Another Way it Happens

by Julia Fletcher

Recent posts  How Does it Happen? and  Looking in a Blind Eye show several ways in which family courts fail our children. The following video clip  from Connecticut’s guardian ad litem training shows yet another way it happens. 

The woman playing the guardian ad litem seems like a trustworthy person with years of experience in the field of child protection. She’s a mother and grandmother of five who wears her heart on her sleeve next to the unexplained  disconnect when it comes to protecting the children she’s supposed to protect.

If  this video is supposed to teach people how to speak with parents in a family court case, maybe the woman playing the guardian ad litem was unprepared or caught off guard by ad lib comments about “child porn”. Why else would a guardian ad litem ignore disclosures of child abuse?  

While we’re asking, here are a few more questions: 

  • Which consultants wrote the sample case for the training and who approved the content? 
  • Do administrators there purposely or inadvertently encourage a lack of respect for established law? 
  • What intolerable consequence could possibly threaten those who do the work it takes to protect children from abuse in family courts?

Here’s the sample case summary:  

Mona and Howard are married and have three children, Justine, 13 years; Kevin, 6 years; and Amy, 18 months.

According to Howard, a lack of sexual intimacy with his wife led him to have an affair with Olive – the babysitter who is “half  his age”. He allows his 13-year-old daughter to use her cell phone to send sexually explicit text messages and provocative photos of herself to her friends. In this video, he appears to admit having “child porn” on his computer.  

Mona is anxious and depressed. Her psychiatrist ruled out all other possible reasons for her symptoms and diagnosed her as having postpartum depression. He prescribed  medication which caused suicidal thoughts and excessive drowsiness. At some point, she fell asleep on the couch while her 18-month-old daughter sat on the floor chewing on a pill bottle – prompting someone to recommend supervised visitation for her when she is with her children …

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