Specialist Assessment and Treatment Services

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    Who we are

    We provide specialist services undertaking comprehensive assessments of children and families, many of whom are in public and private family law proceedings nationwide, and therapeutic work. Our expert witness assessments also cover viability assessments.

    The team comprises workers from a range of disciplines including Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Adult Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology, Family Therapy, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, Play Therapy and Social Work.

  • Who we help

    The service has expertise in assessing and treating the following:

    • Psychiatric, psychological and cognitive profiles of parents and children
    • Parenting capacity
    • Entrenched parental contact, residence disputes and placement needs
    • Parental mental health and its impact on parenting with a particular specialism in:
      • Personality Disorder
      • Postnatal Depression
      • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
      • Factitious/Fabricated Illness Disorder
    • Childhood adversity:
      • Child abuse and Neglect
      • Exposure to domestic violence
      • Traumatic events
    • Children's therapeutic and placement needs, including adoptive/foster placement breakdown
    • Attachment and bonding

    The team has specific experience of working with different cultural groups and interpreters, thus able to undertake culturally sensitive work with families from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds,


  • How we help

    We are dedicated to serving the most disadvantaged children in society. Our approach is based on systemic mentalization, psychodynamic principles with a strong emphasis on attachment-focused assessments to serve the best interests of the child.

    Our assessments often begin with a meeting involving the network, i.e. parents in the family and professionals, during which the assessment process is outlined and the concerns about the family are explored.

    • We help family members understand the assessment process and ensure they have the opportunity to ask questions and air their views during the process.
    • Family members are seen individually and together, both at the Centre and in the community (home, school and other relevant settings).
    • Intensity and scope of assessments depend on the specifics of each case.
    • Team members write a comprehensive report upon completion and attend court when required for cross-examination at the final hearing.

    According to our assessment of the needs of each case, team members work individually or in clusters of specialisms.

    We offer therapeutic work for children, adults, parental couples and families, as well as multi-family group work. This includes a wide range of evidence-based interventions, including MBT, CBT, Systemic Family Psychotherapy and IPT.

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    How we learn and develop

    We work closely as a multidisciplinary team and discuss and learn from all the cases that we work with. Although we have a great deal of experience in this work, there are often individual situations which need fresh thinking and ideas. This is a key aspect of our work.

    We are also committed to ensuring that we work in a systematic way using well tested methods of assessment and treatment. To help with this, we are in the process of manualizing our approach so that we can be transparent and consistent about the way we go about this work.

    We have also carried out evaluations of how the recommendations of the service are implemented, and the experience of the children and young people who have come to see us.

  • How to find out more

    To make an enquiry or referral, you will need to give us information in writing to consider the best way to assess the case, including family composition, case background, professionals' concerns, aim of assessment and information on timescales. A cost estimate will be created based on this information.

    Please click here to download our assessment enquiry form, or here to download our treatment enquiry form.

    We aim to respond to all enquiries within five working days.

    Each assessment is tailor-made and therefore the total cost depends on the requirements. An estimate can be requested once an enquiry form has been submitted. This may be revised upon receipt of a Letter of Instruction. We accept instructions from Children’s Guardians, Social Services and Solicitors.

    If you are interested in commissioning a court assessment service, if you have any further queries, or for an informal discussion, please contact us:

    Telephone: +44 (0)20 7794 2313

    Email: sats@annafreud.org 

    For Parents and Carers: Download our service leaflet here

    For Children: Download our service leaflet here

    For Professionals: Download our service leaflet here

    Please note the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families currently delivers a contract for the London Borough of Islington to undertake court assessments.