Psychological Assessments


The Revised Public Law Outline stipulates that Care proceedings will be completed within 26 weeks, with any expert assessment being required to keep to timetable and address only the key issues identified by the case managing Judge.  Expert Psychological Solutions has the specialist expertise to ensure a faster assessment process which is focused on key issues and provides a succinct analytic report for the Court.  :


Mental Health Assessments:  EPS undertakes Psychological, Risk and Parenting Assessments of parents with any of presenting problems listed below including the most complex cases with multiple presenting problems.  Lisa Wolfe (Clinical Director) has undertaken 85 specialist assessments of parents with complex mental health needs such as bi-polar disorder, psychotic symptoms, personality disorders, severe depression, self-harm and suicidal ideation, and all medico-legal assessments undertaken by Lisa Wolfe would include screening and psychological formulation of parental needs.

  • actual or suspected mental health diagnosis or personality disorder
  • Historical or current record of criminal offending (including assessment of parents in prison)
  • Historical and current substance misuse
  • Suspected or actual history of emotional, physical, sexual abuse or neglect of children (including Non Accidental Injury and Serious Injury with Discrepant Information (SIDE)

Risk Assessment:  EPS Director Lisa Wolfe has worked in NHS forensic mental health settings as well as undertaking 145 Risk Assessments in Public and Private Family Law of parents with the following difficulties. Because Lisa Wolfe has considerable clinical experience in assessing parents, children and families, every risk assessment will provide the Court with an evidenced based analysis of the impact of the parent’s behaviour on the child with reference to their child’s behaviour, emotional and developmental presentation including an analysis of previous harm to the child and risk of future harm. Click here for CV of Clinical Director Lisa Wolfe.  EPS undertakes risk assessments of parents with the following difficulties (including highly complex cases with multiple presenting problems):

  • Parents suspected or convicted of Non-accidental injury to a child (including death of a previous child)  physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect. Appeal Court Judgement Re: S (A Child) 2014 emphasises that it is essential for Local Authorities to provide a thorough analysis of the ‘background, context and circumstances relevant to (establishing) the credibility and reliability of (parents)’.  Expert risk analysis can, for example, identify likelihood of parents being dishonest in their explanations of cause of injury or abuse for psychological reasons such as desire to ‘please’, fear of authority, mental health conditions or learning disability.
  •  Parents who are convicted or suspected perpetrators of domestic violence (both fathers and mothers)
  •  Parents with criminal records including violent offences, offences against children, offences linked to serious mental illness or personality disorder, offences related to substance misuse, including assessments of parents in Prison.

Parents with Learning Disabilities:  Cognitive Assessments, Capacity Assessments, Mental Health, Risk and Parenting Assessments (including PAMS).

EPS director Lisa Wolfe has extensive clinical experience of working therapeutically with adults and children with learning disabilities and complex developmental disorders such as Autistic Spectrum disorder, ADHD, Dyspraxia, speech and language disorders, as well as in providing 46 expert witness assessments of parents and children with Learning disabilities in Public and Private Family Law

Click here for Lisa Wolfe CV


EPS Director Lisa Wolfe has held highly specialised NHS positions assessing and treating children with learning disabilities and developmental disorders, children and adolescents with complex mental health needs and Young Offenders, including assessing and treating young people in custody, secure care settings and undertaking Psychological assessments of complex adolescents in Youth Justice.  Lisa Wolfe has undertaken 167 psychological assessments of children and whole families in Public and Private Family Law  and Youth Justice since 1997 specialising in highly complex, multi problem cases. EPS undertakes the following Psychological assessments of children or whole families in Public and Private Family Law:

  • Holistic Psychological assessments of children aged 0-18 in Care Proceedings/Private Law with emotional and behavioural disturbance, attachment difficulties, possible developmental disorders (Autistic spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Dyspraxia), self-harm and ‘risky’ behaviours including evidence based analysis of likelihood that the child’s problems are caused by parental abuse or neglect and best practice guidance on diagnosis and treatment of any identified developmental, educational, behavioural or attachment disorders.
  • Brief Psychotherapeutic assessment of the child’s therapeutic treatment needs, specific details of local availability of suitable therapy via NHS, Local Authority, Third sector and Private providers.  Psychological advice on impact of all the child’s presenting difficulties on their future placement needs, including analysis of specific parenting skills required by birth parents, foster carers or adopters to meet the child’s long term needs
  • Attachment assessments including parent child attachment, sibling attachments, analysis of whole family dynamics and pros and cons balance sheet analysis of potential impact of family attachments on long-term placement and contact needs of the child.
  • Specialist Adolescent Mental Health Assessments of young parents who may have had a Care history, complex psychological difficulties and been hard to engage prior to having their own child.  Lisa Wolfe has undertaken 28 such specialised assessments of young parents in residential, community and parent and baby settings.


