CA Protective Parents Association- October 1 is National Safe Child Day - Join us in Washington DC
Save the Dates: Tuesday October 1 and Wednesday October 2, 2013
will be the next Mothers of Lost Children White House demonstration and
National Safe Child Coalition lobbying day in Washington DC. Thanks to
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Congress has declared
October 1 National Safe Child Day. We hope you can join us. We will
provide Mothers of Lost Children t shirts. If
you are not able to come to Washington, it would be great to organize a
demonstration at your local Legislature or your Family Court House.
For Mothers of 'Lost' Children
by Robin Karr
It's impossible to know that your child is still OK
To protect your child was your job, so you think you failed in every way
When your child is no longer with you and still so very young
You can't help but think there must more you could have done
You turn the music up and sob while in your car and the shower hides your tears
You know you can't survive this kind of loss another day, another month, another year
Yet, the years go by and you realize you're still alone
Although you did all you knew and could, your child did not come home
The child you carried and brought into this world has gone away
There's nothing left to do but pray and pray and pray
How evil are those who desire nothing more than to destroy the mother-child bond
You continue to seek justice, but the gutwrenching pain goes on and on
No matter how huge the loss, you have no choice but to start another day
Without your child that gave your life meaning in every way
You lie down at night and think of your child and feel so all alone
There is nothing in this world you want more than for your child to just come home.
Wrenched from loving arms,
The child, a scream torn
Deep inside the soul, is silent.
Her eyes grow huge.
She pants short breaths to
Numb her body and her mind.
Each week she knows she will be
Forced from mother's safety
To her father's beer-stained breath.
Each week she makes
The sick'ning plunge from
Heaven down to hell.
A judge, a judgment, brings that sword
That cut the child in half. One half is sane.
The other waits for footsteps in the night.
The child is made a woman, premature.
Her small and private part made known
To him who calls it love.
EXCELLENT LETTER- feel free to use this as a template for your own letter.
Dear Senator Boxer:
wish you would address the corruption in family courts. Our children
are being raped, beaten and murdered, and not one U.S. Senator or State
legislator in America will lift a hand to stop the massive and systemic
corruption in family courts in California and all across this nation.
Nor will anyone in Congress address the billions upon billions of hard
earned tax dollars that are earmarked for the "Fathers Right's" agenda
under the United States Department of Health and Human Services Agency,
Administration on Children and Families through Temporary Aid to Needy
Families (TANF) programs called Healthy Marriage and Responsible
Fatherhood and Access to Visitation. These programs have been denied to
hard working mothers who need help desperately. These billions are
nothing more than a perverse financial incentive that has turned family
courts into for-profit industries at the expense of innocent children's
(and sometimes their mother's) lives, particularly in cases involving
am deeply disappointed in you, Senator Boxer. Our children are being
taken from us fraudulently and raped, beaten and murdered, and no one
seems to give a damn. You are aware of this issue, which is more that 3
only way to clean up this dirt is for Congress to act decisively and
bring Family Law under the umbrella of the Federal government to provide
oversight. Some family courts are nothing more than an abomination to
humanity. They conduct star-chamber proceedings that are neither
videotaped nor transcribed so their misdeeds are not recorded and the
protective parents cannot appeal or complain about their mistreatment. A
lot of us are deeply puzzled as to why you and others in Congress won't
act in such an urgent crisis. You have been in Congress for decades,
while family court corruption has evolved to the point that no child is
safe in these courts in America.
you are ready, there are good, dedicated people that are willing to
show you and others, via their insight and expertise, how the system can
be fixed. For one thing, I urge you to vote against the President's
Initiative requiring states to seek child custody and visitation orders
for fathers who must pay child support to the state. This would only
serve to increase family conflict and further overload courts.
are being raped, beaten and murdered, while legislators do nothing.
This is unconscionable from our public officials! Where is the humanity?
Where is democracy? Many of these courts don't even respect due process
or any other part of the Constitution. I marched for civil rights,
women's rights and human rights. This is not the America we once
envisioned. From an innocent grandmother who has felt judicial
retaliation. My grandchildren are suffering, while our hearts break.
