Child & Family Investigator
A Child and Family Investigator (CFI) is appointed by the court to assist in determining the best interests of the child in families experiencing a high degree of conflict. A CFI conducts a thorough investigation involving clinical interviews, home visits, review of records, and interviews with professionals and friends. Psychological testing may be administered. The CFI submits a report to the court with findings and recommendations based on the court’s order.
Dependency and Neglect (D&N)
These cases involve neglect or abuse of children that come to the attention of child protection services or the court. These evaluations typically include obtaining a review of the facts of the case and the relevant history, interviewing the specified parties to the case, contacting collateral sources, administering psychological testing and very often conducting parent-child interactionals. Reports include findings and conclusions pertaining to the questions and issues raised in the D&N.
Evaluating Competency to Proceed in Domestic Cases–Sorensen Precedent
Commonly termed Sorensen Evaluation, this evaluation determines an individual’s competency to proceed in a domestic case and addresses the question of the need for a court-appointed guardian ad litem. The individual’s ability to understand the case proceedings and to act and make critical decisions in his or her best interests will be evaluated. In some instances, cognitive problems or mental health symptoms may impair the individual’s ability to proceed.
Parental Responsibilities Evaluator
When parents cannot reach a resolution about parenting time or decision-making for their children, or if they request a second opinion following a CFI evaluation, a licensed mental health professional may be appointed by the court as a Parental Responsibilities Evaluator (PRE) to evaluate members of the family, report findings, and provide recommendations to the court aimed at reducing the conflict and promoting the best interests of the child. Psychological testing may be administered. The evaluator will investigate and file a report to the court that will include recommendations about decision-making responsibilities and parenting time.
Reintegration Therapy is a form of family therapy in circumstances where there has been serious conflict and/or disruption in a parent-child relationship. The therapeutic process requires an understanding of the conflict and disruption and a plan to ameliorate and normalize the parent-child relationship to the optimal degree. An essential element in this type of therapy is the protection and well being of the child.
Supervised Parenting Services
For families involved in serious domestic disputes the court may order supervised parenting time or therapeutic supervised parenting time for a particular parent. We provide these services either in the office, in their home, or in a specified location outside of the home.
Termination of Parental Rights
These evaluations are instigated when a petition is filed with the court to terminate an individual’s parental rights. The focus of this evaluation will be on the respondent parent, their progress and compliance with the treatment plan established by the local department of human services, and will often include a parent-child interactional evaluation. Review of all pertinent records is an important part of this evaluation and psychological testing might be included. An evaluation report and testimony are often required.
Three Levels of Parenting Coordinator
Parenting Coordinator: A Parenting Coordinator (PC) is a neutral third party appointed to assist parties in resolving disputes concerning parental responsibilities, including but not limited to, implementation of a court-ordered parenting plan. The PC has no court authority to make decisions or issue orders.
Decision Maker: A Decision Maker has binding authority to resolve disputes between the parties as to implementation or clarification of existing orders.
Arbitrator: An Arbitrator has binding authority to resolve disputes between parties concerning the minor or dependent children, including but not limited to, disputed parental decisions.
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