Multi-Disciplinary Family Assessment (MFA)

Time Limited. Cost Effective. Evidence-Based.

A multi-disciplinary family assessment completed in the home within short timescales.

What are the benefits of using MFA?

  • Allows the family to remain safely in their own home during the whole assessment process thus allowing them to remain linked to their community
  • Improved quality of evidence as a result of observing parenting in the families’ own environment
  • Saves the local authority money – typical savings compared with residential assessments: £22,000 per assessment*
  • Time-limited – completed within 8 weeks. Assessment is coupled with focused intervention – parents learn whilst being assessed
  • Co-ordinated, integrated approach, the whole process is managed by a Consultant Social Worker
  • Bespoke to the family’s needs
  • Reduces delay and uncertainty for families whilst remaining within the court timetable
  • Genuinely multi-disciplinary – social work, psychology, psychiatry and therapy backed up by family support workers
  • Evidence-based report which provides clear recommendations for future planning

*Based on data regarding 45 residential assessments in the south of England and compared to the average cost of a WillisPalmer MFA.

How does it work?

This model combines the skills of a broad range of professionals to offer a bespoke assessment; examining complex interpersonal relationships between family members.

The assessment will be social worker led but will incorporate a combination of clinical, educational psychologists; child and adolescent psychotherapists, mental health practitioners and family support workers where necessary. The entire assessment, including the report, will take place over an eight-week period, with high levels of intervention where the family will be observed within everyday routines and interactions.

Why this approach?

The intensive nature of this assessment means that it can be undertaken in a
relatively short timescale thereby reducing delay and uncertainty for families. It can
be undertaken within the family home where children and carers/parents can
be observed in their natural surroundings and does not involve them moving from
their communities and potentially having to give up their accommodation to move to a more-costly residential unit.

Depending on the level of risk twenty-four-hour monitoring can be put in place through the use of our trained family support workers.

The model, because of its flexibility, can be used in multiple ways and is bespoke to the family. It is evidence-based, involving assessment and intervention drawn appropriately from multiple disciplines to develop a clear understanding of the issues and potential solutions.

I hereby confirm that the service provided by WillisPalmer has been nothing less than excellent. Communication has been prompt and efficient, with phone calls when necessary. We as an organisation would most certainly continue to use the services provided by WillisPalmer when needed.

Team Manager

The Process

Prior to the commencement of the work, we will have a referral meeting with all
professionals involved with the family to ensure that we understand what is required
and to plan the format of the assessment. This will be followed by a meeting with the
family to discuss their perception of what the concerns are and the programme of intervention.

The assessment will be completed over an eight-week period and the core team will meet fortnightly to discuss progress. During the assessment period, the family will be given parenting advice and coaching to help them to develop alternative strategies.

Their ability to implement these and sustain changes will inform the assessment process. The team will observe the families’ everyday routine and interactions.

Supported Parenting Assessments

We are well placed to provide Supported Parenting Assessments (SPAs) through the use of both our highly experienced independent social workers and family support workers. Our team of trained support workers will support, observe and liaise with the child(ren) and families to aid the assessment process. They work closely with our independent social work contractors to provide an enriched observation-based report.



Want to get in touch?

If you would like to book a meeting to discuss your requirements – call us on 01206 878178 or alternatively email: to organise a meeting.