competency evaluation

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, May 7, 2007.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    has anyone's difficult child ever been sent for a mental health competency evaluation by the courts? do they just interview the child and then write a report? is it to see if they were old enough to understand what they did or "sane" enough, or both?
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am not sure what evaluation this is. I have never heard any of the typical evaluations called 'mental health competency evaluation'. Can you describe it more in detail?
  3. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I could be way off, but that sounds purely like a court "legal" thing to me. Like if someone commited a crime, and they plead "not guilty because of insanity", well we all know that there is no true diagnosis called "insanity". That is an umbrella legal term that they use when an impartial therapist evaluates the defendant to determine whether or not he or she was of sound mind when said crime was commited. That could be the name of that evaluation.
    I hope everything is OK with your difficult child...
  4. neednewtechnique

    neednewtechnique New Member

    From my understanding, they have a court appointed psychiatrist that will examine your child, ask certain questions to determine whether or not he is competent enough to know right from wrong in the situation, whatever it was, that got him into trouble. If he is found competent, they will fully prepare to hold him responsible for his actions. Depending on what state you are in, they usually have different options to persue if found that your child could NOT be held accountable for his actions. Our state I think, depending on the offense, they could sentence him to house arrest, with ankle bracelet so that he has to be home where you can keep an eye on him so he can't get in trouble....things like that. For more severe offenses, this competency exam can mean the difference between being sent to doctor JUVIE or being sent to a mental Residential Treatment Center (RTC) instead.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, everyone! I rec'd a phone call today and they said this wasn't about whether or not he understood the seriousness of what he did or the laws he broke- it was about if he was competent to stand trial and help in his own defense. Given those I'm dealing with, this could be inaccurate -mainly because that sounds like an adult's situation, not a kid's and for everything else here in VA, juveniles have a different law for things than adults do.
  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Klmno, have you contacted a lawyer? That may be a wise idea given the seriousness of the "crime" and the fact that your difficult child is only 12.
  7. mistmouse

    mistmouse New Member

    My daughter has gone through a competency evaluation that while not court ordered, was at the request of the public defender on her case. It was explained to me that it was to determine whether or not due to her disabilities whether or not she was capable of standing trial and assisting in her own defense as well as able to sit in court at the defense table for the hours required to be in court. It was explained to me that by help in her own defense it meant whether she, without my help, would be able to tell her attorney whether what a witness was saying was accurate or not, and the manner in which she would be able to do that...i.e. not blurting out during their testimony, "that's a lie".

    We are still awaiting the report and to know what is going to be the outcome, but the public defender believes we will have a competency hearing early this summer. I am hoping the report will be in soon and that there will be a meeting sometime this month with the evaluator, the public defender, and myself to discuss his findings. I am not 100% clear on what happens if she is found unable to assist in her own defense, but it was my understanding that because she is receiving more services than the court would provide that it will be an end to the current charges. Especially since the charges are battery charges a SpEd teacher has filed due to improper and unnecessary restraints when they have not been following her BIP.

    Good luck!!