the living rooms there are sofas, chairs and a television. During the day the living room is used to play games with your children. There are many toys available to use.
Kitchens are communal areas where all residents cook their meals. When you arrive you will be given an area in one of the kitchens for your food and belongings.
Each family has their own toilet and bathroom close to their bedroom.
We have gardens you can use at any time and there are chairs and toys for you and your children.
Bedrooms are private areas. When you arrive the staff will tell you which bedroom you are in. In here you sleep, keep your possessions and generally relax on your own. No one else is allowed in your
bedroom unless you say they can come in, however if your child is thought to be at risk or in danger, a staff member will enter your room to ensure their safety.
Starting your Assessment
When you first arrive at Symbol a support worker will greet you and tell you where to put your things. At first a member of the Symbol team will be with you all the time you are with your child.
You will have one member of staff who will be your key worker. This means they will be there to help with problems such as benefit forms and any questions you may have about this.
Your key worker will also help with your targets which are set for you whilst you are with us. The targets are goals which you will work on with your Key Worker.
You will be given a baby monitor to place in the room where your child sleeps. During the day you will be expected to keep this monitor with you. When you go to bed you will be expected to give the monitor to the waking night staff while you sleep. They will listen out to see if your child wakes and help you if you need it.
- At the start of your stay with us your child or children may not sleep in the same room as you. They may sleep in the staff’s room with a member of staff. You will still care for your child when they wake during the day or night. You will be told before you arrive if this is going to happen.
- It will be your responsibility to budget your money during your time at Symbol, this means ensuring you use your money wisely and always have food and drink for yourself and your child.
- Staff will always be here to help with cooking and preparation of meals if you need it. Children need to be fed regularly at proper meal times. Meal times should be happy times for your child!
- All children learn and develop through play. It is important to have regular play sessions to help them develop.
- You need to make sure that your child gets all the sleep they need. Don’t disturb their sleep through loud music, televisions or arguments.
- You need to make sure your child is clean and happy by giving them regular baths. Bath times should be a fun time for children.
- Whilst caring for your child you may find that you need some time on your own. You must make sure that before you do your child is with a member of staff and is safe if you need ‘time out’.
- You will be expected to take part in group and individual activities with and without your child while you stay with us.
- During your stay with us you will be given a chores rota and expected to do some housework each day except one. This helps the house stay a warm, clean and safe environment for you and your children to live in.
- We provide washing machines and tumble dryers. You will be given a washing rota giving you an allocated time each day when you can use the washing machine to wash your clothes.
- You cannot smoke inside the house, but you are allowed to smoke in certain places outside.
- During your stay at Symbol, the use of alcohol or drugs will not be allowed.
The Assessment Team is made up of various experienced professionals who are skilled at working with adults who are vulnerable or have special needs and young children. During your time at Symbol they will spend time working with you on your assessment.
Family Support Workers
The Family Support Workers at Newington Manor will be supporting you during your stay. They are available to assist you in caring for your children and developing your parenting skills.
Speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, behaviour and art therapists may ask to meet with you to talk or do some activities together.