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Children, Families and the Law

The Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law

Course in Divorce Custody Evaluations

Instructors; Robin Deutsch, PhD and Honorable Christina Harms (ret.)

This course is designed for professionals who aspire to use empirically-based research and methodology and best practices to provide or understand forensic psychological assessments in contested custody matters to the courts. MSPP and the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law will offer the Divorce Child Custody Evaluation course for continuing education credits. This 28 hour training provides 28 Continuing Education Credits and will examine the role and process of a child custody evaluator. The course is a blended learning format and spans 4 weeks of online coursework for 13 hours and 15 hours of on-site instruction over a weekend-in-residence.

Mental health practitioners, mediators, attorneys and other professionals will have the opportunity to expand their practice and skills in this emerging area.

Participants in this in this course will:

  • Identify differences between therapeutic and forensic roles and assessment.
  • Be familiar with available model standards and guidelines.
  • Identify relevant legal statutes and processes.
  • Describe ethical issues involved in custody evaluation
  • Learn about the evaluation process
  • Update information on reliable interviewing of children and adults
  • Address issues of domestic violence, abuse and neglect, mental illness and substance abuse, relocation, and alienation in an evaluation
  • Utilize an effective report writing structure
  • Learn about parenting plan models and templates
  • Practice responses to subpoena for records and testimony

Applicants will demonstrate an interest in family forensics and may include mental health professionals, lawyers, probation officers, juvenile justice professionals, child welfare and protection professionals, and court service workers. Prerequisites include an advanced degree in mental health, law, or human services.

Participants may take any course alone or choose to take four courses to receive a Certificate in Child and Family Forensics. The Certificate in Child and Family Forensics provides students with a solid foundation in the concepts, theories and practices in child and family forensic mental health work and will help professionals hone their skills and increase their knowledge to prepare them for work as GALs, evaluators, or parenting coordinators. Current courses include: divorce child custody, interpersonal violence, child maltreatment, juvenile justice, and parenting coordination. These courses will review the law and systems, describe and practice protocols for evaluations, and review empirically based best practices and interventions through in-depth didactic instruction and opportunities for practice and consultation.

Updated 7/22/14

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