Dr. Mark Ackerman provides psychological evaluations for the courts including parenting capacity child protection matters
Family Court systems and attorneys sometimes request a parental fitness psychological evaluation when concerns arise regarding parenting styles including allegations of emotional or physical child abuse. Child abuse is defined as any act or failure on the part of a parent which results in emotional or physical harm to the child including child sexual abuse. Neglect is also an element of child abuse. In some cases, parents who are in conflict with one another or are divorcing may allege that their ex-spouse/partner is an unfit parent for other reasons. For example, separation and divorce can lead to power struggles and conflicts over parenting arrangements. In those cases, the court may order a psychological evaluation of one or both parents to help advise visitation and custody guidelines. The psychological evaluation of a parent conducted at my office can help to clarify if such allegations are valid. The evaluation that I perform is comprehensive and includes assessment to examine for risk factors such as personality pathology, anger control difficulties, alcohol or drug abuse, intellectual deficits, erratic behavior, harsh parenting patterns and other problematic psychiatric conditions in either or both parents. Clinical interview, observation, psychological testing, document review and outside collateral information will be combined to produce an evaluative report that will be submitted to the referral source including family court, attorney or child protective services agency. Please contact our office to learn more.