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Frequently Asked Questions -- Psychological Clinic

What it the Psychological Clinic?

The Oakland County Circuit Court, Family Division has had a psychological clinic for many years (it was originally part of Probate Court). The Clinical Services Unit, also known as the "Psychological Clinic," performs Court-ordered evaluations on individuals and families who are involved with the Court regarding neglect and delinquency matters, guardianship matters, adoption matters, or child custody and parenting time matters.

Why are psychological evaluations done?

The main purpose of the evaluation is to provide the Court with information and to make recommendations regarding the person(s) evaluated. The report usually cover areas such as: a) what is going on mentally and emotionally with the person(s) evaluated; b) what are the special needs of the person(s), if any, which should be addressed; and c) what would be an appropriate treatment/placement plan decision.

Who can make a referral to the clinic?

In juvenile cases (delinquency, neglect/abuse) clients are typically referred by Court caseworkers, Department of Human Services workers, and/or hearing officers. In domestic cases (custody or parenting time disputes), recommendations are made to the judge by the Friend of the Court Family Counselor or by attorneys, for the psychological clinic to do the evaluation.

Who can be referred?

Children and/or adults involved in a particular case may be referred for an evaluation. The recommendation is made when the parties involved in the case observe behavior or receive information to suggest that the client may have one or more of the following difficulties: academic problems, intellectual limitations, prior mental health history, deficit in parenting abilities, etc.

How referrals are made?

  • In Juvenile cases: a caseworker may refer directly to the Clinic by completing the referral form.
  • In Domestic cases: the form "Order for Psychological Evaluation -- Domestic Matter -- Court Clinic" must be completed by the attorneys and signed by the Judge. These forms are available at the Clinic and at the judges' offices.
  • In all cases: the Clinical Services Coordinator should be contacted. At the time the referral is made, parties to be evaluated should be sent to the clinic so that relevant information can be updated and collected, and so that appropriate releases of information can be promptly obtained and signed.

How long does the evaluation take and what will I have to do?

A psychological evaluation can take four to five hours per person, and sometimes longer depending upon the case. Evaluations consist of: a) an interview during which the clinician asks many questions about past history and current situation; b) psychological tests which are administered by the clinician; and c) paper and pencil questionnaires.  As needed, there is an observation of parent-child interactions.

Who will conduct the evaluation?

Depending on the nature of the evaluation, it will be assigned either to a social worker, a psychologist or a psychiatrist. All staff employed either directly by the clinic, or who are consultants with the clinic, are licensed with the State of Michigan and have expertise preparing evaluations in a Court setting.

How will I obtain the results of the evaluation?

Typically, the report of the evaluation is sent to the judge or referee who ordered it. The reports constitute confidential information, and it is court policy not to release such documents to the person(s) evaluated (or their parents).  The clinician, however, can give feedback on the results of the evaluation to individuals who request it.

Will I have to pay for the evaluation?

The cost of the evaluation will be assessed through the Reimbursement Division of the Oakland County Management and Budget Department, as part of the overall court costs.  The maximum fee is $400 per child and $500 per adult based on ability to pay, or as ordered by the judge.

How do I obtain release of psychological reports?

Occasionally schools, treating therapists or other professionals request a copy of the evaluation done by our clinic in order to aid them in planning for the child or family.  Upon receipt of an appropriate release of information, the clinic will send a copy of the report to the professional or agency designated on the release.