Working with parents who are at risk for abuse and neglect is challenging. Dr. Griffith began work in this area in the 1980s with parents in rural areas; he did home visits and offered parent education groups with other counselors.
After reviewing the literature and attending several trainings in the areas of abuse, neglect and child custody, Dr. Griffith believes that it is optimal to provide workers with a careful psychosocial history, relevant psychological testing for mental health and substance abuse disorders and a treatment plan that offers realistic recommendations for care and safety planning.
It should not be assumed that a parent who has a mental health disorder will not be able to parent effectively. Thus, skilled examiners need to carefully evaluate if and how mental health concerns impact parenting. The APA has offered guidelines for parent capacity evaluations at the American Psychological Association practice site.