In Ballyowen Meadows, our focus is to keep families together when it is safe and in the best interest of the child to do so.

We understand that an assessment centre is a new and daunting environment but the professional and friendly team are here to support you every step of the way. This section of the site is here to help you learn more about our centre and the service we offer. 

  • Assess parents in a supportive environment that puts the child’s safety first
  • Offer parents advice and support to help develop their parenting skills
  • Help parents to understand and meet the needs of their child
  • Offer information to parents about child development and make sure all children are kept safe

An assessment is a way of learning about your parenting skills and ability to safely care for your child. The information collected during the assessment will be used to make recommendations about your child’s future.

Team members work 24hr shifts in Ballyowen Meadows. They will live in the unit with you during their shift and monitor your parenting of your children. During the first three weeks, team members will carry out planned observations of key parenting tasks. Team members will document all their observations. They will also carry out some direct work with you.

We have worked with lots of families; all with different needs and from various backgrounds. Families complete assessments for many reasons. Social Workers can refer a family for an assessment because

  • they are unsure of a parent’s capacity, this may be because parents have an addiction issue, have learning difficulties, have experienced domestic violence, have mental health concerns.
  • They have serious concerns but limited evidence to reach a definite decision about the longterm future of the child(ren).
  • They believe there is significant concerns for the child but also there is potential for change and for the family to remain together.
  • Parents want the opportunity to reunite with their children following voluntary or Interim care orders.

Below is a detailed guide that tell you everything you need to know about living in Ballyowen Meadows.

Every family is different so everyone’s day is different.

A typical day will focus around the routine of your child and family life. You will be expected to care for your children to the best of your ability, to provide meals and a clear routine for them. You will need to bring your child to school or appointments and attend your own personal appointments.

You will also be asked to do some direct work with team members from time to time.

Ballyowen Meadows is more than just about assessing your parenting skills. We want to help you to be the best parent and role model you can be for your child. We encourage and support you to do this through Educational pieces, Practical Skill Sessions, and Theraplay.

The second phase of the assessment (Weeks 4-9) will be a period of support and intervention from the team. The team will do one-to-one sessions with you around particular areas which you are finding difficult. This may include setting a bedtime routine for your child, learning to cook healthy meals, organising your day better or behaviour management plans.

We carry out information interventions on:

  • Attachment
  • Positive Parenting
  • Child Development
  • Stress Management
  • Impact of Harm

We also support the building of relationships between parent and child through Theraplay activities. Theraplay is a child and family therapy for enhancing and building attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between a parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun.

Families who have actually lived in Ballyowen Meadows and gone through the assessment process have contributed to the content of this guide and helped in coming up with a list of frequently asked questions. These are questions that they had themselves before moving into Ballyowen Meadows.

Q. What do I have to bring with me?

A: The house will be ready for you to move into, all furniture, television equipment and a television is supplied. You will have to bring your own clothes and any other toys or equipment you may need for your children.

Q. Who works at Ballyowen Meadows?

A: Ballyowen Meadows employs different people from Social Care Workers, a housekeeper and maintenance man. Each team member has the relevant qualifications and experience for their role.

Q. Will I have to share the house with other residents?

A: You do not have to share the house with another family. Two Social Care Workers will be present each day in the house who will sleep in their allocated rooms each night. There may also be a team member awake at night time.

Q. Can I smoke in Ballyowen Meadows?

A: We have an outside smoking area for residents to use during their stay in Ballyowen Meadows. For health and safety reasons, no smoking is allowed inside the house or any other areas of the building. During the night, the house’s security system is in use so unfortunately there is no smoking after 11.00pm.

Q. Can I visit Ballyowen Meadows before I move in?

A: Of course. We encourage families to visit Ballyowen Meadows before moving in. We can arrange this through your Social Worker.

Q. How long will I need to stay in Ballyowen Meadows.

A: Our assessment process is usually 12 weeks. However, each family’s circumstances are different and the timeframe for the assessment can vary depending on individual family’s needs.

Q. Are you on camera/being filmed whilst living in Ballyowen Meadows?

A: Ballyowen Meadows has CCTV outside the house such as in the gardens, car park and smoking area. There are no cameras inside the house.

Q. What is near Ballyowen Meadows?

A: Ballyowen Meadows is set in Dublin 22 and is approximately 13km from Dublin city centre. There are a number of local amenities nearby such as Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, supermarkets, local parks, play centres, swimming pools and GP offices. There are train and bus services nearby also.  The 40 bus stops just outside Ballyowen Meadows.

Q. Can my friends/family visit me at Ballyowen Meadows?

A. We encourage friends and family to visit you in a planned way during your stay in Ballyowen Meadows. All visits must be approved by your social worker before your friends and family visit.