Obsolete Date: 3/1/2007
(a) Preferred Qualifications. To qualify as a custody investigator under N.D.C.C. � 14-09-06.3, a person should:
(1) have an Associate Degree in an academic field related to child care or children's services, or have at least 5 years of experience in the delivery or supervision of child care or children's services;
(2) have completed at least 18 hours of specialized custody investigation training;
(3) complete 6 hours of annual custody investigation training each year after receiving the 18 hours of specialized training;
(4) have the communication skills necessary to successfully conduct an interview, prepare a written report, and make an oral presentation;
(5) have no criminal conviction or substantiated instance of child abuse or neglect; and
(6) have been designated as a custody investigator by the presiding judge of the district where the proceeding is pending.
(b) Investigatory Responsibilities. A custody investigator shall:
(1) become knowledgeable about the child's and family's history and present situation by reviewing the court file; reviewing records and reports, including medical, law enforcement, psychological, psychiatric, and educational records and reports; and researching information about any related criminal or child protection proceeding, investigation, or allegation;
(2) obtain necessary authorizations for release of information;
(3) interview, as appropriate, social workers and probation officers to obtain background and current information regarding the child and family;
(4) interview, as appropriate, service providers (i.e. teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, nurses, neighbors, and others) who are knowledgeable about the child's and family's past and present situation;
(5) interview, as appropriate, the child's parents and siblings, and the people with whom the child resides or may reside, and other people who are significant in the child's daily life;
(6) meet and observe the child in a manner consistent with the child's developmental capabilities;
(7) observe, as appropriate, parent and child interaction;
(8) prepare a written report regarding the child's best interests, including conclusions and recommendations and the facts upon which they are based;
(9) file the written report with the court and serve it on the parties at least 30 days prior to the hearing; and
(10) recommend, as appropriate, psychological evaluations, psychiatric evaluations, physical evaluations, parenting evaluations, chemical dependency evaluations, or other evaluations.
(c) Court Proceedings. A custody investigator shall attend all court proceedings and shall testify when requested. A custody investigator may not call a witness, question a witness, file a motion, or act as a legal advocate.
(d) Post Investigation Duties. The custody investigator, by order of the court, may assist in custody and visitation issues after submission of the report.