To assist the court in reaching an appropriate decision, a judge may appoint a mental health professional to evaluate adults and children in any case involving custody and visitation, delinquency, persons in need of supervision, child abuse and neglect, termination of parental rights, family offense, and adoption wherein compensation is paid privately or pursuant to Judiciary Law § 35 or County Law article 18-B. The Mental Health Professionals Panel was established to assure that the court and parties have access to qualified mental health professionals.
The panel is comprised of approximately 266 licensed psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, who are appointed by joint order by the Presiding Justices of the Appellate Division in the First and Second Departments. Their names can be accessed in the Directory of Mental Health Professionals.
The information contained in the Mental Health Professionals Handbook serves to familiarize the panel with the procedures and protocols for handling court ordered mental health evaluations. It includes relevant regulations and statutory provisions, administrative policies, court forms, and sample orders.
Prospective panel members are required to view a set of training DVDs entitled “A Two Part Fundamental Training Series” providing an introduction to the practice of forensics as it relates to family law litigation. For current panel members, various continuing education programs are provided throughout the year. (Request access to on line programs).