Divorce Custody Evaluations
Sponsored by The Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Robin M. Deutsch, Ph.D. and Honorable Christina Harms, JD, (Ret.), instructors
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 Custody Evaluation course for academic or continuing credits. This 28 hour training provides 2 academic credits or 28 Continuing Education Credit 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.
General: law and systems overview and testimony
Evaluations: parenting, parent-child
Specialty evaluations: relocation, sexual abuse, alienation, domestic violence and military
Best practices and consultation
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.
This course is the second offered in a four course series. Participants may choose to take all four courses to receive a Certificate in Child and Family Forensics. Participants may substitute one of the course offerings with an on-line course from the New York Law School. 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: , parenting coordination, divorce child custody, child maltreatment, juvenile justice,. 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.
Program Code: DC13-2
28 CE Credits
$975 for CE Credits -
Be sure to register early. Space is limited.
Please Note: The following text is a required
resource for the Divorce Custody Evaluations course.
Evaluation for Child Custody (Guides to Best
Practices for Forensic Mental Health Assessment) [Paperback] Authors, Geri
S. W. Fuhrmann and Robert A. Zibbell, Oxford Press, 2011.
List Price: $39.95
It can be purchased at Amazon using the link below.
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), and 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 alienation, 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).
Christina Harms, J.D., is a graduate of Wellesley College and Harvard Law School. She has worked in the area of children and families for her entire career. For six years she was General Counsel in the MA Department of Social Services (now DCF) and was then appointed as a trial court judge for the MA Probate and Family Court where she served 23 years. Judge Harms was the trial court judge who heard the case of Guardianship of Mary Moe, a controversial and challenging case involving a pregnant woman diagnosed with schizophrenia.