Assessment of Parenting Competency in Mothers with Mental Illness
Early Childhood
Proven, step-by-step approach to fairly assessing the parenting of mother with mental illness and risk of child abuse/maltreatment
66659 978-1-55766-665-9
2008 208
Available Stock

The stakes are undeniably high when it comes to deciding whether a mother with mental illness can raise her child in a safe, nurturing environment. Now, mental health professionals will have sound assessment strategies—refined over 10 years of study—that fairly evaluate the parenting competency of mothers with a wide range of mental illnesses, from "baby blues" to schizophrenia.

Going beyond measuring only the mother's degree of mental illness, the safety of the environment, or the rate of child development, this groundbreaking resource integrates multiple approaches so that professionals understand the full picture of parenting competency.

Mental health professionals will

  • Assess with confidence. This program is backed by more than 10 years of refinement and testing, and has been shown to produce superior evaluations.
  • Accurately profile parenting strengths and weaknesses with state-of-the-art methodology.
  • Enhance every part of their parenting evaluation process, including interviews and observations, home visits, report writing, sharing results with the family, and testifying in court.
  • Discover the eight critical principles for ensuring that an assessment is sound.
  • Learn about available assessment instruments and get guidance on when to use each.
  • Limit bias by recognizing factors that can influence assessment results, such as cultural differences and high stress levels of parent and child.
  • Get keen insight into life with mental illness through the compelling stories of mothers and children.

With this much-needed resource, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and child welfare professionals will be primed to conduct more accurate assessments, make informed decisions, build stronger mother–child relationships, and facilitate family preservation whenever possible.

About the Author
Foreword Patrick Tolan

  1. Assessing Parenting in Mothers with Mental Illness: A Daunting Task
  2. Mental Illness: Types and Effects on Parenting
  3. Guidelines for Assessment
  4. The Assessment Process
  5. Assessing Caregiving Capabilities
  6. The Psychiatric Evaluation
  7. Social and Environmental Influences
    Heather Hasslinger
  8. Children’s Perspectives and Needs
  9. Growing Up Crazy
    Niki Grajewski


Appendix A Instruments for Assessing Risk of Child Maltreatment
Appendix B Resources for Clinicians



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: Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services - July 27, 2010
"The book emphasizes the importance of assessing parenting directly and the reality that mental illness affects parenting behavior versus focusing on the mental illness. This point is extremely important, often overlooked, and an excellent contribution of the book."
: Book News, Inc. - March 28, 2008
Denise Kane, Inspector General, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services - August 29, 2007
"An indispensable reference . . . should be required reading for child welfare, mental health, and legal professionals who serve the children and families of our child protection courts."
Meghan Kirshbaum, Founder & Executive Director, Through the Looking Glass - August 28, 2007
"An invaluable resource for practitioners involved with mothers with mental illness and their children."
Joanne Nicholson, Professor of Psychiatry, Licensed Psychologist Provider, Center for Mental Health Services Research; Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School - August 28, 2007
"An essential guide, drawing from an extensive review of the scientific literature, exhaustive consideration of relevant assessment tools and strategies, and years of research and clinical practice."
Cindy Lederman, Presiding Judge, Miami-Dade Juvenile Court - August 7, 2007
"What we can learn about the parent, the child, and the relationship with the help of Dr. Ostler's work can form the basis of individual case plans that can provide the case specific interventions we need to provide the best chance of keeping the family together."
Author: Teresa Ostler Ph.D.   Foreword Author: Patrick Tolan Ph.D.   Chapter Authors: Niki Grajewski M.S.W., Heather Hasslinger