The Family Justice Review (2011), Revised Public Law Outline (2013) and Supreme Court and Appeal Court Hearings (Re: B, Re; B-S) have placed increasing pressure on Local Authorities to ensure that they have fully assessed and attempted to meet all of the support needs of the family at Pre-Proceedings stage or even earlier, meaning that if the Local Authority applies to permanently separate the child from their family, they must have clear evidence that ‘nothing else will do’ (Baroness Hale; Re: B) and the Local Authority must conduct the required ‘balance sheet analysis’ set out in Re: B-S, to analyse the relative risk and benefit of every placement option (from staying with birth parents to adoption).  Failure to adhere to these guidelines risks delay, expensive Appeal Court challenges and even Breach of Human Rights actions (Re: CA).

EPS has the family law and Child Protection expertise to provide cost effective ‘B-S Compliant’ balance sheet analyses of:

  • Child or sibling group assessment (direct or paper exercise) providing balance sheet analysis of relative risks and benefits of each placement for the child/sibling group. Particularly suitable for children with complex needs such as developmental disorders (autistic spectrum disorder, ADHD, dyspraxia, language disorders), emotional and behavioural difficulties, self-harm, learning disabilities, attachment disorders, complex family and sibling dynamics where the child’s placement and support needs will be specifically affected by their condition or diagnosis.
  • Re: B-S paper exercise analysis of evidenced based support services recommended for diagnosed family needs and individualised service plan mapping availability of each service in family locality, including waiting list and treatment timescales to inform Court if services could be supplied within child’s timescale.  Required to demonstrate that every feasible support option has been considered prior to making a Care and Placement order Application (without parental consent)
  • Assessment of Family attachment patterns (parent-child and sibling)
  • Assessment of child’s wishes and feelings in respect of contact and balance sheet analysis of relative benefits vs risk of harm of Local Authority contact proposals in short and long term



EPS guarantees 1


*EPS Guarantee – Mental Health Assessments*

All psychological, risk and parenting assessments undertaken by EPS will adhere to Best Practice in Forensic Mental Health Guidelines (Budd et al, 2011) for undertaking assessments in a Child protection context.

Each area of assessment (such as mental health, substance misuse) will include an evidence based analysis of the impact of the assessed need on parenting capacity.

All Psychological assessments will include an evidenced based brief psychotherapeutic  assessment of parental capacity to change and capacity to engage with any form of therapy within the child’s timescales.

 Identified therapeutic and support needs will be clearly set out and accompanied by a B-S compliant analysis of suitable, local NHS, Local Authority, Private and Third Sector treatment provision, including referral criteria, waiting list and treatment times/costs.

*EPS Guarantee – Risk Assessment*

All Risk assessments will be holistic, adhering to Best Practice in Forensic Mental Health Assessment Guidelines (Budd et al, 2011)

All domestic violence risk assessments will include a Psychological assessment of relationship dynamics, parental capacity to separate from a violent partner, risk of domestic violence occurring in future relationship and analysis of specific impact of volatile parental relationships on all areas of the child’s behaviour, development, emotional and attachment.

All Risk assessments include an evidenced based brief therapeutic assessment of capacity to change, ability to use therapy in child’s timescale and any psychological therapy recommendations made will automatically include and analysis of availability of suitable local NHS, Local Authority, Third Sector and Private providers, together with referral criteria, waiting list and treatment times


*EPS Guarantee – Parents with learning disabilities*

EPS guarantees that all assessments of parents with learning disabilities will be holistic and include a full mental health and risk assessment based on British Psychological Society Good Practice Guidelines and evidence based risk assessment framework suitable for clients with Learning Disabilities

In assessments of parents with Learning Disabilities or developmental disorders, EPS will always provide evidenced based recommendations on how support services should present information to parents to increase parents’ comprehension and engagement