This is an actual Parenting Evaluation Report. For the sake of confidentiality, names have been changed and geographic references and other identifying data have been deleted.
NOTE: Minor typographical corrections have been made for reasons of clarity. The content of the report has not been altered.Guadian Ad Litem (GAL) RecommendationsThis report represents an outstanding job done by a GAL on behalf of the father in the matter, who subsequently was named custodial parent of his three children in both the Temporary and Permanent Parenting Plans.Begin Report: On, March 18, 1999, Jane Smith was appointed Guardian Ad Litem for the David, Cindy and Janet Wilson, the 8 year old son, 6 year old daughter and 4 year old daughter respectively of Mr. and Mr. Wilson.
Under State Law, what parenting plan provisions shall be provided for the Wilson children?
The children’s Canadian passports and United States passports shall be canceled. No re-application shall be issued unless by further court order. The children shall not leave the County for duration of this case.
Mr. Wilson shall remain the children’s primary residential caregiver at least until Mrs. Wilson does the following:
Has a thorough reevaluation by a psychiatrist who is approved by all parties and follows all treatment recommendations for at least three months. The selected psychiatrist shall have access to all of Mrs. Wilson’s physical and mental health records. A review hearing shall be set at the end of the three months after Mrs. Wilson has begun treatment.
Mrs. Wilson must reenter and complete her vocational training program.
Mrs. Wilson shall not say negative things to the children regarding their father. She shall not talk about any legal issues, including her own legal issues concerning her criminal activity.
Mrs. Wilson shall follow any requirements of the school or childcare center.
Mrs. Wilson shall be reevaluated for alcohol/prescription drug dependency by the appropriate county monitoring organization.
Mr. Wilson shall remain in family therapy with the children. He shall join a support group for parents whose children have the same medical issues as those of David. He shall enroll in and complete a STEP parenting class. The utility bills shall be kept up to date.
EVIDENCE RELIED UPON
These recommendations were based on the following:
County Superior Court Case 98-X-XXXXX-X
County Superior Court Case 99-X-XXXXX-X
County Superior Court Case 00-X-XXXXX-X
County Superior Court Case 99-X-XXXXX-X against Mrs. Wilson (Prescription Forgery – Dismissed)
District Court Cases against Mrs. Wilson
Local District Court 3/16/98 Assault 4 (Dismissed) Local District Court 2/6/98 Attempted Prescription Forgery (Guilty) Local Municipal Court 4/28/97 Shoplifting (Guilty) Local District Court 5/9/96 Shoplifting (Guilty)
Arrest for shoplifting on 5/20/99
Letters from counsel
April, 1999 Telephone call from Mr. Wilson’s Lawyer
April, 1999 Telephone call to Mr. Wilson
April 1999, Telephone call to Mrs. Wilson
May 1999, Meet with Mr. Wilson
May 1999, Meet with Mrs. Wilson at her home
May 1999, Meet with School psychologist and counselor
May 1999, Obtain records on previous court cases
May 1999, Telephone call w/Mrs. Wilson’s Therapist
May 1999, Hearing
May 1999, Telephone call from Mr. Wilson’s Lawyer. Read proposed order and fax proposal to him.
May 1999, Telephone call from Mr. Wilson’s attorney. Telephone conference call with Counsel and Judge. Telephone call to Mrs. Wilson’s Therapist. Telephone call to Daycare providers. Telephone call to neighbor’s contacted by Mrs. Wilson regarding her arrest. Telephone calls with both Mr. and Mrs. Wilson. FAX to both counsel.
May 1999, Contact County Sheriff regarding Mrs. Wilson’s arrest. Contact Daycare provider.
May 1999, Meeting with Mrs. Wilson. Telephone call with Mr. Wilson.
May 1999, Telephone discussion with XXXXXXX County Detective regarding sexual assault allegation.
May 1999, Telephone call with Mrs. Wilson’s psychiatrist.
May 1999, Telephone call with Daycare provider.
June 1999, Meeting with children in the presence of the school counselor.
June 1999, Telephone call with marriage counselor. Telephone call with Mrs. Wilson’s vocational school instructor. Telephone call with Mrs. Wilson’s substance abuse counselor. Telephone call to Mrs. Wilson’s physician.
June 1999, Met with Mrs. Wilson’s substance abuse counselor.
