mkg4583

Archive for the ‘cps fraud’ Category

The Federal Scheme to Destroy Father-Child Relationships

In Activism, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Parental Alienation Disorder, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Title Iv-D on August 26, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Topic: Divorce & Child Custody Issues
The Federal Scheme to Destroy Father-Child Relationships


Federal entitlement programs are decimating the lives of children and trampling on the rights of fathers to the care and companionship of their kids. We must dismantle the Federal-State entitlement nexus that deprives men of their civil liberties. Here is what every man in America should know.


by Jake Morphonios
(conservative)
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Congress would feign admit its own dubious contribution to the suffering of America’s children. Rather, these politicians promulgate the myth that they are helping children through federal and state welfare entitlement programs. It is, in fact, these very programs which are responsible for the out of control rampage against children. Here is how the scam works.

The federal government levies taxes against citizens to redistribute as welfare entitlements among needy applicants. Congress created the Social Security Act, a section of which is called Title IV. Title IV describes how tax dollars will be distributed among the States to subsidize their individual welfare programs. In order for States to tap into the federal treasure chest, containing billions of dollars, they must demonstrate that they are complying with Title IV mandates to collect child support revenues. In other words, to get money from the federal government, each State must become a child support collection and reporting agency.

Every unwed or single mother seeking welfare assistance must disclose on her application the identities of the fathers of her children and how much child support the fathers have been ordered by a family court to pay. She must also commit to continuously reporting the father’s payments so that the State can count the money as “collected” to the federal government’s Office of Child Support Enforcement. As with all bureaucracies, this process has developed into a monstrosity that chews up and spits out the very people it was designed to help.

States have huge financial incentives to increase the amount of child support it can report to the federal government as “collected”. To increase collection efforts, States engage in the immoral practice of dividing children from their fathers in family courts. Have you ever wondered why family courts award custody to mothers in 80%-90% of all custody cases, even when the father is determined to be just as suitable a parent? It is because the amount of child support ordered by the State is largely determined by how much time the child spends with each parent. This means that the State “collects” less child support if parents share equal custody. By prohibiting fathers from having equal custody and time with their children, the State’s child support coffers are increased and federal dollars are received.

Opponents try to paint loving fathers as “deadbeat dads” for daring to challenge the mother-take-all system of family law.  This is nothing more than diversionary propaganda.  The concern of fathers is not that they are unwilling to support their children financially. This is not an argument against paying child support. Any father that cares about his child will do everything in his power to provide for the child. The concern is, rather, that children are being separated from their fathers by family courts because the State stands to reap huge financial rewards as a result of the father’s loss of custody. The higher the order of child support, the more money the State can collect – even if the amount ordered by the court far exceeds the reasonable needs of the child or if the father is required to take second and third jobs to keep up with outrageous support orders and escape certain incarceration. The truth is that most fathers don’t care about the financial aspects of these family court verdicts nearly as much as they care about having their time with their children eliminated for nefarious government purposes.

The root of this evil is a State-level addiction to federal tax dollars being doled out as entitlement monies by a monolithic federal government. In the wake of this horror are millions of children drowning for lack of the care, guidance, and companionship of their fathers. Statistics and empirical evidence universally confirm that children forcibly separated from their fathers by family courts are considerably more likely to suffer anxiety and depression, develop drug addiction, engage in risky sexual activity, break the law, and commit suicide. This travesty must end.

Unconstitutional federal bureaucracy creates many of the societal ills it claims to be trying to solve. There are several steps incremental steps that could be taken to restore a child’s right to the companionship of both parents. For example, citizens should insist that States abide by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. No father should be automatically deprived of his fundamental right to the custody of his children without due process of law. Being a male is not a crime. Absent a finding of true danger from a parent, family courts should order shared parenting rights and equal time sharing for divorcing parents.  These rights are fundamental and should not be abridged.  The automatic presumption of custody-to-the-mother is unconstitutional.

The history of America is brim with examples of the federal government denying basic rights to its citizens. Women were denied the right to vote until the women’s suffrage movement secured the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Black Americans also were denied the right to vote and suffered myriad other cruel and humiliating indignities under the law until the civil rights movement brought about desegregation, put an end to Jim Crow legislation and compelled the enactment of the 15th and 24th Amendments to the Constitution. In each of these examples, society was slow to recognize that a problem even existed or that some of our laws were unjust. It took considerable time, concerted effort, self-sacrifice and perhaps even divine providence to realign concurrent societal paradigms with the principles of liberty and justice for all.

Our generation is not exempt from similar assaults on liberty. While many just causes may stake claims for redress of grievances, one group, more than any other, pleads for immediate support. The need to defend the rights of this group of American citizens, reeling from the unjust consequences of state-sponsored oppression, is before us. It is time to stand up for the rights of children and demand their equal access to both parents.

- – -

Jake Morphonios is a civil rights advocate and North Carolina State Coordinator for Fathers 4 Justice – US.  The political opinions of Mr. Morphonios do not represent those of Fathers 4 Justice.  Neither Mr. Morphonios nor F4J-US provide legal advice or assistance with individual cases.

Fathers seeking support or information, or other parties interested in becoming involved in the father’s rights movement may contact Mr. Morphonios at: jake.morphonios@nc.f4j.us


PLEASE THUMB THIS ARTICLE to help spread the word to others about this imporant issue.

The Federal Scheme to Destroy Father-Child Relationships.

The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services | Nancy Schaefer – Kidjacked

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, child trafficking, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on July 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Although Georgia Sen. Nancy Schaefer is no longer with us, her report “The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services” lead to her losing the re-election for her state senate seat, and perhaps ultimately to her death.  What Senator Schaefer exposed in Georgia is true not only for her state by the remaining 49 states and territories of the United States, and true for the rest of the western world.  Isn’t it about time we stopped selling children in the name of protecting them?

By: Nancy Schaefer
Senator, 50th District

Georgia  Capitol

From the legislative desk of Senator Nancy Schaefer 50th District of Georgia

My introduction into child protective service cases was due to a grandmother in an adjoining state who called me with her tragic story. Her two granddaughters had been taken from her daughter who lived in my district. Her daughter was told wrongly that if she wanted to see her children again she should sign a paper and give up her children. Frightened and young, the daughter did. I have since discovered that parents are often threatened into cooperation of permanent separation of their children.

The children were taken to another county and placed in foster care. The foster parents were told wrongly that they could adopt the children. The grandmother then jumped through every hoop known to man in order to get her granddaughters. When the case finally came to court it was made evident by one of the foster parent’s children that the foster parents had, at any given time, 18 foster children and that the foster mother had an inappropriate relationship with the caseworker.

In the courtroom, the juvenile judge, acted as though she was shocked and said the two girls would be removed quickly. They were not removed. Finally, after much pressure being applied to the Department of Family and Children Services of Georgia (DFCS), the children were driven to South Georgia to meet their grandmother who gladly drove to meet them.

After being with their grandmother two or three days, the judge, quite out of the blue, wrote up a new order to send the girls to their father, who previously had no interest in the case and who lived on the West Coast. The father was in “adult entertainment”. His girlfriend worked as an “escort” and his brother, who also worked in the business, had a sexual charge brought against him.

Within a couple of days the father was knocking on the grandmother’s door and took the girls kicking and screaming to California.

The father developed an unusual relationship with the former foster parents and soon moved back to the southeast, and the foster parents began driving to the father’s residence and picking up the little girls for visits. The oldest child had told her mother and grandmother on two different occasions that the foster father molested her.

To this day after five years, this loving, caring blood relative grandmother does not even have visitation privileges with the children. The little girls are in my opinion permanently traumatized and the young mother of the girls was so traumatized with shock when the girls were first removed from her that she has not recovered.

Throughout this case and through the process of dealing with multiple other mismanaged cases of the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), I have worked with other desperate parents and children across the state because they have no rights and no one with whom to turn. I have witnessed ruthless behavior from many caseworkers, social workers, investigators, lawyers, judges, therapists, and others such as those who “pick up” the children. I have been stunned by what I have seen and heard from victims all over the state of Georgia.

//
//

In this report, I am focusing on the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS). However, I believe Child Protective Services nationwide has become corrupt and that the entire system is broken almost beyond repair. I am convinced parents and families should be warned of the dangers.

