There are several components to an assessment but certainly the elemental interview will subject you to a series of questions which can either appear conventional and non-threatening or if you are nervous to entrust your future to the psychologist who administers the test, they will be unsettling and worrisome.
Interestingly, the psychologist engaged by Child Protection does not necessarily develop the questions unilaterally but often a case worker or a team of child protection case workers suggests the questions for which they would want to have answers. The parents are customarily presented with these questions in advance of the meeting with the psychologist. If you have had a CPA done, do these questions reflect your experience?
Keeping in mind that this is an assessment of capability to parent, rather than an assessment of parents' relationship with the MCFD Director and protection workers, what questions would be appropriate to ask parents whose parental capabilities are in question? Here are sample questions that might be posed to the Baynes given their family story and their relationship with MCFD over the past 3.5 years.
- I am sure that SWs want to hear how convincingly parents can express their desire and ability to care for their four children, so that is a question that would be asked.
- Can the parents express assurances that they are able to and determined to provide reasonable safety from injury for their children?
- Can the parents supply substantive evidence that they possess the necessary resources to securely parent four children (resources: financial, residential, family relationships, community)?
- Do the parents believe that they not only can but that they will work collaboratively with the Ministry to make certain the safety and health of their children?
- Do the parents have a reliable and responsive resource network upon which they can and will call when and if the demands of parenting four children after 3.5 years without them, becomes strained?
- Are these parents able to present a demonstrable plan for a home setting, facilities and environment/atmosphere that speaks effectively to child safety, practicality and health?
- Have the parents adequately considered the needs of their children, specially a child with a special need, and are they capable of attending to these needs?
- When and if one of the children has an appointment with a medical professional for any reason, can the parents provide assurance that they will listen to and follow medical recommendations concerning that child’s needs?
- Do the parents express an openness and a willingness to follow forthcoming recommendations with regard to further requisite activities and/or resources that will possibly derive from the Parental Capability Assessment?
Since the court case from start to judge's conclusion spanned an entire year and since the court case was initiated by the Ministry of Children and Family Development and since MCFD demonstrated with many verifiable examples an aggressive and adversarial posture against the Baynes for three years, and since the ruling by Judge Crabtree did not accept the MCFD allegation that the Baynes had shaken their baby, at no time can it be appropriate to ask certain questions. This is an assessment of parenting capacity. Therefore, it cannot be appropriate or acceptable for the psychologist on behalf of MCFD SWs to ask anything that may require parents to comment upon whether they are a lesser risk now, or more responsible and safety conscious today than they were three years ago. That was a court matter already and the parents' position was that they were not at risk three years ago. Nor is it appropriate to ask whether they have been to any degree responsible for discord with MCFD since that has relationship to inherent parenting capacity.
And if you are a parent who has gone through one of these assessments, did you receive the questions prior to answering them, and was your lawyer permitted to contest the use of any question that was deemed inappropriate? And are these questions similar to those asked of you? Or were there other kinds of questions?