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Children, Families and the Law

The Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law

The Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law (CECFL) recognizes the life-changing decisions that are made when children and families come before Courts. The Center promotes multidisciplinary professional education, training and research to support informed professional practice, effective prevention and intervention, and thoughtful jurisprudence.

The Center focuses on a variety of issues that affect children and families who are involved with the legal system including families in conflict, interpersonal violence, child maltreatment and neglect, divorce, juvenile justice and children with mental and educational disabilities.

The Center is able to provide an array of services, including professional education, training and development; evaluation services; professional consultation to mental health providers, attorneys, judges, custody evaluators, parenting coordinators, court personnel and social service workers; psychoeducation for parents; advocacy and advocacy support and research.

Certificate in Child and Family Forensics

The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) is proud to present a Certificate in Child and Family Forensics. Courses can be taken individually or as part of the Certificate in Child and Family Forensics. Each course provides 2 Academic Credits or 28 Continuing Education Credits and is offered in a blended learning format, consisting of a 4-week online course and a required "weekend-in-residence" at the MSPP campus in Newton, MA.

> Click here for more information.

Current Research

Current research projects of the Center include: The Children of Divorce Project which involves a prospective study of high-conflict divorcing families who, at the direction of the Probate Court, are to be evaluated by a Guardian ad Litem/custody evaluator. The study's focus is to gain a deeper understanding of how litigious divorce affects the psychosocial adjustment of children, how it places children at risk and what factors contribute to positive outcomes in children.

The High Conflict Parenting Program Project aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a nine-week 27-hour co-parenting divorce class mandated by the Probate and Family Court to promote positive change among co-parenting partners.

Contact Us

For information about programs, training, and consultation, please contact Dr. Robin Deutsch at robin_deutsch@mspp.edu.

Robin M. Deutsch, PhD, is the Director of the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP). Formerly an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, she practices as a custody evaluator, mediator, parent coordinator, therapist and consultant. Dr. Deutsch lectures widely throughout North America and Europe on Parenting Coordination, parenting and child development and complex issues related to family conflict, including parent-child contact problems, attachment, abuse and neglect and trauma. She has published extensively on issues related to attachment, alienation, co-parenting after divorce, high conflict divorce, parenting plans and parenting coordination. Dr. Deutsch has performed a wide variety of forensic evaluations and testified in juvenile, family, district and federal courts involving divorce and visitation disputes, relocation, domestic violence, adoption, alienation, abuse and neglect. She provides consultation and expert witness services on boundary violations, ethical issues, child and adolescent development, complex custody issues and custody and parenting evaluations. Dr. Deutsch was a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) task force that developed Guidelines for Parenting Coordinators (2011), the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) Task Force that developed Guidelines for Parenting Coordinators (2006), and the AFCC Task force that developed Guidelines for Court Involved Therapists (2010). She was the former President of the AFCC (2008-2009) and the former Chair of the APA Ethics Committee (2007).

Updated 7/23/14

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