The Wilsons were married in December of 1987. They have three children, (names and birthdays included). The mother is a Canadian citizen and legal U.S. Resident.
In 1998, the mother filed for dissolution. She alleged that the husband had become increasingly abusive towards her verbally, physically and sexually. She also alleged that the father maintained sole control of their finances. Although the mother made a motion and entered a declaration asking that her dissolution action be dismissed, there was never a hearing on the matter, nor were final dismissal papers ever entered. At the time the mother filed for dissolution in 1998, she filed a Petition for Order for Protection. The petition was never granted because the parties decided to reconcile.
On March 15, 1999, the mother filed another Petition for Order for Protection, cause number XXXXX. The mother realleged the sexual assaults that had occurred in 1997 and 1998. She also alleged that the husband had hit her on February 20, 1999, leaving a welt and a bone bruise. On that day, the mother called the police to the family residence. No arrests were made for domestic violence at that time and no police report was issued. The mother also alleged another sexual assault had occurred on February 2nd, 1999, and she went to the XXXXXX Center Hospital Sexual Assault Center. The assault center records indicate there was a bump on the mother’s head that she alleged was a result of the sexual assault. She received a temporary order for protection on March 15 and the husband was ordered out of the family home. Detective Roger Brown of the Sheriff’s department is investigating the sexual assault complaint. There have been no charges filed against the husband and it was the detective’s opinion that no charges would be filed. However, the information will be forwarded to the prosecutor for their opinion. The husband absolutely denies any inappropriate sexual activity at that time and the prior claims of physical abuse.
The mother remained in the family home with the children while the husband moved into a condo near his work with a friend.
At the March 16th hearing, the mother was given a check for $380 from the husband to spend on food and other necessities. A temporary visitation scheduled was set up for the father and the kids. At approximately 7:30pm on April 12th, the mother was again arrested for theft of non-essential items. This is the 4th time the mother has been arrested for the same type of crime.
After her arrest she was taken to jail and arraigned the next morning. She did not get out of jail for approximately 24 hours. The first thing the father knew about the incident was when he took the son home after being with him at a sporting activity. The mother had not been able to call out of jail until late. The girls had been at the day care and the day care staffs were very worried and finally called the family’s neighbor and emergency contact. When the father took the son back to the family home, the neighbor informed the father of the situation. The father took the children with him to the condo in which he was staying. He kept them with him for two nights because the mother got home so late on the second night that the son was already asleep.
The following day, another hearing was held and the father received temporary primary care and set the mother up in a local motel. The father not only paid for the motel, he gave her $800 in cash for her necessitates. Liberal visitation was scheduled between the mother and the children.
Both parents wish to be the children’s primary residential caregiver.
THE MOTHER'S MENTAL HEALTH The mother has been diagnosed with a number of mental issues, including an XXXXXXXX disorder and bi-polar disease. She has been in therapy for several years with a local therapist. She has been treated by a psychiatrist. The couple also attended marital counseling.
After her release from jail she went back to see her therapist, whom she had not seen in two years. The mother told me that the therapist said she must take her medication. After the father left the home at the beginning of this case, the mother thought she would not be under as much stress and discontinued taking her medication.
Both the therapist and the psychiatrist told me that the mother does not understand how very ill she is. The psychiatrist said she would benefit from a psychiatrist who specializes in bi-polar disease. He also said he felt that the mother was one step away from committing a more serious crime that would have grave consequences.
It is clear that the mother does not understand the consequences of her actions. For instance, she said she started smoking just recently. When I said that I was concerned because a rational adult wouldn’t start smoking at her age, she returned a blank stare.
The mother does not understand the implications of being divorced. When I tried to explain that she would probably have to contribute financially to raising the children, she said she would get maintenance and child support. I also asked why she wouldn’t consider selling her new car, which she owned outright. She said it was her own personal property from a class action lawsuit and wasn’t going to sell it. She plans to begin an Internet selling business to contribute to the family income. She is not in therapy at this time, nor has she been in mental health therapy since 1998.
THE MOTHER’S PHYSICAL HEALTH I have not reviewed her medical records. She reports the following medical problems: severe migraine headaches; back problems which are being treated by a chiropractor, epileptic seizures, the last of which she had in January 1999. She said her migraine headaches make her lose her speech and ability to function. She has not had a migraine since she started her new medication.
