Hawthorn Residential Family Assessment

Hawthorn provides community and residential  assessments and interventions to parents with  young children. The service is targeted at those parents who face difficulties in caring for their children and where Tusla may be initiating care proceedings or where care proceeding are already under way. 

The residential centre can accommodate three  families and their children. Staffing ratios are high, and the assessment is tailor-made to meet the individual needs of each family.

The assessment is structured to allow  the families take part in planned programmes. Direct work sessions include Child Protection, Domestic Violence, Alcohol Misuse, Relationships, Anger Management, Play and Child Development and Attachment. 

An understanding of a family’s links within their own community forms a key part of our work. Therefore we work collaboratively  with  appropriate local agencies to identify and establish ongoing support links.


Aims and Objectives

  • To provide comprehensive time limited  residential assessment of a parent’s capacity to parent their child or children.
  • To ensure that the child’s needs remain central to the assessment at all times
  • To promote opportunities for young children in State care to return to live with their parents
  • To ensure all assessments have clear objectives which are understood by parents and professionals.

What assessments do we provide?

The centre provides the following assessments and interventions:

  • Residential parenting assessments
  • Community-based Parenting Assessments
  • Court directed assessments
  • Pre-birth and new parent assessments
  • Reunification with the birth parent
  • Community-Based Assessments
  • Emergency Placements

We provide a service to the following families:

  • Parents with children on child protection plans where a residential placement is necessary to protect the child or to assist the parent in how to do so.
  • Parents with children for whom Tusla are considering court proceedings.
  • Parents for whom the Courts have requested an assessment of parenting skills.
  • Parents who because of learning disability, mental health, or problems with drugs/alcohol abuse are having sufficient difficulty in caring for their child and a residential placement is necessary to assess the long-term arrangements for the child’s upbringing.
  • Women who due for discharge from maternity hospitals and where professionals have concerns for the babies welfare.

To undertake a comprehensive assessment, Hawthorn uses a variety of tools to inform the Framework of Assessment model, including:

  • Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families
  • PAMS assessment, Dr Sue McGaw
  • Graded Care Profile
  • Marte Meo
  • Direct observation
  • Home Inventory – Anthony Cox, Stephen Prizzey, Steve Walker
  • Psychological Assessments
  • The Family Assessment Framework – Arnon Bentovim and Liza Bingley Miller
  • Safeguarding Children Assessment and Analysis Framework -Stephen Prizzy et al 
  • Safe Guarding Assessment and Analysis Framework
  • Attachment –  Adult Attachment Interview, Infant CARE Index – Dr Patricia Crittenden
  • The Meaning of the Child Interview
  • Hidden Harm – Motivation to change 

This is not an exhaustive list, and we constantly upskill our staff to enhance our assessment practices to keep up to date with current research and practice.

Criteria for Admission

  • The family’s understanding and commitment to the assessment
  • Availability
  • The level of risk, including adult violence and addiction control
  • The opinion of professional reports
  • We will endeavour to hasten the process. However, good planning and preparation are key to a successful placement.

For Referrals

Please click here: Hawthorn Criteria for Referrals

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