California Protective Parents Association Newsletter
Please join us on
Friday March 24 at 9:25am
at the Judicial Council of California business meeting,
455 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA
to speak out and remind our judiciary that things are still not going well in California family courts. Please arrive by 9:15am to be safe. You will have about 2 minutes to speak. A lot can be said in that short time.
for more information.
|May 14-16, 2017. BMCC & MOLC Events in Washington D.C.
We will have a mini BMCC Mother's Day lunch, workshops and com
edy hour (yes, a protective mom has volunteered to make a spoof about family court!) on Sunday; a speak out, demonstration and march starting at 1:30pm on Monday at Congress; and a Congressional briefing on Tuesday. There will be time to lobby your Congress members in between these events. Stay tuned for more details!
|May 19-21, 2017. The Survivorship Ritual Abuse and Child Abuse 2017 Conference
On May 19-21, 2017 Survivorship will h
ave a conference at the Executive Inn & Suite,
1755 Embarcadero, Oakland, CA 94606.
There will be a clinician's conference on Friday, May 19th for licensed clinicians and students in the field. Alison Miller will be presenting a full day presentation at this conference. Her topic is: Working with Deliberately Structured Personality Systems.
We will have two days of survivor and professional workshops on Saturday, May 20th and Sunday, May 21st with excellent prices, good food, a safe environment and the chance to work with others who are survivors. Speakers at this conference will include: Alison Miller, Wendy Hoffman, Neil Brick and Eileen Aveni.
for more information.
As a movement, we must persist and have the courage of the suffragists.
Leora Rosen Ph.D. tracks the historical forces that have shaped the protective parent movement in her updated book
Beyond the Hostage Child
. War correspondent Keith Harmon Snow calls family court 'organized crime' in his book
The Worst Interests of the Child
What Doesn't Kill Me
by Rachel Meyrick documents stories of protective mothers who lost their children to abusers.
Here is a letter from a protective mother who is a strong lobbyist for the movement.
Make Yourself Matter
Protective parents have gone through incredible hardships that they would never have thought could happen to anyone, much less themselves. For simply behaving as a good, loving parent, they have been criminalized and humiliated by authorities who betrayed them.
So many have lost so much...including their children. It is a process meant to take away your strength and sense of control over your life. It is meant to deprive you of your dignity and, significantly, your voice: to make you think you don't matter and can't make a difference.
I have traveled to D.C. for a number of years now, joining Connie and many wonderful people with the main goal of bringing this national travesty to light; seeking change and redress.... to bring our children home.
Sadly, many in D.C. were unaware of the problem, and oftentimes incredulous about what we told them. However, we persevered. In the face of many challenges, we have continued to present our case, and share our stories, part of our collected evidence, as well as our legacy to our children.
Many may have felt it didn't make a difference, or wasn't worth the effort...or that they couldn't make the trip.
That needs to change.
Five years ago, perhaps three percent of our targeted audience in congress took us seriously, as most were in the dark (some of whom wished to stay there). That did not deter us, and so we continued.
We have now flipped that estimate on its head!
On our recent visit, we were met with vastly improved and positive responses to our issue.
Truly significant, is that we experienced confirmation that women coming into Congressional offices to tell their stories has made an impact.
One Congressional aide not only recognized us, but made specific reference to our "large delegation" from last time. In a one-on-one meeting, an aide told me that staff sees bill numbers all the time, but it's the personal stories that stay with them. She continued, "
I will never forget the stories I was told on your last visit". She was slightly trembling as she spoke, as she was clearly moved.
After another very good meeting, in which a mom came to share her story, again we were told that "personal narratives make an impact on staff."
It is the staff we first speak to who in turn decide what is important to share with their boss. YOU and your children are important. YOU matter, and YOU CAN make a difference! Streamline your narrative, come to D.C. and take back your voice.
As you can see, our Mothers of Lost Children delegations in Congress over the past six years have not gone unnoticed. We will keep on until this judicial trafficking ends.
Just type in your zip code to find your representative here
. It is a good idea to bring a written summary of your case with key documents to leave for your representative. Below is information you can email in advance when you call to make your appointment.
Subject: Children placed at risk by family (divorce) courts: A national scandal
Dear Congress member _______
H. Con. Res 150 was introduced in September 2016 by Representatives Ted Poe and Carolyn Maloney to address the growing scandal of children being placed at risk in the context of custody and visitation by family (divorce) courts across the nation.
In-depth investigative reports and documentaries are exposing the pattern of Privately and publicly funded research show these practices lead to re-injury and death. An estimated million children have been placed in danger over the past two decades, leading to approximately one death per week.
I am your constituent. My child was placed with an abuser by court order.
The Resolution will be reintroduced in the current Congressional session. Please consider becoming a co-sponsor of this Resolution, which will guide states to develop better practices to keep children safe.
YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS
Critics say a state office's professed inability to review the work of mental health experts in Family and Matrimonial Court leaves children at risk.
By Laurie Udesky -
100 Reporters - December 1, 2016
NYC paid millions for flawed mental health reports. Family court judges relied on them routinely. Parents and children lived with the consequences.
