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Children, Families and the Law

The Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law

Course in Child Maltreatment

Instructors; Robin Deutsch, PhD and Amy Tishelman, PhD

The goals of this 28 hour blended learning course are to develop competence in recognizing issues of child maltreatment and to be familiar with the practices and procedures of an investigator or evaluator with full awareness of ethics and standards appropriate to professional practice in a diverse population. At the end of this course participants will be able to expand their practices and skills to conduct evaluations where there are allegations of child maltreatment. They will be familiar with evaluation methodology including child interviewing techniques, standards and guidelines that guide the work, and have a basic understanding of relevant legal venues and principles.

Course Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to identify definitions of abuse, maltreatment, neglect
  2. Identify the impact of child maltreatment
  3. Distinguish between forensic and clinical evaluations
  4. Demonstrate the components of different evaluations
  5. Recognize the application of a developmental framework to the evaluation process
  6. Identify problems and strategies for assessing risk
  7. Distinguish between a sexual abuse evaluation and one in the context of a divorce custody dispute
  8. Identify the components of the evaluation report
  9. Enhance reliability of interviews of children
  10. Apply a systematic approach to providing a sound evidence-based report and opinion
  11. Identify ethical issues inherent in evaluations and testimony

Applicants will demonstrate an interest in family forensics and may include mental health professionals, lawyers, probation officers, juvenile justice professionals, child welfare and protection professionals, and court service workers. Prerequisites include an advanced degree in mental health, law, or human services.

Participants may take any course alone or choose to take four courses to receive a Certificate in Child and Family Forensics. The Certificate in Child and Family Forensics provides students with a solid foundation in the concepts, theories and practices in child and family forensic mental health work and will help professionals hone their skills and increase their knowledge to prepare them for work as GALs, evaluators, or parenting coordinators. Current courses include: divorce child custody, interpersonal violence, child maltreatment, juvenile justice, and parenting coordination. These courses will review the law and systems, describe and practice protocols for evaluations, and review empirically based best practices and interventions through in-depth didactic instruction and opportunities for practice and consultation.

Updated 7/22/14

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