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What is a
Parenting Capacity Evaluation?

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Available April, 2016

Keeping Kids Out of the Middle

Revised for re-release April, 2015

"Parenting Capacity"
refers to an individual's willingness and ability
to understand and respond at least adequately
to children's needs.

A Parenting Capacity Evaluation (PCE)
seeks to inform the court about an individual's
abstract or theoretical potential to care for children.

Because a Parenting Capacity Evaluation
does not include children, co-parents or contextual variables,
it can only suggest whether an individual is
CAPABLE of caregiving,
not the relative quality of the individual's ability
care for a particular child.

What question is
                          being asked?What does a PCE include?
Whnat does a PCE
                          cost?About the PCE summary
PCE and related
                          servicesPCE and confidentiality

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What question is being asked?

Parenting Capacity Evaluation (PCE) seeks to answer questions such as,
  • "Is this adult able to care for a child?"
  • "Is this adult at risk for abusing or neglecting a child?"
  • "What are this individual's parenting strengths and weaknesses?"
  • "Is this individual capable of collaborating with another parent in a child's best interests?"
If the question is,
  • "Should this individual be granted primary residential responsibility for Suzie?"
Then a Child-Centered Family Evaluation (CCFE) is necessary Read about CCFE

Read about parenting capacity evaluation on the web Parenting capacity

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What does a Parenting Capacity Evaluation (PCE) include?

A PCE is a relatively brief process. It is often completed in ten (10) hours or less and with relative efficiency because only one person is involved.

The particular elements included in a PCE will vary with each unique evaluation, but generally include:
  • Review of  records (e.g., court documents, past evaluations)
  • Individual interview(s)
  • Completion of standardized psychological and/or parenting capacity instruments
  • Preparation of a summary report

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How much does a Parenting Capacity Evaluation (PCE) cost?
Is it insurance reimbursable?

The full cost of a PCE is determined by the total time incurred multiplied by Dr. Garber's hourly forensic fee. Please contact Dr. Garber directly to determine applicable rates Contact Dr. Garber

As with all court-related services, the full anticipated costs are due in advance as a retainer. Costs are subtracted from retainer funds as they are incurred. Should additional funds be necessary, all such funds must be paid in full before the final summary report can be released. Any excess funds will be returned upon delivery of the final summary report or the relevant litigation, depending on the specifics of the case.

Dr. Garber will always provide a statement accounting for costs incurred but will not bill any third party insurance entity. Read more here Read about insurance

If you intend to seek insurance reimbursement yourself, please be advised that:
  • All forensic services including PCE are billed under procedure code 90899 ("unlisted psychiatric service").
  • The individual participating in PCE is named as the "patient" or "client"
  • PCE may not yield a diagnosis code.
  • Please be advised that inclusion of a valid diagnosis code for the purpose of insurance reimbursement may needlessly raise issues in court.
Dr. Garber accepts payment in the form of cash, check and credit/debit cards Learn about PayPal

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Who receives the Parenting Capacity Evaluation
summary report?

The answer depends on the circumstances that first prompt the evaluation:
  • Individuals who are court ordered to complete an evaluation may not have access to the summary report, may not have the choice to refuse to disclose the report to the court and/or may be obliged to deliver the summary report to the court regardless of the outcome. Be certain to consult with legal counsel to determine which condition applies to you.
  • Individuals who choose to complete a PCE (e.g., at the recommendation of legal counsel and without court order) will receive the summary report and can choose whether or not to introduce it into litigation unless and until the court demands that it be produced.

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Is a Parenting Capacity Evaluation (PCE)
a reasonable first step before completing
a Child-Centered Family Evaluation (CCFE)?


First, understand how PCE and CCFE are distinct:

Parenting Capacity
Evaluation (PCE)
Family Evaluation (CCFE)
Who is involved?
One parent
Both parents
All children
Approximate time
10 hours
40+ hours
Typical question
to be answered

Can this adult parent?
How should parenting time be allocated so as to serve this child's specific needs?
Is this evaluation
relevant to decisions
about a specific child?



With this understanding, there could be situations in which a parent first completes a PCE and subsequently participates in a CCFE. However, in the majority of cases, the information provided by the PCE will be redundant with the data collected in the course of the CCFE, making the PCE an unnevessary cost and delay.

It is also important to note that (with few exceptions) the professional who conducts the PCE cannot then conduct the CCFE. A different professional would be necessary for each process.

Dr. Garber routinely recommends that
Parenting Capacity Evaluation  (PCE)
can only provide very limited, generic information
and is therefore of limited value.

Child-Centered Family Evaluation (CCFE),
although more time consuming and expensive,
is of far greater relevance and potential value
to most child-centered litigation.

Read about the many roles a psychologist can play in child-centered litigation here Which hat to wear?

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Please note:

If you are participating in a court-ordered or court-related psychological service,
it is very important that you are fully aware of the special conditions
that may limit your privacy or confidentiality.

When psychological services are provided through or in conjunction
with the court system, your confidentiality may be quite limited or non-existant. 
You may not have access to records or reports that concern you without court order.
Information about you may be shared with others at Dr. Garber's discretion
consistent with the court's order and/or relevant stipulations or agreements.

It is very important to ask Dr. Garber, your attorney and/or the court to clarify
the limits of confidentiality relevant to your particular circumstance.

Caveat lector:
This public website is intended to provide general information both about Dr. Garber's professional services
and about select issues that bear on child and family development.
None of the information contained in these pages can replace your well-informed
knowledge of your own child and family, nor can it replace the first-hand opinion of an informed professional.

By the same token, weblinks are provided here for general information value
without implying  Dr. Garber's endorsement or recommendation.

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