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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Database of Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - December 22, 2017 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 7970
Date: 2008-12-18

Author:lfontesrcn.com

Subject:Re: parental capacity eval in child welfare

In parental capacity evals, please don't forget the importance of parental assessments being carried out in a culturally and LINGUISTICALLY competent way. My attention has recently been called to two sets of assessments--one with a Sudanese mother and the other with a Portuguese mother that were carried out entirely in English. With the Portuguese mother, the assessor sensed that the woman was not understanding everything and then HANDED HER A SPANISH-ENGLISH DICTIONARY! With the Sudanese mother, an interpreter was called in sporadically but not consistently. The mother--a recent refugee--could not answer or pose questions properly, and could not demonstrate her relationship with her children in English. She now has three children in various stages of permanent removal and only now are people questioning how much she has understood.



Clearly....to be valid, these assessments must be conducted in the parents' preferred language, whether with a bilingual assessor with an interpreter.



I discuss some of these issues in my new book, Interviewing Clients Across Cultures: A practitioner's Guide.



Lisa Fontes, Ph.D.

Union Institute & University





---- Original message ----

>Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2008 15:49:18 -0600

>From: D F MCMAHON

>Subject: parental capacity eval in child welfare

>To: Child Maltreatment Researchers

>

> I am working on a "stakeholder input" recommendation

> regarding parental capacity evaluation in

> connection with CFS and case planning. I am focusing

> on the issue that local practice is to have parental

> capacity eval done by a state agency and then to

> have the results reviewed by the evaluator with the

> parent and caseworker. Issues are that parents are

> not comfortable with the requirement (at least as

> practiced) that the caseworker be present during

> review of the evaluation. Parents are likely to be

> sensitized to the negative (or perceived negative)

> aspects of the review, they may be in the midst of

> legal proceedings in which the "other side" is

> represented by the caseworker and likely to regard

> the eval more as a tool for legal prosecution in

> child welfare proceedings than as a case planning

> device.

>

> Is there some info about best practices for handling

> these situations? The idea is to make some

> suggestions to the regional agency that conducts

> these. One likely suggestion is to provide private

> consultation with parent to review the results,

> ensure parents receive an actual copy of the eval

> (not routine practice)

>

> Also, any info as to effectiveness of parental

> capacity evals conducted involving the parent alone

> vs. parent and child(ren)? If visitation

> observations are part of a parental capacity eval,

> should this be explained to family members

> beforehand? What about explaining the types of

> assessments (formal and informal) that will be done?

>

> There are two types of evals done--one type is for

> service planning for reunification, the other is

> when termination of rights is being considered.

> Focus here will be on the first type.

>

> Sheri McMahon

> ND

>





In parental capacity evals, please don't forget the importance of parental assessments being carried out in a culturally and LINGUISTICALLY competent way. My attention has recently been called to two sets of assessments--one with a Sudanese mother and the other with a Portuguese mother that were carried out entirely in English. With the Portuguese mother, the assessor sensed that the woman was not understanding everything and then HANDED HER A SPANISH-ENGLISH DICTIONARY! With the Sudanese mother, an interpreter was called in sporadically but not consistently. The mother--a recent refugee--could not answer or pose questions properly, and could not demonstrate her relationship with her children in English. She now has three children in various stages of permanent removal and only now are people questioning how much she has understood.



Clearly....to be valid, these assessments must be conducted in the parents' preferred language, whether with a bilingual assessor with an interpreter.



I discuss some of these issues in my new book, Interviewing Clients Across Cultures: A practitioner's Guide.



Lisa Fontes, Ph.D.

Union Institute & University





---- Original message ----

>Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2008 15:49:18 -0600

>From: D F MCMAHON

>Subject: parental capacity eval in child welfare

>To: Child Maltreatment Researchers

>

> I am working on a "stakeholder input" recommendation

> regarding parental capacity evaluation in

> connection with CFS and case planning. I am focusing

> on the issue that local practice is to have parental

> capacity eval done by a state agency and then to

> have the results reviewed by the evaluator with the

> parent and caseworker. Issues are that parents are

> not comfortable with the requirement (at least as

> practiced) that the caseworker be present during

> review of the evaluation. Parents are likely to be

> sensitized to the negative (or perceived negative)

> aspects of the review, they may be in the midst of

> legal proceedings in which the "other side" is

> represented by the caseworker and likely to regard

> the eval more as a tool for legal prosecution in

> child welfare proceedings than as a case planning

> device.

>

> Is there some info about best practices for handling

> these situations? The idea is to make some

> suggestions to the regional agency that conducts

> these. One likely suggestion is to provide private

> consultation with parent to review the results,

> ensure parents receive an actual copy of the eval

> (not routine practice)

>

> Also, any info as to effectiveness of parental

> capacity evals conducted involving the parent alone

> vs. parent and child(ren)? If visitation

> observations are part of a parental capacity eval,

> should this be explained to family members

> beforehand? What about explaining the types of

> assessments (formal and informal) that will be done?

>

> There are two types of evals done--one type is for

> service planning for reunification, the other is

> when termination of rights is being considered.

> Focus here will be on the first type.

>

> Sheri McMahon

> ND

>