The Department of Child Protective Services, known as the Department of Family and Children Service (DFCS) in Georgia and other titles in other states, has become a “protected empire” built on taking children and separating families. This is not to say that there are not those children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection. This report is concerned with the children and parents caught up in “legal kidnapping,” ineffective policies, and DFCS who do does not remove a child or children when a child is enduring torment and abuse. (See Exhibit A and Exhibit B)

In one county in my District, I arranged a meeting for thirty-seven families to speak freely and without fear. These poor parents and grandparents spoke of their painful, heart wrenching encounters with DFCS. Their suffering was overwhelming. They wept and cried. Some did not know where their children were and had not seen them in years. I had witnessed the “Gestapo” at work and I witnessed the deceitful conditions under which children were taken in the middle of the night, out of hospitals, off of school buses, and out of homes. In one county a private drug testing business was operating within the DFCS department that required many, many drug tests from parents and individuals for profit. In another county children were not removed when they were enduring the worst possible abuse.

Due to being exposed, several employees in a particular DFCS office were fired. However, they have now been rehired either in neighboring counties or in the same county again. According to the calls I am now receiving, the conditions in that county are returning to the same practices that they had before the light was shown on their deeds.

Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide, I am convinced there is no responsibility and no accountability in the system.

I have come to the conclusion:

  • that poor parents often times are targeted to lose their children because they do not have the where-with-all to hire lawyers and fight the system. Being poor does not mean you are not a good parent or that you do not love your child, or that your child should be removed and placed with strangers;
  • that all parents are capable of making mistakes and that making a mistake does not mean your children are always to be removed from the home. Even if the home is not perfect, it is home; and that’s where a child is the safest and where he or she wants to be, with family;
  • that parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling referrals, therapy classes and on and on are demanded of parents with no compassion by the system even while they are at work and while their children are separated from them. This can take months or even years and it emotionally devastates both children and parents. Parents are victimized by “the system” that makes a profit for holding children longer and “bonuses” for not returning children;
  • that caseworkers and social workers are oftentimes guilty of fraud. They withhold evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights. However, when charges are made against them, the charges are ignored;
  • that the separation of families is growing as a business because local governments have grown accustomed to having taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-expanding budgets;
  • that Child Protective Service and Juvenile Court can always hide behind a confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions and keep the funds flowing. There should be open records and “court watches”! Look who is being paid! There are state employees, lawyers, court investigators, court personnel, and judges. There are psychologists, and psychiatrists, counselors, caseworkers, therapists, foster parents, adoptive parents, and on and on. All are looking to the children in state custody to provide job security. Parents do not realize that social workers are the glue that holds “the system” together that funds the court, the child’s attorney, and the multiple other jobs including DFCS’s attorney.
  • that The Adoption and the Safe Families Act, set in motion by President Bill Clinton, offered cash “bonuses” to the states for every child they adopted out of foster care. In order to receive the “adoption incentive bonuses” local child protective services need more children. They must have merchandise (children) that sell and you must have plenty of them so the buyer can choose. Some counties are known to give a $4,000 bonus for each child adopted and an additional $2,000 for a “special needs” child. Employees work to keep the federal dollars flowing;
  • that there is double dipping. The funding continues as long as the child is out of the home. When a child in foster care is placed with a new family then “adoption bonus funds” are available. When a child is placed in a mental health facility and is on 16 drugs per day, like two children of a constituent of mine, more funds are involved;
  • that there are no financial resources and no real drive to unite a family and help keep them together;
  • that the incentive for social workers to return children to their parents quickly after taking them has disappeared and who in protective services will step up to the plate and say, “This must end! No one, because they are all in the system together and a system with no leader and no clear policies will always fail the children. Look at the waste in government that is forced upon the tax payer;
  • that the “Policy Manuel” is considered “the last word” for DFCS. However, it is too long, too confusing, poorly written and does not take the law into consideration;
  • that if the lives of children were improved by removing them from their homes, there might be a greater need for protective services, but today all children are not always safer. Children, of whom I am aware, have been raped and impregnated in foster care and the head of a Foster Parents Association in my District was recently arrested because of child molestation;
  • that some parents are even told if they want to see their children or grandchildren, they must divorce their spouse. Many, who are under privileged, feeling they have no option, will divorce and then just continue to live together. This is an anti-family policy, but parents will do anything to get their children home with them.
  • fathers, (non-custodial parents) I must add, are oftentimes treated as criminals without access to their own children and have child support payments strangling the very life out of them;
  • that the Foster Parents Bill of Rights does not bring out that a foster parent is there only to care for a child until the child can be returned home. Many Foster Parents today use the Foster Parent Bill of Rights to hire a lawyer and seek to adopt the child from the real parents, who are desperately trying to get their child home and out of the system;
  • that tax dollars are being used to keep this gigantic system afloat, yet the victims, parents, grandparents, guardians and especially the children, are charged for the system’s services.
  • that grandparents have called from all over the State of Georgia trying to get custody of their grandchildren. DFCS claims relatives are contacted, but there are cases that prove differently. Grandparents who lose their grandchildren to strangers have lost their own flesh and blood. The children lose their family heritage and grandparents, and parents too, lose all connections to their heirs.
  • that The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect in 1998 reported that six times as many children died in foster care than in the general public and that once removed to official “safety”, these children are far more likely to suffer abuse, including sexual molestation than in the general population.
  • That according to the California Little Hoover Commission Report in 2003, 30% to 70% of the children in California group homes do not belong there and should not have been removed from their homes.

Final Remarks

On my desk are scores of cases of exhausted families and troubled children. It has been beyond me to turn my back on these suffering, crying, and sometimes beaten down individuals. We are mistreating the most innocent. Child Protective Services have become adult centered to the detriment of children. No longer is judgment based on what the child needs or who the child wants to be with or what is really best for the whole family; it is some adult or bureaucrat who makes the decisions, based often on just hearsay, without ever consulting a family member, or just what is convenient, profitable, or less troublesome for a director of DFCS.

I have witnessed such injustice and harm brought to these families that I am not sure if I even believe reform of the system is possible! The system cannot be trusted. It does not serve the people. It obliterates families and children simply because it has the power to do so.

Children deserve better. Families deserve better. It’s time to pull back the curtain and set our children and families free.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy” Proverbs 31:8-9


Learn More…


Recommendations

  1. Call for an independent audit of the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) to expose corruption and fraud.
  2. Activate immediate change. Every day that passes means more families and children are subject to being held hostage.
  3. End the financial incentives that separate families.
  4. Grant to parents their rights in writing.
  5. Mandate a search for family members to be given the opportunity to adopt their own relatives.
  6. Mandate a jury trial where every piece of evidence is presented before removing a child from his or her parents.
  7. Require a warrant or a positive emergency circumstance before removing children from their parents. (Judge Arthur G. Christean, Utah Bar Journal, January, 1997 reported that “except in emergency circumstances, including the need for immediate medical care, require warrants upon affidavits of probable cause before entry upon private property is permitted for the forcible removal of children from their parents.”)
  8. Uphold the laws when someone fabricates or presents false evidence. If a parent alleges fraud, hold a hearing with the right to discovery of all evidence.

Exhibit A

December 5, 2006

Jeremy’s Story

(Some names withheld due to future hearings.)

As told to Senator Nancy Schaefer by Sandra (Xxxx), a foster parent of Jeremy for 2 ½ years.

My husband and I received Jeremy when he was 2-weeks-old and we have been the only parents he has really ever known. He lived with us for 27-months. (Xxxx) is the grandfather of Jeremy, and he is known for molesting his own children, for molesting Jeremy and has been court ordered not to be around Jeremy. (Xxxx) is the mother of Jeremy, who has been diagnosed to be mentally ill, and also is known to have molested Jeremy. (Xxxx) and Jeremy’s uncle is a registered sex offender and (Xxxx) is the biological father, who is a drug addict and alcoholic and who continues to be in and out of jail. Having just described Jeremy’s world, all of these adults are not to be any part of Jeremy’s life, yet for years DFCS has known that they are.

DFCS had to test (Xxxx) (the grandfather) and his son (Xxxx) (the uncle) and (Xxxx) to determine the real father. (Xxxx) is the biological father although any of them might have been. In court, it appeared from the case study, that everyone involved knew that this little boy had been molested by family members, even by his own mother, (Xxxx). In court, (XXX), the mother of Jeremy, admitted to having had sex with (Xxxx) (the grandfather) and (Xxxx) (her own brother) that morning. Judge (Xxxx) and DFCS gave Jeremy to his grandmother that same day. (Xxxx), the grandmother, is over 300 lbs., is unable to drive, and is unable to take care of Jeremy due to physical problems. She also has been in a mental hospital several times due to her behavior.

