CLE: The Significance of Childhood Attachment in a Rural Family Law Practice

CLE Presenters

Dr. Sarah Baxter
Dr. Andrew Benjamin
Dr.  Marian Birch
Dr. Mary Wegman
Mark Baumann, J.D. Program Chair

CLE Workshop Materials

Top 10 Attachment-Informed Do-Ables for Lawyers and Judges
By Mark Baumann, J.D., Rachel Hardies, MA, and Sarah Baxter, Ph.D.
Dr Birch’s Top 10 attachment needs
Bibliography (This bibliography identifies books, articles and websites. The debate around overnights for children under age 3 is largely championed by Kelly and Lamb, who believe overnights can be OK in certain situations, and by Jennifer McIntosh and Judith Solomon, who found in their research that overnights cause significant stress and behavioral problems. Some of the articles around this debate are identified.)

Developmental Guidelines for Parenting Time (Baris and Garrity model modified by Dr. Baxter)

Still Face Experiment (YouTube video demonstrating the dramatic consequences of  attuned and non-attuned parenting)

Brain scan image comparing healthy and traumatized brain

Powerpoint presentations

Dr. Benjamin’s parenting evaluation powerpoint
Dr Birch’s introdcution to the science of attachment

Attachment informed parenting time guidelines
Residential Guidelines – Spokane County (try using the rotate button in the PDF reader for better readability)
Arizona Supreme Court Parenting Time Guidelines
Minnesota Supreme Court Parenting Time Guidelines
Indiana Rules of Court Parenting Time Guidelines

Links to other resources

The Australian government is undertaking perhaps the largest longitudinal study (10,000 people) of the impact of divorce on children. In 2010, several interim conclusion reports were issued. You can access the full report (169 pages, although the first 5 pages provide an excellent summary) here: Post-separation parenting arrangements and developmental outcomes for infants and children- Collected Reports 2.

Here is a link to a shorter McIntosh discussion article on Infants and overnight care Dr. Jennifer McIntosh. The study finds significant problems for children under age 3 who have overnights away from their primary caregiver, and but not for children 4 and older.

Washington standards for parenting evaluations by psychologists

Brain Rules for Babies
Between Parent and Child
Top Ten Ways to Protect Your Kids (By Dr. Joan Kelly)

ACES Study
Zero to Three
Healing Resources: Preventing and Healing Stress Related Problems


Date & Time: Thursday, April 26, 2012, 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (including 30 minute free lunch)
Location: Clallam County Superior Court room #3 (family court), Port Angeles, Washington
Topic: The Significance of Childhood Attachment in a Rural Family Law Practice
Price: $85, includes lunch and (est) 4 CLE credits

Prevention Works of Clallam County and the Clallam County Bar Association are pleased to present a unique training about childhood attachment for all family law judges, lawyers, staff and other legal professionals who work with families.

Leading this training is Andrew Benjamin J.D., Ph.D., ABPP. He is the director of the Parenting Evaluation/Training Program (PETP) and is a Clinical Professor of Psychology and Affiliate Professor of Law at the University of Washington. Joining him will be a panel of three psychologists: Sarah Baxter, Ph.D., Marian Birch, Ph.D., and Mary Wegman, Ph.D. These presenters are all highly experienced clinicians and expert witnesses with expertise in attachment theory as applied in the court system.

Childhood attachment is considered by many to be the most important psychological discovery in the last 50 years. Substantial neuroscience research supports the connection between childhood attachment and brain development. This research also connects the quality of attachment to how a child behaves as an adult. More recently, attachment theory and its practical implications to family law are changing the nature of the practice.

The seminar panel will define attachment, describe good and bad parenting in terms of promoting healthy attachment, describe the incredible life-long harm poor attachment can cause, and discuss the practical significance for family court practitioners. Information will be provided to help judges and lawyers recognize when a family needs help fostering healthy attachment, what judges can specifically order to facilitate improved attachment (and healthier children) that are low or no cost, and how lawyers can counsel clients to appreciate and take advantage of the benefits of adopting an attachment-focused approach.

The seminar format will be two lectures followed by a question and answer period, and a panel discussion of common fact scenarios with audience involvement. This seminar will be highly focused on applying attachment principles to real-world situations in family court, rather than dependency court, where resources are limited,. Participants are encouraged to provide fact patterns or case examples for discussion. If you have a situation you would like the panelists to discuss, please email Mark Baumann.

As far as we know, this is the first attachment seminar focused specifically on the needs of a family court where resources are poor and the solutions are focused on what judges, lawyers and parents can do to improve the lives of children. The panel is very excited to be able to present this topic and I hope you will you join us for this very special opportunity. Lunch will be provided and I expect to be approved for 4 CLE credits. Information about materials will be provided as available.

To register, send your name, email address, bar number, and a check payable to Prevention Works (we apologize that we cannot accept credit card payments) and mail them to:

Mark Baumann
PO Box 2088
Port Angeles WA 98362

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