CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATION
As a clinician who has been qualified as an expert in a variety of fields related specifically to Child Welfare, Patricia Brady is frequently retained by Attorney's representing litigants for the purpose of conducting child custody evaluations, parenting evaluations, attachment assessments, and permanency planning evaluations.
Ms. Brady approaches all evaluations with integrity, impartiality and a desire to insure that all recommendations are guided by the principal of what is in a child's best interests.
The clinical process involves interviews with the referred client or clients, as well as members of the immediate family and other relatives. Prospective or current caretakers may be asked to attend one or more interviews. Each party may submit a list of people they would like me to contact as part of the evaluation. This list should include an explanation of how each person is relevant to the situation. Ms. Brady exercies discretion to determine who, when and where those individuals will occur and whether they will be interviewed individually or in combination with others. Every effort will be made to create the least inconvenience.
Information will be gathered primarily through interviews. A second major source of information may be the written and or oral reports of other professionals who have had contact with any of the participants in the evaluation. Each party will be asked to sign all necessary releases to speak with these professionals and to expedite the delivery of records from psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, school personnel, health care personnel, medical and or psychiatric hospitals, residential schools, courts, law enforcement, or substance abuse facilities. The parties are encouraged to send any information they consider relevant to the evaluation process.
On occasion, psychological testing may be required and in those cases, Ms. Brady may request that the client participate in such testing and agree to permit the children to take such tests. These tests would be administered by a qualified psychologist of Ms. Brady's choosing.
Ms. Brady is an approved by Committee for Public Counsel Services and is accustomed to billing services through that venue or through a private arrangment made with Ms. Brady directly. For more information about the evaluation process, please contact Ms. Brady at 781-350-4430 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The parties need to be aware of the following modifications of the traditional rules of confidentiality:
a. Since this is a court ordered evaluation, the information obtained from interview sessions, collateral contacts and documents reviewed may be included in a written report that will be submitted to the Court and or may be the subject of testimony in open court.
b. It is my practice to discuss particular cases or aspects of cases with colleagues experienced in particular clinical areas in an effort to enhance the quality of services provided during this evaluation. In such professional consultations, every effort will be made to preserve the privacy and confidentiality of the parties.
c. At times, I will need to reveal to one party information given to me by another party so that I have the opportunity to explore all points of view and conflicts.
d. If I determine that a child or adult party may be at risk due to the current custody/visitation arrangement in place, I may file an interim report with the Court and or take other actions to notify responsible agencies in order to reduce the likelihood of harm, as required by law. As a mandated reporter, I am bound by law to inform appropriate authorities (e.g. DSS) if I have reasonable basis to believe that a child is suffering or in danger of some form of abuse or neglect.
e. I am required by law to take protective action if I believe that any individual is threatening serious harm to another. Such action may include notifying the police and or the person about whom the threat was made. If any family member appears to be at serious risk to harm him or herself, I may be required to release information in order to seek hospitalization or to contact others, who can provide protection.
Unless the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is funding the evaluation, I must receive an initial retainer fee that is to be shared equally by the parties. Each party is responsible for paying one half of the retainer. The retainer must be paid prior to the evaluation commencing. I will provide monthly statements itemizing my services. At such time as the retainer is exhausted the parties will be notified immediately and monthly statements will be provided and payment for services will be due upon receipt. Additional evaluation sessions, collateral contacts will be delayed when there is an outstanding balance. Should less time be required, each party will be reimbursed for the unused portion of the retainer. Any costs incurred in the collection of outstanding balances (including collection agency, and legal fees) will be charged to the party with the overdue account.
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