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Youth & Family Forensic Program

YFFP Team: The YFFP team includes professionals from multiple disciplines, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, and professional counselor, all of whom have training and expertise in child development and parenting interventions. Doctoral evaluators have completed formal forensic specialty training.

Child Custody: A child custody evaluation will discuss parenting and custody recommendations that are in the best interest of the child(ren). One report will be written for all parties.

Parental Fitness: A parental fitness evaluation is conducted to address the mental health of one parent, parent-child relationships, treatment recommendations, as well as parental strengths (protective factors) and weaknesses (or risks, in some cases).

Diagnostic & Treatment: A diagnostic and treatment evaluation identifies mental health diagnoses and treatment recommendations of one individual (parent, child, etc.).

Termination of Parental Rights: A termination of parental rights evaluation will address the mental health of a parent, parent-child relationships, treatment recommendations, and parental strengths (protective factors) and weaknesses (or risks, in some cases). The issue of termination of parental rights will be explicitly addressed, including the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Adoption: Adoption evaluations are conducted to ensure prospective adoptive parents’ stability. Evaluations will adhere to the standards of the specific agency requesting the evaluation and will provide mental health diagnostic evaluation for each party.

Juvenile Transfer/Reverse Transfer:  A juvenile transfer evaluation will address a juvenile’s mental health, protection of the public (risk and protective factors), sophistication, maturity, and amenability to treatment to assist the court in order to determine if a juvenile’s case should be transferred to the court of general sessions (or back to family court in the case of reverse transfer evaluations).

Juvenile Mitigation: A juvenile mitigation evaluation will identify factors pertaining to a juvenile that may mitigate culpability for the index offense(s).

Juvenile Competency to Stand Trial:  A juvenile competency to stand trial evaluation will determine if a juvenile is experiencing a mental disease or defect that is interfering with his/her competency to stand trial. 

Juvenile Criminal Responsibility & Capacity to Conform: A juvenile criminal responsibility and capacity to conform evaluation will address a juvenile’s appreciation of moral and legal wrongfulness and their capacity to maintain control of their behavior at the time of the crime.

Referral Process: Referrals are accepted from, but not limited to: attorneys, Guardian ad Litems (GALs), and the Department of Social Services (DSS).

Additional Information: Sheresa Christopher, Ph.D. serves at the Director of MUSC CPSPD’s YFFP. For additional information regarding the services provided by the CPSPD, please contact the Administrative Coordinator at 843-792-1461 or via email at forensicpsychiatry@musc.edu.