Child Custody Evaluations
The American Psychological Association has approved a variety of practice guidelines and related criteria as APA policy in such areas as multicultural practice, child custody evaluations and treatment of gay, lesbian and bisexual clients. These guidelines are intended to educate practitioners and provide recommendations about professional conduct. As such, they are useful tools for psychologists in practice to develop and maintain competencies and/or learn about new practice areas.
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On April 13, 2012, the Brooklyn Law School Center for Health, Science and Public Policy and the Journal of Law and Policy hosted a symposium that brought together a distinguished interdisciplinary group of legal, medical, and social science experts on child protection to chart the steps that policy makers need to undertake to address child maltreatment as an important public health issue.
In recent years, child maltreatment has been strongly linked to identifiable risk factors, such as poverty and stress. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has defined child maltreatment as an important public health problem and has an ongoing program of epidemiological research underway. Thus far, the child protection system has failed to respond to this new, epidemiological understanding of maltreatment. It has not developed evidence-based treatments or standardized diagnostic procedures, and it has woefully neglected prevention, the key to most successful public health campaigns.
Equally important, both federal law and local practice reflect an acute care treatment paradigm that aims at rapid cure and exit, while all the evidence suggests that for both the maltreating parent and the victimized child, maltreatment is a chronic condition that requires long-term support and services. A new approach, reliant on a public health model, is urgently needed.
This guide is intended to serve as a resource for others doing research in this area, and also to preserve the ideas and discussions that occured during the Symposium.