Expert Witness/Evaluator Training
Funded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Division of Youth and Family Services, the Expert Witness/Evaluator training prepares psychologists and psychiatrists to provide expert opinions in child abuse/neglect matters and termination of parental rights matters. Participants learn and hone skills necessary to render psychological opinions within the context of the current state of the child welfare laws in New Jersey and to offer sound testimony.
The Expert Witness/Evaluator Training is designed to provide information, demonstrations, role-playing and practice testimony primarily for psychologists and psychiatrists who will contract with the Division of Youth and Family Services. The reference material that will be offered will enable educated and experienced professionals to attain the skills and understanding necessary to assume the role and responsibilities of an Expert Witness in child welfare cases.
The training consists of 3.5 days of training. Two days of classroom clinical instruction are followed by a day of legal instruction regarding termination of parental rights in the child welfare context and a half day consultation day. The legal day of training includes mock direct or cross-examination.
A half day training, designed to serve as a follow-up consultation day is scheduled to occur at a later date. During the annually scheduled follow-up half day, each participant provides a completed evaluation for consultation.
Dr. Susan Esquilin and Dr. Alice Nadelman, two psychologists with extensive experience in DYFS cases, facilitate the first two days of the training. On the third day, the program is led by two Deputy Attorneys General. Attorneys from the Public Defenders Office, Law Guardian Program, and Legal Services assist with the mock trial.
Attendees should have a New Jersey license to practice psychology or psychiatry as well as clinical or forensic experience with children and parents.
The training was developed in collaboration with DYFS, Rutgers University, New Jersey Attorney General's Office, Legal Services of NJ, a Family Court Judge, the Office of the Public Defender-Parental Representation Unit and the Law Guardian's Office. The training is paid for by DYFS for the purpose of expanding the pool of individuals available to provide quality evaluations of families and children involved with child welfare services. Additionally, this program is co-sponsored by the New Jersey Psychological Association (NJPA). NJPA is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. NJPA maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Continuing Education Credits:
Upon successful completion of the entire program, participants will receive 20.5 CE credits from the New Jersey Psychological Association.
Trainings are typically offered in the fall and spring. The trainings are conducted over a 3 day period from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm with an annual follow-up half day.
For additional information, contact:
Julissa Vizcaino, Program Coordinator
Institute for Families
100 Joyce Kilmer Avenue
Piscataway, NJ 08854