In the last five years, more than twenty little souls in New York State have been killed by a parent as they were facing a divorce, child custody proceeding, or separation. To protect the well-being of children, new legislation has been proposed by the New York state minister Senator Peter Harckham. The proposed legislation states that a parent who has been accused of any sort of abuse, whether physical, emotional, or otherwise, or one who has been facing any mental or physical health issues should now be brought under the law.
What Is the Proposal?
The proposed legislation further makes sure that forensic evaluators maintain a high level of professionalism and trustworthiness when it comes to advocating what is most suitable in custody cases. It aims to safeguard the interests of both parents and children for the betterment of society and protect their rights. This legislation has been strongly backed by anti-domestic violence advocates.
This proposal came into being when authorities determined that current forensic child custody terms did not completely protect the interests and security of the children, as there was no uniform way to evaluate the custody case. This legislation is to force authorities to adopt a single uniformed process to evaluate custody cases.
Forensic Child Custody Evaluation
A forensic child custody case evaluation is a detailed analysis and report from a licensed mental health professional that provides complete psychological information about every member of the family as it relates to their responsible roles in the parent/child relationship.
The custody evaluation process starts with the appointment of a neutral psychiatrist, psychologist, or another mental health expert to gauge the family through the studying of various documents, including a series of psychological tests, parent and child interviews, and information gathered from various third parties. These health experts work independently without any influence from any parent; the goal is to provide accurate information to parents and the court to make custody arrangements easy.
Proposed Forensic Evaluation Process
The job of a forensic evaluator is to guide which parent should be afforded legal or physical custody. It is in the form of a detailed report including recommendations, direction, and guidance to the deserving legal guardian of the child.
Here are some steps included in the forensic child custody evaluation process:
First interview: This interview included all previous participants, including both parents. And meet the child alone to observe the family background and parents’ treatment of the child.
Second interview: This interview includes both parents and child together, this is conducted to analyze the child’s bonding with the parents, and to observe with whom the child is more emotionally attached.
Home Visits: The evaluator will conduct one or if needed, more home visits. These visits aim to give the evaluator an opportunity to see the appropriateness of the home arrangements for the serenity of children’s development and how parent-child interactions are at home.
Psychological and personality tests: These tests are conducted to know the parent’s personality traits and to analyze if any of the parents are suffering from mental health issues. Also, to observe which parent is more compatible with the child’s psychology.
Fees payment: Each parent has to pay a significant amount of fees to the evaluator, for psychology and personality, and for other documentation.
Lengthy-time period: The whole evaluation process from start to end take around 3 to 5 months, as a lot of information is needed to collect to secure the best child’s interest.
The Evaluator’s Report: Once the process is completed, the evaluator will provide a detailed report to both parents to inform his recommendations, as to whom the evaluator favors more. This report is then submitted to the court as evidence. Then the court will issue legal custody authority of the child to the respective parents.
Today’s children are the future of tomorrow. It is very important for every nation to safeguard their mental, emotional and psychological health for a successful nation’s future. Also, it’s the duty of every nation’s leaders to ensure the complete protection of every human being’s rights. The new legislation is proposed aiming to secure all the interests of children so that they don’t suffer because of disputes among their parents and provide them a healthy environment to survive and grow into better human beings.