Even though it was ordered by the court that the grandfather (Xxxx), the uncle (Xxxx) (a convicted sex offender), (Xxxx) his mother who molested him and (Xxxx) his biological father, a convicted drug addict, were not to have anything to do with the child, they all continue to come and go as they please at (Xxxx address), where Jeremy has been “sentenced to live” for years. This residence has no bathroom and little heat. The front door and the windows are boarded. This home should have been condemned years ago. I have been in this home. No child should ever have to live like this or with such people.

Jeremy was taken from us at age 2 ½ years after (Xxxx) obtained attorney (Xxxx), who was the same attorney who represented him in a large settlement from an auto accident. I am told, that attorney (Xxxx), as grandfather’s attorney, is known to have repeatedly gotten (Xxxx) off of several criminal charges in White County. This is a matter of record and is known by many in White County. I have copies of some records. (Xxxx grandfather), through (Xxxx attorney’s) work, got (Xxxx), the grandmother of Jeremy, legal custody of Jeremy. (Xxxx grandfather) who cannot read or write also got his daughter (Xxxx) and son (Xxxx) diagnosed by government agencies as mentally ill. (Xxxx grandfather), through legal channels, has taken upon himself all control of the family and is able to take possession of any government funding coming to these people.

It was during this time that Jeremy was to have a six-month transitional period between (Xxxx grandmother) and my family as we were to give him up. The court ordered agreement was to have been 4-days at our house and 3-days at (Xxxx grandmother). DFCS stopped the visits within 2-weeks. The reason given by DFCS was the child was too traumatized going back and forth. In truth, Jeremy begged us and screamed never to be taken back to (Xxxx) his grandmother’s house, which we have on video.

We, as a family, have seen Jeremy in stores time to time with (Xxxx grandmother) and the very people he is not to be around. At each meeting Jeremy continues to run to us wherever he sees us and it is clear he is suffering. This child is in a desperate situation and this is why I am writing, and begging you Senator Schaefer, to do something in this child’s behalf. Jeremy can clearly describe in detail his sexual molestation by every member of this family and this sexual abuse continues to this day.

When Jeremy was 5 years of age I took him to Dr. (Xxxx) of Habersham County who did indeed agree that Jeremy’s rectum was black and blue and the physical damage to the child was clearly a case of sexual molestation.

Early in Jeremy’s life, when he was in such bad physical condition, we took him to Egleston Children Hospital where at two-months of age therapy was to begin three times a week. DFCS decided that the (Xxxx grandparent family) should participate in his therapy. However, the therapist complained over and over that the (Xxxx grandparent family) would not even wash their hands and would cause Jeremy to cry during these sessions. (Xxxx the grandmother), after receiving custody no longer allowed the therapy because it was an inconvenience. The therapist reported that this would be a terrible thing to do to this child. Therapy was stopped and it was detrimental to the health of Jeremy.

During (Xxxx grandmother) custody, (Xxxx uncle) has shot Jeremy with a BB gun and there is a report at (Xxxx) County Sheriff’s office. There are several amber alerts at Cornelia Wal-Mart, Commerce Wal-Mart, and a 911 report from (Xxxx) County Sheriff’s Department when Jeremy was lost. (Xxxx grandmother), to teach Jeremy a lesson, took thorn bush limbs and beat the bottoms of his feet. Jeremy’s feet got infected and his feet had to be lanced by Dr. (Xxxx). Then Judy called me to pick him up after about 4-days to take back him to the doctor because of intense pain. I took Jeremy to Dr. (Xxxx) in Gainesville. Dr. (Xxxx) said surgery was needed immediately and a cast was added. After returning home, (Xxxx), his grandfather and (Xxxx), his uncle, took him into the hog lot and allowed him to walk in the filth.

Jeremy’s feet became so infected for a 2nd time that he was again taken back to Dr. (Xxxx) and the hospital. No one in the hospital could believe this child’s living conditions.

Jeremy is threatened to keep quiet and not say anything to anyone. I have videos, reports, arrest records and almost anything you might need to help Jeremy.

Please call my husband, Wendell, or I at any time.
Sandra and (Xxxx) husband (Xxxx)

Exhibit B

Failure of DFCS to remove six desperate children

A brief report regarding six children that Habersham County DFCS director failed to remove as disclosed to Senator Nancy Schaefer by Sheriff Deray Fincher of Habersham County.

Sheriff Deray Fincher, Chief of Police Don Ford and Chief Investigator Lt. Greg Bowen Chief called me to meet with them immediately, which I did on Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sheriff Fincher, after contacting the Director of Habersham County DFCS several times to remove six children from being horribly abused, finally had to get a court order to remove the children himself with the help of two police officers.

The children, four boys and two girls, were not just being abused; they were being tortured by a monster father.

The six children and a live in girl friend were terrified of this man, the abuser. The children never slept in a bed, but always on the floor. The place where they lived was unfit for human habitation.

The father on one occasion hit one of the boys across his head with a bat and cut the boy’s head open. The father then proceeded to hold the boy down and sew up the child’s head with a needle and red thread. However, even with beatings and burnings, this is only a fraction of what the father did to these children and to the live-in girlfriend.

Sheriff Fincher has pictures of the abuse and condition of one of the boys and at the writing of this report, he has the father in jail in Habersham County.

It should be noted that when the DFCS director found out that Sheriff Fincher was going to remove the children, she called the father and warned him to flee.

This is not the only time this DFCS director failed to remove a child when she needed to do so. (See Exhibit A)

The egregious acts and abhorrent behavior of officials who are supposed to protect children can no longer be tolerated.

Senator Nancy Schaefer
50th District of Georgia

Senator Nancy Schaefer
302 B Coverdell Office Building
18 Capitol Square, SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Phone: 404-463-1367
Fax: 404-657-3217
Senator Nancy Schaefer
District Office
P O Box 294
Turnerville, Georgia 30580
Phone: 706-754-1998
Fax: 706-754-1803

Please forward to anyone interested

Posted: December 5, 2007

The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services | Nancy Schaefer – Kidjacked.

Parental Alienation – Dr. L.F. Lowenstein – Southern England Psychological Services

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, custody, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-V, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Jayne Major, Liberty, Marriage, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy on January 20, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Parental Alienation – Dr. L.F. Lowenstein – Southern England

The comparison of parental alienation to the “Stockholm syndrome”

Ludwig.F. Lowenstein Ph.D

Southern England Psychological Services

2006

What follows is in great part fact and what is not fact is based on supposition and psychological assessment of how the Stockholm Syndrome develops and how it has worked in the case of Natascha Kampusch recently reported in the press. She was abducted and kept in a prison in an underground cell without natural light and air being pumped into her enclosure. The Stockholm Syndrome was coined in 1973 by Nils Bejerot, a psychiatrist, while working for the police. It occurred that there was a bank robbery and four bank clerks were taken hostage by an armed robber who threatened to kill them. To the surprise of the police, the hostages stated that they had no wish to be rescued indicating that they felt sympathy for their captor.

It was assumed that the feeling of stress and helplessness and possibly a desire to survive led to this unlikely scenario. All the captives were eventually released without harm. The hostage taker himself must have been influenced by the behaviour of his victims as they were influenced by him. One can only wonder how this phenomenon occurred after such a short captivity. In the case of Natascha Kampusch her period of captivity of eight years probably brought about deeper psychological changes and more enduring ones.

As a specialist in the area of parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome where I have acted as a psychological expert in the courts, there appears to be a considerable similarity between parental alienation and the Stockholm Syndrome. The alienator in the case of the Stockholm Syndrome also needs to extinguish any desire in the victim’s past, seeking to demonstrate any allegiance to anyone other than the powerful captor of that individual.

Here too is demonstrated the power of the alienator and the insignificance of the power of the alienated party/parties. It is almost certain that Natascha Kampusch had opportunity in the past to escape from her captor, yet chose not to do so. This was despite her initial closeness to her family. A combination of fear, indoctrination and “learned helplessness”, promoted the total loyalty and obedience of the child to her captor. This captor was no longer viewed, as was the case initially, as evil but as necessary to the child’s well-being and her survival. A similar scenario occurs in the case of children who are alienated against an absent parent.

My forthcoming book about to be published and my website http://www.parental-alienation.info provides information as to why Natascha may have remained so slavishly with her captor for eight years of her young life. Why she decided finally to escape her enslavement will in due course be established. I will attempt to explain what might have occurred to finally induce her to escape.

A child who has had a good relationship with the now shunned parent will state: “I don’t need my father/mother; I only need my mother/father. Such a statement is based on the brainwashing received and the power of the alienator who is indoctrinating the child to sideline the previously loving parent.

