KIPS Blog: Parenting Assessment in Practice & Research

My CPS Caseworker Went from Threat to Mentor via Parenting Assessment

Posted by Marilee Comfort on Mon, Apr 21, 2014 @ 09:03 PM

Lisa's husband had just left her and their three children when she first answered the door to meet Beth.  The apartment was upside down, the kids had just eaten and were a mess, and the baby was fighting a nap in the loudest way possible.  A "concerned party" had placed a call to social services because they were worried about the kids, and Lisa's ability to care for them without a job.  She was terrified, and sure that this visit would end in the loss of her children.  

A Guest Blog

The Tale of One Woman's Experience with KIPS

Editor's Note:  The names have been changed, and the details slightly altered for privacy.

The women talked while Lisa tried to soothe her baby son.  When Beth left she told Lisa that she would be back in three days to do both child and parenting assessments.  Relieved, but still scared, Lisa shut the door and started cleaning everything.  When Beth returned, she could have eaten off of any surface in the apartment.

To Lisa's surprise, the assessment was easy and fun, and went beyond housecleaning.  All she
had to do was play with the kids while Beth observed.  At first it was awkward, trying to make sure she did everything right. But she quickly managed to forget she was being watched, and just be with the kids. When they were done with the assessments, Lisa and Beth went over the results together.

Overall, Lisa was doing things right, but there was some room for concern.  Lisa's two-year-old daughter had a noticeable speech delay, her four-year-old daughter seemed to be right on schedule developmentally, and the baby needed to be on a better sleep schedule.  As for Lisa, while loving and very involved with her children, she was leading the playtime more than necessary and would become frustrated if things weren't going smoothly.  There was nothing though to indicate that Lisa was a "bad" mother, but rather that she needed some help.

Beth worked closely with Lisa in the following three months to help her notice and follow each child’s interests. She took more time to talk and explore during their daily activities.  Whenever possible, she tried to give them choices so they would learn to think on their own.  Lisa's daughter was referred to a speech therapist and they worked together on a schedule that would work for the whole household.  Beth also suggested resources for job training and childcare, and was able to provide Lisa with a progress report to give to her divorce lawyer.

Beth worked closely with Lisa in the following three months to help her notice and follow each child’s interests. She took more time to talk and explore during their daily activities.  Whenever possible, she tried to give them choices so they learned to think on their own.  Lisa's daughter was referred to a speech therapist and they worked together on a schedule that would work for the whole household.  Beth also suggested resources for job training and childcare, and was able to provide Lisa with a progress report to give to her divorce lawyer.

On her final visit Beth wished Lisa well and made sure she knew to call her if she needed any help.  Feeling much more confident, Lisa thanked her and promised that she would, but assured her that she thought they would be OK.  That was four years ago.

Today Lisa is happily divorced and in college earning a degree in early childhood development.  Her dream is to be a social worker, and she has a standing Thursday lunch date with her mentor, Beth.  They discuss the latest studies, Lisa's classes, and make plans together for her post-graduation internship at Beth's agency.

When she first met Beth, Lisa was sure that her world was about to fall out from under her.  But thanks to her experience with Beth and KIPS, she now fully understands the need for assessments and follow-up services.  Today Lisa realizes that the "concerned party" who first sent Beth to her home actually rescued her family.

 


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Tags: parent improvement, Parenting Assessment, court involved, divorce, child abuse/neglect prevention