Forensic Mental Health Assessment
of Children and Adolescents

Essential knowledge and practical suggestions
regarding the forensic assessment of minors

"A critically important forensic resource! Dr. Sparta and Koocher have assembled leading experts in the field to convey the latest advances in a thorough, practical, and accessible fashion."
– Eric Y. Drogin, J.D.,
Franklin Pierce Law Center, New York

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Book Overview

Steven N. Sparta, Ph.D. and Gerald P. Koocher, Ph.D., Editors

Forensic Mental Health of Children Book

Most professional forensic literature addresses the assessment of adults yet neglects the necessary differences that arise when working with minors. Forensic Mental Health Assessment of Children presents the reader with essential knowledge and practical suggestions regarding the forensic assessment of minors involved in a variety of legal applications. Methods of evaluation are described by leading experts regarding topics frequently encountered and of great importance to the courts including:

  • Physical and sexual child abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Child custody in divorce proceedings
  • Risk assesment for violence
  • Potential for rehabilitation in juvenile court cases
  • Special education
  • Childhood development and trauma

About the Editors

Dr. Steven N. Sparta Dr. Steven N. Sparta is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and Adjunct Professor of Psychology San Diego State University. He was Chair of the Ethics Committee of the American Psychological Association, former President and Fellow of the San Diego Psychological Association and previously served as Commissioner, Juvenile Justice Commission San Diego County. Dr. Sparta is Boarded in Clinical and Forensic Psychology (ABPP) and maintains an independent practice.

Dr. Gerald P. Koocher Dr. Gerald P. Koocher was President of the American Psychological Association (APA), a Fellow of twelve divisions of (APA) and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the only psychologist to have earned five specialty diplomas from the American Boards of Professional Psychology (Clinical, Clinical Child/Adolescent, Family, Forensic, and Health Psychology). Dr. Koocher's professional practice focuses on coping with chronic and life-threatening illness, bereavement, and the interface of mental health practice, ethics, and law.

Book Reviews
Read what others have said about Steven Sparta's book

"This volume is historically significant. For almost 100 years, mental health professionals have been offering assessments to serve children, families, and legal professionals in juvenile courts. Its guidance is sound, and it will have a defining impact on the growth of the field."
– Thomas Grisso, Ph.D.
Director of the Mental Health and Law Core, Center for Mental Health Services Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA

"Sparta and Koocher have produced an absolutely essential and state-of-the-art book for practitioners, scholars, and students who deal with the complex yet crucial issues of forensic assessment of child and adolescent mental health. This volume is a 'must' for everyone interested in this important area. The book has my highest praise."
– Gail S. Goodman
Professor of Psychology, University of California, Davis

"This volume is chock-full of really valuable information for professionals charged with evaluating children and adolescents. The chapters are up-to-date, highly readable, and brimming with useful advice. I think that anyone who does forensic evaluations, including interviewing children for suspected abuse and neglect, custody disputes, and rehabilitation prospects will find this volume very helpful. I plan to use it with my students."
– Stephen J. Ceci, Ph.D.
The Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology, Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

"Sparta and Koocher have orchestrated a masterpiece. This book represents a remarkable compendium of expertise in uncharted territory. Treatment of such concerns as child plaintiffs in personal injury litigation, the role of childhood abuse and development issues in capital sentence mitigation, the assessment of childhood arson and juvenile sex offender allegations, and numerous other contributions bring fresh, relevant, and concise syntheses of the literature and the legal standards into harmony with professionally sound evaluation techniques. The forensic examiner who addresses children's issues will find it indispensable, and it should be considered a primary text for forensic training programs."
– Mary Connell, Ed.D., ABPP
President, American Academy of Forensic Psychology, 2003-2005, Fort Worth, TX

"This book is a must-read for every mental health professional whose intention is to conduct forensic evaluations of children that meet the highest professional and ethical standards. Each chapter reflects a respect for children as developing persons and the need for forensic assessments that take into account the multiple contexts—familial, legal, cultural, economic—that impede or promote children's mental health. The volume offers a wealth of information that will be helpful to those in the early stages of forensic assessment as well as seasoned professionals who want to ensure their work is guided by the profession's most up-to-date research, assessment instruments, and assessment techniques."
– Ceila B. Fisher, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology and Director, Center for Ethics Education, Fordham University, Bronx, NY

"This book forms a much needed bridge between the fields of juvenile law and child and adolescent psychology. The scope of the book is impressive, as is the list of contributors. Certainly, I believe that Sparta and Koocher accomplish their goal. The field of child and adolescent forensic psychology has needed a comprehensive text such as this, and the book fills a void that has existed for too long in the literature. The book is well written, pleasant to read, and should be useful to professionals at any level of practice. Thus, the publication of Forensic Mental Health Assessment of Children and Adolescents is timely and may be considered a seminal work, despite its lack of competition."
– Journal of Psychiatry and Law

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