CA Protective Parents Association Newsletter
|Attend ALL Child Custody Sessions at NCADV’s Conference for $125.
August 1st through 4th, 2010 The Hilton Anaheim, CA
NCADV is currently offering a special rate to anyone wishing to attend the Child Custody plenary session and corresponding workshop track sessions during NCADV’s and NOMAS’ National Conference on Ending Violence: Changing Faces of the Movement at the Hilton Anaheim in Anaheim, CA.
Please note, this rate is only available until July 22nd, 2010 and is specific to the custody pieces being offered at the conference. Access to other NCADV conference events will be at an additional cost.
Please see below for the schedule of sessions, titles and descriptions.
Monday, August 2nd
FROM DISGRUNTLED LITIGANTS TO THE CANARIES OF THE CUSTODY COURT SYSTEM: Protective Mothers Were Right-They Are Being Mistreated by the Courts
Opening remarks from Ms. Joye E. Frost, Director, Office on Victims of Crime. The new book, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY establishes that the routine use of outdated and discredited practices has resulted in thousands of children being sent to live with abusers. The research is now readily available to challenge and prevent the common mistakes that so often harm children. The success of the abuser tactic seeking custody to maintain control over their victims and failure of the courts to recognize this tactic undermine the work of our movement and have led to an increase in domestic violence homicides after many years of declines. Mo Therese Hannah will discuss the research available to help protective mothers. Judge Mike Brigner will explain how judges are getting it wrong so often. Garland Waller exposes the failure of the media to report this scandal. You will want to stay until the end because Barry Goldstein will explain how to use this information in your home communities as we use the research in the book to reform the broken custody court system, prevent the unfair attacks on protective mothers and make sure no child has to cry herself to sleep because a court separated her from her safe, courageous, protective mother.
-Purchase DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY at the conference for the special rate of $115 (normally $135.95). If you need to get approval to purchase this book, please do so prior to arriving at the conference. Please make checks out to Barry Goldstein if you will be purchasing one there.
Custody Track Workshops (in order of occurrence):www.bwjp.org called Promising Practices which features innovative and successful strategies being used to address domestic violence. Stephanie has also actively participated in several of the safety audits BWJP has conducted locally, examining ways to institutionalize victim safety into practices of the criminal legal system. These audits included the 911 communication system, prosecution, probation, and judicial audits. Prior to joining BWJP in 1996, Stephanie worked for battered women providing both individual and system advocacy. After working in a Minneapolis project, in 1992 she established the Southern Valley Intervention Project to serve a rural county in Minnesota. As coordinator, she operated the project working with criminal justice personnel, advocating for battered women and training volunteers. She worked with the County Attorney to develop and provide law enforcement training for all police officers in the county.
Battered Mothers Caught up in Multiple Courts: Navigating the Three Planets
Monday, August 2nd
Battered mothers often may find themselves involved in multiple courts: Family, Criminal, and/or Juvenile. Each court defines and addresses domestic violence according to its own culture and purpose, redefining women’s experiences in puzzling and disempowering ways. Participants will identify underlying assumptions and principles governing these court systems, analyzing possible consequences for battered mothers and becoming better able to validate battered mothers’ own experience while navigating the different system that try to redefine it. The redefinition of battered mothers’ reality is illustrated using personal and hypothetical stories and building on the “Three Planets” model firs described by UK researcher, Marianne Hester.
Stephanie Avalon, a resource specialist and trainer for the Battered Women’s Justice Project, responds to questions regarding legislation, law enforcement, prosecution, sentencing, probation, batterers programs, coordinated community/court programs, and victim advocacy programs. She assists in the technical assistance conferences presented to Arrest grantees; visits grantee programs to evaluate their progress, and provides specific advocacy training. Stephanie has written two articles exploring the role of advocates working in the criminal justice system. Recently, Stephanie has edited a new webpage for the BWJP website,
A Risk Based Approach in Volatile Family Law Matters
Monday, August 2nd
Often in high-conflict family law matters, the risk to children and to abuse victims is often overlooked. While the goal remains to serve the best interest of the children, it is critical to prove or disprove any allegations before determining custody plans. This new risk based approach is well rooted in evidence based practices and truly addresses the best interest of the children while keeping safety as the priority. Courts throughout the United States are recognizing this approved method of investigation, using a multi-disciplinary investigative team.