By Joaquin Sapien -
ProPublica - January 17, 2017
Reforms aim to end presumption that a father must have contact with a child when there is evidence of domestic abuse
By Sandra Laville -
The Guardian - January 20, 2017
Profiteering judges, lax oversight and sexism have set up a cottage industry that works against poor parents
By Alastair Bland -
Sacramento News and Review - January 26, 2017
By Keith Harmon Snow - May 17, 2012
This article became a book in 2016 titled
The Worst Interests of the Child: The Trafficking of Children and Parents Through U. S. Family Courts
By Kristen Lombardi -
Boston Phoenix - January 9, 2003
- Beyond the Hostage Child by Leora Rosen Ph.D. (2017)
- The Worst Interests of the Child by war correspondent Keith Harmon Snow (2016)
- Criminal Decision by investigative reporter Jill Kramer (2012)
- Prosecuted But Not Silenced: Courtroom Reform for Sexually Abused Children by Maralee McLean (2012)
- Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody: Legal Strategies and Policy Issues co-edited by Mo Therese Hannah and Barry Goldstein (2010)
- The Women of CourtWatch: Reforming a Corrupt Family Court System by Carole Ball Ford(2005)
- From Madness to Mutiny: Why Mothers Are Running from the Family Courts -- and What Can Be Done about It by Amy Neustein and Michael Lesher (2005)
- Bonshea: Making Light of the Dark by Coral Anika Theill (2003)
- Laughter Calls Me: A Young Woman's Search for Truth Leads to a Courage Battle to Save Her Children by Catherine Brown (2003)
- Let My Children Go: A Mother's Journal by Wendy Titleman (2003)
- The Batterer As Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics by Lundy Bancroft (2002)
- All But My Soul, Abuse Beyond Control by Jeanne King, Ph.D. (2001)
- A Mothers' Nightmare-Incest, A Practical Legal Guide for Parents and Professionals by John E. B. Myers (1997)
- Divorced From Justice: The Abuse of Women and Children by Divorce Lawyers and Judges by Karen Winner (1996)
- Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome by Karin Huffer (1995)
- See How She Runs by Matthew J. Costello (1994)
- Mothers on Trial by Phyllis Chesler (1986)
A national survey of 399 protective parents from 39 states who were involved in custody disputes by Geraldine Stahly Ph.D. professor emeritus, California State University, San Bernardino, shows a dramatic drop in child safety when protective parents asked family courts to protect children.
- 81% of protective parents began with primary custody. Most were domestic violence victims.
- Allegations of physical and sexual child abuse arose in nearly all cases. In 75% of cases, children positively identified the other parent as the perpetrator.
- The children had serious symptoms and injuries, yet judges ignored or minimized evidence of abuse and changed custody to the accused perpetrator in three quarters of cases.
- Two thirds of protective parents lost parenting rights based on an evaluator's recommendation and 44% lost custody due to a mediator's report.
- A mere 9% of child attorneys zealously advocated for their young clients.
- Only 17% of protective parents had primary custody after court proceedings. This represents a 75% loss of custody by the parent attempting to protect the child (comparable to other studies).
- More than half of protective parents were restricted from all contact with their children, and nearly half were put on supervised visitation.
- 27% of protective parents filed for bankruptcy after spending a modal average of $100,000 on litigation, and 78% of the cases were still in progress.
- 98% of the accused were represented by an attorney while the protective parent had none.
- Over half of hearings were held without a court reporter present, thus precluding an appeal.
- Two thirds of the children continued to report abuse. Over half of protective parents stopped reporting abuse for fear their contact with their children would be terminated.
Family Court Enhancement Project (FCEP).
OVW, Battered Women's Justice Project (BWJP),
the National Institute for Justice (NIJ), and Family Violence and Domestic Relations Program (FVDR) of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is accepted proposals from family courts that make custody, visitation, and parenting time decisions. Children continue to be placed in unsafe environments because the system fails to adequately assess and address the impact of domestic violence on the children.
Violence Against Women, vol. 11, no. 8 (August 2005) NIJ-Sponsored, NCJ 210897-00.
Four studies presented systematically collected empirical evidence on the custody crisis facing battered women in America.
Child Custody Mediation and Domestic Violence, NIJ Journal, Issue No. 251 (July 2004), JR 000251. This study documented the counterintuitive fact that when women informed custody mediators that they were victims of domestic violence they often received less favorable custody awards.
Domestic Violence, Visitation and Custody Decisions in New York Family Courts,
Final Report, NIJ-Sponsored
(May 2002), NCJ 195792. This study investigated the frequency of visitation and custody appeals by batterers and response of the court when abuser applied for visitation.
Partially in response to the August 17, 2011
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
report that found the United States responsible for human rights violations suffered by Jessica Lenahan Gonzales, whose three children were killed in the context of custody and visitation, and their recommendations for changes to U.S. domestic violence law and policy, a series of briefings have been held to educate Congress on these issues.
September 13, 2016 Congressional Briefing: Protecting Child Safety in Family Court
November 18, 2015 Congressional Briefing: Spare the Rod: Protect the Child
October 12, 2011 Congressional Briefing: Effects of Domestic Violence on Children