Questions for Mental Illness Experts at TPR


  • education, training, college, med school, internship, residency, license
  • special training, a specialty?, board certified?
  • hospital staff or teaching positions
  • publications, lectures, memberships, previous testimony as expert

Current Experience Level:

  • description of current practice
  • number and type of patients seen
  • particular experience with this type of mental illness and/or parenting evals

Involvement with Parent:

  • how and when
  • how many times seen
  • what is proper way to perform such an eval?  medically accepted procedures?
  • describe eval – interviews, records reviewed, tests performed


  • based on eval and records, did you reach an opinion within a reasonable degree of medical certainty that parents suffers from a mental illness?
  • what is your opinion?
  • get expert to describe in detail specifics relied on that formed opinion such as particular behaviors, statements, test results, etc
  • how does this mental illness impact ability to parent?
  • get expert to describe in detail specifics relied on to form opinion that parenting can not occur w/o risk of neglect or abuse


  • medically acceptable possible treatments?
  • medication?
  • opinion re treatment potential regarding this parent’s ability to safely care for this child?(add any conditions that child suffers into question)
  • can parent maintain self safely?


  • do you have an opinion w/in reasonable degree to medical certainty that the will be substantial improvement in parent’s mental health?
  • do you have opinion w/in reasonable degree of medical certainty that child would be a risk of abuse or neglect if placed with parent in the foreseeable future?

Conclusion: within a reasonable degree of medical certainty:

  • afflicted with a mental disease or condition?
  • what mental disease or condition?
  • is it manifested by a disorder or disturbance in behavior, feeling, thinking or judgment?
  • is the behavior, feeling, thinking or judgement of this parent affected to such an extent that this child would not be adequately cared for if placed in the care of the parent?
  • conclude that parent can not presently and for the foreseeable future provide proper, safe and adequate care for this child?
Source: NYSCCC conference workshop presentation by Margaret A. Burt, Esq., Copyright 2010, Reprinted with permission of the author.

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