In the case of the Stockholm Syndrome, we have in some ways a similar scenario. Here the two natural loving parents have been sidelined by the work of subtle or direct alienation by the perpetrator of the abduction of the young girl. At age 10, the child is helpless to resist the power of her abductor.

To the question: “How does the abductor eventually become her benefactor?”, we may note the process is not so dissimilar to the brainwashing carried by the custodial parent. This is done for the double reason of: 1) Gaining the total control over the child and consequently its dependence upon them. 2) To sideline the other parent and to do all possible to prevent and/or curtail contact between the child and the absent parent/parents.

The primary reason for such behaviour is the intractable hostility of the custodial parents towards one another. This reason does not exist in the case of the abductor of a child such as occurred in the case of Natascha Kambusch. Nevertheless the captor wished to totally alienate or eliminate the child’s loyalty or any feeling towards her natural parents. Due to the long period away from her parents and a total dependence for survival on her captor, Natascha’s closeness to her family gradually faded. She may even have felt that her own parents were making little or no effort to find her and rescue her. This view may also have been inculcated by her captor.

Her captor’s total mastery and control over her, eventually gave her a feeling of security. She could depend on the man to look after her with food, shelter, warmth, protection and hence led to her survival. Such behaviour on the part of the captor led over time not only to “learned helplessness” and dependence, but in a sense to gratefulness. As he was the only human being in her life this was likely to happen. She therefore became a ready victim of what is commonly termed the “Stockholm Syndrome” or the victim of “Parental Alienation.”

This led even to her beginning to love her captor. This view has been substantiated by the fact that Natascha found it difficult to live and feel any real closeness to her natural parents once she was rescued or once she ran away from her captor. She even pined for the loss of the captor who had since committed suicide. Even her speech had been altered from the native Austrian or Viennese dialect to the North German speech due to the fact that she only had access to the outside world via radio and television. This again, however, was carefully monitored by her captor. He controlled what she could see on television and listen to on the radio from outside her underground cell. There was little in Natascha’s present life to remind her of her past except for the dress that she wore when she was captured.

While she developed physically from 10-18 years, her weight changed but little. Why did she decide eventually to leave her captor? This is a question that requires an answer. It is the view of the current author that the answer lies in the fact that she may have had a quarrel with her captor, possibly over a very minor issue. The result was her leaving her captor and then regretting doing so, especially after she heard of his death. By the time her captor, undoubtedly fearing the retribution by the law, had ended his life, she had pined for him.

After eight years or living in close proximity to his victim, some form of intimacy undoubtedly occurred including a sexual one. This led to a mutual need and even dependence. It is likely that the “learned helplessness” of the victim succumbed eventually a caring, perhaps even loving relationship developing. It is also likely that the psychological explanation is that attribution, helplessness and depression in the victim for the loss of her parents quickly gave way to seeking to make the best of her situation while under the total domination of her captor.

Again the same scenario occurs in the case of parental alienation where the power of the dominant custodial parent programmes the child/children to eschew or marginalise the absent parent. That absent parent no longer appears to be important and is even likely to be viewed as damaging to the child’s survival.

Psychological Services.

Feminist Gulag: No Prosecution Necessary

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Fit Parent, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on January 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm
Feminist Gulag: No Prosecution Necessary | Print | E-mail
Written by Stephen Baskerville
Thursday, 07 January 2010 00:00
//

proseutionLiberals rightly criticize America’s high rate of incarceration. Claiming to be the freest country on Earth, the United States incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than Iran or Syria. Over two million people, or nearly one in 50 adults, excluding the elderly, are incarcerated, the highest proportion in the world. Some seven million Americans, or 3.2 percent, are under penal supervision.

Many are likely to be innocent. In The Tyranny of Good Intentions (2000), Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence Stratton document how due process protections are routinely ignored, grand juries are neutered, frivolous prosecutions abound, and jury trials are increasingly rare. More recently, in Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent (2009), Harvey Silverglate shows how federal prosecutors are criminalizing more and more of the population. “Innocence projects” — projects of “a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing” — attest that people are railroaded into prison. As we will see, incarcerations without trial are now routine.

The U.S. prison population has risen dramatically in the last four decades. Ideologically, the rise is invariably attributed to “law-and-order” conservatives, who indeed seldom deny their own role (or indifference). In fact, few conservatives understand what they are defending.

Conservatives who rightly decry “judicial activism” in civil law are often blind to the connected perversion of criminal justice. While a politicized judiciary does free the guilty, it also criminalizes the -innocent.

But traditionalists upholding law and order were not an innovation of the 1970s. A newer and more militant force helped create the “carceral state.” In The Prison and the Gallows (2006), feminist scholar Marie Gottschalk points out that traditional conservatives were not the prime instigators, and blames “interest groups and social movements not usually associated with penal conservatism.” Yet she names only one: “the women’s movement.”

While America’s criminalization may have a number of contributing causes, it coincides precisely with the rise of organized feminism. “The women’s movement became a vanguard of conservative law-and-order politics,” Gottschalk writes. “Women’s organizations played a central role in the consolidation of this conservative victims’ rights movement that emerged in the 1970s.”

Gottschalk then twists her counterintuitive finding to condemn “conservatives” for the influx, portraying feminists as passive victims without responsibility. “Feminists prosecuting the war on rape and domestic violence” were somehow “captured and co-opted by the law-and-order agenda of politicians, state officials, and conservative groups.” Yet nothing indicates that feminists offered the slightest resistance to this political abduction.

Feminists, despite Gottschalk’s muted admission of guilt, did lead the charge toward wholesale incarceration. Feminist ideology has radicalized criminal justice and eroded centuries-old constitutional protections: New crimes have been created; old crimes have been redefined politically; the distinction between crime and private behavior has been erased; the presumption of innocence has been eliminated; false accusations go unpunished; patently innocent people are jailed without trial. “The new feminist jurisprudence hammers away at some of the most basic foundations of our criminal law system,” Michael Weiss and Cathy Young write in a Cato Institute paper. “Chief among them is the presumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty.”

Feminists and other sexual radicals have even managed to influence the law to target conservative groups themselves. Racketeering statutes are marshaled to punish non-violent abortion demonstrators, and “hate crimes” laws attempt to silence critics of the homosexual agenda. Both are supported by “civil liberties” groups. And these are only the most notorious; there are others.

Feminists have been the most authoritarian pressure group throughout much of American history. “It is striking what an uncritical stance earlier women reformers took toward the state,” Gottschalk observes. “They have played central roles in … uncritically pushing for more enhanced policing powers.”

What Gottschalk is describing is feminism’s version of Stalinism: the process whereby radical movements commandeer the instruments of state repression as they trade ideological purity for power.

Path to Prison
The first politicized crime was rape. Suffragettes advocated castrating rapists. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who opposed it for everyone else, wanted rapists executed.

Aggressive feminist lobbying in the legislatures and courts since the 1970s redefined rape to make it indistinguishable from consensual sex. Over time, a woman no longer had to prove that she was forced to have non-consensual sex, but a man had to prove that sex was consensual (or prove that no sex had, in fact, happened). Non-consent was gradually eliminated as a definition, and consent became simply a mitigating factor for the defense. By 1989, the Washington State Supreme Court openly shifted the burden of proving consent to the defendant when it argued that the removal of legislative language requiring non-consent for rape “evidences legislative intent to shift the burden of proof on the issue to the defense” and approved this blatantly unconstitutional presumption of guilt. The result, write Weiss and Young, was not “to jail more violent rapists — lack of consent is easy enough for the state to prove in those cases — but to make it easier to send someone to jail for failing to get an explicit nod of consent from an apparently willing partner before engaging in sex.”

Men accused of rape today enjoy few safeguards. “People can be charged with virtually no evidence,” says Boston former sex-crimes prosecutor Rikki Klieman. “If a female comes in and says she was sexually assaulted, then on her word alone, with nothing else — and I mean nothing else, no investigation — the police will go out and arrest someone.”

Almost daily we see men released after decades in prison because DNA testing proves they were wrongly convicted. Yet the rape industry is so powerful that proof of innocence is no protection. “A defendant who can absolutely prove his innocence … can nonetheless still be convicted, based solely on the word of the accuser,” write Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson in Until Proven Innocent. In North Carolina, simply “naming the person accused” along with the time and place “will support a verdict of guilty.” Crime laboratories are notorious for falsifying results to obtain convictions.

