This article highlights issues involved in carrying out evaluations for termination of parental rights cases and suggests caution for mental health professionals doing such evaluations. It argues that current models of parenting that come from the child development and child maltreatment fields are too narrow in their focus to act as a foundation for such evaluations and are often based on research with select groups in our society making them open to bias. Similarly, it is argued that traditional assessment measures are limited in their utility for responding to the kinds of relational and basic care questions asked in such evaluations. A functional-contextual model is offered as an alternative with examples of potentially useful measurement strategies. With such a frame as a starting point, the field might progress to providing more useful information to courts. Future research directions to improve this practice arena are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health