Karen Borders has made a lifetime career out of helping victims of domestic violence and abuse and is the co-creator of the Family Violence Risk Assessment program that is currently being used extensively in family law courts throughout Southern California. This program assists Judges, Commissioners, Attorneys, and Mental Health providers in determining risk levels to involved parties where serious domestic violence allegations are present. With her expertise in domestic violence, she is considered a leading authority in handling these sensitive and often complex cases. Prior to founding Borders, McLaughlin and Associates, Ms. Borders had a distinguished law enforcement career of over twenty-two years with a Southern California Police Agency. She is a highly respected and well-known professional with specialized expertise in the area of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, workplace violence, stalking, inappropriate pursuit, and high profile investigations. Ms. Borders was the first female homicide detective and served as a hostage negotiator on the special tactics response team. She was the originator of the first of its kind family services/domestic violence unit in the Coachella Valley. Ms. Borders is currently attending Alliant University, California School of Forensic Studies, working on her Doctorate in Forensic Psychology. She has a Masters in Psychology from Pepperdine University. Prior to that she received her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from University of Redlands (Dean’s List) and attended the University of Southern California (USC). Ms. Borders is a graduate of the Advanced Threat Assessment and Management Academy, and is a licensed Private Investigator in the state of California. Having been recognized throughout her career for her expertise in her fields, Ms. Borders has received numerous awards throughout her career. She was listed in the Marquis Who’s Who of American Women for twelve years consecutively (1995-2007), and in 2007, she was selected to be listed in the Marquis Who’s Who of National Business Leaders. She received the Award of Valor twice (1988, 1994), was Crafton Hills College’s law enforcement officer of the year, and recognized for her outstanding community service programs (2000). Ms. Borders is also an accomplished educator and speaker. She has taught countless hours for law enforcement officers, governmental officials, district attorneys, judicial officials and community groups, and has been a featured speaker on several occasions in the areas of domestic violence, workplace violence, stalking and inappropriate pursuit. While serving as co-chair on the Coachella Valley Domestic Violence Task Force, she created and produced a thirty-minute domestic violence special that has aired on community cable. She also co-hosted a community cable television show named “Crime Watch” which offered safety awareness information. Additionally, she is a member of the Gavin de Becker Threat Assessment Practitioner Group, the leading threat assessment and management group in the United States. BMAA is also an active member of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals. Ms. Borders has been the lead consultant in several high profile criminal, civil and family law cases involving allegations of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, stalking, kidnapping and other serious allegations, and has provided successful threat assessment and management of hundreds of cases. Frequently called upon as a Domestic Violence Expert, Ms. Borders has testified in criminal, civil and family law proceedings, and is currently the Domestic Violence Expert for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. She has consulted for attorneys representing several California law enforcement agencies on issues of civil liability and criminal proceedings. Ms. Borders’ dedication, commitment and compassion have led her to be the founding member of a domestic violence charitable organization and donate her time and financial resources to several charities that assist domestic violence victims and their families. She is also an active member in her church.
Joan Zorza, J.D.
Michael Brigner, J.D.
Monday, August 2nd
How abusive fathers manipulate their victims and those in the court system in ways that disadvantage mothers in the court system, particularly in custody disputes. How to recognize some of the main ways that abusers do this, how it sets up their victims to be seen as uncooperative, selfish, and lacking in credibility. How to combat batterer manipulation and show that he is the problem and not you.
Joan Zorza has represented more than 2,000 battered women and written extensively on all aspects of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault, particularly those involving custody and incest, and what helps or hurts battered women in court. She served on the board of NCADV for 10 years and has edited “Domestic Violence Report” since its inception 15 years ago. She no longer represents clients but remains active with many groups advocating for the rights of battered women and their children.
Michael Brigner, J.D.
Professor Mike Brigner is a lawyer who has represented many battered women, and was an Ohio family court judge for ten years, hearing divorces and order of protection cases. He authored the Ohio Domestic Violence Benchbook for Judges and Magistrates, and chaired the Ohio Supreme Court Domestic Violence Advisory Committee. He has authored over 100 articles, most on domestic violence. He has trained thousands of judges, police, lawyers, prosecutors, paralegals and domestic violence advocates around the country.
Tuesday, August 3rd
This workshop is a dynamic presentation on grassroots organizing and social change, focused on protecting abused children and their battered mothers in family court. The speakers are experts in community organizing, public relations, and the problem of the reabuse of battered women and children by family courts. The domestic violence movement has been set back 30 yeard because perpetrators have gained a foothold in the very systems designed to protect battered women and children. Women are sometimes staying in violent relationships in a vain attempt to protect their children. The reason? Family court judges are taught to be highly skeptical of allegations of battering and child abuse, and are in fact, told to be suspicious of these allegations. The result is that courts routinely ignore child abuse and violence against women, and punish women who raise allegations of abuse by placing the abused children with violent and incestuous men. This workshop will provide important information on successful actions to right these egregious wrongs.
