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Guidelines for Comprehensive Social Studies
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Bexar County Civil District Court Guidelines for Comprehensive Social Studies

 

I. Purpose of Investigation
II. Legal Background Relevant to the Current Evaluation
III. Identification of Parties and Significant Others
IV. Composition of the Report-Procedures/Contacts
V. Marital/Relationship History
VI. Background and Information Regarding Petitioner-Name of Petitioner (father/mother)
VII. Background and Information Regarding Respondent-Name of Respondent (father/mother)
VIII. Residences/Physical Environment of Each Party
IX. Stability of the Parties
X. Discussion of Parenting History/Capacity
XI. Information Regarding the Child(ren)/Desires of the Child(ren)
XII. Concerns of the Parents
XIII. Parent's Responses to Concerns
XIV. Evaluator's Assessment of Concerns
XV. Ability to Appreciate the Role of the Other Parent in The Child(ren) Upbringing
XVI. Collateral Information
XVII. References
XVIII. Summary
XIX. Recommendations
XX. Other Requirements

Qualifications for Court-Appointed Investigator and Standards and
Guidelines for Social Study for the Bexar County Civil District Courts




The following guidelines specify the minimum standards for content and format of comprehensive Social Studies in disputed Suits Affecting the Parent/Child Relationship. Evaluators focus on the best interests of child(ren) and are to complete impartial and comprehensive evaluations for the benefit of providing recommendations to the Court regarding conservatorship and access.


A SOCIAL STUDY MUST INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

I. Purpose of Investigation
In this section, the investigator introduces her- or himself, the child(ren) who are the subject of this suit, and states the general purpose of the study and criteria for the evaluation. Language from the Order for Social Study should be used as a reference.

EXAMPLE: Now comes JOHN SMITH, LMFT, in response to the order of the Court concerning the circumstances and condition of the child(ren), JOHN QUINCY. PUBLIC and JOAN AMBER. PUBLIC, and of the home of any person[s] requesting managing conservatorship or possession of the child(ren). This social study was prepared pursuant to the criteria for Court Ordered Social Studies established by the Bexar County Juvenile Board approved June 26, 2003.


II. Legal Background Relevant to the Current Evaluation
Four to five sentences giving a brief background or overview of the parents' history together, previous court actions and what they are now seeking. This is a summary letting the court, attorneys and parties know the evaluator's understanding of the issues in the case. This should include present and past custodians of the child(ren).

EXAMPLE (For Original Petitions for Divorce): The parties married (or began a live-in relationship) in 1999, a child was born in 2001, and they separated in 2002. In 2003, the mother filed for divorce. Temporary Orders were issued in April, 2003. Both parties are seeking primary conservatorship of their child. At the time of Temporary Orders a Social Study was ordered to investigate the circumstances of the child and the parties.

EXAMPLE (For Modification of an Existing Order): The parties were divorced in 1999, with the mother named as primary managing conservator and the father ordered to pay $500 per month child support. In August 2003, the father filed a motion to modify conservatorship based on the child's statement of preference to live with him. A social study was ordered when the Motion to Modify conservatorship was filed.


III. Identification of Parties and Significant Others
The purpose of this section is to identify each party by name and to affix a title to each party that is clear and consistent throughout the body of the Social Study. Repeat the same for Interveners, stepparents, and live-in partners.

EXAMPLE: Jane Doe is the biological mother of the child(ren) subject(s) of this suit, hereinafter called mother.


IV. Composition of the Report-Procedures/Contacts
Provide a double-spaced chronological list that includes the following dates: when the case was assigned; office and home interviews with the parties; interviews with professional and non-professional collaterals and references; any records review, such a criminal, Texas Department of Public Safety, TDPRS, civil, school and psychological reports; when the social study report was completed. Include the office called/visited and the name and title of the person who provided the information and the document reviewed, the date of the document, and where it originated.

Minimum Standards for Interviews

A comprehensive social study should require at least eight to ten hours for investigating the circumstances of each parent. This does not include additional time for report writing. The investigator should spend roughly equal time with each party seeking primary conservatorship of the child(ren):

a. At least one interview with each parent

b. Individual interviews of the child(ren): each child should be interviewed individually twice by the investigator. This can occur when the child is brought to the office by each parent or can take place at some alternative confidential setting of the home of each parent (e.g., child's room, park, McDonald's, school, etc.)

c. One joint interview with each parent and child

d. Observation of the child and parent at the time of the home visit (home visit should include the presence of all persons who are living at the residence).

