Course Description

*This selection is for the Final Exam only. Access to the book, Parenting Plan & Child Custody Evaluations: Using Decision Trees to Increase Evaluator Competence & Avoid Preventable Errors, is required to complete the exam. If you already have access to the book, click the "Buy" button above to continue. To order a copy of the paperback book, click here

This program will demonstrate how, by use of decision trees, child custody and parenting plan evaluators can increase their competence and avoid common cognitive errors and biases when doing these evaluations. The presenters discuss a step-by-step approach for doing evaluations, provide rules and procedures for collecting, organizing, analyzing, and synthesizing the data, and making parenting plan recommendations.

7 CE credits/hours, 70 questions

Target Audience

Psychologists | School Psychologists | Marriage & Family Therapists | Mental Health Counselors | Social Workers

Learning Level


Learning Objectives

  • Discuss the common cognitive errors and biases to avoid when doing parenting plan and child custody evaluations.

  • Explain the use of decision trees to increase evaluator competence and avoid preventable errors in parenting plan and child custody evaluations.

  • Present a step-by-step approach for doing parenting plan and custody evaluations.

  • List rules and procedures for collecting data.

  • Delineate procedures for organizing the data.

  • Describe procedures for analyzing the data.

  • Demonstrate ways to synthesize the data.

  • Offer parenting plan recommendations – with samples.

Leslie Drozd, PhD, Nancy W. Olesen, PhD, & Michael A. Saini, PhD

Leslie Drozd, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child therapist in Newport Beach. She is the editor of the International Journal of Child Custody and co-editor with Kathryn Kuehnle of Parenting Plan Evaluations: Applied Research for Family Court (Oxford University Press). She has co-edited other books on relocation, psychological testing, and child sexual abuse and written chapters on domestic violence, treatment of trauma, alienation, and unification therapy. Dr. Drozd has been a child custody evaluator for over 20 years, trains other evaluators, serves as a consultant to attorneys, and as a testifying expert in family law matters. She has helped write the AFCC Model Standards for conducting child custody evaluations and for those parenting plan evaluations involving allegations of domestic violence. She also works clinically with families in the various stages of divorce including co-parenting therapy, family therapy, unification therapy, and parent coordinator. Dr. Drozd has spoken at conferences on these topics in America, Canada, and Europe. Nancy W. Olesen, PhD, graduated in psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and earned a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  She has conducted hundreds of child custody and dependency evaluations for the courts in California over more than 25 years and has provided expert testimony in child custody cases throughout California and other states. Dr. Olesen has taught many courses in best practices in child custody evaluation for professionals in California, nationwide and abroad, including the mandatory training required for court appointed evaluators.  In addition she has taught the course for judges, attorneys, and mediators on child custody special issues such as child abuse, alienation, domestic violence and attachment .   Michael A. Saini, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto and the Course Director of the 40-hour Foundations to Custody Evaluations at the University of Toronto. For the past 14 years, he has been conducting custody evaluations and assisting children's counsel for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, Ministry of the Attorney General in Ontario. He has over 50 publications, including books, book chapters, government reports, systematic reviews and peer-reviewed journal articles.  He is an editorial board member for the Family Court Review, the Journal of Child Custody, Research for Social Work Practice and Oxford Bibliographies Online.  As well, he is a peer reviewer for 10 peer-reviewed journals and 4 international funding organizations.

Course curriculum

  1. 1
    • Statement of Understanding (downloadable/printable)

  2. 2
    • "Parenting Plan & Child Custody Evaluations" - Final Exam Questions (downloadable/printable)

    • Final Exam

  3. 3
    • Evaluation Questionnaire