August 9-11, 2013 The
16th Annual Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control
Conference, DoubleTree near Bradley International Airport, 16 Ella
Grasso Turnpike, Windsor Locks, CT http://ritualabuse.us/smart-conference/
WELLESLEY CENTERS FOR WOMEN REPORT http://www.lovefraud.com/2013/07/04/report-domestic-violence-family-courts/
By Donna Andersen July 4, 2013 Report on domestic violence and family courts
The Wellesley Centers for Women has just released a new report, Family Court Approaches to Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse: Stakeholder Perceptions and Implications for Systemic Change. Researchers
have been gathering data about how family courts see domestic violence
cases, how the courts handle the cases, how often children are involved,
and whether biases exist. It is the first field study of family courts
in which judges, probation officers and litigants were surveyed
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION
Article in the ABA Child Law Practice... Vol. 32 no.6 June issue.
Book Seeks Courtroom Reform for Sexually Abused Children and Protective Parents
In Prosecuted but Not Silenced: Courtroom Reform for Sexually Abused Children, Maralee McLean
shares her legal journey to protect her daughter from her ex-husband's alleged sexual abuse. She faced barriers at every turn and her ex-husband ultimately won custody. Her efforts to seek justice produced outcomes that would make many protective mothers question whether to travel her path. Changing the legal landscape motivated her to write her book. CLP caught up with Ms. McLean in the following interview.
Why did you decide to write your book? What did you hope to achieve?
I wanted to make a difference for those working in the fields of domestic violence, child abuse, or child trauma so that such maltreatment would not continue. I wanted to open the eyes of the legal system to mothers "trapped' in similar situations and empower them. I also wanted to make the public aware of the unbelievable tragedy taking place in our courts and to make a difference in saving other children and protective mothers from this nightmare. After experiencing the system fail time and time again despite evidence of the abuse; hearing my daughter's cries for help hearing after hearing; enduring year after year of the abuse not being heard; and finally becoming financially depleted, I began to realize a main problem was lack of education and training among professionals handling these cases.
You faced many challenges in your efforts to seek justice for your daughter. What did you learn through this journey?
I learned that my case is not an isolated one. There are thousands of cases in our courts in every state with the same outcome as mine and my daughter's. When I testified before Congress with 10 other mothers from different states, it was heart wrenching to hear each mother's experience; they all could have been my case.
The failure of various systems when child sexual abuse is reported and how these cases are turned against the protective parent in family court illustrates a Catch-22 situation. Mothers who report sexual abuse nearly always lose custody. Research shows children are placed in full or partial custody of their identified sexual abuser 90% of the time. (Neustein and Goetting, 1999; Steubner, 2012). Unfortunately many judges, attorneys, and mental health professionals do not understand the overlap of domestic violence and child abuse.
When the child resists going with the abuser and the mother asks for protection from family (divorce)
court, the mother is labeled dangerous and considered to be alienating the child from the father. The
"Parental Alienation Syndrome" is relied on heavily although it isn't approved by the American Medical
Association or the American Psychological Association, and is considered junk science" that should not be allowed in courts. In my experience, judges ignore or minimize evidence of sexual abuse and do not allow abuse findings in court.
Many professionals lack knowledge and training about child sexual abuse. Research shows that in family courts, false allegations of child sexual abuse remain rare. The allegations occur in approximately two percent of custody and visitation disputes, and most are substantiated. (N. Thoennes and J. Pearson, "Responding to Allegations of Sexual Abuse in Custody and Visitation Cases." In D. J. Besharov (Ed.) Protecting Children from Abuse and Neglect). Family court judges may not understand evidence that is essential to correct decision making. Incorrect family court decisions will have damaging effects, either by subjecting the child to continued abuse and/or by depriving the child of a relationship with the nonabusive parent.
Another important study on child custody and domestic violence by Dr. Daniel G. Saunders shows the attitudes and knowledge of evaluators are critical to making correct decisions in child custody cases when abuse is alleged. Cases alleging criminal acts do not belong in family court. They should be investigated by law enforcement and adjudicated in specialized family violence criminal courts using the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof, with evidence brought before highly trained and qualified judges.
Most of these cases involve domestic violence. No child should be placed in unsupervised contact with a domestic violence abuser against the child's will. Children need safe homes and need to have their constitutional rights protected. Giving an abuser control over the mother and the child is the ultimate act of revictimization. The mother is treated as a criminal with the loss of the children she tried to protect. She is often ordered to receive minimal, supervised visits, sometimes lasting for years (even though she is not the abusive parent), jailed, given gag orders, depleted financially, and ordered to pay child support. Finally she may experience a de facto termination of her parental rights when the court disallows visits.
