iST Assessment

We undertake in-depth assessment of the emotional, psychological and educational needs of all the children who come to us for help, at each stage of their journey through their placement. We also provide specialist assessments for courts and other agencies. And we consult to and facilitate external professionals and organisations in thinking about the needs of traumatised children.

Scope of assessment

iST assessment includes analysis of:

  • the internal world of the child 
  • the external environment within which the child lives 
  • the impact of past experience on developmental stages 
  • the child’s present functioning 
  • together with planning for the future.

iST assessment of a child’s functioning involves an evaluation of:

  • Physical health
  • Emotional and mental health
  • Sexual and psychosexual development
  • Psychosocial development
  • Educational development and achievement.

iST assessment is multi-disciplinary, incorporating input from psychotherapy, psychiatry, social work and education, and includes a range of resources for understanding the child:

Child Observation

The most significant source for assessment for children referred to our residential centres and Placement and Family Support service are the feelings and associated insights of our therapeutic staff, whose professional specialism is attunement to the emotional and psychological needs of traumatised children (see Integrated Systemic Therapy for further details). Using techniques developed from infant observation, staff are trained to observe children intensively, especially in their relations to others. Staff receive consultation from child psychotherapists in using their own emotional responses as data to help assess the emotional state of the child.

Engagement with the Child

Staff engage intensively with the child. The child in relationship with another is the most valuable source of assessment. This engagement will be carefully managed to fit with the child’s mode of communication and will incorporate symbolic communication and dialogue as an important source of information. We consider carefully the stage at which the child or young person is engaged in the process of consciously exploring their own perception of their needs, and how we can help them to feel safely understood and supported by the whole network of systems and relationships.

Family Consultation

An assessment of current family functioning is developed through a series of direct meetings, where possible. We explore the relationships within the family; relationship to external authorities; needs and expectations.

Review of Reports

A detailed review of all existing information about a child is undertaken. This includes an analysis of social history and chronology; psychiatric, psychological and education reports; previous placement history (including an assessment of their success and/or failure); current statement of needs; Children’s Services Care Plan, etc.

Professional Consultation

Past and present involvement of professionals is examined. Interviews are held with the existing network in the areas of social care, health and education, with a view to developing collaborative understanding; identifying expectations, obstacles and support needs.

Aims of assessment

The aim of iST assessment is the development of co-ordinated strategies to measure, plan, deliver, review and continually improve each child’s treatment and progress towards recovery. The in-depth and holistic process of iST assessment is used to:

  • identify better the needs of children and their families/carers/networks
  • support referrers with placement planning and placement stability
  • tailor programmes of treatment for children, and support for their families/carers/networks.

Further details

For further details of our iST assessment services please contact our Clinical Assessment Manager on or 020 7928 7388 for further details.


In addition to providing residential treatment centres plus specialist Placement and Family Support and iST Fostering services, we also consult to and facilitate external professionals and organisations in:

  • therapeutic child care and treatment
  • the management and organisation of child care and treatment
  • staff and carer support.