The House of Representatives passes a bill by Rep. Doudera to strengthen the skills of trial judges in child custody cases

AUGUSTA — The Maine House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to pass legislation sponsored by Rep. Vicki Doudera, D-Camden, that would require experts in child custody cases to meet educational standards and knowledge of domestic violence and child resilience and safety prove.

“This draft Constitution will help ensure that experts who testify in custody cases have the appropriate training and expertise in how domestic abuse and violence continues after parental separation and the impact it has on 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 custody cases involving domestic violence, LD 538 would require that experts appointed to perform forensic examinations 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 for reducing abuse after separation, and best practices for recognizing, interviewing and evaluating the impact of abuse, the press release said .

The bill is awaiting further votes in the Senate.

Doudera is serving her third term in the Maine House of Representatives 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 Legislative Branch’s Gun Safety Caucus.

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