What can the legal community (attorneys, judges,) learn from your story.
My book is a tragic case study. It includes legal documents to educate professionals, along with
information on research studies, and my documentation of proof: police reports, doctor reports, hospital reports, judge's orders, etc. My hope is that professionals will seek training and not turn away. Attorney Richard Ducote said it well, "We need to disinfect these trusted institutions." When the system ignores strong proof that the children under its watch are being abused, it punishes those who act responsibly on behalf of child victims.
Many family courts accept and embrace as "infallible" flawed "evidence" and "experts" who would be
rejected outright in other courtrooms based on constitutional law, rules of evidence, and judicial
procedure. My story tells the breakdown in the judicial system. New measures must be taken; most
important are to: not be so quick to ignore abuse allegations and assume it is a vindictive ex-wife; listen to the children; and educate and understand these cases as domestic violence and child abuse cases, not "high conflict" cases.
Professionals who lack this understanding must remove themselves entirely.
You offer advice in your book to mothers trying to protect their children in the court system. What is the single most important piece of advice and why?
Never ever give up. It is crucial to stay in your child's life no matter how you may be prevented from
seeing your child. Your child needs to know you are fighting for him or her. If you can't see your child
because of court orders, speak out and seek changes in practice, policies and legislation. Get help finding a pro bono attorney or educating yourself so you can advocate for yourself in court. It is sad that most mothers are destitute after a few years paying for attorneys, evaluators, litigation, and therapy for themselves and their children.
How can the judicial system better handle these cases?
Many mothers lose custody in ex parte hearings when they are not notified of the court hearing; this
practice should be banned. Judges must be trained by child sexual abuse and domestic violence experts, not by other judges. Judges must be trained how to interview the child. There must be effective oversight and accountability for all professionals involved. Court appointees should have no place in these criminal matters; if on the rare occasion they are appointed, there must be a cap placed on the fees charged and paid by the court making the appointment.
What policy and legislative changes are needed to better protect child sexual abuse victims.
Ensure "safety first" for children who report sexual or physical abuse, or who witness domestic
Use multidisciplinary teams and a forensic interviewer to interview on videotape all children who
report physical or sexual abuse, or witness domestic violence.
Have the court make specific findings on domestic violence and child abuse or neglect allegations
before making further determinations.
Clarify the level of evidence required for claims of child abuse to be consistent with domestic
violence "preponderance of evidence."
Recognize parents who are acting in good faith to protect their children and do not punish them.
Discontinue use of alienation theories. Parental Alienation Syndrome is discredited by the
scientific and legal communities.
Require the court to consider past or present domestic violence and to protect the child from the
Reduce emotional, psychological, and financial harm, legal abuse, and/or domestic violence by
proxy in family court through customer satisfaction surveys sent to the Department of Justice.
Minimize the use of resources and time and reduce unnecessary litigation by implementing
custody jury trials in family violence courts
Build effective oversight, accountability and transparency for all professionals in these cases,
including judges. Consider developing a federal oversight committee.
Require continuing education for court professionals and judicial officers using a standard online
curriculum nationwide taught by experts in child sexual abuse and domestic violence. Include an
exam that would be posted on line.
Require disclosure of conflicts of interest by statute.
Develop a system to more easily remove incompetent, poorly trained professionals.
BONSHEÁ Making Light of the Dark by Coral Theill
Coral Theill: "I lived in Corvallis, Oregon from 1976-1990, and Independence, Oregon, from 1991-1996. In
1995 I sought safety from a twenty year abusive marriage. No one
prepared me for the horrors of the Oregon judicial system. See
Oregon Polk County court case from 1995-2013 has been documented as one
of Oregon's most violent and obscene domestic violence cases.
Brown: "One failed marriage and two kids later, I met a man who I
thought was the answer to my prayers. He turned out to be my worst
I thought was helpfulness, was him gradually taking over. He cut me off
from friends, family and then, even my own children. He controlled the
mail, the phone, transportation, money, my hairstyle and everything in
between. Once I was silenced, he began to abuse one of my children
children struggled in school, acted out. One of them began to have a
breakdown. The doctors gave her Ritalin for focus, pills for insomnia,
pills for chronic migraines. She was given several mental diagnoses. No
one asked the right questions. What was wrong was that there was a
monster living in our home. My children left home to escape the abuse.
became severely depressed and planned my suicide. I left instead with
just my clothing. I rebuilt my life from nothing. This journey was so
life altering that I wrote my book about it, Years of Tears.
book is unique for a few reasons. It was written around the Power and
Control Wheel, with one chapter dedicated to each of the categories on
the wheel. I show the specific tactic used, the impact on our family and
the red flags I missed.
children were interviewed for the book. They tell their own personal
accounts of living in an abusive household. And finally, the book is
primarily about emotional and psychological abuse, not physical abuse."
