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Critiquing Custody and Access Assessments



Assessment Critique: Hired gun or dispassionate opinion



Parents Have Until the Gavel Comes Down


Assessment Critiques  


Please note, I no longer go to court and I will only provide verbal feedback on assessments to facilitate peoples' planning and options. You will be asked to sign a service agreement stating I will not be called to court or any other form of meeting beyond the sharing of my critique.


At times one or other party may be unsatisfied with their child custody and/or access assessment. An assessment critique offers a critical review of the assessment in view of standards of practice as set out within the professions of social work, psychology and psychiatry. Further the critique can provide comment on the reasonableness of recommendations in view of social science research on data provided within the assessment report.


More specifically, an assessment critique provided herein addresses such issues as:

  1. The qualifications/credentials of the assessor: Is the assessor qualified to provide the assessment and is the assessor a member of his or her professional association in good standing?

  2. Assessment process: Has the assessor followed generally established guidelines and procedures for conducting an assessment?

  3. Multiple sources of information: Has the assessor relied upon several sources of information to provide checks and balance to the data?

  4. Internal integrity of the report: Do the recommendations make sense in view of the observations and data collected directly by the assessor?

  5. External integrity of the report: Is there consistency with the data collected by the assessor from outside sources of information and do the recommendations make sense in terms of this cumulative data?

  6. Best interests of the child: Do the recommendations provide for the best interests of the children particularly with regard to safety, development and opportunity for ongoing meaningful relationships?

  7. The scientific bases for recommendations: Has the assessor shown an understanding of social science research either in the formulation of their assessment data and/or in the recommendations and does the social science research support the recommendations.


The assessment critique, like the assessment, should be independent and unbiased. An assessment critique is not intended to provide a one-sided assessment. An assessment critique does not include re-interviewing either party, children or collateral contacts. An assessment critique may not find fault with the assessment, or even in view of fault, the assessment critique may still support the report or recommendations overall. An assessment critique does not guarantee therefore, an opinion contrary to that of the assessment or a finding of fault. Lastly the assessment critique doe NOT include meeting or interviewing either party subject to the assessment. The only material to be reviewed is the actual assessment. 



$400.00/hr plus HST - a three hour retainer is required payable by eTransfer or paypal.


Third Party Payments (EAP and other Benefit Providers):

Pleased be advised that I do not accept payment by third party payers (benefit or EAP providers) whatsoever. People are directly responsible for payment of services as per the information above at the time of service. A receipt will be provided with which persons can seek reimbursement from their EAP or benefit provider. I take no responsibility for your reimbursement. Reimbursement remains a matter between you and your benefit or EAP provider. 

If you do seek reimbursement through your benefit or EAP provider and I am called to verify the charge, I will do so with your implied consent. My disclosure will be limited to advising of my credentials as well as verifying the billing information, service provided and persons served. Please note, assessment is a clinical-legal service and may not be covered.  No information regarding the nature or content of information discussed will be provided without signed consent, for which you will be charged as per the time required.



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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW



(905) 628-4847


Gary Direnfeld is a child-behaviour expert, a social worker, and the author of Raising Kids Without Raising Cane. Gary not only helps people get along or feel better about themselves, but also enjoys an extensive career in public speaking. He provides insight on issues ranging from child behaviour management and development; to family life; to socially responsible business development. Courts in Ontario, Canada consider Gary an expert on matters pertaining to child development, custody and access, family/marital therapy and social work.


Buy the book:

For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.


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27 Sina St., Keswick, Ontario L4P3E9  Tel: (905) 628-4847  Email: gary@yoursocialworker.com 

Counselling and assessment services serving Hamilton, Dundas, Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Burlington, Brantford,

Oakville, Grimsby, Waterdown and other local areas.