THE MOTHER’S ALCOHOL/DRUG PROBLEM In 1998, the mother was sent to the county drug/alcohol monitoring agency as part of a prescription forgery case. I do not have those records. She said she made plans to return to Canada for her prescription drug problems. She said while she was in Canada she was in an in-patient treatment program with an outpatient follow on. She returned home and followed the court’s recommended treatment plan for four months.
In 1999, while attending vocational school, she was involved in a car accident in their parking lot. She was intoxicated. The school refused to allow her to continue her training program unless she got into alcoholism treatment. She is currently undergoing a recovery program. I have not reviewed these records.
The father claims to have seen the mother drinking several times since this date. The oldest child said he has also seen his mother drinking alcohol since the father left. The oldest daughter says she hasn’t seen her mom drink alcohol for a "couple of months". The mother denies drinking while she has been in treatment.
She claims that she started drinking as a result of a serious illness to a family member and due to the stress in the family home.
THE MOTHER’S WORK AND TRAINING She has worked outside the home as a home caregiver. She stole checks from the caregiver. She told me that she had taken back the items she had purchased, sold some jewelry, and paid back the amount she forged. Mr. Wilson said he paid back the forged amounts. Mrs. Wilson was fired from this job.
She started a medical assistant program at a local vocation school in early 1998. She went to school at night from 5 pm to 10:30 pm. She had an externship at a local medical center, but had to take a long break because she said the children were ill.
I talked with her instructor at the vocational school. He said she was a very good student. However, she has not been able to finish her program because she is under a great deal of stress. The instructor thought that she only had two weeks of clock hours left but would possibly have to continue her externship approximately for four weeks. I asked him if a medical facility would hire someone who had been convicted of forging prescriptions. He said that if she wanted to give shots, she would have to have a criminal check and also answer questions about her criminal problems. He could not answer whether a doctor’s office would take the chance on hiring someone with her background. In about 25% of medical assistant jobs, she would not need to answer questions about her criminal past, but the jobs would not require giving shots.
Mrs. Wilson reports that she cannot go back to her externship because she is under too much stress.
THE MOTHER’S CRIMINAL RECORD Mrs. Wilson had pled guilty to shoplifting twice. She admitted to stealing a pad of prescriptions from her doctor’s office and was charged with a felony. The felony charged was dismissed and she was found guilty of attempted forgery in local District Court. She said she didn’t actually obtain the drugs on the prescription forms so the charge was lowered. Mr. Wilson believes that the guilty plea in District court was part of a plea bargain so she would not be deported for committing a drug-related felony.
She was also found not guilty in an Assault 4 case in local District Court. The alleged assault had happened at the children’s elementary school and although she should not have touched the other woman, school staff said the assault wasn’t a totally irrational act.
Of course, her most recent shoplifting case is pending.
The following behavior did not result in arrests and convictions: In addition to forging checks at her caregiver job, she also admitted to forging a check Mr. Wilson’s aunt had given the oldest child in the amount of $2500.00. She also wrote a $1,000 check from the family account when there weren’t funds to cover the money and purchased a new car. Mr. Wilson said he would never allow Mrs. Wilson to use the family account or credit cards again because she misused them so much. He gave her approximately $100 a week to spend on her own personal items. She feels that she was a victim because Mr. Wilson controlled the money. She cannot understand that her behavior led to Mr. Wilson controlling the money.
THE MOTHER’S PERSONAL INJURY SETTLEMENT The mother received a very large amount of money, in excess of $70K in early 1999. She said she used the money to pay back loans to her parents, to buy an SUV and used another large sum to provide medical care for her brother, in Canada. The father had no idea where the money went, other than to the car, some jewelry and some luxury items. The mother has a computer notebook. The settlement money was all gone within six months of its receipt.
THE MOTHER LEAVING XXXXXXX STATE If the mother were to become the children’s primary caregiver, she plans to return to Canada. Although she has friends in the area, her family remains in Canada.
THE FATHER’S MENTAL AND PHYSICAL AND CRIMINAL RECORD The father has never been diagnosed with a mental problem. He is currently seeing a therapist, which includes the kids for family therapy. I was concerned about his calm approach to everything and his "flat" affect. The mother’s therapist believes that the father protests his innocence too much.
The father’s physical health is appropriate and has no criminal history.
There are no allegations that the father drinks alcohol or smokes.