EXAMPLE:
07/15/03 - date of Social Study Order
07/20/03 - office visit (name of mother/father)
07/25/03 - office visit (name of child and parent who brought child)
07/31/03 - home visit (mother/father)
08/02/03 - phone interview - name of professional collateral, title, school, or agency associated
08/02/03 - phone interview - name of non-professional collateral, relationship to party
08/07/03 - reviewed report - list name and date of report, and where it originated
12/05/03 - Social Study completed


V. Marital/Relationship History
This is a chronology of the parties' marital/relationship history and factors precipitating separation/s. Give a brief history of when the parties met, when they married, separated, and the cause of final separation. Detailed information is not needed unless it involves behavior detrimental to the ability of that parent to care for the child(ren). If this is an updated or post-judgment investigation, information prior to the date of the last order concerning conservatorship should be minimal. Do not include verbatim examples of hearsay information regarding the problems in the relationship that does not add to the evaluation of the current situation-this information can be summarized.


VI. Background and Information Regarding Petitioner-Name of Petitioner (father/mother)
a. Brief history of childhood, marriages and other children, major life events that could impact ability to care for child(ren), current employment and current or future relationships. Include a similar paragraph for stepparents, fiances or live-in partners.

b. History with TDPRS. REQUIRED. Forms can be obtained through TDPRS and processed through their office.

c. Alcohol and drug history

d. Medical and psychological history. Specifically question if there is a history of sexual and/or physical abuse.

e. Financial Circumstances of the Party

f. Criminal History. REQUIRED. The Sheriff's Office and SAPD (downtown office) fingerprint the parties and the parties obtain criminal history from Texas Department of Public Safety.

g. History of Domestic Violence


VII. Background and Information Regarding Respondent-Name of Respondent (father/mother)
Same as paragraph VI, above.

VIII. Residences/Physical Environment of Each Party
a. Petitioner-Name of Petitioner:
Home visits will be conducted in all social study cases. The purpose of the home visit varies according to the allegations in the individual case. The main concern in a home visit is to evaluate the safety and appropriateness of a home for the child(ren). Make note of the presence or absence of developmentally-appropriate toys, recreational and educational materials. It is also an opportunity for the evaluator to observe the child(ren) and parent interacting in a more natural setting. The mental health professional shall determine if there are any safety hazards within the home, if there are adequate sanitation standards within the home.
The minimum information to be gathered during a home visit is as follows:

i. Address of the home.

Guidelines for Comprehensive Social Studies

ii. The type of structure.

iii. Names and ages of occupants.

iv. Sleeping arrangements.

v. Description of children's rooms.

vi. Condition of the home.

vii. Type of neighborhood.

viii. Other information related to the allegations of the case.

b. Respondent-Name of Respondent:
Same as paragraph VIII.a., above.


IX. Stability of the Parties
a. Petitioner
The evaluator should address the employment history of parent, if the parent has had frequent moves, transferred the child(ren) to several schools, or if the parent has left the child(ren) with numerous caregivers. Additionally, the evaluator should consider each parent's financial history. Will the parent be able to care for the child(ren) financially? (e.g., has the parent been evicted from a home, declared bankruptcy, and/or paid child support in a timely manner).

b. Respondent
Same as IX.a., above.


X. Discussion of Parenting History/Capacity
a. Petitioner
This section includes the evaluator's observations and assessments regarding the relationship between the parent and child(ren).
Specific areas to be assessed by the investigator during structured and unstructured circumstances include:

i. Child's affection toward the parent, child's compliance with parental directions.

ii. Level of parental stimulation.

iii. Parental encouragement of child autonomy.

iv. Parental attunement to the child's feelings/needs.
Parents may be given age appropriate structured tasks to complete with their child(ren) or the observation may be more open-ended (e.g., child(ren) 6-10 years may be asked to complete a project with their parent; such as, building a box or garden out of various materials provided by the investigator).

Evaluators should be cautioned to consider factors that may impact the quality of the parent/child interaction (e.g., if the child is young, time of day; child's health; if this is the first or second time the child has met the evaluator).

