Formal family forensic assessments can help to identify or answer a particular question requested by the court which may include strengths and weaknesses, voices of the child or children or decisions regarding custody and access and parenting. While assessments can vary from individual to individual and case to case most times they include testing, interviews, observation, and consultation with one of Insight’s trained professionals.
What is a PN7 assessment?
A Practice Note 7 (PN7) is used during a high-conflict divorce or separation when children are involved and:
- The parents/family are in a deadlock and it’s not possible to move forward so,
- An intervention of the Court is required, and
- The Court requires the support and knowledge of a Parenting Expert.
The Court, acting in the best interest of the child (or children), calls in a Parenting Expert (usually a psychologist) for the purpose of a PN7 assessment or intervention.
Why is the assessment used?
A PN7 intervention is used to improve the health and functioning of the family by facilitating a resolution between parents. The Parenting Expert will usually find out the wishes of the child/ren involved and conduct a thorough assessment of the family and any challenges they may be facing and report their findings back to the Court.
A PN7 assessment is used when resolution is not possible and the Court needs the opinion of a Parenting Expert to make decisions about the parents, that will best serve the child/ren involved. There are two main areas of PN7s, Evaluative and Therapeutic – meaning the family is assessed and/or therapy may be required.
In PN7s, A Parenting Expert does not offer an opinion about the family (regarding custody, who is the best parent, etc.) and the Parenting Expert who conducted the evaluation may not also provide therapy.
The 5 types of Pn7 Assessments that may be conducted are:
Assess the family’s situation and make a recommendation to the Court about the type of intervention that’s best suited for the family’s needs.
- Voice of the Child
Investigates the needs and wishes of the child/ren by talking with the child/ren involved as well as their parents, other family members, teachers, etc.
- Parenting psychological assessments
Assesses any concerns or specific questions about a parent’s effectiveness and abilities to parent.
- Child/adolescent psychological assessment
Assesses any concerns or specific questions about the functioning of the child/ren or youth.
- Focused assessment
Examines and investigates a specific topic or question.
Therapeutic interventions may include one or more of the following:
- Parent counselling (one or both parents)
- Child/ren counselling
- Parents and child/ren (family counselling)
- Parent/child reunification
The assessment process
Depending on the type of assessment requested, Insight’s assessment process may include:
- A home visit with identification of potential for child abuse, violence or alcohol and drug abuse
- Exploration and review of appropriate parenting techniques
- Personality and parenting testing
- Parent-child observations
- Reference checks
- Thorough background history gathering on every person involved in the family
- Examination and concluding report on factors pertinent to the welfare and placement of the child/ren about what risk factors are present.
These assessments will typically take between 10-20 hours depending on the requirements of the court or need.
The assessment report may be read by the parents but they will not receive a copy of the report (unless ordered by the Court) and children may be permitted to have the report read to them or to read it themselves.
Please call Insight Psychological to learn more about PN7 assessments.