March 28, 2010

Canada: Parent complaints deterring custody evaluators

Speaking of censorship...

Fear of complaints by disgruntled parents is deterring professionals from working in the child custody arena, creating a "major social and legal problem," according to a group of lawyers and forensic evaluators in Canada. The group is urging the Canadian government to change the law in order to restrict disciplinary complaints.

A plea signed by 11 psychologists, psychiatrists, lawyers and social workers “urges changing the rules so disciplinary bodies can only consider complaints from such parents if they have been first approved by the judge in the case or by the other, winning parent, or have been screened to weed out frivolous grievances,” according to an article in the National Post. As reporter Tom Blackwell explains it:
Experts are appointed jointly in custody cases to interview, observe and sometime conduct psychological testing on family members to help determine who is best able to care for the children of divorces. The work can take months and cost the parties up to $75,000. The lobby group is not looking to gain "immunity" for assessors from disciplinary charges, only to curb the high number of spurious complaints, said Nick Bala, a Queen's University law professor.
Hat tip: Ken Pope

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