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Assessment & Intake A Lifeline for Struggling Parents

Posted by Kerrie Gottliebsen | 17/11/16

Tweddle’s Assessment & Intake team are the lifeline for up to 100 mums and dads every week. These parents have often waited months or more to turn to someone for help. After securing a referral, parents speak with Tweddle’s Assessment and Intake Coordinator. It is here where Tweddle explore the risks, complexity and adversity of a family’s situation.

A parent’s sensitivities to their child’s needs and feelings during times of stress, exhaustion, anxiety or depression can be compromised. Here we talk to the friendly Scot and frontline support facilitator for Assessment and Intake Paula Poots about what it is like helping struggling mums and dads through difficult times.

  • How many people work as part of the Tweddle Intake and Assessment team?

There are three other members of the Assessment and Intake team. Myself, a Registered Nurse with additional qualifications in children, families and community nursing  and two Early Childhood professionals.

  • How long does a telephone assessment usually take?

This will vary depending on the issues parents are facing and the level of vulnerability within the family. The average assessment takes 30 minutes for the call but some will take over an hour. This doesn’t include the note writing that occurs after the call has ended.

  • What are the waiting lists like for a program?

Waiting times vary depending on the complexity of the family’s needs and the location of the program. We also run standby lists for clients who can attend a program at short notice if a family needed to cancel.

  • What sort of issues are parents usually dealing with when they phone Tweddle?

We experience clients who are dealing with numerous issues. Many of our clients are facing family violence, mental health issues, single parents with no support networks, disability, underdeveloped parenting skills, substance misuse, abuse and neglect.

  • How has the assessment and intake process changed over the years?

Previously, parents could self refer to Tweddle, be asked a few questions & booked into a programme. As Tweddle has evolved over the years becoming an Early Parenting Centre as opposed to a sleep school; changes to funding and the increased vulnerability of clients; the assessment & intake process has had to change dramatically to reflect this. Clients are referred by a health professional & their referral is triaged based on the information contained within that referral. Where the referral is triaged as low risk, the client is contacted by myself to complete a short assessment to determine if they meet the criteria for a funded programme. If they do not, then they are offered a fee for service programme from Tweddle.

Clients whose referrals triaged as medium – high are contacted & booked for a comprehensive A&I assessment. This assessment explores various areas in order to obtain a full understanding of the issues & challenges these clients are facing.

  • How do you determine who gets a residential or day stay parenting program?

This all depends on the information obtained during the assessment. The questions the clients are asked do have a scoring system and this is used along with the intake worker’s professional judgement.

Typically, the higher the vulnerability of the family, the more intensive the programme. However, a wide range of factors are taken into consideration such as locality, travel issues, older children, disability, support networks. 


If you or someone you know would like to talk about challenges parenting your baby, toddler or pre-school child, call Tweddle during business hours on (03) 9689 1577. 


Tweddle Assessment and Intake

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