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They Shoot the Messenger in Child Custody/Access Cases
parent called me asking for me to provide an assessment. I explained I do not
provide court involved services anymore and explained
why. The caller asked for a referral to someone who did. I offered
the name of a respected colleague.
caller emailed thereafter and included in the email messages that had been
posted about the colleague on the Internet. The postings portrayed my colleague
quite terribly. The caller wanted to understand how I could refer to such a
person. My reply was this:
our profession, we all work with upset people in challenging situations. Our
work influences or determines the outcome for their family.
times some people take great exception to the outcome and turn their upset upon
the service provider.
and access work accounts for the greatest number of complaints to professional
licensing bodies. Myself and all my experienced colleagues have dealt with these
issues as part of our professional practice.
can offer you other names, but each person will also have had complaints against
them, some by Internet postings and some by complaints to the licensing body and
some by both. However, all are respected within their profession by colleagues,
courts and lawyers although all have also been complained about by former
a third party (assessor, judge or arbitrator) influences or decides your fate,
there is always the risk of an unfavorable outcome. That is why to the degree
possible, we suggest people find a negotiated solution.
my colleagues and I have all been vilified by parents unsatisfied with the
outcome of their dispute. That is a relatively unspoken professional hazard.
is a lesson in this though for the general public. Regardless of the
professionalís credentials and credibility, you may not like the outcome of
think twice when given decision making authority away.
the alternative, if you keep control of decision making authority, you may
arrive at an outcome you can at least live with, even if not fully satisfied.
This frequently is better than rolling the dice. By retaining control of the
outcome, you will know what youíve got. Give it away, there is always risk.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
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