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NCJ Number: 206569 Find in a Library
Title: Evaluating the Probative Value of Child Custody Evaluations: A Guide for Forensic Mental Health Professionals
Journal: Journal of Child Custody  Volume:1  Issue:1  Dated:2004  Pages:77-96
Author(s): Jonathan W. Gould
Editor(s): Leslie M. Drozd Ph.D.
Date Published: 2004
Page Count: 20
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report reviews the reliability and relevance of a child custody advisory report in assisting forensic mental health professionals in producing a work product of greater weight and sufficiency to the court and a work product which is useful to the families it seeks to help.
Abstract: Forensic Mental Health Professionals (FMHP) have an ethical and moral obligation to children and their families to use the best tools currently available for data gathering and analysis. The using of state-of-the-art forensic methods and procedures results in more reliable data thereby, producing a more probative report meeting the needs of the family and the courts. One goal of a competent forensic evaluation should be to assist the court in understanding the scientific underpinnings of a child custody report. This paper discusses science as a method and argues that child custody evaluations need to follow scientifically sound methods. A more detailed structure is proposed for FMHP's to use when reviewing the quality of their work product. The paper integrates the methods and procedures of a scientifically informed child custody evaluation with criteria for admissibility of a scientific work product, focusing on issues of reliability and relevance. A set of questions are provided that may be useful to FMHP's in assessing whether a child custody evaluation they have conducted may meet at least minimal standards of legal reliability and relevance. Appendices A and B and references
Main Term(s): Child custody
Index Term(s): Child welfare; Court reporting; Forensic psychology; Juvenile mental health services
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