A SUBURBAN house could become a home to assess the parenting skills of troubled single mothers.

Gryffin House Limited want to take over the property on Moorcroft in Lower Darwen.

The firm has submitted a planning application to use in the house up to five families at a time for 12 weeks to perform 'Residential Parenting Assessments'.

It has assured Blackburn with Darwen Council there will be no drugs or alcohol allowed on the premises.

Blackburn South and Lower Darwen ward's Cllr John Slater, leader of the borough's Conservative group, said: "It is in totally the wrong place.

"It's not suitable. The residents don't want it. The borough does not need it."

A supporting statement submitted with the application says: "This type of provision is much needed on a national footprint but especially in the East Lancashire area.

"Residential Parenting Assessments are intended to provide robust, fair and evidence-based assessments of parenting skills and capability.

"Gryffin House Limited proposes to house up to five families at any one time for a period of support whilst conducting Residential Parenting Assessments, 24/7 for an approximate 12 week duration.

"One family usually consists of one mother and one child (new born). In exceptional circumstances and on an infrequent basis, there may be a requirement for two parents and one child.

"When operating at full capacity, the typical numbers of residents will be 10 people.

"Referrals are made where concerns have been raised about a child's welfare or a parent's capacity to provide safe and appropriate care.

"Gryffin House Limited will conduct assessments to provide clear analysis of:

  • the parent’s ability to meet both the physical and emotional needs of their child;
  • the likely ability of the parent’s to protect their child from harm; and
  • the parent’s capacity for durable and sustained change.

"Families will be referred to the service via local authorities and/or through Family Court directions.

"Only parents who have a reasonable likelihood of achieving a positive parenting assessment and making good use of the support on offer will be accepted.

"There are high expectations of parents in terms of behaviour.

"The families are aware that they are under a robust parenting assessment process and will recognise the implications of a negative assessment, which could result in their child being removed from their care.

"No families are accepted who have current drug and/or alcohol dependence. Drugs and alcohol are not permitted on to the premises..

"Staff will be recruited from the local area. The service will be staffed 24/7."