Age Assessment Rationale
Rationale of Age Assessment Reports:-
My clinical opinion on the age assessment of children and young people has been valued in court judgements and I have until now supported my medical evaluation and clinical judgement with statistical data and population norms.
The statistical aspects of this approach have not however been approved by the higher courts (see R(R) v Croydon (2011) EWHC 1473 (Admin). I therefore do not currently use a statistical method in preparing age assessment reports.
My clinical judgement has not been questioned. I have over 40 years of experience as a paediatrician and am a specialist in Adolescent Medicine. I am also a medical psychotherapist and trained in the psychological and emotional assessment of young people.
My knowledge of child and adolescent development together with my experience in dealing with children from diverse ethnic backgrounds allow me to evaluate the individual’s maturity and development. I am thus able to apply clinical judgement to the individual’s developmental progress and come to an opinion as to their likely age.
In view of the difficulty in establishing exact age levels for young people whose development is subject to a great deal of personal variation, I covered a wide spectrum of issues in order to give a balanced view of the developmental issues. This is in line with the current guidelines of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health which state that:- “... The most appropriate approach is to use a holistic evaluation, incorporating narrative accounts, physical assessment of puberty and growth, and cognitive, behavioural and emotional assessments." .
Several papers covering different aspects of my age assessments are being considered for publication and further research is being conducted in that area.
The assessment is an independent examination and assessment of the individual and reaches professional conclusions which are not influenced by the individual’s own stated age.
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