The feminist dogma that “women never lie” goes largely unchallenged. “Any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes,” says Craig Silverman, a former Colorado prosecutor known for zealous prosecutions. Purdue University sociologist Eugene Kanin found that “41% of the total disposed rape cases were officially declared false” during a nine-year period, “that is, by the complainant’s admission that no rape had occurred.” Kanin discovered three functions of false accusations: “providing an alibi, seeking revenge, and obtaining sympathy and attention.” The Center for Military Readiness (CMR) adds that “false rape accusations also have been filed to extort money from celebrities, to gain sole custody of children in divorce cases, and even to escape military deployments to war zones.”

In the infamous Duke University lacrosse case, prosecutor Michael Nifong suppressed exculpating evidence and prosecuted men he knew to be innocent, according to Taylor and Johnson. Nifong himself was eventually disbarred, but he had willing accomplices among assistant prosecutors, police, crime lab technicians, judges, the bar, and the media. “Innocent men are arrested and even imprisoned as a result of bogus claims,” writes Linda Fairstein, former head of the sex-crimes unit for the Manhattan District Attorney, who estimates that half of all reports are unfounded.

Innocence projects are almost wholly occupied with rape cases (though they try to disguise this fact). Yet no systematic investigation has been undertaken by the media or civil libertarians into why so many innocent citizens are so easily incarcerated on fabricated allegations. The exoneration of the Duke students on obviously trumped-up charges triggered few investigations — and no official ones — to determine how widespread such rigged justice is against those unable to garner media attention.

The world of rape accusations displays features similar to other feminist gender crimes: media invective against the accused, government-paid “victim advocates” to secure convictions, intimidation of anyone who defends the accused. “Nobody dependent on the mainstream media for information about rape would have any idea how frequent false claims are,” write Taylor and Johnson. “Most journalists simply ignore evidence contradicting the feminist line.” What they observe of rape characterizes feminist justice generally: “calling a rape complainant ‘the victim’ — with no ‘alleged’.” “Unnamed complainants are labeled ‘victims’ even before legal proceedings determine that a crime has been committed,” according to CMR.

Rape hysteria, false accusations, and distorted scholarship are rampant on university campuses, which ostensibly exist to pursue truth. “If a woman did falsely accuse a man of rape,” opines one “women’s studies” graduate, “she may have had reasons to. Maybe she wasn’t raped, but he clearly violated her in some way.” This mentality pervades feminist jurisprudence, precluding innocence by obliterating the distinction between crime and hurt feelings. A Vassar College assistant dean believes false accusations foster men’s education: “I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration.… ‘If I didn’t violate her, could I have?’”

Conservative critics of the Duke fiasco avoided feminism’s role but instead emphasized race — a minor feature of the case but a safer one to criticize. Little evidence indicates that white people are being systematically incarcerated on fabricated accusations of non-existent crimes against blacks. This is precisely what is happening to men, both white and black, accused of rape and other “gender” crimes that feminists have turned into a political agenda.

The Kobe Bryant case demonstrates that a black man accused by a white woman is also vulnerable. Historically, this was the more common pattern. Our race-conscious society is conditioned to remember lynching as a racial atrocity, forgetting that the lynched were usually black men accused by white women. Feminist scholars spin this as “the dominant white male ideology behind lynching … that white womanhood was in need of protection against black men,” suggesting fantastically that white “patriarchy” used rape accusations to break up a progressive political romance developing between black men and white women. With false rape accusations, the races have changed, but the sexes have remained constant.

Violent Lies
“Domestic violence” is an even more purely political crime. “The battered-women’s movement turned out to be even more vulnerable to being co-opted by the state and conservative penal forces,” writes Gottschalk, again with contortion. Domestic violence groups are uniformly feminist, not “conservative,” though here too conservatives have enabled feminists to exchange principles for power.

Like rape, domestic “violence” is defined so loosely that it need not be violent. The U.S. Justice Department definition includes “extreme jealousy and possessiveness” and “name calling and constant criticizing.” For such “crimes” men are jailed with no trial. In fact, the very category of “domestic” violence was developed largely to circumvent due process requirements of conventional assault statutes. A study published in Criminology and Public Policy found that no one accused of domestic violence could be found innocent, since every arrestee received punishment.

Here, too, false accusations are rewarded. “Women lie every day,” attests Ottawa Judge Dianne Nicholas. “Every day women in court say, ‘I made it up. I’m lying. It didn’t happen’ — and they’re not charged.” Amazingly, bar associations sponsor seminars instructing women how to fabricate accusations. Thomas Kiernan, writing in the New Jersey Law Journal, expressed his astonishment at “the number of women attending the seminars who smugly — indeed boastfully — announced that they had already sworn out false or grossly exaggerated domestic violence complaints against their hapless husbands, and that the device worked!” He added, “The lawyer-lecturers invariably congratulated the self-confessed miscreants.”

Domestic violence has become “a backwater of tautological pseudo-theory,” write Donald Dutton and Kenneth Corvo in Aggression and Violent Behavior. “No other area of established social welfare, criminal justice, public health, or behavioral intervention has such weak evidence in support of mandated practice.” Scholars and practitioners have repeatedly documented how “allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage” in custody cases and “become part of the gamesmanship of divorce.” Domestic abuse has become “an area of law mired in intellectual dishonesty and injustice,” according to the Rutgers Law Review.

Restraining orders removing men from their homes and children are summarily issued without any evidence. Due process protections are so routinely ignored that, the New Jersey Law Journal reports, one judge told his colleagues, “Your job is not to become concerned about the constitutional rights of the man that you’re violating.” Attorney David Heleniak calls New Jersey’s statute “a due process fiasco” in the Rutgers Law Review. New Jersey court literature openly acknowledges that due process is ignored because it “perpetuates the cycle of power and control whereby the [alleged?] perpetrator remains the one with the power and the [alleged?] victim remains powerless.” Omitting “alleged” is standard even in statutes, where, the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reports, “the mere allegation of domestic abuse … may shift the burden of proof to the defendant.”

Special “integrated domestic violence courts” presume guilt and then, says New York’s openly feminist chief judge, “make batterers and abusers take responsibility for their actions.” They can seize property, including homes, without the accused being convicted or even formally charged or present to defend himself. Lawyer Walter Fox describes these courts as “pre-fascist”: “Domestic violence courts … are designed to get around the protections of the criminal code. The burden of proof is reduced or removed, and there’s no presumption of innocence.”

Forced confessions are widespread. Pennsylvania men are incarcerated unless they sign forms stating, “I have physically and emotionally battered my partner.” The man must then describe the violence, even if he insists he committed none. “I am responsible for the violence I used,” the forms declare. “My behavior was not provoked.”

Child-support Chokehold
Equally feminist is the child-support machinery, whereby millions have their family finances plundered and their lives placed under penal supervision without having committed any legal infraction. Once they have nothing left to loot, they too are incarcerated without trial.

Contrary to government propaganda (and Common Law tradition), child support today has little to do with fathers abandoning their children, deserting their marriages, or even agreeing to a divorce. It is automatically assessed on all non-custodial parents, even those involuntarily divorced without grounds (“no-fault”). It is an entitlement for all divorcing mothers, regardless of their actions, and coerced from fathers, regardless of their fidelity. The “deadbeat dad” is far less likely to be a man who abandoned the offspring he callously sired than to be a loving father who has been, as attorney Jed Abraham writes in From Courtship to Courtroom, “forced to finance the filching of his own children.”

Federalized enforcement was rationalized to reimburse taxpayers for welfare. Under feminist pressure, taxpayers instead subsidize middle-class divorce, through federal payments to states based on the amount of child support they collect. By profiting off child support at federal taxpayer expense, state governments have a financial incentive to encourage as many single-mother homes as possible. They, in turn, encourage divorce with a guaranteed, tax-free windfall to any divorcing mother.

While child support (like divorce itself) is awarded ostensibly without reference to “fault,” nonpayment brings swift and severe punishments. “The advocates of ever-more-aggressive measures for collecting child support,” writes Bryce Christensen of Southern Utah University, “have moved us a dangerous step closer to a police state.” Abraham calls the machinery “Orwellian”: “The government commands … a veritable gulag, complete with sophisticated surveillance and compliance capabilities such as computer-based tracing, license revocation, asset confiscation, and incarceration.”

Here, too, “the burden of proof may be shifted to the defendant,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Like Kafka’s Joseph K., the “defendant” may not even know the charge against him, “if the court does not explicitly clarify the charge facing the [allegedly?] delinquent parent,” says NCSL. Further, “not all child support contempt proceedings classified as criminal are entitled to a jury trial,” and “even indigent obligors are not necessarily entitled to a lawyer.” Thus defendants must prove their innocence against unspecified accusations, without counsel, and without a jury.

