AFCC-CA Mentorship Project
For a number of years, our Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) chapter has attempted to address the continuing issue of a decrease in mental health professionals qualified to serve in Family Law forensic roles. These roles include custody evaluations1, Family Code section 3111 evaluators, Private CCRCs (Child Custody Recommending Counselors), reunification therapists, children’s therapists (where the parents are in conflict/involved in custody/parenting litigation), special masters/parenting coordinators and even supervisors for parent-child contact.
The problem is that the generation of professionals trained and qualified in these areas 15-30 years ago are now retiring, limiting their practices in preparation for retirement, or unfortunately, have passed away.
This has led to a huge decrease in every county in our state (and many others as well) of qualified family law forensic professionals. This means those out there are over-whelmed with cases generally, creating time constraints/delays in being able to start the forensic process needed timely, let alone get reports needed by the court submitted within the timelines that the parties need and want. Such delays usually have a very negative impact on the children needing help/resolution.
The dilemma has been how to attract and recruit mid-career mental health professionals to the field of family law forensic work.