Other issues to be addressed (from interviews and observations) within this section:

v. What is this parent's relationship with the child(ren) and basic philosophy about child-rearing?

vi. Refer to any physical, mental, or emotional limitations the parent might have.

vii. Refer to any participation in the child's care, including developmental milestones (e.g., toilet training, entry into school, etc.).

viii. Each parent is asked to report on his/her perceived strengths and weaknesses as a parent.

ix. Each parent is asked to address any particular concerns about the child(ren) and plan to address these concerns (e.g., school performance, mood, peer relationships).

x. Discipline techniques. Give specific examples of situations and strategies applied (can also explore hypothetical parenting situations).

xi. Describe the parent's expectations for the child(ren) regarding rules/chores, educational achievement, and social development. Are the expectations developmentally appropriate?

xii. The activities the parent participates in with the child(ren) in the community.

xiii. The relationship with the child(ren) and the extended family.

xiv. What activities the parent shares with the child(ren).

xv. How parent displays pride in the child(ren).

xvi. Religious/Spiritual orientation of parent and values, morality, and life goals that are shared with child(ren).

xvii. Physical/Emotional availability for the child(ren).

xviii. Describe the party's childcare plan and whether it meets the developmental needs of the child(ren). Include a discussion about whether or not the party has a social support system that helps maintain the child care plan.

b. Petitioner
Same as paragraph X.a., above.


XI. Information Regarding the Child(ren)/Desires of the Child(ren)
In this section begin by detailing the interviews with each child.

EXAMPLE: NAME OF CHILD was interviewed individually on two separate occasions, once when brought to the office by her mother, and once when brought by her father. She was interviewed jointly with each of her parents, and observed at the home visit of each of her parents.

Follow this with details of information obtained during the interviews. For each child, address the following topics:

a. Physical and developmental descriptions of the child.

b. Documentation regarding the child's medical and psychological history.

c. School history documentation and the socialization of the child.

d. The impact this situation has had on the child.

e. Needs (physical, psychological, recreational, etc.) of the child, including special needs.

f. Who has been the primary caretaker of the child?

g. The parent's perception of their relationship with the child.

h. Whom the child sees as his/her primary caretaker.

i. What are the child's feelings toward, and how does the child interact with each parent?

j. What negative events concerning the dispute have been witnessed by the child?

k. What is the child's relationships with significant others (stepparents, grandparents, siblings, etc.)?

l. How does the child feel about periods of possession with each parent?

m. To whom does the child feel closest? Why?

n. What is the child's perception of rules and discipline?
Additionally, this is an opportunity for the evaluator to explore the child's perception of rules and discipline with each parent. The child's own stated preference concerning conservatorship and access should be explored, but the evaluator should refrain from asking child(ren) directly about the child(ren)'s preferences. Even implied preferences must be considered carefully. The context of Affidavits of Choices should be assessed but considered cautiously. The maturity or unique circumstances of the child could be a factor in this situation but more importantly the investigator should assess the influence applied by the parent upon the child concerning the Affidavit. The evaluator should also assess the nature and extent of coercion and duress used by a parent with the child(ren) to influence their perspective regarding conservatorship.


XII. Concerns of the Parents:
In this section, the evaluator addresses the specific concerns of each parent regarding the other. This section should also address each parent's reason for wanting primary conservatorship.

a. Name of Petitioner
Describe concerns in narrative or list format.

b. Name of Respondent
Describe concerns in narrative or list format.

VIII. Residences/Physical Environment of Each Party:
In this section, the evaluator presents the parent's responses to concerns. Throughout the interviews, the evaluator has made each parent aware of the other parent's concerns and provided both parents with opportunities to explain their individual perspectives.

a. Name of Petitioner
Describe (in narrative or list format) petitioner's responses to respondent's concerns.

b. Name of Respondent
Describe (in narrative or list format) respondent's responses to petitioner's concerns.


XIV. Evaluator's Assessment of Concerns:
In this section, the evaluator assesses the stated concerns of the parents, offers any other pertinent observations obtained during the course of the study and integrates findings from many sources to determine if the specific concerns/allegations are valid.


