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(1) The psychologist shall use generally accepted standards for the collection and use of data.

(2) In evaluating alternative hypotheses, psychologists shall include data from several different sources and of several different types, such as interviews, testing, observations of interactions, questionnaires, and record reviews. The psychologist shall be prepared to specify the reasons for collecting each kind of data and how it relates to the child's best interests.

(3) As data are collected, the psychologist must keep comprehensive and detailed records. All raw data, which might include test forms, handwritten notes, scribbles in margins, records of telephone conversations, observations of parent-child interaction, observations of parent-parent interaction, consultations with other professionals, any audio or video tapes made, and so on, must be saved and made available for review, if necessary.

(4) Data that are not objective should not be treated as though they are. The psychologist shall attempt to corroborate or rule out allegations that either parent has behaviors that affect the child detrimentally. If the psychologist is not able to form a clear opinion based on objective data or data verified by multiple sources, the psychologist should state this fact. If appropriate, the psychologist may offer a method by which further data along any dimension might be gathered, for example, recommending that a child meet with a therapist over time, that a parent undergo drug and alcohol assessment, and so on.

(5) If issues affecting what is in the child's best interest arise and cannot be investigated due to the limited scope of the evaluation as imposed by the court or an agency, the psychologist shall report those issues to the parents, their attorneys, and the court. If issues arise that the psychologist does not have the expertise to investigate or form an opinion on, another psychologist or specialist who does have the required expertise should be brought in to address that issue.

History: 37-1-131 and 37-1-136, MCA; IMP, 37-1-136, 37-17-202, MCA; NEW, 2001 MAR p. 1742, Eff. 9/7/01; TRANS, from Commerce, 2004 MAR p. 2282.

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