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Ramsden, S. (2005). Studies in the Assessment of Parenting Peter Reder, Sylvia Duncan and Clare Lucey (eds) Hove and New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2003 310 pp., £ 18.99. J. Child Psychother., 31(1):268-270.

(2005). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 31(1):268-270

Studies in the Assessment of Parenting Peter Reder, Sylvia Duncan and Clare Lucey (eds) Hove and New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2003 310 pp., £ 18.99

Review by:
Sandra Ramsden

This book is a specialist volume, which has been edited and written by experts in assessment in complex child care court cases. It is both a complement and a companion to an earlier book Assessment of Parenting, Psychiatric and Psychological Contributions, edited by P. Reder and C. Lucey, which was published in 1995. Both books have been a response to change and to need. The Children Act of 1989 and its implementation in 1991 was the initial and greatest change. The first book made contributions on both the theory and practice of assessments in family proceedings. The second embraces advances in knowledge about parenting breakdown, a variety of guidance that has been provided upon professional response to such breakdown and the testing of methods of assessment. It also addresses new questions that have arisen since the publication of the first volume.

Fourteen authors contribute seventeen chapters, which are organized in five sections. Of the preponderance of authors, ten are psychiatrists, two are psychologists, one is a social work professor, and one is a senior judge in the Family Division. It might appear that this is a book by psychiatrists for psychiatrists. The stated intention of the editors is that it ‘should be of interest to a spectrum of professionals involved in child welfare and family court work’. The reader is left in no doubt that this has been achieved and that the book stands well alone, without the earlier companion volume, as a current guide and reference book to best practice in assessment work by Mental Health professionals within family proceedings.

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