When can I see my Children

Gavel When bond is set in a Colorado sex crime case an order is entered as a condition of bond that prohibits the accused person from having contact with anyone under the age of 18 including their own children. This order can carry through sentencing if not handled properly.

This article addresses the source of the that no contact order how the order works and the way around it for offenders who request access to their own children under the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board’s Child Contact Assessment (CCA) provisions.

How Does A Colorado Accused Or Convicted Sex Offender Gain Access To Their Own Children?

If a Colorado sex offender wants to have contact with their own children, the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) Child Contact Assessment CCA (previously the Parental Risk Assessment PRA) is used to assesses whether contact with his/her own children will be “allowed.”

Like many other so called “instruments” the CCA is intended to estimate the potential risk a convicted adult sex offender may pose to his or her own children. But there are immediate and automatic exclusions from ever obtaining a positive result. While there are times when it may be possible to perform the CCA PRIOR to a plea the therapeutic community strongly recommends waiting until AFTER a plea of guilty is entered as the CCA is not considered reliable until the conviction enters.

The CCA assessment upon completion determines the level and type of contact, if any, with the offender’s own child(ren)

Exclusions From Eligibility To Take The CCA

The exclusion criteria, before the CCA can even be conducted are:

The offender does not meet any of the exclusionary criteria in (SOMB Standard) 5.725 (i.e., diagnosis of Pedophilia (DSMIV),

The offender has a score on the MCMI of > 85 for Antisocial Personality Disorder, Narcissistic, Paranoid, on the DSMIV),

The offender has been identified as having a mental abnormality on the Psychopathy Checklist, and a diagnosis of sexual sadism, or has ever committed an offenses against their own child/children;

A finding of Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) by a Colorado court, parole board or equivalency .

The Inclusion Factors

The offender does not have two or more pre-screen factors;

The offender wants contact with his/her own minor child as defined in under the age of eighteen (18);

What Does Contact Mean?
  • Contact is intended to refer to any form of interaction including:
  • Physical contact, face to face, or any verbal contact;
  • Being in a residence with a child or victim;
  • Being in a vehicle with a child or victim;
  • Visitation of any kind;
  • Correspondence (both written and electronic), telephone contact (including messages left on a voice mail or answering machines), gifts, or communication through third parties;
  • Entering the premises, traveling past or loitering near the child or victim’s residence, school, day care, or place of employment;
  • Frequenting places used primarily by children, as determined by the Community Supervision Team.
The Child Contact Assessment CCA

The CCA itself is comprised of many of the same protocols used in the post-conviction sex-offense- specific evaluations , but it also involves additional assessment instruments and interviews that are designed to explore more fully a client’s sexual history, personality style, empathy and capacity for attachment.

The SOMB standard that applies to the CCA (SOMB 5.70 LINK ) is too long and complex to try to include in this article. A LINK is also provided to a pdf chart that graphically identifies the factors used by the CCA to either recommend approval or denial of the contact sought.

The Estimated Cost of a CCA

Estimated costs for the CCA evaluation ranges from $8001800 depending on the type of evaluation needed.

What Kind Of Specific SOMB Approved Tests And / Or Evaluations Are Involved?

The type of SOMB assessments involved in a Child Care Assessment involve extensive psychological testings such as personality testing, sexual interest testing, the Abel Assessment and other assessments that allegedly measure empathy and attachment capacities, and interviews with the client.

In addition, a sexual history polygraph test will most likely be carried out. There are also interviews with the client’s spouse and mother or father of the children,( if that is a different person). The children are also interviewed.

The Criteria Used By The CCA The Community Safety Team (CST)

Before The Community Safety Team(CST) will allow contact with the offender’s own children the following criteria are applied:

  1. The offender accepts responsibility for the offense related behavior and any significant differences between the offender’s statements, the victim’s statements and corroborating information about the abuse have been resolved;
  2. The offender has yielded non-deceptive results in all required areas of the sexual history disclosure polygraph exam(s);
  3. The offender has yielded non-deceptive results with no new disclosures on the most recent maintenance polygraph. The content of the maintenance polygraph shall have addressed behavior that puts victims/minor children at risk;
  4. The offender is not exhibiting any significant risk related behavior(s);
  5. The offender consistently demonstrates the use of cognitive and behavioral interventions to interrupt deviant fantasies and behaviors as evidenced by the offender’s Plethysmograph or VRT (Visual Reaction Time) results;
  6. The offender has disclosed information related to risk and other relevant factors as prescribed by the CST. The CST will make a determination of who should receive this information;
  7. The offender consistently demonstrates and has documented an understanding of the factors that led to his/her offending and accepts the possibility of re-offense. The offender has developed a written plan for preventing re-offense to the satisfaction of the CST;
  8. The offender consistently demonstrates an understanding of the impact of the abuse on the victim(s) and the victim’s family, the offender’s family, and the community, as evidenced by behavioral accountability and self-regulation;
  9. The offender consistently demonstrates an understanding of and is willing to respect the minor child’s verbal, non-verbal, and physical boundaries and need for privacy;
  10. The offender consistently demonstrates an understanding of how to safely participate in having contact with minor child(ren);
  11. The offender is willing to accept limits or prohibitions on contact as established by the CST with input from the minor child(ren), minor child(ren)’s other parent or guardian, or minor child’s therapist and will put the minor child(ren)’s needs first;
  12. The offender demonstrates he/she is willing to plan for contact, to develop and utilize an approved safety plan for all contact, to accept supervision during contacts, and to terminate contact when directed by the CST, the Approved Supervisor, or the minor child(ren). The safety plan shall be approved in advance and in writing by the CST and signed by the offender;
  13. The offender consistently demonstrates compliance with supervision conditions, accepts the interventions of the CST, and does not demonstrate ongoing hostility toward the criminal justice system;
  14. The offender consistently demonstrates satisfactory progress in treatment, including consistent compliance with treatment conditions;
  15. The offender has satisfactorily participated in clarification in order to re-establish a parental relationship when the contact involves a non-victim own minor child (see SOMB Standard 5.750 5.752)
Criticisms Of The SOMB Standards Pertaining To The Need For A CCA or PRA

In a 2014 Audit of the SOMB program by the Colorado State Legislature to the Colorado Department of Public Safety engaged with the intent to improve the SOMB guidelines: With reference to the CCA the committee said that it might be “overly punitive” that an offender who has ever victimized any of his or her own children (regardless of their age and when the abuse occurred) is ineligible for the Child Contact Assessment process. Such a policy was too restrictive and that “more flexibility could be built into the system.”

They also found that the CCA process seemed excessively burdensome and costly and that in prison it was nearly impossible for the process to be completed in a timely way and that both processes be streamlined.

No Credible Research To Support The CCA

The Audit also found that “no credible research evidence to support the use of the Child Contact Assessment tool” and that “empirical validation of this tool should be carried out on a reasonable timescale and that [the CCA] be modified or replaced if necessary.

The Harms Caused by Keeping a Parent From Their Child

The Audit found that while the hope of seeing their children again is a powerful motive for offenders to reform, the kind of “disruption.. from being denied access to the child was harmful to that child” and that the “present process does not seem to properly balance these issues.”

Colorado SOMB Sex Offender Guidelines and The Child Contact Assessment CCA

38 Years of Experience About The Author: H. Michael Steinberg. A Denver Colorado Sex Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance 720-220-2277.

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