Thursday, March 9, 2017

On the difference between "clinical", "forensic", "experimental" and "evidence-based" in child protective proceedings

It is important for parents facing child neglect and abuse proceedings to understand some of the "expert" jargon used in such proceedings in order to take their children away.

A lot of times, social services employ "hired guns", experts who are sometimes called this:

By the way, I heartily recommend this book to parents facing child protective proceedings in court where an expert psychologist or psychiatrist (or "counsellor", or any other "mental health worker", including a "clinical social worker") is supposed to testify - it is now available on Kindle, for just $7.99 (I have no connection to the author, do not know her, never met her and am not advertising for her).  It is money well spent.

The problem with "expert" psychologists is that they are usually clinicians testifying as forensic experts, and are thus generating a stream of income for themselves.

How that is done?


A clinical psychologist is testifying in a child neglect or abuse case.

She testifies about the child's behaviors, which she calls "symptoms" of some "syndromes" and thus diagnoses the child with "conditions" and authoritatively tells the court that the "conditions" are the result of the parent's neglect or abuse.

Most often, the psychologist (psychiatrist, counsellor, clinical social worker etc.) does not testify whether the causative leap she has made from seeing behaviors to qualifying them as "symptoms" of "syndromes" or "conditions" has been proven by science in experiments.

After all, experiments on children are risky business, there is a multitude of requirements in the U.S. to experimentation involving children, so it is easier for social services not to hire a true forensic expert - the expert dealing with experimentation - because he or she might be honest and refuse to give social services what they want, testify to the legal standard of admissibility of expert evidence, in New York that means that the expert must be persuaded to the degree of "scientific certainty" that the child's demonstrated behaviors are proof that the child has a condition, and that the condition was caused by the parent.

When, instead of a forensic expert who would be honest as to the underlying science of the "conditions", "symptoms" and "syndromes" and might just as well say that he or she cannot testify to the required degree of "scientific certainty" what those behaviors demonstrated by the child mean in connection with a child protective case, or whether such behaviors are connected with a child protective case at all, social services offer the testimony of a clinician, and especially of a treating clinician of the child, many principles of expert testimony are violated.

First, a treating clinician is not a neutral expert, so the principle of neutrality is not there.

Second, the treating clinician most often is in the business of treating people, and not in the business of experimentation and science.

The big difference between the two is that the pay of a forensic expert does not depend on the outcome of the experiment, and the pay of a clinician significantly differs based on the outcome of treatment.

Note that practically all mental health treating "professionals" always tell their clients that their is no "cure", but the "condition" may be "controlled" with ongoing "counselling" or "therapy" - which creates a stream of income for the "treating" mental health "professional".

So, when the treating clinician testifies in court, she has a purpose in mind - to secure for herself a stream of income as a result of the court's decision.

And she does that.

Usually, courts listen to mental health experts nearly practically as to gods, unless their neutrality and underlying lack of science is challenged on cross-examination.  That rarely happens, since usually only poor parents are targeted with child protective proceedings, and in those cases, such parents are represented by assigned counsel who usually do not put up much of a fight so that not to irk the judge and to get assigned again in the future (which secures their own stream of income, at $75 an hour, including travel time and time waiting in the courthouse).

Yet, just how many people get wrongfully convicted in criminal court through the use of junk science has recently been divulged in a huge report by federal authorities.

The report, among other things, points out that, despite the numerous experts testifying in courts all over the country, there is just one - ONE - university in this entire country teaching a PhD level course in forensic science - in the Houston, TX.

So, people who claim under oath that they can testify "to the degree of scientific certainty", usually were not trained as scientists, were most likely not trained in, specifically, forensic science, were not trained in the way of collecting evidence from vulnerable and impressionable populations in such a way as not to lead the children and not to taint their responses by the way questions are asked or by the way tests are chosen, offered to the children and interpreted.

They were only trained in how to treat people, and, for purposes of treatment, as a matter of "ethical duty" of a mental health professional, they are taught to "assume as true" anything that the child tells them.

Moreover, clinicians are also mandatory reporters of child neglect and abuse in all states of this country, and are trained to spot and make reports on mere unproven and unverified suspicion of child neglect and abuse, which in itself breeds the culture of thought that verification is unnecessary of whether there is a causal connection between the "symptoms", the suspected "conditions" that the "symptoms", according to a clinician, mean, and the parent.

