Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Family Court Services

Brief Focused Assessment (BFA)

BFA is an alternative to comprehensive custody and parenting evaluations. Information is gathered on a narrowly defined issue in custody and parenting time disputes. Counselors provide answers to “well defined and specific” questions, which are identified by the court. The assessment provides descriptive reporting of data and interview information and offers suggestions or recommendations on the specific issue. This is not a full custody evaluation, therefore, recommendations for custody will not be made within this assessment.

BFA Process

  • At the evaluator's discretion, the evaluator may:
  • Interview the parents to obtain context and information regarding the child(ren);
  • Gather medical, counseling, therapy and educational records related to the child(ren)'s mental health and needs;
  • Interview the child to assist the Court in determining the child(ren)'s perspective on contact with Petitioner/Respondent over the past year and the child(ren)'s reasonable preference;
  • Request and refer the child(ren) for further psychological or other evaluation of the child(ren)'s AODA/mental health;
  • Other interviews and document gathering or review as determined appropriate by the evaluator;
  • Request psychological or AODA evaluations

BFA Results

The BFA will conclude with the submission of a written report to the Court, the attorneys and parties. The report will summarize the focus of the assessment and attempt to answer the specific questions identified at the point of referral. A summary and analysis of the information may include opinions and/or recommendations related to the issues specified in the BFA referral.


Please reach out to Dane County Family Court Services for more information.