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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

30 JUN 2011

The Observation of Contact in Expert Assessments of Parenting Capacity: Is Your Client at a Disadvantage?

Dr Tracey Tyler

Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Teesside University School of Health and Social Care

The observation of contact is an important part of a psychological assessment when considering questions on the capacity to parent. The remit of an expert offering an opinion to the family courts may cover a variety of questions, ie the cognitive ability of the parent and how this impacts on parenting capacity, the attachment as well as the ability of the parent to meet the physical and emotional needs of their children. This paper will highlight why observation of contact is important in providing the court with a reliable assessment of parenting capacity and will focus more on the infant and child relationship to a parent. However, the importance of observations of contact are true for all young people when parenting capacity is being assessed. I have used the term parent and caregiver interchangeably as this paper can apply to both.

To read the rest of this article, see July [2011] Family Law journal.

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