Our initial assessment

The LAAC service provide their assessments in two separate sessions: part 1 and part 2.

Part 1

The first session is an information-gathering appointment and includes the referrer and other professionals in the child/young person’s life. This is an important part of the initial process as it allows the service to gather information on the child/young person’s presenting difficulties and early life experiences without the young person being present.

Part 2

The second part to the initial assessment session is when we meet with the child/young person for the first time often along with their foster carer, adoptive parents, residential worker or sometimes their social worker.

Frequently asked questions

Can the young person decide who to invite?

If there is somebody that would be helpful for the child or young person to feel comfortable, this can certainly be looked into. Speaking with somebody from our team before the assessment to share your thoughts on this would be a good idea.

What happens if there is a disagreement with this? How can the young person communicate this?

If the young person is not comfortable with what has been set up, they could contact a member of our team to share this before the assessment takes place. Please call Bucks CAMHS on 01865 901 770 and ask to be put through to the LAAC duty worker in our team.

What information do you gather during an assessment so there is some understanding of what we may ask you and why/how does this help?

We start the session all together but space is offered to the young person to meet with a clinician on their own so they can either talk freely about their worries, or depending on the age of the child, will use the opportunity to play with toys/arts and crafts materials.

In the session we will try to get to know the young person and ask about some of the current difficulties that are being experienced. We will probably ask about the current mental health concerns that there are as well as finding out if there are any things that may mean that the young person is at risk of harm. We will also ask you about what your goals are and how we might be able to achieve them together.

Further assessment sessions might be set up. The information is then used by our team to find the best way to support the child/young person and the important people around the child/young person.

We will then share what the plan forward might be if possible or communicate this through sharing the care plan (the support offered) for the young person and the important people around them.

Assessment letters: who gets them and when?

Usually the referrer receives the letter, along with the social worker and the GP. Letters can also be written to the young person. We will discuss the process of sending an assessment letter with you at the end of the assessment as well as time frames for this.

Can the person who does the assessment phone me before and introduce themselves and talk about the assessment process?

Of course. This is certainly something that we can endeavour to try to arrange beforehand to support you in this process. You might also find it helpful to look at the photo of the clinician on our website and read a bit about them.

Do we have a choice of locations?

Locations are usually offered depending on the location of the young person and their carer/adoptive parent. If this isn’t convenient or accessible for you, then please call us to discuss this.

Do we have a choice of dates and times?

While we try to be flexible with dates and times wherever possible, we have assessment clinics that are on a Tuesday afternoon and a Friday morning.

Will I be asked to fill in any questionnaires?

Yes. We tend to use the following questionnaires but there may be others that will be supplied by our team if required. It is really important that these are all completed, as having information from these questionnaires helps us to better understand the young person and their concerns.

  • The strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) is a brief psychological assessment tool which measures emotional and behavioral symptoms for young people aged between 4-17 years old. This is completed by the carer/parent and the young person.
  • The Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) are used as a self-report questionnaire or a carer/parent questionnaire with subscales to assess or track symptoms of separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and low mood. It also gathers information for a Total Anxiety Scale and Total Internalizing Scale.
  • The CRIES-8 is often used (The Children’s Impact of Events Scale) to monitors how a traumatic event might be being re-experienced. This is in terms of which feelings might result from this re-experiencing, namely intrusive thoughts, and avoidance behaviours.
  • Goal Based Outcome Measures (GBO) are used regularly to help identify what your initial goals are and to keep rating these to make sure that we are best meeting your needs.
How do you use our personal information/ who reads it/ where is it stored/ confidentiality?

All the information is uploaded to an electronic patient record system called Carenotes where the information is stored. This information is used by our service to inform our clinical assessments and interventions. Other employees within the Trust could access information in the case file but everyone with access has signed a confidentiality agreement and reasons for the access of the cases are recorded. Our clinicians will always discuss this more with you in your first session to make sure that you are happy with this agreement.

Would you ever share our information without our consent?

Yes, if we feel there is a risk to you or to someone else. We always aim to discuss this with you first so that you are clear about what will happen.  

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Page last reviewed: 10 September, 2021