Child Custody Assessments

A mental health professional is trained to understand interpersonal and interfamilial relationships which is a necessity in identifying dysfunctional or concerning thought processes, perceptions, relationships, and the needs of children at varying developmental stages. All of these are what is evaluated in conducting, evaluating and assessing child custody, social investigations and parenting plan evaluations. The mental health professional can best identify and determine the most appropriate types of Child Custody Assessments or instruments that meet the individualized need of each family based on patterns of interactions, communications, abuse, mental health or substance related needs.

The Social investigation or Child Custody assessments used to determine recommendations are extremely important in order to make a successful comprehensive evaluation. The child custody assessments we use encompass parent and child unconscious perceptions, awareness, competencies and estrangement/alienation patterns. We administer research based child custody assessments and instruments but do not conduct psychological assessments such as the MMPI or the MCMI-III, as a standard part of a social investigation. However, if we believe there is a serious need for psychological testing, we will either arrange for the administration of more extensive testing or refer the administration of that testing out to a forensic psychologist to conduct extensive testing.

Assessments used in Child Custody Evaluations and Social Investigations

Perceptual Scales:

Perceptual Scales:

A Research-Based Custody Test Which Measures a Child’s Perceptions of Each Parent in Four Critical Areas: Competency, Supportiveness, Consistency, And Admirable Traits. Age 6 and up.

Perception of Relationship Assessment:

Perception of Relationship Assessment:

Data-Based. Measures How Close a Child Feels to Each Parent, and the Positive and Negative Impacts of Each Relationship. Age 3 Years, 2 Months and Up.

Parent Awareness Skills Survey:

Parent Awareness Skills Survey:

Reflects The Sensitivity And Effectiveness With Which A Parent Responds To Typical Childcare Situations.

Parent Perception of Child Profile:

Parent Perception of Child Profile:

Elicits Extensive Portrait of a Parent’s Knowledge and Understanding of a Specific Child.

Child Evaluation Questionnaire:

Child Evaluation Questionnaire:

This questionnaire is designed to gather the extensive amount of information about the child and parents considered to be important in the framework of the comprehensive custody evaluation.

Child Evaluation Interview:

Child Evaluation Interview:

The Interview Forms are extensive and high detailed. They are designed to gather self-report data from parents, grandparents, and collateral informants such as teachers, pediatricians, etc.

Child Evaluation Observation:

Child Evaluation Observation:

The Observations pinpoint what a parent says and does, but also discriminate among the different ways, positive and negative, a child responds to parental communications.

Home Study:

Home Study:

A well-organized home-study is a necessity, home studies evaluate room-by-room safety, home safety, neighborhood safety, plus life-style issues like homework space, sleeping arrangements, daycare issues etc.
Whittaker Family Services offer Child Custody Assessments & Social Investigation Service in Tampa, Carrollwood, Florida
Child Custody Assessments & Social Investigation Service in Tampa and Carrollwood, Florida.
We offer Custody Evaluation & Social Investigation Service in Tampa and Carrollwood, Florida.

Assessment of Parenting Skills

Designed for use with parents of infants and preschoolers up to 5 years of age. It evaluates a parent’s genuine interest in a child by assessing his or her knowledge of the details of the child’s:

  • DEVELOPMENT
  • ROUTINES
  • SPECIAL NEEDS
  • FEARS
  • HEALTH HISTORY
  • SCHOOL HISTORY
  • PERSONAL HYGIENE
  • COMMUNICATION

A special section compares one parent with the other or to assess one parent alone with respect to:

 – Parental attunement to the child – Strengths in parenting skills – Weaknesses in parenting skills –

Discipline Index

The Discipline Index systematically obtains information from a child about the child’s overall perceptions of each parent’s discipline style and practices. Its non-verbal responses spare the child both loyalty conflicts as well as the need to verbalize directly negative statements about either parent. This makes it suitable for use in cases covering an exceptionally broad range of issues, and an exceptionally broad range of ages (from 6 on up). The child can indicate his/her perception of how often or how well a specific parent engages in the disciplinary activity.

The Discipline Index has been designed to yield answers about parental disciplinary practices in six areas. Each has its own sub-scale.

  • CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
  • EFFECTIVELY MONITORS BEHAVIOR
  • CONSISTENT ENFORCEMENT
  • FAIRNESS
  • ATTUNEMENT
  • MODERATES ANGER

This assesses how often a parent convey his or her expectations clearly to a child.

The DISCIPLINE INDEX CAN BE TRULY HELPFUL IN A LARGE NUMBER OF AREAS:

  • Child Therapy
  • Normal Child Development
  • Child Custody Assessments
  • Family Therapy
  • Parenting and Family Issues Planning
  • Children Who Need Help
  • lnvestigations of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Assessment of Pre and Post Parenting Interventions
  • Classroom Assessments of Behavior Problems
  • Child Protective Service Assessment and Treatment

The manner and means by which parents choose to discipline a child are significantly correlated with many important ultimate outcomes. Even short of actual abuse, as such, excessive punishment and lack of attunement to a child has negative outcomes as do inconsistent discipline and failure to monitor a child’s activities, even in the presence of a loving attitude towards the child. All cases are individually assessed to determine the appropriate assessment, survey or index. For more detailed information or name of assessments used in Social Investigation or Child Custody Evaluations please call 813-240-0855 or sent an email to: office@whittaker-counseling.com.

Whittaker Family Services, LLC uses information described above and the research based child custody assessments, indexes and surveys created by Anita K. Lampel, Ph.D., Barry Bricklin, Ph.D., Gail Elliot, Ph.D.

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