About this course

This course presents a model of assessment of families in care proceedings that has been developed at the AFNCCF over the last 15 years+. This model, built on the work of a Multi-Disciplinary Team and informed by a mentalization-based approach, retains a focus on the needs of the child, embeds reflective practice, enhances expert evidence and offers a supportive and safe environment for this complex work. Whether you work alone or within a team, this approach promotes the engagement of the child’s whole network as a core part of the assessment.

Participants will be encouraged to explore their own practice and bring case examples. Space will be given to considering how assessments might be experienced by parents, children and professionals. Participants will be supported to engage in a reflective group process.

The framework presented will inform the writing of/negotiating of Letters of Instruction. Approaches to assessment and use of assessment tools in relation to attachment experiences will be described. There will also be a focus on presentation of written and verbal evidence in court. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on their strengths and weakness as authors of court reports with a view to identifying their key areas for development. They will also be given the opportunity to hone their skills through undertaking a series of practical exercises including court skills.

Who is this course suitable for

All those commissioning or providing expert witness assessments for the Family Court including:

  • Social Workers
  • Guardians
  • Lawyers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Family Therapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Other child mental health practitioners

The course is particularly suitable for those interested in a model of multi-disciplinary team approach to undertaking these types of assessments.

The course is relevant to people working in the UK court and legal system.

Aims of the course

Trainees will come away from the training with an understanding of:

  • A process of assessing whole families in the context of their culture and community developed at the AFNCCF
  • A model of relational assessments using a mentalizing stance with the child(ren) at its core
  • A model of the assessment of parental functioning alongside and distinct from adult mental health disorders
  • The impact on children and parents of developmental/complex trauma
  • The impact on systems and clinicians of engaging with traumatised families
  • The benefits of a team setting and/or peer consultation in ensuring the quality of assessment and recommendations
  • The key considerations when presenting written and oral evidence to the Family Court

15% discount available for three or more participants booking together, please contact

Discounted places

15% discount available for three or more participants booking together, please contact

System requirements for live online training

The online platform Zoom will be used to deliver this training. Prior to booking on, please ensure you meet the system requirements so you're able to join this training. 

Before the training, please test your equipment is working by going to and follow the instructions.

27th November 2023 - 29th November 2023
  • Online – live via Zoom (Joining instructions will be sent to the email address you booked on with at least one working day before the event)
  • 27th, 28th and 29th November
  • 3 half days
  • 09:00-13:30 (UK time)



The Anna Freud Centre brings together those with a stake in the mental health of children and young people. Please subscribe to our mailing list to receive a bi-monthly e-newsletter and occasional updates about the Centre's training and events. 

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