House of Representatives advances Rep. Doudera bill to strengthen skills of assessors in child custody cases

AUGUSTA — The Maine House of Representatives voted to move forward a bill sponsored by Rep. Vicki Doudera, D-Camden, that would require witnesses in child custody cases to meet educational standards and knowledge of domestic violence and the resilience, safety and Demonstrate child safety.

“This constituent bill will help ensure witnesses who testify in child custody cases have the appropriate training and expertise on how domestic violence and violence continue after parental separation and how they affect children,” Doudera said. “It will help survivors of domestic violence and their children navigate our family courts.”

Regarding the rights and responsibilities of parents in child custody cases involving domestic abuse, LD 538 would require that experts appointed to perform forensic evaluations or assessments must be a qualified licensed clinical social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist, it says in a press release.

They must also have training and proven experience on the impact of domestic violence and violence on children, supportive conditions, methods to reduce post-breakup abuse, and best practices for recognizing, asking and assessing the impact of abuse, the press release said .

The bill faces further votes in the House of Representatives and Senate.

Doudera is serving her third term in the Maine House and serves on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the Marine Resources Committee. She represents the cities of Camden and Rockport and is the Maine state chair for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. She also chairs the Legislature’s Gun Safety Caucus.

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