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The Two-Step Procedure: Using Gaming Insights to Improve Custody Evaluation Risk Assessment
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7165-1156
2012 (English)In: Sociology Study, ISSN 2159‐5526, Vol. 2, no 10, 757-766 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Some children are maltreated and societies must protect them. This is done either at child protective services or when parents litigate over child custody, living, or visitation. Custody disputes provide difficult challenges for custody evaluators, particularly because information is often insufficient for high‐precision decision‐making. These challenges are present in both risk assessments (RAs) and investigations for the children’s best interest (ICBIs). Insights from gaming and signal‐detection theory show that thinking several steps ahead leads to statistical advantage which improves decision‐making in game play. The purpose of the present study is to show that gaming advantages can be used to improve RAs in custody disputes. The two‐step procedure is organized as: (1) defining RAs and ICBIs as two sets with intersection; and (2) completing RAs before initiating ICBIs and using liberal RA decision‐making criteria. Formal analysis and mathematical example show that the two‐step procedure reduces the total number of RA errors by about 50 percent and suggest that gaming finesses are transferrable to custody disputes. Furthermore, should the two‐step procedure be implemented, children are potentially protected from maltreatment post litigation. Implementation issues of the two‐step procedure are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 2, no 10, 757-766 p.
Keyword [en]
Gaming, signal‐detection theory, custody evaluations, risk assessments
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Care Sciences within Health and Welfare
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-18717OAI: diva2:614628
Available from: 2013-04-10 Created: 2013-04-05 Last updated: 2013-11-13Bibliographically approved

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