The Connecticut Judicial Branch screens providers of mental health evaluations whom they certify as available for undertaking these evaluations. For a list of all the Connecticut Judicial Branch providers for mental health evaluations, see the list below:
For those of you who are interested, there is a specific format for these evaluations which it would help all litigants to know in advance of their evaluations. For a copy of that format, see the link to the manual below:
The manual was finalized in September 2013, which is quite recent. The description of the manual is as follows:
"This Manual governs the judicial Branch Policies and Procedures
associated with the Procurement of and Continuous Quality
Improvement for Psychologists and other Mental Health
Professionals who are selected to conduct Court Ordered
Psychological Evaluations and other assessments for the Superior
Court for juvenile Matters in Child Protection Proceedings.
This manual provides an overview of the necessary education,
training and qualifications Mental Health Professionals must
possess to be considered for inclusion on the judicial Branch
approved roster. Also included are guidelines for conducting
evaluations and providing reports to the Court, and the continuous
quality review process."
What I find interesting here is that qualified professionals must show evidence that they meet the standards of the Connecticut Judicial Branch before being allowed to do these evaluations, and also that these evaluations must be written in a specific format. Wouldn't it make sense that private providers would also be required to adhere to these regulations?
Furthermore, the manual provides extensive guidelines for review of the work of these evaluators in order to establish that these professionals are producing consistently high quality work that meets the requirements of the law. Doesn't it make sense that if state providers are required to undergo review of their work that also private providers would be required to undergo the same kind of review. I would certainly request such a review if I were concerned about whether the work that was done in a custody evaluation that was prepared for my case was reliable. I certainly think consumers who pay the bill have a right to that.
I did want to point out that state providers who do custody evaluations are required to provide informed consent to family court litigants. I had a private provider who never gave me informed consent. How often does that happen, that litigants who are ordered into these evaluations have no idea of their rights, have no idea of what the uses these evaluations will be put to, and are taken completely by surprise when they turn up and are used to deny them their constitutional rights, their human rights, and their ADA rights, as well as their right to parent.
Again, after observing the reports before the task force, I am struck by how the Office of the Public Defender takes considerable time to ensure the high quality of the GALs and AMCs working for their offices. The Connecticut Judicial Branch works hard to obtain high quality performances from State custody evaluators. But the clients in family court who are forced to take on private contractors have absolutely no guarantee regarding the quality of the work or the professional ethics of those contractors who are ultimately given full immunity from any malpractice claims or any attempt to hold them to account for wrongdoing in these cases.