THE FATHER’S WORK He works in XXXXXXX and has been working at the same company for four years. He works from 7:30am to 5pm. Some time ago, he also worked out of hours to resolve issues at work but now he said he has other staff working with him who do that work. He also won’t have to travel very much or at all in the near future.
THE MOTHER’S CONCERNS ABOUT THE FATHER The mother would very concerned if he became the primary caregiver for the children. She provides the following reasons for her concerns:
Mr. Wilson does not fix the children proper meals. The kids are often hungry when they are with him. The son likes eggs for breakfast and Mr. Wilson often fixes waffles instead. Mrs. Wilson has two shelves in the kitchen from where the children can each snacks whenever they are hungry.
Mr. Wilson won’t put the kids to bed on time or puts the kids to bed too early.
Mr. Wilson does not have the children wear proper clothing for the weather conditions.
Mr. Wilson won’t acknowledge when the kids are sick.
Mr. Wilson doesn’t take adequate caution in the car. He allows the youngest child to ride in the care without a car seat. He allows the children to sit in the front seat.
Mr. Wilson punishes the son for his developmental disorder.
Mr. Wilson does not care for the girls’ hair.
Mr. Wilson will not keep up payments of the utilities.
The mother believes herself to be a victim of domestic violence. The father admits to yelling a lot. The mother claims the father refused to let her get medical care and medications she needed. She said she didn’t know she could call 911 for an emergency. She said the father steals her personal papers and financial records. She said he breaks things like glassware and bowls and that he put his fist through the wall.
THE SON’S STATUS The oldest child has a [pervasive developmental disorder]. He is also obsessive-compulsive and may have [another developmental disorder]. As part of his condition he performs "ticks" (repetitive physical activities). He cannot control this behavior and when he is not allowed to have these behaviors, he may "implode".
The child was first diagnosed with this syndrome three years prior to his starting school. However, no prevention programs were put in place at that time. When the school counselor first met with the parents about the condition, Mr. Wilson was defensive about the child’s condition. Since that time, both parents have read about the condition. Mrs. Wilson makes a good effort to allow the child to have his "oddities". Mr. Wilson told me about the child’s condition and did not hide it from me. Mrs. Wilson feels that her husband is intolerant of the condition and will give him his medication early in the evening so the child will fall asleep.
The child must have a very structured routine. If there is going to be changes in his routine, he must be notified in advance by using a picture calendar or other method. When Mr. Wilson first moved out, the child did not like to talk with him on the phone because it would disrupt his routine. The child must get ready the same way every morning or his day is very disrupted. If Mr. Wilson’s job continues to have him go out during the middle of the night or if Mr. Wilson continues to travel in his job, that would be detrimental to the child’s condition.
(Editor’s note: In short, the oldest child has a pervasive developmental disorder. The GAL briefly explains the syndrome and what effect it has on the child’s life. The GAL not only read extensively on the issue, she made specific suggestions related to the care for the child which are still in use today by the father).
CHILD CARE The children have been going consistently to childcare for 8 months. Although the children’s ending time childcare was supposed to be 5:30pm, this was not always adhered to. Most of the time, the mother dropped the children off and picked them up. She did not pick them up at a regular time. During the last several weeks, the mother has disrupted the child care program and has been asked by the proprietor to come only at designated times.
CONDITION OF THE HOUSE AND UTILITIES When I visited the mother in the family home the home was unclean. The yard and house were cluttered. The windows were open and it was cold. The mother said she was not feeling well. I asked her to turn up the heat. Later in the conversation, she said that she had been cleaning "weevils" out of the cupboard. She told me that the father had cut off the garbage pick up because he thought it was too expensive and the garbage had maggots in it. I asked the mother why she did not take the garbage to the dump in her new SUV. She did not have an answer.
NURTURING THE CHILDREN There is no question that the mother is the more nurturing of the two parents. The kids always had their homework done. The 3 children were clean and never had a lice problem. Both children at the local elementary school have an above average vocabulary and told the school counselors that it was because their mother talks to them. The oldest daughter said that her mom had been talking to them all the time about where they are going to live. She knew that I was the "children’s attorney". The also said that her dad had been grumpy since he moved back into the family home and that he yells at her sometimes. The son said he would not like it if the father moved into the house.
First, an analysis of the factors of [the state statute covering this issue] will determine if either parent shall have their residential time limited or decision making restricted. Neither parent willfully abandoned the children or physically, sexually or emotionally abused the children or any child. Although the mother is alleging that the father sexually assaulted her, the case remains unfiled.