XV. Ability to Appreciate the Role of the Other Parent in The Child(ren) Upbringing:
This section addresses issues such as the parent's abilities to communicate and cooperate with one another on issues relevant to the growth and development of the child(ren). Specifically, the investigator should explore with each parent:

a. What they like about the other parent and how their feelings about the other parent might affect the child(ren).

b. What each parent does that contributes to the problems between this parent and the other parent.

c. How each parent currently makes decisions with the other parent about school, doctors, vacations and religious training.

d. How school or medical information is shared between the parents.

e. How parents manage being at the same event with their child(ren).

f. How different rules in each household are discussed.

g. What each parent is saying to the child(ren) regarding the other parent, especially in regard to conservatorship and/or possession time.

h. Does each parent's home contain pictures, gifts, or mementos from the other parent that would indicate support for the child's relationship with that other parent?
Further, this section should address each parent's appreciation of the dangers of the child(ren)'s exposure to and involvement in the parental conflict of the divorce. Are the children used as a "go-between" for communications between the parties? Do the parties question the child(ren) about the circumstances of the other parent? The evaluator should also assess the nature and extent of coercion and duress used by a parent in seeking to obtain an agreement regarding conservatorship.


XVI. Collateral Information:
Collateral information is independent information received from disinterested non-parties, which may support, confirm, disprove or contradict information provided by the parties. Collateral information is usually obtained from sources that have no direct interest in the outcome of the case; collateral sources are generally professionals who have factual information to provide (for example: police, doctors, nurses, teachers, childcare providers, psychologists/counselors, etc.), but may also include non-professional persons who have relevant, significant information about the case, such as ex-spouses, adult children, neighbors, etc.
Whenever possible, collateral information should be sought by evaluator with regard to allegations that are outcome determinative (meaning, if the evaluator could confirm or disprove a specific allegation in the case, it would impact the evaluator's recommendation).


XVII. References
References should not be confused with collateral sources. References provide information regarding the parents' character and parenting abilities, usually based on a personal relationship and personal observation. References usually know the parent well and, because there is a personal relationship, have an interest in the outcome of the case, which makes the information provided biased information. The information provided should be considered and weighed in light of the reference's relationship with the parent and in light of any other information gathered in the case.


XVIII. Summary
a. This section addresses the evaluator's assessment of the validity of the concerns or allegations presented by the parent. It should flow from the body of the report, and include objective and factual data to support or refute parent's allegations.

b. Comment on whether or not there is sufficient information available to determine if a concern is valid. If sufficient information does not exist, the evaluator should defer these matters for a determination by the Court.

c. Includes the evaluator's impressions of the family dynamics, systemic issues and a hypothesis regarding what is in the best interests of the child(ren).

d. Give strengths of each party as well as the weaknesses. Be balanced, fair and respectful.

e. Emphasize the needs the children have and whom and how those needs will best be met.
If the evaluator concludes that naming one parent as the primary residential parent will serve the best interests of the child(ren), then this section should include a recommendation and supporting rationale regarding the primary residence of the child(ren) and parental responsibilities. In cases involving a post-judgment adjudication of conservatorship, it is necessary to include language stating whether or not there has been a "material and substantial change of circumstances" in the primary residential parent's home and if that change would be in the child(ren)'s best interests. Additionally, this section should include an explanation of how the investigator's recommendations may impact the child(ren).

Consideration of the following overview of some of the significant issues can be helpful in formulating the best plan for the children.

a. The child(ren)'s needs based on considerations of chronological age, sex, and any special needs, arising from educational, physical and/or emotional issues regarding the child(ren).

b. The quality of the parent-child relationship between the persons seeking conservatorship of the child(ren) in question.

c. The parenting ability of each party to the suit and their capacity for meeting the child(ren)'s needs.

d. The parties' plan for conservatorship and the potential of the plan to provide for the child(ren)'s appropriate development.

e. The capacity of the parties to maintain a child oriented environment.

f. The stability of the home of each person seeking conservatorship, and each person's ability to maintain continuity for the child(ren).

g. Willingness of the parties to allow the child(ren) to continue a relationship with significant persons in the child(ren)'s life.

h. The parties' historic involvement with the child and previous parenting responsibility.

i. Relevant acts (especially concerning child abuse or domestic violence) or omissions of the disputants and any excuse for the acts or omissions.

j. The child's feelings and preferences.

k. Concerns or allegations of each of the disputants and their impact on parenting.


