The "best interest of the child" is the central principle in legal disputes concerning the placement of children. Since the concept is invoked in both law and mental health, it is often viewed as meaning the same to both professions.This idea is false. Psychologically, the determination of best interest depends on the emotional life of the child, especially present and future intimate relationships. Legally, best interests include moral, financial, and multiple other factors in addition to psychological aspects. Moreover, mental health professionals tacitly consider best interests as the ultimate principle in placement whereas the law considers other principles to be prior to best interest (e.g., equal protection of parents or society’s needs). Opinion of mental health workers is limited to psychological considerations, which are not decisive in determining the legal best interests of the child.
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