Assembly-line hearings can last 30 seconds to two minutes, during which parents are sentenced to months or years in prison. Many receive no hearing but are accused in an “expedited judicial process” before a black-robed lawyer known as a “judge surrogate.” Because these officials require no legislative confirmation, they are not accountable to citizens or their representatives. Unlike true judges, they may lobby to create the same laws they adjudicate, violating the separation of powers. Often they are political activists in robes. One surrogate judge, reports the Telegraph of Hudson, New Hampshire, simultaneously worked “as a radical feminist lobbying on proposed legislation” dealing with child support.

Though governments sensationalize “roundups” of alleged “deadbeat dads,” who are jailed for months and even years without trial, no government information whatever is available on incarcerations. The Bureau of Justice Statistics is utterly silent on child-support incarcerations. Rebecca May of the Center for Family Policy and Practice found “ample testimony by low-income non-custodial parents of spending time in jail for the nonpayment of child support.” Yet she could find no documentation of their incarceration. Government literature “yields so little information on it that one might be led to believe that arrests were used rarely if at all. While May personally witnessed fathers sentenced in St. Louis, “We could find no explicit documentation of arrests in St. Louis.” In Illinois, “We observed courtrooms in which fathers appeared before the judge who were serving jail sentences for nonpayment, but little information was available on arrests in Illinois.”

We know the arrests are extensive. To relieve jail overcrowding in Georgia, a sheriff and judge proposed creating detention camps specifically for “deadbeat dads.” The Pittsburgh City Planning Commission has considered a proposal “to convert a former chemical processing plant … into a detention center” for “deadbeat dads.”

Rendered permanently in debt by incarceration, fathers are farmed out to trash companies and similar concerns, where they work 14-16 hour days with their earnings confiscated.

More Malicious Mayhem
Other incarcerations are also attributable to feminism. The vast preponderance of actual violent crime and substance abuse proceeds from single-parent homes and fatherless children more than any other factor, far surpassing race and poverty. The explosion of single parenthood is usually and resignedly blamed on paternal abandonment, with the only remedy being ever-more draconian but ineffective child-support “crackdowns.” Yet no evidence indicates that the proliferation of single-parent homes results from absconding fathers. If instead we accept that single motherhood is precisely what feminists say it is — the deliberate choice of their sexual revolution — it is then apparent that sexual liberation lies behind not only these newfangled sexual crimes, but also the larger trend of actual crime and incarceration. Feminism is driving both the criminalization of the innocent and the criminality of the guilty.

We will continue to fight a losing battle against crime, incarceration, and expansive government power until we confront the sexual ideology that is driving not only family breakdown and the ensuing social anomie, but the criminalization of the male population. Ever-more-repressive penal measures will only further erode freedom. Under a leftist regime, conservatives must rethink their approach to crime and punishment and their unwitting collusion with America’s homegrown Stalinists.

Stephen Baskerville is associate professor of government at Patrick Henry College and author of Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family.

Feminist Gulag: No Prosecution Necessary.

Ninth Circuit Gives Big Victory to Non-Custodial Father | Glenn Sacks on MND

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Glenn Sacks, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Protective Dads on November 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

By Robert Franklin, Esq.

A case decided November 10, 2009 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could have an enormous impact on fathers’ rights to their children.  (Note: The case is not yet published, so I can’t provide a link to it.)  It holds that even a divorced father with no right of physical custody must be given the opportunity to have custody of his child before a child protective agency can place it in foster care.  Failure to do so by a county child protective agency can subject the county to a suit for damages by the father under the federal civil law governing deprivation of constitutional rights.

To put it bluntly, this is a huge win for non-custodial parents.

The opinion in Burke, et al vs. County of Alameda California, et al now governs everyone within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit which encompasses California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Montana and the territories of Guam and the Northern Marianna Islands.  Unless overturned by the United States Supreme Court, Burke is binding precedent throughout the Ninth Circuit.

The Ninth is the largest federal circuit and one of the most influential on the others.  Of course the opinion in Burke doesn’t govern cases in other circuits, but, given that it was a case of first impression (i.e. a similar case had never been decided before by that circuit) there, it may well be looked to by other circuits in deciding similar cases.  It may also be looked to by the Supreme Court should a similar case reach that level.

David and Melissa Burke lived together and apparently were married.  Melissa’s 14-year-old daughter “B.F.” lived with them.  She was the natural daughter of Melissa and Clifton Farina who had divorced some years before.  David was her stepfather and Clifton was a non-custodial dad.  Frustratingly enough, the opinion doesn’t tell us whether Clifton had an order of visitation, but it seems that he did not because the opinion says that he had no right of physical custody.  Nevertheless, he saw his daughter fairly often even though B.F. testified that his new wife didn’t like her and being around her was uncomfortable for the girl.  Melissa had sole physical custody of B.F.

When B.F. complained to an Alameda County Sheriff’s officer that David hit her repeatedly and often fondled her breasts, the officer, without a warrant, removed her from the Burke home and placed her with the county child protective services agency.  CPS in turn placed her in some form of protective care.

David, Melissa and Clifton Farina sued Alameda County and the sheriff’s deputy under federal statute 42 U.S.C. 1983 which allows civil suits against municipal and state entities which “under color of law” deprive someone of their constitutional rights.  The trial court granted the county’s motion for summary judgment, holding that neither the Burkes nor Farina had any claim against the county on which they could prevail at trial.  The Ninth Circuit agreed that the Burkes had no claim and that the sheriff’s deputy was immune from suit.

But the circuit court reversed the trial court as to Clifton Farina.  It said that, even though he had no right of physical custody, Alameda County could not lawfully ignore Clifton as a possible custodian of B.F.  Failure by the county to “explore the possibility of putting B.F. in his care” violated his constitutional right to a familial relationship and association with his daughter.  His case was returned to the trial court so a jury could hear and decide his claim for damages against the county.

On this blog, both Glenn and I have written about the outrageous preference on the part of CPS agencies for foster care over father care.  Those agencies routinely bypass fathers altogther and place children in foster care.  I reported on an Urban Institute study that showed that, even though CPS agencies know who the father is in some 88% of cases that come before them, attempts to contact him are made in barely over half those cases.  Glenn has written about a girl to whom Orange County, California lied repeatedly over many years, solely to keep her from her father and in foster care.

In short, after this case, CPS agencies can no longer do that without getting sued.  The Burke opinion is not clear on exactly what a county must do to comply with it.  But as I see it, they’ll have to make diligent efforts to locate the father and assess whether his care would be superior to that of a foster home.  If it would be, he would get custody.  In short, when taking a child from its custodial parent due to abuse or neglect, a state within the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction may no longer simply ignore the non-custodial parent.

Thanks to Ned for the heads-up.

Lisa Scott’s RealFamilyLaw.com
Shared Parenting Advocate/Family Law Attorney Lisa Scott’s RealFamilyLaw.com exposes the truth about what is happening in our family law system. Lisa, the all-time leader in appearances on His Side with Glenn Sacks, says that she was “tired of having her stuff rejected by elitist bar publications and politically-correct newspapers” and decided to start her own website. RealFamilyLaw.com

Ninth Circuit Gives Big Victory to Non-Custodial Father | Glenn Sacks on MND.

Does DSM-IV Have Equivalents for the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Diagnosis?

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, judicial corruption, MMPI, MMPI 2, mothers rights, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, National Parents Day, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, state crimes on November 7, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Does DSM-IV Have Equivalents for the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Diagnosis?

Richard A. Gardner. M.D.
Department of Child Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University, New York, New York, USA

Child custody evaluators commonly find themselves confronted with resistance when they attempt to use the term parental alienation syndrome (PAS) in courts of law. Although convinced that the patient being evaluated suffers with the disorder, they often find that the attorneys who represent alienated parents, although agreeing with the diagnosis, will discourage use of the term in the evaluators’ reports and testimony. Most often, they will request that the evaluator merely use the term parental alienation (PA). On occasion they will ask whether other DSM-IV diagnoses may be applicable. The purpose of this article is to elucidate the reasons for the reluctance to use the PAS diagnosis and the applicability of PA as well as current DSM-IV substitute diagnoses.

