Center for Excellence in Family Court Practice

AFCC Task Force on Guidelines for Brief Focused Assessment

In 2007 AFCC President Hon. William Fee convened the AFCC Task Force on Brief Focused Assessment to study the issues of “limited assessment” models used in family courts. An online survey of family court practitioners revealed that these assessments are increasingly practiced in a multitude of family court settings, but lack clear definition as well as standardization of methodology and practice. From the many descriptive terms in use in different courts and communities and with appreciation of the language variations in different jurisdictions, task force members chose the term Brief Focused Assessment (BFA) to refer to assessment of narrowly defined, issue-specific questions that arise in family court settings. The Guidelines are designed to define a model of focused assessment, promote dialog about when they are appropriate and when the risks outweigh the benefits, and to guide practice in the courts and the community.  The Guidelines were approved by the AFCC Board of Directors in 2009.

Task Force Members

  • Phil Bushard, DPA, Co-chair
  • Linda M. Cavallero, PhD, Co-chair and Reporter 
  • Andrea Clark, MSW
  • Hon. Linda Fidnick
  • Jonathan Gould, PhD
  • Susan E. Hanks, PhD
  • Grace M.Hawkins, LCSW
  • Lorraine Martin, MSW
  • Carole McKnight, BA
  • Nancy W. Olesen, PhD
  • Jennifer L. Rosato, JD
  • Arnold Shienvold, PhD
  • Robert M. Smith, JD, MDiv.