• 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.

Course in Child Custody Evaluation

Instructors: Jessica Greenwald O’Brien, PhD , Hon. Christina Harms, JD.(ret.) and Robin M. Deutsch, PhD, ABPP

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 for the courts. William James College and the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law will offer the Child 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. Participants may choose to 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, and intimate partner violence. 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.

Online Course: September 10-October 7, 2018
Weekend in Residence: October 12-13, 2018, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
28 CE credits

Register Online