Studies in the Assessment of Parenting

Studies in the Assessment of Parenting

Studies in the Assessment of Parenting

Studies in the Assessment of Parenting

Synopsis

Offers a review of the latest literature but moreover a practical guide essential to professionals who give their expert opinions to courts in child care cases.

Excerpt

Soon after the 1989 Children Act was implemented (in 1991), it became apparent that little had been published to help mental health and other professionals undertake parenting assessments in complex child care court cases. Two of us (Peter Reder and Clare Lucey) decided to edit a book, bringing together contributions by acknowledged experts, which addressed the theory and practice of assessments in the context of family proceedings. It was published by Routledge in 1995 as Assessment of Parenting: Psychiatric and Psychological Contributions.

Since then, there have been further developments in our knowledge about parenting breakdown and guidance on how professionals should respond to it. For example, the government has produced an assessment framework to guide social workers and practitioners continue to debate the relative merits of the Children Act. A link between child maltreatment and parental mental health problems has become recognized, while child neglect and abuse by 'induced or fabricated illness' is more widely discussed. In addition, the theoretical principles and clinical approaches reported in the original book have had time to be tested in everyday practice and new controversial questions have emerged. We concluded that this was an appropriate time to plan a companion volume, not as a second edition that would replace the original book, but one that would complement it because it addressed new issues or reconsidered certain topics in a different way. The aim has therefore been for minimal overlap between the two books.

We approached psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers who had long experience of undertaking parenting assessments and providing expert opinions to courts and/or considerable academic involvement in the issues. A leading judge in the Family Division of the High Court also agreed to contribute. All chapter titles were posed as questions which the authors were invited to argue through, with reference to theoretical and research literature, as well as their own practice experience. The issues at the centre of each question were chosen for different reasons. Some were identified because we felt they needed a fresh consideration or it was timely to bring together developments in knowledge, theory or practice on that topic. Many were challenging dilemmas that we had faced in our own attempts to assist courts. The chapter topics come together under the following Part headings: I: Principles and Practice; II: The Child's Perspective; III: Assessing Parents; IV:

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