Psychological Consultation in Parental Rights Cases  book cover
1st Edition

Psychological Consultation in Parental Rights Cases

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ISBN 9781572304741
Published September 16, 1999 by Guilford Press
310 Pages

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Book Description

This practical volume delineates legal and clinical guidelines for practitioners involved as expert witnesses in parental rights cases. Coverage of relevant statutes, case law, and professional standards is integrated with current psychological theory and research to help readers conduct defensible, scientifically based consultation and testimony. The book guides readers step-by-step through the process of typical cases, from the initial report bringing the family to the attention of child protective services, through various hearings and conferences, to the final decision on termination. Chapters present findings on the psychological impact of foster care, separation, loss, abuse, and neglect; describe instruments and techniques to assess parenting skills and child attachment; and explore ethical considerations for clinicians. Featuring case examples, sample cross-examination questions, and definitions of important terms, the book also covers such topics as the impact of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 and the admissibility of expert testimony under the standards set forth in the Daubert decision.

Table of Contents

1. Background to a Termination Action
2. Legal Issues in Termination of Parental Rights
3. National Legislation and Case Analysis
4. Ethical Considerations in Parental Fitness and Related Evaluations
5. Assessment of Birth Parents, Foster Parents, and Other Potential Caretakers
6. Assessment of Children's Psychological and Attachment Profiles
7. Special Situations
8. Theory Review
9. Empirical Research and Clinical Studies
10. Standards for Expert Testimony
11. Cross-Examination Questions and Answers
12. Illustrative Cases I: Failed Adoption of a Pseudo-Self-Sufficient Older Foster Child. An Older Foster Child Attached to His Birth Father. A Mentally Handicapped Birth Mother with a Severely Asthmatic Child. Psychological and Bonding Assessments of a Chronic Psychiatric Patient and Her Children. Bonding Assessments and Extreme Distress Associated with Visitation.
13. Illustrative Cases II: Analysis of the Baby Jessica Case

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Frank J. Dyer, PhD, ABPP, is a former member of the New Jersey Board of Psychological Examiners and served as Chair of the Board's committee to develop guidelines for psychological evaluation in child custody/visitation cases. He is currently in private practice in Montclair, New Jersey, and serves as a consultant to a number of state agencies and professional boards. He is coauthor, with Joseph T. McCann, of Forensic Assessment with the Millon Inventories


"This book represents a major contribution to both the legal and psychological literature. Dyer provides a substantive basis for effective mental health testimony, while maintaining an appropriate focus on the promotion of the child's needs and interests in the litigation process. This is a book that should be read and kept at hand by all attorneys and mental health professionals involved in termination of parental rights cases." --James B. Boskey, JD, LLM, Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law School

"Dyer presents a firm yet compassionate approach to providing psychological consultation in cases that are among the most difficult for mental health professionals. This much needed addition to the literature will provide practitioners, as well as lawyers, judges, case workers, and other professionals, with clear direction and guidance. It is written by a clinician with vast experience and keen insight into the complexities of termination cases." --Joseph T. McCann, PsyD, JD

"This book sets a standard for excellence in the breadth and depth of current knowledge that it conveys. It provides a model for the integration of scientific and clinical research and clinical practice in the forensic arena. For the beginner, it provides an orientation to the historical, political, institutional, legal, and ethical contexts in which child placement decisions are made. For the expert, it provides an in-depth analysis of theoretical issues and dilemmas. This book should be mandatory reading for mental health experts, attorneys, and judges responsible for decisions to terminate parental rights; clinicians responsible for treating the children in such cases; graduate school students in clinical training; and researchers in the field. It is likely to become a classic in the field." --Madelyn Simring Milchman, PhD, Licensed Psychologist, Upper Montclair, New Jersey