Assignment 3: Juvenile Court
In this assignment, you will focus on evaluations typically conducted for juvenile courts. Some specific purposes of these evaluations include informing the courts of the juvenile’s competency and treatment needs and aiding the courts in adjudication decisions. These evaluations also might help the courts determine appropriate sentences for juveniles charged with crimes. The evaluator has the challenging responsibility of presenting the evaluation results for these intended purposes.
Write a 3- to 4-page paper, including the following points:
A forensic psychology professional may be asked to conduct different types of juvenile court evaluations. Using the Argosy University online library resources and the Internet, research professional literature available on these evaluations. Professional literature may include relevant textbooks, peer-reviewed journal articles, and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions (.edu, .org, and .gov).
Identify and discuss the forensic psychology professional’s role in juvenile courts.
Compare and contrast three different types of evaluations the forensic psychology professional is asked to perform in juvenile courts.
Your paper should rely upon at least three sources from additional professional literature; the sources must be cited in APA format. Professional literature may include relevant textbooks, peer-reviewed journal articles, and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions (.edu, .org, and .gov).
Identified and explained the forensic psychology professional’s role in juvenile courts.
Identified and described the criminal and civil evaluations the forensic psychology professional is asked to perform in juvenile courts.
Wrote in a clear, concise, and organized manner; demonstrated ethical scholarship in accurate representation and attribution of sources; and displayed accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Any court system of any country is designed to punish the offender and keep all the citizens secured from attacks and harassment from their neighbors as they go about their daily chores. Hover, due to the age difference of the offenders, there is the need to design and develop a juvenile justice system which is formed with a sole purpose of taking care of the needs and desires of the youths who can be deprived basic needs of development and can be harassed if taken to the adult prisons. The juvenile court system is the primary system used to address and handle youth cases, especially those caught and convicted of crimes (Knoll, 2012). This system helps to intervene in delinquent behavior through police, court, and correctional involvement and is largely punitive. This assignment will largely focus on shedding more light on the role and responsibilities of forensic psychologists in juvenile courts.
Psychologists have been heavily involved in the juvenile justice system for decades to provide both treatment and evaluation services for some psychological questions. Forensic psychologists in the juvenile courts account for the special needs and concerns of the youths involved with the legal system. Some of the important duties of these forensic psychologists include:
- They have the role of assisting judges and attorneys who make important decisions about the minors involved in the juvenile justice system. Their forensic evaluations provide case workers with important information about the youth emotional, behavioral and cognitive functioning. Emotional evaluations provide more information on the reactions and emotional responses to various events, occurrences, and circumstances. Additionally, behavioral evaluation helps to provide insight into the behaviors of youths convicted in this system both past and present to determine whether they need future follow-ups(Hockenberry, 2015).
- Forensic psychologists also have a duty to provide treatment and other interventions to juveniles and their families. The major purpose of this important intervention is bringing about an overall improvement in emotional and behavioral adjustment and functioning while decreasing the likelihood that the youths will reoffend.
- Determination of child custody – no matter the final decision of the youth, the forensic psychologist has to ensure that the decision made is in the best interest of the youth.
- Evaluation of parental capacity – this is a comprehensive evaluation of the parents’ risk of neglect and abuse to the child.
- Termination of parental rights – the forensic psychologist has a duty to suggest, support and oppose the end of the legal parent-child relationship.
Termination of parental rights
Often, the thought of the parents losing their children to the system pushes them to work hard and to work on his or her situation for the child in question. However, on other occasions and to other parents, the thought of termination of the parent’s rights brings relief to them. The termination of the parental rights can be regarded as one of the strongest legal mechanisms available to protect children in need. Some of the major grounds through which a parent can lose his or her rights over their children include:
- Severe or chronic physical abuse of the child
- Any sexual abuse of the child that can result in the criminal behavior of the child
- Child neglect by failing to provide shelter, food or other needed care as is required by parental obligations.
- Long-term alcohol or drug induced incapacity of the parent as well as long-term mental illness of the parent.
Parenting capacity evaluation
This series of evaluation comprises of the specific and extensive interview, psych testing, records review and other data as necessary into a concise and complete of valuation to determine the emotional, behavior and cognitive functioning of both the parent and the child. Possible recommendation from the forensic psychologist includes visitations, treatment, and placement (Roche, 2013). The forensic psychologist through this evaluation helps to determine how well is the parent able to respond flexibly, what are these parents reflective capacities, both in begin attuned to their experiences and internal world And the experience and internal world of their child/others. Finally, the psychologist has to determine the risks or benefits of terminating the parent-child relationship.
Determining child custody
A forensic psychologist is tasked with the role and responsibility of determining, among the parents of the child who is convicted who has the right and ability to take the full custody of the child or whether it will be a shared custody. As a result, the psychologists have to conduct an evaluation of the parents to determine their suitability to have the child. Some of the bases through which he or she can base their arguments include:
- The parent’s ability to agree, communicate and corporate in matters relating to the child.
- The parent’s willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow visitation that is not based upon the substantiated abuse.
- The interaction and relationship of the child with his or her parents and sibling
- The safety of the child and the safety of either of the parent from physical abuse from either of the parent
- The preference of the child where the age of the child becomes one of the main factors to determine who should take custody of the child
- Despite the slight differences of the evaluation series, they are all aimed at finding the best and suitable ground for the youth to thrive in and to prevent future occurrences of the same behavior.
Hockenberry, S. &. (2015). Juvenile court statistics 2013.
Knoll, C. &. (2012). Delinquency cases in juvenile court, 2009. Drugs, 17, , 18.
Roche, J. L. (2013). First Annual Juvenile Law Thematic Journal Pepperdine Law Review: Introduction. . Pepperdine Law Review, 4(3), , 1.