In the Child Protection context, assessment is a very delicate phase that often indelibly marks the whole process of helping. In the Italian context, it is very important to deepen this topic: first because it is rarely studied and second because parental skills assessment is carried out by social workers almost exclusively after a request of the Local Authority. This qualitative research aimed to investigate the experiences and the feelings of 16 people assessed about parental skills; furthermore, the study aimed to focus on the quality of their relationship with social workers. The findings have largely confirmed the evidence of international literature: most of the respondents described a difficult path, characterized by strict procedures, poor listening and lack of participation. Some interviewees even think that professionals act to promote private interests, including economic ones. Parents' reflections revealed also positive experiences; respondents underlined the value of a participatory approach, characterized by transparency, constant dialogue and partnership among service users and professionals involved.
- assessment, child protection, parental skills, parents' involvement, participatory approach, user's perceptions