Relevant Articles


Separation and Reunification: Attachment Theory and Research to Inform Decisions Affecting the Placements of Children in Foster Care

By Douglas F. Goldsmith, David Oppenheim and Janine Wanlass
Published in the Juvenile and Family Court Journal (Spring 2004)

Determinations regarding removal of children from home in maltreatment situations typically take into consideration the physical safety of the child.  Less recognized and often underappreciated is the severe risk endured by the child as a result of separation from the caregiver, and the long-term effects of the separation on the child. This article describes recent developments in attachment theory and research and their usefulness for placement decisions. We will explain how a child develops a secure attachment to a caregiver and review the deleterious consequences associated with maltreatment and separation. The case of a child in a foster/adoptive placement will be discussed in order to clarify common misinterpretations of attachment research and how attachment theory and research can inform permanency decisions that are in the best interest of the child.

Effective Intervention in Woman Battering and Child Maltreatment Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice

Recomendations from the National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges

Judicial Workload Estimates: Redefining the Concept of "Judicial Work"

From the Permanency Planning For Children Department of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

The National Research Project Document

"In November 1996, the Permanency Planning for Children Project (PPP) of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) embarked upon a national research effort to examine child abuse and neglect case processing.  There were three components to this research endeavor: (1) an analysis of existing state statutes with special attention to mandated time frames; (2) a mailout questionnaire examining day-to-day practice with respect to statutory requirements; and (3) a lengthy telephone interview focusing on effective court practice, improvement goals, representation, and training issues, as well as future goals of court improvement projects."

Representing Parents Effectively Post-ASFA (December 1999)

From the ABA Child Law Practice. This article has several useful tips for permanency hearings.

A Critical Assessment of Child Custody Evaluations: Limited Science and a Flawed System

Robert E. Emery (University of Virginia), Randy K. Otto (University of South Florida), William T. O’Donohue (University of Nevada–Reno)

Article outline flaws in the system for resolving custody disputes and suggestions for reforms. 

Clinical judgment, clinical training, and professional experience.

Garb HN. Reviews studies on training, experience, and clinical judgment. The results on the validity of judgments generally fail to support the value of on-the-job experience in mental health fields. The validity results do provide limited support for the value of training. Other results suggest that experienced clinicians are better than less experienced judges at knowing which of their judgments are likely to be correct and which are likely to be wrong. Reasons why clinicians have trouble learning from experience are given. Recommendations are made for improving training and clinical practice.

Clinical versus actuarial judgment

RM Dawes, D Faust, and PE Meehl Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Professionals are frequently consulted to diagnose and predict human behavior; optimal treatment and planning often hinge on the consultant's judgmental accuracy. The consultant may rely on one of two contrasting approaches to decision-making--the clinical and actuarial methods. Research comparing these two approaches shows the actuarial method to be superior. Factors underlying the greater accuracy of actuarial methods, sources of resistance to the scientific findings, and the benefits of increased reliance on actuarial approaches are discussed.

Creating False Memories

In all four cases, the women developed memories about childhood abuse in therapy and then later denied their authenticity. How can we determine if memories of childhood abuse are true or false? Without corroboration, it is very difficult to differentiate between false memories and true ones. Also, in these cases, some memories were contrary to physical evidence, such as explicit and detailed recollections of rape and abortion when medical examination confirmed virginity. How is it possible for people to acquire elaborate and confident false memories? A growing number of investigations demonstrate that under the right circumstances false memories can be instilled rather easily in some people.

Whores of the Court: The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice

This book is available at your local bookstore or at January 13, 1997 Publishers Weekly, Review of Whores of the Court. . . "Boston University psychology professor, Margaret A. Hagen, delivers a damning indictment of the psychologizing - and undermining - of the American legal system through judges' and juries' reliance on the well-paid testimony of self-styled psychological experts. Spouting what often amounts to unscientific, unsubstantiated psychobabble, these 'whores of the court,'she charges, be they psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists or others, often determine whether murderers and rapists are competent to stand trial, whether a batterer will be viewed as likely to offend again after receiving therapy, whether a person experienced mental injury at the hand of a neighbor or an unfeeling institution, whether recovered memories of alleged traumas are genuine. With righteous wrath and devastating wit, Hagen punctures the inflated claims of much expert testimony. She blames liberal and feminist lawyers and apologist psychologists for what she claims is the courts' tendency to exonerate perpetrators of crimes on the grounds that they are victims of mental illness, dysfunctional families or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This sweeping critique should stir national debate."


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