Connie Valentine is co-founder and past president of CA Protective Parents Association, a statewide organization that assists protective parents, primarily battered mothers, through information, referrals, support, and research. She has coordinated 16 conferences on child sexual abuse awareness and works to educate policy makers on the need for improved policies to protect children whose parents are involved in family court.
Karen Anderson is co-founder and Executive Director of CA Protective Parents Association. She has been a domestic violence and sexual assault counselor for 8 years. She is also a trained mediator and paralegal. She has presented at conferences nationally and internationally on the problems of battered women and their abused children being endangered by family courts.
Kathleen Russell is the Executive Director of Center for Judicial Excellence (CJE). Kathleen brings more than 18 years of experience in strategic communications, government relations, grassroots organizing and campaign consulting. In 2008, she co-directed and produced the award-winning film Family Court Crisis: Our Children at Risk for CJE. She coordinates all of CJE’s advocacy and media relations work in Sacramento and in Washington, D.C.www.ncadv.org ;
Steve Burdo is Project Manager at Kathleen Russell Consulting. Steve has experience in working for social justice issues, both through community organizing as well as political organizing. He works in media relations, political campaigns and grassroots advocacy.
Welcome To the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
Tuesday, August 3rd
This is a presentation for DV survivors with ongoing, open family court cases. Leaving your abuser is like falling down Alice’s rabbit hole where we land disoriented at The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party: the non-sensical world of the family court system. This workshop will teach survivors how to navigate the “wonderland” they’ve found themselves in without “losing their heads”. Common pitfalls and mistakes that DV survivors face in their cases and relationships (with their children, family, friends, etc.) will be illustrated so those in attendance can learn from other survivor’s mistakes. Practical tips on “what to do if/when” will be discussed to show survivors how to cope, heal and deal with the post-separation challenges they’ll face with their abusers and the family court system. Re-entering the dating world with a focus on how it will affect your case and how to avoid getting caught in another abusive relationship will also be taught.
Dara Carlin, M.A. holds a Masters degree in Marriage & Family Counseling from Hofstra University, and has spent her 20+ year career working in various social service capacities. Dara’s dedication to ending abuse began as a teen volunteering for her community’s Youth Development Association in NY. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Sociology, Dara focused on child abuse, juvenile justice and family violence issues. She’s most recognized in her current role as a Domestic Violence Survivor Advocate, Consultant and Trainer.
Understanding System Failure and the Thinking Errors Which Cause it: Knowledge is Power to Demand Change.
Meera Fox, Esq.
Wednesday, August 4th
This is a lecture that has been being collaborated on in its development over the past few years by several of the country’s leading experts in child abuse and Family Court who are members of the teaching faculty of Child Abuse Solutions, Inc. It includes ideas and material from Joyanna Silberg, Hon. Sol Gothard, Geraldine Stahly, Stephanie Dallam, and Meera Fox. As its primary author, Meera Fox presents it on behalf of her entire teaching team. The lecture examines System Failure in all the court and related agencies responsible for child safety (police, Child Welfare Services, the District Attorney, the Juvenile, Criminal and Family Courts) and explains the thinking errors which have allowed these systems to justify having failed and continuing to fail to protect child victims of incest and domestic violence, even as they cause these victims further iatrogenic damage. The lecture is an in-depth analysis of the problem with specific strategies for how to fix things and is a call to action to audience members to get involved in their communities to bring an end to the status quo of courts punishing victims for seeking protection from incest and domestic violence.
Meera Fox, Esq. has been coordinating and providing trainings for Family Court evaluators, mediators, attorneys and judges since 2002, bringing together some of the most interesting faculty of experts in the field to train on topics such as assessing child sexual abuse, forensic interviewing, system failure, and how the paradigm of Parental Alienation Syndrome and its progeny have shifted the discourse in Family Courts from the best interests of children to the punishment of Protective Parents, especially battered women, for reporting abuse. Meera Fox has represented abused children and Protective Parents in court since 1995, before which she spent several years assisting expert attorneys Richard Ducote and Alan Rosenfeld, who practice all over the country helping Protective Parents keep their children safe. Meera has been devoted to ensuring justice for children in courts for the past 25 years and has a breadth of knowledge of the field developed through her many pursuits in that regard. As director of Child Abuse Solutions, Inc., Meera has to keep current on all the research in the many topic areas their faculty is responsible for. In so doing she has developed a professional reputation as the statistics queen of child sexual abuse cases and research. She speaks regularly at conferences, educational seminars, political and media events to raise awareness about system failure in our courts, and testifies often before the California Judiciary Committees on child protection legislation.
*Offer good only for child custody sessions. All other conference events subject to full price of conference attendance. No refunds or exceptions on registration.
Special Projects and National Conference Coordinator
(303) 839-1852 x 107