On the witness stand, knowledge that the testimony can bring in the future an unlimited source of income through court-mandated "counseling" or other "mental health services" to be provided to the child, the parent, or both, plus lack of training and knowledge of how to actually conduct forensic interviews and interpret their results, plus the mentality of a mandatory reporter reporting on unverified suspicions of child neglect or abuse breed a class of "junk science experts" - with degrees and treating licenses, of course - whose testimony will mean nothing from the point of view of science, but may nevertheless heavily influence the case.

Once in a while courts refuse to adhere to junk science and reverse adjudications or convictions based on the most egregiously incompetent or fraudulent expert testimony.

That happened in New Jersey in the case of a young kindergarten teacher Kelly Michaels who was convicted and sent to prison for 49 years (5 of them she actually spent in prison before her conviction was reversed on appeal) based on bogus charges hyped up by a psychologist whose brainwashing of parents as to how to "collect symptoms" led to irreversibly tainted questioning of 3 to 5 year-olds:

"In the 1987 trial of Margaret Kelly Michaels, the New Jersey prosecutors had employed Eileen Treacy, a much-traveled New York abuse expert who had at her command a list of some thirty-two behavioral indicators of child abuse.
Prosecution expert Eileen Treacy explained. A child’s emphatic denial that anything had happened was in fact proof that the child had been victimized, she informed the jury. Citing the theory of the child abuse accommodation syndrome, she described its various phases. If children gave a succession of “no” answers when asked if they had been abused, that was, Treacy explained, “proof of the suppression stage.”

Rabinowitz, Dorothy. No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and Other Terrors of Our Times (Wall Street Journal Book) (pp. 11, 14). Free Press. Kindle Edition.

So, if a child says "no, I was not abused", in answer to successive questioning by social workers, police and "experts", that actually means "yes, I was abused", according to a bogus "syndrome" invented by a "much-traveled" "expert" Eileen Treacy - who now, as far as I know, moved to live in Delaware County, New York and even eagerly supported the election of the local family court judge Gary Rosa, so I am wondering whether she is deriving benefits from her support by being appointed as a court-appointed "expert witness" in Delaware County, too.

In fact, the truly forensic, experimental psychologists have long pointed out at such a factor as young children's suggestibility, that a young child, obviously as the nature's adaptation mechanism allowing the young to survive, keenly picks up what adults who have power over him want from him - and delivers.

See a book on that here:

And see the footage where a TRUE forensic expert testifies about how false memories of nonexistent injuries are implanted into children by repeated leading and suggestive questioning.

"Civil" child abuse and neglect proceedings go hand-in-hand with parallel criminal investigations and prosecutions.

It is important to understand the difference between a "clinical" expert and a "forensic" expert.

By the way, social workers nowadays are camouflaging their result-oriented prosecutions with the pretense of neutrality.

Social workers even established a "National Organization of Forensic Social Work" - which is supposedly a neutral scientific organization, that is what "forensic" must stand for - forensic science, neutral science.

But, in their usual way, this "forensic" organization shot themselves in the foot right on their webpage by, at the same time, on the same page, proclaiming that they are a "forensic" organization meant to "advance the field of forensic social work", and that "social work is not, nor should it be a neutral profession".

There goes the neutrality of "forensic social work".

Of course, theoretically, a prosecutor or investigator must be neutral as a matter of due process, but that is theory, in real life we cannot expect a party in litigation, such as a social worker who is prosecuting the case or testifying as a witness for the prosecution, to be impartial.  They will get fired if they are impartial, and would not bring, through their testimony, approval of the ever growing budgets and grants for their departments and "services".

And here is another point about the "neutrality" of social work - an excerpt from social workers' "code of ethics":

So, the code of ethics of social workers actually requires them to be advocates, and "to protect the vulnerable" (the most vulnerable, of course, being their own budgets).

An advocate and a forensic expert are incompatible concepts.

Even if such "experts" would be testifying about "evidence-based" "methods", "models" or "test batteries", as described aplenty, for example, in the 2015-2019 Plan of services by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, you know that the "evidence" that such "models" are based on may be contrived or fabricated.

So, whenever you see a social worker, a treating physician, or a clinical mental health provider testifying - that is NOT a neutral expert, and their "evidence-based" testimony is NOT the equivalent of testimony of a neutral expert explaining science to the fact-finder, it is the testimony of an advocate which should be vigorously challenged and excluded from court proceedings as improper influences on the judge.

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