In recent decades, courts have turned increasingly to mental health professionals to assist them in evaluating the many factors that are relevant to laws concerning the care and protection of children and termination of parental rights. At the same time, the legal system has challenged the role of experts by setting high admissibility standards for scientific integrity and objectivity in forensic consultation and assessment practice. The purpose of this book is to lay the foundation for solid conceptual and methodological approaches for mental health professionals in offering effective responses to legal standards and to the needs of individuals regarding care and protection issues. Although termination of parental rights cases are the predominant focus of the book, attention also is given to consultation and evaluations for service planning purposes, the impact of maltreatment on children, diagnostic and treatment planning, issues of family process, amenability to treatment, potential family reunification, and post-termination pre-adoption questions.
Offering ways to integrate theory and research into practice, this volume provides conceptual models for consultation and assessment that make it relevant for a number of related disciplines.