Obama sometimes takes the opportunity on Father's Day to draw attention
to the problem of absent fathers. The president's recently proposed
FY'14 budget includes a new Child Support and Fatherhood Initiative.
The initiative would require states to seek child custody and visitation
orders in court for fathers who must pay child support to the state.
The initiative's goals are admirable. If fathers pay child support more
regularly, childhood poverty may be reduced. If fathers participate
more actively in their children's lives, children may less often suffer
poor educational performance, incarceration, drug abuse, teen pregnancy,
and other problems more often experienced by children raised by single
parents. But the initiative's proposed solution poses serious problems.
understand how this works, all states require parents who receive
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits for their
children (often mothers) to sign over their rights to collect child
support to the states. States then file child support cases against the
children's other parent (often fathers) to reimburse the state for TANF
payments. The initiative would require states to seek visitation
orders in every case where the state files for child support. It is
1hoped that this will encourage fathers to engage with their children,
and thereby encourage fathers to pay child support.
initiative poses several problems. Custody cases often increase
conflict between parents. Custody cases may require parents to attend
multiple court hearings, call relatives, friends, and other community
members as witnesses against one another, open their homes to court
social workers, and have very personal information put on public
display. Custody litigation often creates stress and bad feelings
between parents, which can be bad for children. For all of these
reasons, courts should be a dispute resolution tool of last resort.
parents are content with informal custody and visitation arrangements
or have no interest in visitation, requiring custody litigation may
cause more harm than good. Court visitation orders don't require
parents to actually visit with their children. Orders only guarantee
parents the opportunity to visit at particular times. Sometimes orders
are necessary to ensure that both parents have the opportunity to spend
time with their child. A mandate is not required to address this.
Parents who want court orders already can file child custody cases when
they go to court to address child support.
studies have found that half or more of TANF recipients have
experienced domestic violence. The initiative recognizes that cases
involving domestic violence should be exempted from the program,
identifying these cases is challenging. States have not been successful
at identifying TANF recipients with domestic violence histories for
other purposes. In one study by the National Law Center on
Homelessness and Poverty, states failed to identify 86 percent of TANF
recipients who experienced domestic violence. Without reliable
safeguards, encouraging greater involvement by fathers who have abused
their children's mothers puts mothers and children at risk.
Requiring low-income families to undergo custody litigation also imposes
an unfair burden on a vulnerable segment of our community. A proposal
requiring all unmarried parents to obtain child visitation orders in
exchange for federal dependent child tax deductions would likely be
viewed as an unwarranted government intrusion into family privacy.
Low-income families should have the same freedom to choose whether to
approach the courts.
The initiative would require parents to
litigate custody and visitation in court but would not provide attorneys
to help parents with custody cases. In most child support cases
brought by states, only states' interests are represented by counsel.
Parents and children have no attorneys. Civil legal service providers
can meet only a fraction of the current need for legal assistance and
child custody is one of the legal issues in highest demand. Parents
without counsel may struggle to navigate court processes and effectively
present their cases.
The initiative also would increase court
workloads when court resources already are stretched thin and family
court dockets are overburdened. Standardized guidelines have simplified
child support calculations for courts. Child custody and visitation
cases cannot be similarly streamlined; deciding what serves the best
interest of each child is too case-specific, and the stakes are too
high. The Initiative will pose additional implementation challenges in
places like the District of Columbia and New York City where magistrate
judges are authorized to handle child support but not custody cases.
Creating programs to encourage fathers to take an active role in
parenting is important and commendable. But mandating court intervention
into family relationships is not the way to get there.
is co-director of families and the Law Clinic, at the Columbus School of
Law, The Catholic University of America, in Washington D.C.
There is a chance this site is linked to Scientology, since they are
strongly against psychiatrists and their abuses. I'm skeptical of
Scientology, but agree with their stance against psychiatric abuses.)