As a professional committed to the prevention of child abuse and advocacy for children and their families, Patricia Brady has been called upon to present trainings to professionals working in the field locally and internationally. Topics which Patricia Brady has presented on include the Safety Plans, Parenting Evaluations, Mandated Reporting, and Forensic Mental Health Evaluations in Cases involving Fabrication, Exaggeration, Inducement, as well as the role of the GAL. Excerpted here is a brief overview of the material covered in the training material.
Safety plans are formal arrangements, most often drafted for the Court, which will enable contact (or perhaps even placement) of a child with a parent who may have been found (or suspected) to have perpetrated some form of abuse to the child, or may pose a risk to the child for some other reason (s). Most often in these cases, the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is the person who manages the implementation of the Safety Plan and is a driving force behind the progress towards the achievement of the goal. The GAL in essence is the ball carrier who moves it through the players towards the goal line. The players comprise what becomes known as a multidisciplinary team or group of professionals from diverse disciplines who come together on behalf of a child and family. The disciplines typically represented include: protective services, criminal justice systems, health and social services, and mental health services, and some teams include domestic violence advocates, substance abuse specialists and providers of comprehensive assessments and consultation services. This paper will address how the GAL is used in complex cases involving abuse and invites all professionals who are dedicated to this field of child welfare to consider this approach to solving some of the most difficult of situations.
Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse
Mandated reporting has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of cases assessed and treated by child welfare agencies.
Emphasis has been on case-finding.
The limited resources have been stretched to the point where families with serious problems of child abuse do not get the services they require.
The main objection is that reporting often necessitates breaching confidentiality and damages therapeutic relationships (which may place children at further risk of harm). Patricia Brady, Thomas Carr, Kevin Seaver.
When called upon to conduct Parenting Evaluations, I often find myself experiencing a number of emotions or reactions, leaving me asking questions like:
The emotions vary from: profound sadness, anger, shock and frustration. At times these feelings, questions and emotions are engendered because of a lack of purpose or definition to the evaluation.
In approaching the evaluation, it is important to establish the scope of the evaluation by defining the referral question or issues of concern which brought about the necessity for a parenting evaluation. Those conducting these evaluations must always remember what is at stake and in many ways be humbled by the magnitude of what the task at hand is. It is always important to treat the parents and family with dignity even when the out come may seem clear.
Lamb Warnings are always administered to all those interviewed for the purpose of the evaluation.
Forensic Assessment: Exaggeration, Fabrication, Inducement – How Children Are Affected
In child welfare cases, also known as dependency cases, clinical professionals are called upon to conduct evaluations in emotionally charged situations where the stakes are high for children who so often fall victims to the adults they innately believed were there to protect them and care for them. Often as forensic evaluators, we are called upon to show the wisdom of King Solomon.
Among the most difficult cases to evaluate are those cases where issues of exaggeration, fabrication, and inducement are raised, because the potential risk to the minor children is significant. In many of these family systems, the parents present as bright, knowledgeable and credible. This paper/presentation, will discuss how to take a critical look at the parent’s presentation, by reviewing records, verifying information and by challenging professionals across disciplines. This effort is needed because the parents, or caretakers often present as dedicated and devoted to their children, but it is important to assess whether, the behavior exceeded the bounds of what is reasonable and or standard. The paper will discuss how parents zealously pursue treatment in a manner which is unreasonable, reflecting a lack of awareness of the child’s/children’s needs, pain or discomfort.
Often parents or caretakers are motivated by a need to present as exceptional, devoted and committed in order to meet their own unmet needs. This paper will focus on the value of gathering a comprehensive and exhaustive history about the parent, related to their childhood experiences, parenting, experience of victimization, educational and professional training, relationship history, medical and psychiatric function, and how those issues impact their parenting capacity.
In these high conflict cases, the forensic evaluator is called upon to work with and at times manage professionals who come from a variety of disciplines. This paper/ presentation will speak of the trials and tribulations associated with this effort when the cases are so complicated and the stakes are so high.
The children in these family systems are at substantial risk of affirmative harm because the child’s capacity to develop autonomy or independent thought is compromised. The child/children assume a role of being an ill child, posing an increased risk for eating disorders, behavioral and or growth problems, sleep disturbance, oppositional defiant disorders, identity and attachment difficulties and academic challenges.
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