Mental health professionals, family law attorneys, and judges are generally in agreement that in recent years we have seen a disorder in which one parent alienates the child against the other parent. This problem is especially common in the context of child-custody disputes where such programming enables the indoctrinating parent to gain leverage in the court of law. There is significant controversy, however, regarding the term to use for this phenomenon. In 1985 I introduced the term parental alienation syndrome to describe this phenomenon (Gardner, 1985a).

The Parental Alienation Syndrome

In association with this burgeoning of child-custody litigation, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the frequency of a disorder rarely seen previously, a disorder that I refer to as the parental alienation syndrome (PAS). In this disorder we see not only programming (“brainwashing”) of the child by one parent to denigrate the other parent, but self-created contributions by the child in support of the alienating parent’s campaign of denigration against the alienated parent. Because of the child’s contribution I did not consider the terms brainwashing, programming, or other equivalent words to be sufficient. Furthermore, I observed a cluster of symptoms that typically appear together, a cluster that warranted the designation syndrome. Accordingly, I introduced the term parental alienation syndrome to encompass the combination of these two contributing factors that contributed to the development of the syndrome (Gardner, 1985a). In accordance with this use of the term I suggest this definition of the parental alienation syndrome:

The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a childhood disorder that arises almost exclusively in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. When true parental abuse and/or neglect is present, the child’s animosity may be justified and so the parental alienation syndrome explanation for the child’s hostility is not applicable.

It is important to note that indoctrinating a PAS into a child is a form of abuse—emotional abuse—because it can reasonably result in progressive attenuation of the psychological bond between the child and a loving parent. In many cases it can result in total destruction of that bond, with lifelong alienation. In some cases, then, it may be even worse than other forms of abuse, e.g., physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. A parent who demonstrates such reprehensible behavior has a serious parenting defect, their professions of exemplary parenting notwithstanding. Typically, they are so intent on destroying the bond between the child and the alienated parent that they blind themselves to the formidable psychological consequences on the child of their PAS indoctrinations, both at the time of the indoctrinations and in the future.

Most evaluators, family law attorneys, and judges recognize that such programming and child alienation is common in the context of child-custody disputes. They agree, also, that there are situations in which the child’s alienation is the result of parental programming. Some object to the use of the term syndrome and claim that it is not a syndrome, but that the term parental alienation (PA) should be used. The problem with the use of the term PA is that there are many reasons why a child might be alienated from parents, reasons having nothing to do with programming. A child might be alienated from a parent because of parental abuse of the child, e.g., physical, emotional, or sexual. A child might be alienated because of parental neglect. Children with conduct disorders are often alienated from their parents, and adolescents commonly go through phases of alienation. The PAS is well viewed as one subtype of parental alienation. Accordingly, substituting the term PA for PAS cannot but cause confusion.

Is the PAS a True Syndrome?

Some who prefer to use the term parental alienation (PA) claim that the PAS is not really a syndrome. This position is especially seen in courts of law in the context of child-custody disputes. A syndrome, by medical definition, is a cluster of symptoms, occurring together, that characterize a specific disease. The symptoms, although seemingly disparate, warrant being grouped together because of a common etiology or basic underlying cause. Furthermore, there is a consistency with regard to such a cluster in that most (if not all) of the symptoms appear together. The term syndrome is more specific than the related term disease. A disease is usually a more general term, because there can be many causes of a particular disease. For example, pneumonia is a disease, but there are many types of pneumonia—e.g., pneumococcal pneumonia and bronchopneumonia—each of which has more specific symptoms, and each of which could reasonably be considered a syndrome (although common usage may not utilize the term).

The syndrome has a purity because most (if not all) of the symptoms in the cluster predictably manifest themselves together as a group. Often, the symptoms appear to be unrelated, but they actually are because they usually have a common etiology. An example would be Down’s Syndrome, which includes a host of seemingly disparate symptoms that do not appear to have a common link. These include mental retardation, Mongoloid faces, drooping lips, slanting eyes, short fifth finger, and atypical creases in the palms of the hands. Down’s Syndrome patients often look very much alike and most typically exhibit all these symptoms. The common etiology of these disparate symptoms relates to a specific chromosomal abnormality. It is this genetic factor that is responsible for linking together these seemingly disparate symptoms. There is then a primary, basic cause of Down’s Syndrome: a genetic abnormality.

Similarly, the PAS is characterized by a cluster of symptoms that usually appear together in the child, especially in the moderate and severe types. These include:

     

  1. A campaign of denigration
  2. Weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations for the deprecation
  3. Lack of ambivalence
  4. The “independent-thinker” phenomenon
  5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict
  6. Absence of guilt over cruelty to and/or exploitation of the alienated parent
  7. The presence of borrowed scenarios
  8. Spread of the animosity to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent
  9.  

Typically, children who suffer with PAS will exhibit most (if not all) of these symptoms. However, in the mild cases one might not see all eight symptoms. When mild cases progress to moderate or severe, it is highly likely that most (if not all) of the symptoms will be present. This consistency results in PAS children resembling one another. It is because of these considerations that the PAS is a relatively “pure” diagnosis that can easily be made. Because of this purity, the PAS lends itself well to research studies because the population to be studied can usually be easily identified. Furthermore, I am confident that this purity will be verified by future interrater reliability studies. In contrast, children subsumed under the rubric PA are not likely to lend themselves well to research studies because of the wide variety of disorders to which it can refer, e.g., physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and defective parenting. As is true of other syndromes, there is in the PAS a specific underlying cause: programming by an alienating parent in conjunction with additional contributions by the programmed child. It is for these reasons that PAS is indeed a syndrome, and it is a syndrome by the best medical definition of the term.

In contrast, PA is not a syndrome and has no specific underlying cause. Nor do the proponents of the term PA claim that it is a syndrome. Actually, PA can be viewed as a group of syndromes, which share in common the phenomenon of the child’s alienation from a parent. To refer to PA as a group of syndromes would, by necessity, lead to the conclusion that the PAS is one of the syndromes subsumed under the PA rubric and would thereby weaken the argument of those who claim that PAS is not a syndrome.

The PAS and DSM-IV

There are some, especially adversaries in child-custody disputes, who claim that there is no such entity as the PAS. This position is especially likely to be taken by legal and mental health professionals who are supporting the position of someone who is clearly a PAS programmer. The main argument given to justify this position is that the PAS does not appear in DSM-IV. To say that PAS does not exist because it is not listed in DSM-IV is like saying in 1980 that AIDS (Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome) did not exist because it was not then listed in standard diagnostic medical textbooks. DSM-IV was published in 1994. From 1991 to 1993, when DSM committees were meeting to consider the inclusion of additional disorders, there were too few articles in the literature to warrant submission of the PAS for consideration. That is no longer the case. It is my understanding that committees will begin to meet for the next edition of the DSM (probably to be called DSM-V) in 2002 or 2003. Considering the fact that there are now at least 133 articles in peer-review journals on the PAS, it is highly likely that by that time there will be even more articles. (A list of peer-reviewed PAS articles is to be found on my website, www.rgardner.com/refs, a list that is continually being updated.)

It is important to note that DSM-IV does not frivolously accept every new proposal. Their requirements are very stringent with regard to the inclusion of newly described clinical entities. The committees require many years of research and numerous publications in peer-review scientific journals before considering the inclusion of a disorder, and justifiably so. Gille de La Tourette first described his syndrome in 1885. It was not until 1980, 95 years later, that the disorder found its way into the DSM. It is important to note that at that point, Tourette’s Syndrome became Tourette’s Disorder. Asperger first described his syndrome in 1957. It was not until 1994, 37 years later, that it was accepted into DSM-IV and Asperger’s Syndrome became Asperger’s Disorder.

DSM-IV states specifically that all disorders contained in the volume are “syndromes or patterns” (p. xxi), and they would not be there if they were not syndromes (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Once accepted, the name syndrome is changed to disorder. However, this is not automatically the pattern for nonpsychiatric disorders. Often the term syndrome becomes locked into the name and becomes so well known that changing the word syndrome to disorder would seem awkward. For example, Down’s syndrome, although well recognized, has never become Down’s disorder. Similarly, AIDS (Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome) is a well-recognized disease but still retains the syndrome term.

