If you were participating in a parental capacity assessment, would you know what to expect? Have you already been through one of these?
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.
The psychologist engaged by Child Protection may not develop the questions unilaterally but often a case worker or a team of child protection case workers suggests the questions for which they 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 PCA 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 a parent whose parental capabilities are in question? Here are sample questions that might be posed to Derek Hoare given his daughter's history with the MCFD and in school over recent years.
- I am sure that SWs want to hear how convincingly Derek can express his desire and ability to care for his three children, and that will be a question that is asked.
- Can Derek express assurances that he is able to and determined to provide reasonable safety from injury for his children?
- Can the Derek supply substantive evidence that he possesses the necessary resources to securely parent three children (resources: financial, residential, family relationships, community)?
- Does Derek believe that he not only can but that he will work collaboratively with the Ministry to make certain the safety and health of his children?
- Do Derek have a reliable and responsive resource network upon which he can and will call when and if the demands of parenting three children becomes strained?
- Is Derek able to present a demonstrable plan for a home setting, facilities and environment/atmosphere that speaks effectively to child safety, practicality and health?
- Has Derek adequately considered the needs of his children, specially two children with special needs, and is he able to attend to these needs?
- When and if one of the children has an appointment with a medical professional for any reason, can Derek provide assurance that he will listen to and follow medical recommendations concerning that child’s needs?
- Does Derek 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?
If you are a parent who has done 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?