Second, an analysis of the factors in [the state statute covering this issue] will determine if a parent’s involvement or conduct may have an adverse effect on the children’s best interest.
A long term emotional or physical impairment which interferes with the parent’s performance of parenting functions.
There is no question that the mother has long-term emotional and physical impairments, which interfere with her performance of parenting functions. The mother has spent hours in mental health therapy. It is unclear why this stopped. She is not in therapy at this time. Her psychiatrist indicates that she might benefit from further therapy if she is treated by a psychiatrist who specialized in bi-polar disorders. He knew of no such psychiatrist in the families’ HMO.
Mrs. Wilson also has dissociative disorder. It is clear that she does not understand the consequences of her actions and at times, she has very poor impulse control. Her shoplifting is very poor impulse control. This last episode of shoplifting, which left the children not picked up at the daycare was explained as her not taking her medication. She started smoking only a year and one-half ago, full knowing that smoking may kill you. Since she is not currently seeing a psychiatrist, there is no one to monitor her behavior.
Mrs. Wilson explains away many of her actions as a result of stress. She said she started drinking heavily because she was under a lot of stress because her of father’s illness. She quit her externship because she was under a lot of stress. She can’t go back to the externship because she is under a lot of stress.
Mrs. Wilson blames Mr. Wilson for many of her problems. For instance, if he didn’t do something she like, then she needed to do something else. He didn’t give her enough money, therefore, she needed to forge checks. He withheld medical care from her, yet she has been to doctors and therapists for years. She has not been specific with the things that were withheld from her.
Mrs. Wilson also has physical impairments. She suffers from migraine headaches, which incapacitate her for two or three days. Who would watch the children if she were primary caregiver? She also has epilepsy, but has not had a seizure recently.
A long-term impairment resulting from drug, alcohol, or other substance abuse that interferes with the performance of parenting functions There is no question that Mrs. Wilson has a long-term impairment resulting from non-prescription drug and alcohol usage. She has been in treatment twice in two years. She has been inpatient and outpatient treatment. I have not receive the records from the treatment centers, but I do not believe that the Center understands the complexity of her dual addictions. When a person has mental illnesses and drinks and/or misuses non-prescription drugs, that person is dually addicted. She is very convincing and knows how to present herself in a favorable light. She convinces herself that she is doing fine. Since recovery is based on self-report, she has very little chance of recovery.
Mrs. Wilson denies drinking since she started this second round of treatment. However, Mr. Wilson said he saw her drink alcohol twice since that time. The oldest child said he saw his mother drinking "clear wine" in this timeframe as well.
The abusive use of conflict by the parent which creates the danger or serious damage to the children’s psychological development. There has been a lot of conflict in the Wilson household which has created a danger to the children’s’ psychological development. The oldest daughter told me that the parents yelled at each other a lot. Even so, she was sad that they are getting a divorce.
It is my opinion that Mrs. Wilson’s parenting is impaired by her criminal, mental health, and physical health problems. Next, an analysis of the factors in [state statute covering this issue] will assist in determing the children’s residential schedule.
Relative strength, nature and stability of children’s relationship with each parent, which includes a loving, stable, consistent and nurturing relationship.
The children feel stronger ties to their mother than to their father. She is a more nurturing parent. She gives more hugs and positive reinforcement. She allows the children to be who they want to be. She caters to their whims.
The oldest child said he would rather his mother lived with him than his father. The oldest daughter said her dad was grumpy and yelled a lot.
Whether a parent had taken greater responsibility for performing parenting functions relating to the daily needs of the children, which include feeding, clothing, physical care and grooming, supervision, health care and day care, and engaging in other activities which are appropriate to the developmental level of the children and that are within the social and econmical circumstances of a particular family.
Mr. Wilson indicates that he has taken the greater responsibility for performing parenting functions within the last year. Mrs. Wilson started school in February 1999. She would be gone every evening and would study during the day. Her parent visits in April and May helped with the children. Mr. Wilson found childcare for the children and they were to be in childcare all day starting approximately one year ago.
Mrs. Wilson was under a lot of stress and was impaired by drinking during much of this time prior to her being sent to alcohol treatment.
Mrs. Wilson picked up the children from daycare at a different time each day.