XIX. Recommendations:
This section can be included in the Summary section and can be in bullet or numbered format.
The evaluator should also offer recommendations regarding possession time, including supervised visitations-exchanges, placement schedule and other features of a parenting plan (co-parenting, mediation, referrals to agencies, community resources, counseling, etc.) to guide the family toward resolution of conflict.
Guidelines for Evaluators - Information to Provide to Parents:
Evaluators must provide parents with information regarding the process of the evaluation. Evaluators should explain the following issues to parents in the first interview:

a. Scope of the Evaluation: The evaluator should refer to the exact language of the Court Order for the social study.

b. Costs: The evaluator should clarify how costs for the evaluation will be divided.

c. Interviews: The evaluator should explain what interviews will be conducted. Additionally, evaluators should explain how much contact there will be with each participant and with the child(ren). If information will be collected from a party living outside of the immediate jurisdiction, the evaluator should explain how this information will be collected. The evaluator should explain what steps will be taken to ensure that there is a balance of input in this situation.

d. Written Material: The evaluator should explain how written material is accepted and detail who will have access to written material.

e. Home Visits: The evaluator should explain how home visits will be conducted (e.g., announced or unannounced).

f. Other Contacts: The evaluator should detail how professional and personal collateral information will be obtained and reported (i.e., confidentiality, whether information will be gathered via in-person interviews or via telephone interviews).

g. Agency records. Explain if law enforcement or other agency records will be obtained. Detail how will confidentiality issues be addressed regarding these records.

h. Settlement opportunities. Explain if there is an opportunity for settlement in the midst of an evaluation, and what process will be used if the parents or evaluator feels a settlement is likely. Explain if a settlement conference is routine before preparation of the report or after the report is complete.

i. The report. Explain how the report be distributed and reviewed by the parties.

j. Evaluator's role. Discuss what responsibility the evaluator has to the court in the event of a trial. Explain if the evaluator will testify. Explain if there will be additional costs to the parents/parties if the evaluator testifies in court.

k. Evaluator's experience. Explain the credentials and licenses of the evaluator.

l. Grievances. Provide information on how to file a grievance with the Domestic Relations Office or the evaluator's licensing authority.

m. Confidentiality. Explain the limits of confidentiality within the evaluation.


XX. Other Requirements:
a. All social studies shall contain a notarized signature page.

b. All social studies shall be filed with the Bexar County District Clerk's office.

Qualifications for Court-Appointed Investigator and Standards and Guidelines for Social Study for the Bexar County Civil District Courts*

Definitions.

The following terms, when used in this document, have the following meaning unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

Appropriate professional field - a mental health field, regulated under Texas statutes that have a licensing entity able and willing to:

(1) investigate any complaints against persons whose activities are regulated by the licensing entity in regard to the conduct of social studies.

(2) take appropriate action on the licensing of the individual against whom a complaint has been made, based on the findings of complaint investigations
Mental health field - an area of practice (psychiatry, psychology, social work, counseling, marriage and family therapy) focusing on child development, child and adult psychopathology and family systems. Additionally, the evaluator should have formal training in understanding cultural diversity.

Minimum Qualifications.

(a) A person qualified to conduct a court-ordered social study in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship must:

(1) be licensed in an appropriate professional field and

(2) have completed, as a minimum, one of the following conditions:

(A) a master's degree in a mental health field from an accredited college or university and:

(i) 2 years of professionally supervised full-time experience that includes evaluating families, and includes focus on dynamics of the family, children's developmental needs, social, and cultural issues.
Additionally, the evaluator should have experience and understanding of the complexities of the divorce process and an awareness of legal issues pertaining to custody and visitation.

(ii) at least 10 court-ordered social studies under the supervision of an identified person meeting the qualifications. (Direct supervision must be provided within the context of employment in a social service organization or agency or direct employment, or contract employment by a person meeting the qualifications.)

(B) a bachelor's degree in a mental health field from an accredited college or university and:

(i) 5 years of professionally supervised full-time experience that includes evaluating families, and includes focus on dynamics of the family, children's developmental needs, social, and cultural issues. Additionally, the evaluator should have experience and understanding of the complexities of the divorce process and an awareness of legal issues pertaining to custody and visitation.
and

(ii) at least 20 court-ordered social studies under the supervision of an identified
person meeting the qualifications. (Direct supervision must be provided within the context of employment in a social service organization or agency or direct employment, or contract employment by an identified person meeting the qualifications).

(b) A person with a master's degree or bachelor's degree in a mental health field from an accredited college or university and licensed by an appropriate professional field may conduct court-ordered social studies if that person is directly supervised by an identified person meeting one of the minimum qualifications. Direct supervision must be provided within the context of employment in a social service organization or agency or direct employment, or contract employment by an identified person meeting the qualifications. Both the person making the study and the person providing the required supervision must sign these studies.

