Parenting Capacity Assessments
Parenting Capacity Assessments (PCA) are comprehensive evaluations that identify a parent's or caregiver's overall ability to appropriately care for
children and includes an objective measurement of the adult's parenting skills.
All parenting capacity evaluations are conducted by Dr. Mills. He is a registered clinical psychologist and a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology and Psychoanalysis
with the American Board of Professional Psychology, which is a recognition and certification of advanced competence far above the credentialing standard required
in Ontario. It is the highest credential any practicing psychologist can achieve in North America. Dr. Mills has been a practicing clinician and consultant for the
past two decades with a wealth of experience specializing in the assessment and treatment of childhood, adolescent, and adult psychopathology. He is also an
expert in assessing attachment processes between parents and children and treating attachment disruptions, which is the subject matter of his ninth book,
Treating Attachment Pathology
Please click here to learn more about Parenting Capacity Assessments
More about Parenting Capacity Assessments
Uniform Parenting Evaluation Procedure
Dr. Mills follows an impartial, non-biased, uniform assessment procedure and serves the regional Children's Aid Societies, individual parents who are in
need of parenting capacity assessments, and those in court and criminal proceedings.
What distinguishes Dr. Mills' approach from typical parenting capacity assessments performed by other mental health professionals is the
depth and thoroughness of his evaluation procedure. He follows a uniform evaluation protocol where each identified caregiver is:
- Given a battery of psychological and cognitive tests
- Determines the quality of parenting capacity for each identified parent or caregiver
- Undergoes an attachment assessment with each child and parent in both office and home observations on multiple occasions
- Conducts an assessment of each child
- Provides a detailed report on the psychological and cognitive profile of each parent
- Addresses parent-child and relevant family dynamics
- Evaluates the interrelationships among each of the family members in question
- Provides attachment observation results
- Gives a clinical risk profile
- Specifies clear, decisive, and unambiguous recommendations regarding the referral questions, parenting strengths and
deficits, and provides specific direction (when requested) that addresses the needs of identified agencies, individuals, or court goals
The estimated time for the completion of most assessments range from 30-50 hours, although this can vary depending on the number of children, the extent of
psychological testing required, and the number of collateral sources contacted. The OPA hourly rate is $225.00 for any time or activity spent on the case.
A retainer is
required in the amount of $5,000.00 before the assessment is initiated. There will be a request for an additional retainer for anticipated work to complete the
assessment when the original retainer runs out. Any unused portion of the retainer will be returned if the assessment is completed or terminated prior to that point.
If the assessment is aborted or terminated, there will be an administrative cost of $300.
There is no OHIP coverage for this type of service, but parties can claim workplace insurance coverage for any members of the family covered under their
extended health insurance plan. All workplace insurance plans vary, so each party will need to clarify how much coverage per family member is covered under
their plan in each calender year. Usually both parents and children would have some coverage if they are not self-employed. Legal Aid is not accepted,
primarily because the certificates granted do not allow for sufficient hours to conduct the assessment protocol provided.
Steps All Parents and Counsel Must Follow
In order to prevent any perceived notion of bias or manipulation from either party, Mills Psychology must be retained. It is preferred that Dr. Mills either be appointed by the Courts to conduct
a formal PCA (or Sec. 54) assessment, or
formally agreed upon by counsel and clients in writing before the assessment is initiated. Dr. Mills' CV detailing his credentials and qualifications
may be downloaded by visiting our About Staff page. The following conditions apply:
- Mills Psychology must be appointed by the Courts or mutually agreed upon in writing by both legal counsel and clients to conduct a PCA evaluation.
- A $5,000 retainer must be received before the assessment will be initiated.
- There will be no discussion with legal counsel or parents prior to our appointment in order to prevent perceived bias or manipulation by either party.
- A detailed written agreement specifying the roles, parameters, and referral questions must be agreed upon by all parties involved prior to the first initial meeting.
- Parents/guardians will be asked to review and sign an informed consent on the terms of the assessment during the initial meeting.
- Dr. Mills and his staff will meet with the parents, children, identified personnel, conduct a file review, and perform collateral background checks
to determine appropriate recommendations.
- A Psychological Report will be prepared and a feedback session will be conducted with both parties and their counsel detailing relevant findings and recommendations.
Assessments begin on a first-come, first-served basis from the time the completed intake questionnaires and the retainer are received from both parents.
Assessments usually take 1-2 months to complete once initiated.
Dr. Mills does not speak to parents or legal counsel prior to being retained in order to prevent any possibility of manipulation or perceived bias from any party involved in the case. He has conducted PCAs and Custody & Access assessments for the past 10 years for the public, the courts, and the regional Children's Aid Societies and is only interested in conducting such assessments free from obstruction, deception, or politics. By not talking to lawyers or parents prior to being court appointed and retained, Dr. Mills ensures that all parties cannot "feel out" the assessor in order to select someone favourable or well-suited to their particular position. He has been an expert witness in both family and criminal court in the regions of Durham, the GTA, and Hamilton, and shows no preference or favouritism for his clientele.
Information that is not provided to lawyers and parents is the following:
- No previous names or number of cases Dr. Mills has assessed will be revealed
- No sample reports are given out for review
- Dr. Mills does not conduct critiques of previous PCAs or C & A Reports conducted by other assessors