Section 47 Child and Family Services

Parenting Capacity Assessments (Section 47)

Dr. Keogh offers services to vulnerable individuals and families involved in family law proceedings. Parenting capacity assessments involve a process of assessing parents strengths and weaknesses in parenting their children. Parents may find these assessments intrusive therefore Dr. Keogh at all times seeks to work alongside families in a considerate and understanding manner. The assessment of parenting capacity is a core task in child protection practice. The assessment is important for two reasons; to assess the parent’s capacity to protect the child from risk and enhance developmental processes, and secondly; to decide whether to remove and/or restore a child to the care of his/her parent/s. The objective therefore is to establish as accurately as possible whether or not parents are adequately equipped to provide the appropriate emotional and physical care to their children.

The quality of a parenting capacity report is very important. In order to be accurate a parenting capacity assessment must include recognition of known risk factors and  the consideration of historical information. There are a number of approaches to parenting capacity which identify family strengths and needs, certain factors are related to family risk of reduced parenting capacity and to help inform the clinical judgement of practitioners performing parenting capacity assessments for forensic purposes.

Parenting Capacity Assessments therefore can;

– describe a parent’s strengths and weakness and attitude to their role as a parent.

– explain possible reasons for  problematic behaviour, and the potential for change.

– identify the parenting and environmental factors that are likely to positively or negatively influence parenting.

– describe children’s functioning, needs and risks in relation to the parent’s skills and deficits

– provide directions for intervention.

How is a parenting capacity assessment carried out?

The process involves;

– Clinical Interview of parents, children ( when appropriate) and significant others involved in/with the family ()for the purpose of gathering collateral information)

– Psychometric assessment of social, emotional and psychological functioning

– Cognitive assessment

– Structured child and parent observation

– Structured risk assessment.

– Feedback to parent/parents and professionals.

– Report and recommendations

What are the costs?

In relation to fees, an estimate may be sought once a referral has been submitted. Referrals are typically made by TUSLA, Parent’s Solicitors and Guardians.


Individual Therapy

Therapy is a general term referring to therapeutic interaction or treatment contracted between a trained professional and a client, patient, family, couple, or group. The problems addressed are psychological in nature and can vary in terms of their causes, influences, triggers, and potential resolutions. Accurate assessment of these and other variables depends on the practitioner’s capability and can change or evolve as the practitioner acquires experience, knowledge, and insight.
Our psychotherapists and psychologists are trained in a variety of therapeutic approaches, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psycho-dynamic, Existential and Humanistic, EMDR and Schema therapy.

Therapeutic sessions usually last for 50 minutes and are reviewed every six weeks. The therapist and client work collaboratively to meet the individual therapeutic needs of the client.

Carer/Child therapy

Dr. Keogh also offers therapies specifically created to work on the child/caregiver relationship. Given that children usually enjoy play and imaginative activities, there therapies are created to enhance the inner world of the child as well as being psycho-educative for the parent.  The goal is always to build on the parent/child attachment relationship. Sessions last anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the needs of the parent/child on the day. Usually the therapy is chosen after an initial assessment to determine the strengths and weaknesses in the child/parent relationship.

Family Therapy 

Dr. Keogh and associates offer family therapy in all our offices.