Mrs. Wilson has worked some outside the home, but she has been a stay at home mom for some of the time.
The house was not clean when I visited. Mrs. Wilson complained that her husband wouldn’t pay the garbage bill so the garbage grew maggots in the back yard. She couldn’t give me a good explanation why she wouldn’t regularly take the garbage to the dump in her large van. She also told me she was cleaning weevils out of the cupboard. She could not blame the weevils on Mr. Wilson.
However, the school staff indicates that the children ware always neat and clean.
Agreements of the parties, provided they were entered into knowingly and voluntarily.
The parties do not have agreements at this time.
Past and potential for future parenting
Attending to adequate education for the children, including remedial or other education essential to the best interest of the children. Mrs. Wilson is the parent who attended to the education of the children. The staff at the school is very familiar with her.
Assisting the children the children in developing and maintain appropriate interpersonal relationships. The oldest daughter told me her mother was talking to her a lot about where the children were going to live. It is my opinion that Mrs. Wilson says negative things to the children about Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson has taken David to a regular activity appropriate to his age. He believes this helps David to make friends and do activities with him.
Exercising appropriate judgment regarding the children’s welfare, consistent with the children’s developmental level and the family’s social and economic circumstances. It was not good judgment for Mrs. Wilson to discontinue taking her medication after Mr. Wilson left. It was not good judgment for Mrs. Wilson to forge checks and to shoplift. These criminal activities could escalate into more serious criminal activities. She will no longer have anyone to bail her out or to pay her fines or pay back her forged checks or other remedies. It was not good judgment for Mr. Wilson to discontinue paying the utilities.
Providing financial support for the children. Mr. Wilson has provided for the financial support for the children. Although Mrs. Wilson has taken training as a medical assistant, given her criminal background, it is dubious that she will be able to be hired by someone who knows she stole a medical prescription pad and tried to forge prescriptions. Mrs. Wilson has no concept of what it takes to provide financial support for the children. She thinks that maintenance and child support will be enough. This is a woman who shoplifts and forges checks when she feels she does not have enough money to buy the things she wants. Mrs. Wilson felt that the $100 Mr. Wilson gave her each week to buy her own personal things was not enough. Mrs. Wilson said the SUV was her own personal property from a personal injury settlement. This is true, however, now she is going into the arena of being a single person and will need to provide for herself and help support her children.
Other issues regarding past and potential for future parenting
The emotional needs and developmental level of the children.
This case is complicated by the son’s physical condition. Mrs. Wilson is much more likely to allow him to be himself. Mr. Wilson would have to really educate himself and develop patience for the child’s physical manifestation of his syndrome. Mr. Wilson could not give him his medicine early, for instance, because Mr. Wilson wanted to do something later in the evening.
The children’s relationship with siblings and with other significant adults, as well as the children’s involvement with his or her physical surrounding, school or other significant activities.
These are young children. They like their neighbors. Probably, the parent that becomes the children’s primary caregiver will live in the family home.
The wishes of the parents and the wishes of a child who is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences as to his or her residential schedule.
Both parents wish to be the children’s primary residential caregiver. The children are not sufficiently mature to express their wish.
Each parent’s employment schedule, and shall make accommodations consistent with those schedules.
Mr. Wilson works outside the family home from 7:30a.m. to 5:30p.m.
CONCLUSION This is a very complicated case. I am most distressed that the mother is not in mental health therapy at this time. The family has an HMO plan, which she uses regularly. I do not believe she is capable of making rational decisions regarding her mental health at this time. I am worried that she will again resort to criminal behavior without competent help. Just taking medications is not enough for her. One person needs to monitor all the prescriptions that she takes. Her mental health impairs her parenting because she is so unpredictable. She does not know the consequences of her decision.
The mother has developed very good coping skills. There is no question that she is kind and loving to her children and is able to convince others that she is nurturing and thoughtful. I would like her to have the same contact with the children as she is presently having.
I spent three times my average time with any parent with the mother in this case. We barely got through the material that needed to be discussed.
On the other hand, the father needs additional help to cope alone with this family. He is going to therapy for himself and is now including the children. I am familiar with the therapist he is using and she is excellent. He also needs help in understanding and coping with children who have [the son’s pervasive developmental disorder]. The son is a very dear child and needs to be allowed to be himself. The father needs to develop the nurturing side of himself. A STEP parenting class will be most helpful for him.