We are thankful for new attention on the family court crisis.
Occupy Wall Street, focused on changing the economic status quo, met opposition. We who are focused on changing the family court status quo see a glimmer of light.
Last month two excellent Congressional briefings were held in Washington DC.
- The first was on October 11 on the mental health impact of violence and trauma on children, organized by WitnessJustice http://www.witnessjustice.org/.
- The second was on October 12 on the effects of domestic violence on children, organized by NCADV http://ncadv.org/ and Makers of Memories http://www.makersofmemories.org/.
- Several Congressmembers, including John Conyers from Michigan and Bob Casey from Pennsylvania are calling for oversight hearings on the systemic failure to protect children.
The Penn State scandal shows that respectable married men commit heinous sexual acts against children. The belief system that men own children, can injure them with impunity, and be covered up by officials is being exposed.
Please join us, under a pseudonym if needed, to expose the family court collusion with abusers.
1. If you are a mother who has been fighting the family courts without success, contact Jane at Abuse Freedom firstname.lastname@example.org She has a reporter from CNN who wants your stories of children who were molested and then the molester ends up with child.
2. Sign a petition to save four year old Mila from ongoing abuse and possible trafficking.http://www.change.org/petitions/the-president-of-the-united-states-save-mila?utm_medium=tw itter&utm_source=share_petition
3. Demonstrations are starting at Sacramento Family Court. Please contact Mary email@example.com for more information, especially if Stephanie Stilley MSW from Sacramento was/is on your case.
4. Come to the Battered Mothers Custody Conference on January 7-9, 2012 in Albany NY.www.batteredmotherscustodyconference.org
We will be presenting on the ongoing www.mothers-of-lost-children.com demonstrations and hope to organize a Washington DC demonstration right after the conference. As Mothers on Trial author Phyllis Chessler (who will be speaking at the conference) said in admiration of the mothers, “Barefoot and weaponless, they fight on.”
5. Grade your court officials at www.DistinctionInFamilyCourts.com and complete a survey atwww.mothers-of-lost-children.com, especially if PAS or alienation was used in your case.
6. We have been encouraged by Congressional staff members to send as many emails and letters as possible to Congress and the White House. The more emails that are sent on a subject, the more attention it gets. Personal letters make even more of an impact. This petiton method makes emailing easy.
- Consider signing a petition to Congress for oversight hearings for family court crisishttp://www.petition2congress.com/5607/family-court-crisis/
Feel free to use/edit this letter, or create your own
LETTER TO ELECTED U.S. OFFICIALS
We are calling for oversight hearings into a growing public health crisis: 58,000 children are placed with batterers and molesters by U.S. family courts every year. www.leadershipcouncil.org.
Such adverse childhood experiences destroy childhoods and result in an increase in adult substance abuse, obesity, sexual promiscuity, depression, suicidality, heart disease, cancer, pulmonary diseases, and problems with intimate relationships and work. www.acestudy.org. When abused children are provided safety, they can become healthy adults. Instead, children are being court-ordered to violent, dangerous homes.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has called our country to task for human rights violations in Gonzalez v United States of America case, stating that the U.S. has an obligation to investigate systemic failures to prevent their repetition in the future.(p. 52) and implement precautionary measures to protect women and children in the context of domestic violence. (p. 63) http://www.law.miami.edu/hrc/hrc_gonzalez_usa.php
1. FAMILY COURT. Family court does not focus on keeping children safe. There are many reasons for this failure. The often surreal court process includes a cottage industry of private professionals. Litigants with money may be ordered to an evaluation at their own expense. The mental health professionals charge whatever the market will bear. In this cozy relationship, courts rely on the professionals to provide reports that conform to their belief systems; the professionals rely on the court for on-going lucrative appointments and provide reports pleasing to the court. These professionals often do not comply with the laws and rules of court that govern them. They minimize or ignore child abuse and domestic violence and produce dangerously flawed reports.
Judicial decisions affecting children’s lives are based on opinion and bias, not facts and evidence.
Court employees are likewise compromised: they must provide reports that conform to judicial expectations. They sometimes boast to their colleagues of gifts received from wealthy parents. Litigants with money may also be ordered to pay for an attorney for the child. The attorney rarely represents the child’s wishes, instead advocating for the parent with the most resources. Judges have been prosecuted for receiving cash for kids and cash to throw cases.
If Child Protective Services does not substantiate child abuse, the court may incorrectly assume that abuse did not occur. CPS defers to the family court instead of intervening to remove children from unsafe court placements. District Attorneys rarely prosecute incest or child abuse cases when custody is in dispute.
The wealthier parent (usually the father) hires an aggressive attorney and the parent with less money (usually the battered mother) becomes self-represented after resources are depleted. This inequality of power yields predictable results, despite a California law requiring the court to ensure both parties have attorneys when one does.
Not surprisingly, 70% of batterers who seek custody obtain it.http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/pas/dv.html.
Wide judicial discretion leads to tragic, sometimes fatal, mistakes. There are no standardized protocols, often no court reporters or transcripts, no ability to appeal, and no oversight of these “star chamber proceedings”. The system fails children, but succeeds well for batterers and molesters.
2. FOSTER CARE. Children are being raped, physically abused and killed while in government placements. CPS guidelines are not always followed, often children are taken without due process, and safe relative placement may not be utilized as required. There are financial incentives for adoption that result in removal of adoptable children from their homes. Juvenile dependency hearings are secret, protecting perpetrators rather than victims. Children in foster care are medicated for symptoms of trauma instead of talking about their grief. CPS fails to remove children who are court-ordered to abusive parents.
3. FUNDING. The imbalance of funding is creating corruption which has filtered through all manner of government and related agencies. One example is that $500 million in taxpayer dollars (in this time of grave deficit and poverty), is designated for the fatherhood initiative through the US Department of Health and Human Services. “The goal is to have former prisoners paying child support and reconnecting with their children as soon as possible.” (Washington Post June 21, 2010.) Nothing is designated for a motherhood initiative. This gender-biased funding must be eliminated, or turned into a parenting initiative. There is no study that shows these funds are improving children’s lives; however, there is ample evidence that it is ruining them. Fatherhood organizations funded by HHS are known to advise previously incarcerated criminal fathers how to get custody and child support, instead of how to get a job and pay child support.
We urge you to hold oversight hearings on the systemic failure of family court and CPS to protect children as recommended by Congressman John Conyers at the October 12, 2011 Congressional briefing on the effects of domestic violence on children.