(c) If, by September 1, 2003, a person has completed at least 20 court-ordered social studies in suits affecting the parent-child relationship within the period from September 1, 1993 to September 1, 2003, the investigator is not required to meet these minimum qualifications. Individuals must register their qualifications and willingness to conduct social studies with the Bexar County Domestic Relations Office (DRO). The appropriate professional field, through facilitation of the DRO, is responsible for investigating any licensing complaints in regard to the conduct of social studies. The appropriate professional field and the DRO will be involved in determining the person's continuing eligibility to provide these services to the Bexar County Civil District Courts. Furthermore, the DRO will be responsible for monitoring a investigator's compliance to the Standards for Comprehensive Social Studies as adopted by the Bexar County Civil District Courts.
Registration, Continuing Education and Pro Bono Requirements.

(a) Persons qualifying under these standards offering to provide these services must complete a registration form provided by the DRO. They must file this form with the DRO. Investigators registered through the DRO must submit current information concerning their ability to provide social studies as requested by the DRO.

(b) Persons qualifying under these regulations offering to provide these
services are required to complete eight hours of continuing education per
year beginning Jan 1, 2004. This continuing education will be provided
and administrated through the DRO. Investigators can submit an
application for equivalent continuing education through the DRO. Requests for alternative continuing education requires approval by the DRO.

(c) Persons providing social studies through the DRO will be expected to be available to provide pro bono social studies to the indigent population of Bexar County. Once investigators have been identified as having completed three court-ordered social studies they will automatically be included on the pro bono list that will be provided to the Court. Persons on this list will be obligated to perform one pro bono social study per calendar year.

(d) Persons wanting to file a complaint about the conduct of a court-ordered social study can contact the appropriate licensing board. Persons wanting to file a complaint can also contact the DRO and the DRO will evaluate the matter and suggest proper action that can include a referral to the appropriate licensing board.
Conducting the Social Study and Writing the Report.
Investigators must meet the following requirements when conducting the study and writing the report:

(1) If investigators have a conflict of interest with any party in a disputed suit or if they may be biased by previous knowledge other than that obtained in a court-ordered investigation, they must disqualify themselves or present any issues or concerns to the court before accepting an appointment. Investigators who have previously investigated a case may make all subsequent investigations, unless the court finds otherwise.

(2) If investigators need to discuss substantive issues about a case with an attorney representing a party seeking custody in a disputed case, they must communicate (orally or in writing) with all attorneys representing these parties and any ad litem attorney. Communications between an investigator and an attorney ad litem are not subject to this rule.

(3) Investigators must verify, to the extent possible, all statements of fact pertinent to the study. Sources of information and verification must be noted in the study.

(4) The basis for the investigators' conclusion or recommendation must be stated in the study. Investigators who have investigated only one side of a disputed case must refrain, unless otherwise directed by the court, from making a custody recommendation. Investigators may state whetheror not the party being investigated appears to be suitable for custody.

(5) If more than one investigator is required to complete a study, including but not limited to cases where part of an investigation must be conducted at a location geographically distant from the court, all investigators and all aspects of the study are subject to the same requirements as the social study as a whole. Copies of these standards as well as all relevant information and specific directions must be given to all investigators. The name and qualifications of the person(s) conducting any part of the study also must be included in the report.

(6) The investigator's name and the provisions under which the investigator is qualified must be noted in the study.

(7) Unless otherwise directed by the court, a social study conducted on contested child custody cases in Bexar County must be conducted according to the "CRITERIA ESTABLISHED BY THE BEXAR COUNTY CIVIL DISTRICT COURTS (OR BC JUVENILE BOARD) IN PROCEDURAL RULES FOR COURT-ORDERED SOCIAL STUDIES APPROVED JUNE 30, 2003".

(8) Unless otherwise directed by the court, a Social Study related to an adoption must be conducted according to the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.

(9) The DRO may develop and distribute other applicable guidelines in the future.



*adapted from: Baldwin, H. (2001). Qualifications for Court-Appointed Investigator and Standards and Guidelines for Social Study. State Bar of Texas Family Law Section. Retrieved January 14, 2003, from http://www.sbotfam.org/qualifications.htm

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