Parenting Plan & Child Custody Evaluations

Parenting Plan & Child Custody Evaluations

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The three authors are active custody and parenting plan evaluators, teach workshops on custody evaluations and parenting, and review reports prepared by other evaluators. Their experience has made them acutely aware of the flaws that appear in some evaluations despite the development of professional association guidelines and standards, on-going continuing education programs on these topics, and increasing demands from the courts and attorneys for evaluations of the highest quality.

This book is about developing systematic ways to improve the processes evaluators use to create and test hypotheses, collect information, organize the information evaluators have, and analyze the data in a transparent and comprehensive way. The authors also share an interest in visual ways to organize information in these evaluations: charts, decision trees, and grids. They include many reproducible 8 ½” X 11″ checklists and tools to reduce human biases and errors and to improve the accuracy of decision making. They believe that the processes they describe may mirror the process used by judicial officers in sorting and weighing evidence, creating clusters of factors around issues, and generating decisions based on the overall evidence presented in court. These tools were “field tested” in the authors’ practice and teaching, and they believe the consistency and transparency of decision making has increased with the aid of these tools.

Throughout the book, the deliberate use of the term parenting plan evaluation (PPE) rather than child custody evaluation is more than just semantics or an attempt to further confuse the field with yet another new term. The authors strongly believe that it is critical for those who work with families to emphasize the importance of parenting over the ownership implications of determining custody. Although both terms are used interchangeably throughout the book to be consistent with previous writings, the term parenting plan evaluations is used in the development of the resources that have been created to make better parenting plan decisions.

Book Info

Publication date: 2013
Pages: 224
Binding: paperback
Authors: Leslie M. Drozd, Nancy W. Olesen, Michael A. Saini

Author Info

Leslie M. Drozd, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child therapist in Newport Beach, CA. She is the editor of the International Journal of Child Custody and coeditor with Kathryn Kuehnle of Parenting Plan Evaluations: Applied Research for Family Court (Oxford University Press). She has coedited other books on relocation, psychological testing, and child sexual abuse and written chapters on domestic violence, treatment of trauma, alienation, and unification therapy. Dr. Drozd has been a child custody evaluator for over 20 years, trains other evaluators, and serves as a consultant to attorneys and as a testifying expert in family law matters. She has helped write the AFCC Model Standards for conducting child custody evaluations and for those parenting plan evaluations involving allegations of domestic violence. She also works clinically with families in the various stages of divorce, conducting coparenting therapy, family therapy, and unification therapy, as well as acting as parent coordinator. Dr. Drozd has spoken at conferences on these topics in the US, Canada, and Europe.

Nancy W. Olesen, PhD, is a licenced psychologist working with children and families. Since receiving her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, she has conducted hundreds of child custody and dependency evaluations for the courts in California. Dr. Olesen has also provided expert testimony in child custody cases both in California and other states. She has taught many courses for professionals in the best practices in child custody evaluation in California, throughout the US, in Europe, and in Asia. These courses include the mandatory training required for court appointed evaluators. In addition, she has conducted courses for judges, attorneys, and mediators on child custody special issues such as child abuse, alienation, domestic violence, and attachment.

Michael A. Saini, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, and the Course Director of the 40-hour Foundations to Custody Evaluations at the University of Toronto. For the past 14 years, he has been conducting custody evaluations and assisting children s counsel for the Office of the Children s Lawyer, Ministry of the Attorney General, in Ontario. He has authored or coauthored 50 publications, including books, book chapters, government reports, systematic reviews and peer-reviewed journal articles. He is an editorial board member for the Family Court Review, the Journal of Child Custody, Research for Social Work Practice, and Oxford Bibliographies Online. As well, he is a peer reviewer for 10 peer-reviewed journals and 4 international funding organizations.