So, why is it important for clinicians to learn the new strategies for writing court evaluations? Is this required for every clinician? Is this a transferrable skill? The initial steps to answering these questions require that you (1) first consider how you feel about working with justice involved individuals, and (2) reflect on how you engage in conversations to learn more about your patients and clients who may be justice involved.
"As health professionals in our daily work, whether in the clinic or doing research, we are witness to great injustice ... Our role as health professionals is not just to treat our patients, but to sound the alarm and to advocate for change..."
“I have been feeling increasingly competent about my report writing. I am ready to learn more,” Dave said to Karen. “What skills have you gained so far?” Karen responded, before introducing him to the 10 Commandments of effective writing skills for Court. “Understanding the why of effective writing skills for Court and the 10 answers needed before writing a report have been invaluable tools. I am also grateful to have a breakdown of the seven reasons concerning why I lost my credibility and the opportunity to work with you to restore it. Learning about the principles and techniques and choosing the right structure for my reports have also been significant for me,” explained Dave, feeling and appearing satisfied.
“I have been unsuccessful with my report writing, and I want to do things differently, going forward. Dave articulated these words to his coach, who was working with him on his professional development. “You are not alone with your challenges with court reports, and recognizing the need to improve is already a big step.”
Writing for court is not taught in school and is a challenging skill to learn at the workplace. However, there is always hope and help available. Similar to Dave, you can learn the skills you need to be the best advocate you can be and with the highest level of credibility possible.
“They told me that I lost custody of my son, because I let him drink coffee. Now he is in foster care, and they are abusing him. I want my son, Alex, back. I want him back.” Alejandro spoke these words in court with tears in his eyes, imploring the judge to carefully look into his case. The judge proceeded to subpoena all records and reports related to the decision to remove Alex from Alejandro.
“I want to make a difference in the world and in people’s lives. I am a social worker; I am an advocate.” Jackie articulated these words in response to the question: “What motivates you?”