NASW Press Releases Child Custody Evaluations by Social Workers: Understanding the Five Stages of Custody

Press Release
July 7, 2009

Washington DC The NASW Press has released Child Custody Evaluations by Social Workers: Understanding the Five Stages of Custody, a first-of-its-kind book offering advice to professional social workers on how to conduct custody evaluations. Ken Lewis, PhD, wrote this guide defining the parameters of the five stages of child custody for social workers and the families they represent.

Child Custody Evaluations by Social Workers highlights the value professional social workers bring to custody evaluations.  Family court judges are increasingly turning to mental health professionals to assist them when making custody determinations in the child’s best interest.  This book is a valuable resource for social workers who want to enhance their ability to advocate on behalf of children and families.

“Generally, psychologists are considered to be the most appropriate mental health professional for child custody evaluations, but they only assess the child’s psychological fitness with one or both parents,” says Dr. Lewis. “Social workers understand that the child is an integral part of an extended family and should be assessed in this broader social environment.”

In his book, Dr. Lewis describes the five stages of custody from the perspective of both the social worker and the family lawyer. The five stages – Marital Discord, Initial Custody, Visitation Denial, Custody Modification, and Child Removal – each require special consideration. Lewis explains each stage and demonstrates which social work skills should be applied to ensure the best outcome for the child. The book can also be a resource for professionals and parents who wish to better understand how child custody evaluations can affect a custody dispute.

Dr. Ken Lewis has worked as the director of the Child Custody Evaluation Services of Philadelphia for 25 years. He has been court appointed as either guardian ad litem or child custody evaluator in more than two dozen states and his specialties include interstate custody and high-conflict cases. Dr. Lewis was also a social work professor at several universities for nearly a decade. He offers workshops on custody evaluations to social workers nationwide.

For more information about Child Custody Evaluations by Social Workers: Understanding the Five Stages of Custody or other books published by the NASW Press, please visit

Contact: Amber Moore

About the NASW Press

The NASW Press, a division of the National Association of Social Workers, has been publishing materials in social work since 1956. NASW Press is a leading scholarly press in the social sciences, serving faculty, practitioners, agencies, libraries, clinicians, and researchers throughout the United States and abroad. Known for attracting expert authors, the NASW Press delivers professional information to hundreds of thousands of readers through its scholarly journals, books, and reference works.

About the National Association of Social Workers

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers, with nearly 150,000 members in 56 chapters throughout the United States and its territories.  It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers.  NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.

One comment

  1. It should be considered that as Dr. Ira Turkat points out in his review of the evidence for custody evaluations, is that there is a lack of adequate scientific support for child custody evaluations

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