One of the most important (if not the most important) determinants as to whether a newly described disorder will be accepted into the DSM is the quantity and quality of research articles on the clinical entity, especially articles that have been published in peer-review journals. The committees are particularly interested in interrater reliability studies that will validate the relative “purity” of the disease entity being described. PAS lends itself well to such studies; PA does not. One of the first steps one must take when setting up a scientific study is to define and circumscribe the group(s) being studied. PAS lends itself well to such circumscription. PA is so diffuse and all-encompassing that no competent researcher would consider such a group to be a viable object of study. Whether one is going to study etiology, symptomatic manifestations, pathogenesis, treatment modalities, treatment efficacy, or conduct follow-up studies, one is more likely to obtain meaningful results if one starts with a discrete group (such as PAS) than if one starts with an amorphous group (such as PA). One of the major criticisms directed against many research projects is that the authors’ study group was not “pure” enough and/or well-selected enough to warrant the professed conclusions. Studies of PAS children are far less likely to justify this criticism than studies of PA children.

Whereas the PAS may ultimately be recognized in DSM-V, it is extremely unlikely that DSM committees will consider an entity referred to as parental alienation. It is too vague a term and covers such a wide variety of clinical phenomena that they could not justifiably be clumped together to warrant inclusion in DSM as a specific disorder. Because listing in the DSM ensures admissibility in courts of law, those who use the term PA instead of PAS are lessening the likelihood that PAS will be listed in DSM-V. The result will be that many PAS families will be deprived of the proper recognition they deserve in courts of law, which often depend heavily on the DSM.

Recognition of the PAS in Courts of Law

Some who hesitate to use the term PAS claim that it has not been accepted in courts of law. This is not so. Although there are certainly judges who have not recognized the PAS, there is no question that courts of law with increasing rapidity are recognizing the disorder. My website (www.rgardner.com/refs) currently cites 66 cases in which the PAS has been recognized. By the time this article is published, the number of citations will certainly be greater. Furthermore, I am certain that there are other citations that have not been brought to my attention.

It is important to note that on January 30, 2001, after a two-day hearing devoted to whether the PAS satisfied Frye Test criteria for admissibility in a court of law, a Tampa, Florida court ruled that the PAS had gained enough acceptance in the scientific community to be admissible in a court of law (Kilgore v. Boyd, 2001). This ruling was subsequently affirmed by the District Court of Appeals (February 6, 2001). In the course of my testimony, I brought to the court’s attention the more than 100 peer-reviewed articles (there are 133 at the time of this writing) by approximately 150 other authors and over 40 court rulings (there are 66 at the time of this writing) in which the PAS had been recognized. These lists of the PAS peer-reviewed articles and legal citations are frequently updated on my website (www.rgardner.com). I am certain that these publications played an important role in the judge’s decision. This case will clearly serve as a precedent and facilitate the admission of the PAS in other cases—not only in Florida, but elsewhere.

Whereas there are some courts of law that have not recognized PAS, there are far fewer courts that have not recognized PA. This is one of the important arguments given by those who prefer the term PA. They do not risk an opposing attorney claiming that PA does not exist or that courts of law have not recognized it. There are some evaluators who recognize that children are indeed suffering with a PAS, but studiously avoid using the term in their reports and courtroom, because they fear that their testimony will not be admissible. Accordingly, they use PA, which is much safer, because they are protected from the criticisms so commonly directed at those who use PAS. Later in this article I will detail the reasons why I consider this position injudicious.

Many of those who espouse PA claim not to be concerned with the fact that their more general construct will be less useful in courts of law. Their primary interest, they profess, is the expansion of knowledge about children’s alienation from parents. Considering the fact that the PAS is primarily (if not exclusively) a product of the adversary system, and considering the fact that PAS symptoms are directly proportionate to the intensity of the parental litigation, and considering the fact that the court that has more power than the therapist to alleviate and even cure the disorder, PA proponents who claim no concern for the long-term legal implications of their position are injudicious and, I suspect, their claims of unconcern are specious.

Sources of the Controversy Over the Parental Alienation Syndrome

There are some who claim that because there is such controversy swirling around the PAS, there must be something specious about the existence of the disorder. Those who discount the PAS entirely because it is “controversial” sidestep the real issues, namely, what specifically has engendered the controversy, and, more importantly, is the PAS formulation reasonable and valid? The fact that something is controversial does not invalidate it. But why do we have such controversy over the PAS? With regard to whether PAS exists, we generally do not see such controversy regarding most other clinical entities in psychiatry. Examiners may have different opinions regarding the etiology and treatment of a particular psychiatric disorder, but there is usually some consensus about its existence. And this should especially be the case for a relatively “pure” disorder such as the PAS, a disorder that is easily diagnosable because of the similarity of the children’s symptoms when one compares one family with another. Why, then, should there be such controversy over whether or not PAS exists?

The PAS and the Adversary System

The PAS is very much a product of the adversary system (Gardner, 1985a, 1986, 1987a, 1987b, 1989, 1992, 1998). Furthermore, a court of law is generally the place where clients attempt to resolve the PAS. Most newly developed scientific principles inevitably become controversial when they are dealt with in the courtroom. It behooves the attorneys — when working within the adversary system — to take an adversarial stand and create controversy where it may not exist. In that setting, it behooves one side to take just the opposite position from the other if one is to prevail. Furthermore, it behooves each attorney to attempt to discredit the experts of the opposing counsel. A good example of this phenomenon is the way in which DNA testing was dealt with in the OJ Simpson trial. DNA testing is one of the most scientifically valid procedures for identifying perpetrators. Yet the jury saw fit to question the validity of such evidence, and DNA became, for that trial, controversial. I strongly suspect that those jury members who concluded that DNA evidence was not scientifically valid for OJ Simpson would have vehemently fought for its admissibility if they themselves were being tried for a crime, which they did not commit. I am certain, as well, that any man in that jury who found himself falsely accused of paternity would be quite eager to accept DNA proof of his innocence.

The Denial of the PAS is the Primary Defense of the Alienator

A parent accused of inducing a PAS in a child is likely to engage the services of a lawyer who may invoke the argument that there is no such thing as a PAS. The reasoning goes like this: “If there is no such thing as the PAS, then there is no programmer, and therefore my client cannot be accused of brainwashing the children.” This is an extremely important point, and I cannot emphasize it strongly enough. It is a central element in the controversy over the PAS, a controversy that has been played out in courtrooms not only in the United States but in various other countries as well. And if the allegedly dubious lawyer can demonstrate that the PAS is not listed in DSM-IV, then the position is considered “proven” (I say “allegedly” because the lawyer may well recognize the PAS but is only serving his client by his deceitfulness). The only thing this proves is that in 1994 DSM-IV did not list the PAS. The lawyers hope, however, that the judge will be taken in by this specious argument and will then conclude that if there is no PAS, there is no programming, and so the client is thereby exonerated. Substituting the term PA circumvents this problem. No alienator is identified, the sources are vaguer, and the causes could lie with the mother, the father, or both. The drawback here is that the evaluator may not provide the court with proper information about the cause of the children’s alienation. It lessens the likelihood, then, that the court will have the proper data with which to make its recommendations.

Which Term to Use in the Courtroom: PA or PAS?

Many examiners, then, even those who recognize the existence of the PAS, may consciously and deliberately choose to use the term parental alienation in the courtroom. Their argument may go along these lines: “I fully recognize that there is such a disease as the PAS. I have seen many such cases and it is a widespread phenomenon. However, if I mention PAS in my report, I expose myself to criticism in the courtroom such as, ‘It doesn’t exist,’ ‘It’s not in DSM-IV’ etc. Therefore, I just use PA, and no one denies that.” I can recognize the attractiveness of this argument, but I have serious reservations about this way of dealing with the controversy—especially in a court of law.

Using PA is basically a terrible disservice to the PAS family because the cause of the children’s alienation is not properly identified. It is also a compromise in one’s obligation to the court, which is to provide accurate and useful information so that the court will be in the best position to make a proper ruling. Using PA is an abrogation of this responsibility; using PAS is in the service of fulfilling this obligation.

Furthermore, evaluators who use PA instead of PAS are losing sight of the fact that they are impeding the general acceptance of the term in the courtroom. This is a disservice to the legal system, because it deprives the legal network of the more specific PAS diagnosis that could be more helpful to courts for dealing with such families. Moreover, using the PA term is shortsighted because it lessens the likelihood that some future edition of DSM will recognize the subtype of PA that we call PAS. This not only has diagnostic implications, but even more importantly, therapeutic implications. The diagnoses included in the DSM serve as a foundation for treatment. The symptoms listed therein serve as guidelines for therapeutic interventions and goals. Insurance companies (who are always quick to look for reasons to deny coverage) strictly refrain from providing coverage for any disorder not listed in the DSM. Accordingly, PAS families cannot expect to be covered for treatment. I describe below additional diagnoses that are applicable to the PAS, diagnoses that justify requests for insurance coverage. Examiners in both the mental health and legal professions who genuinely recognize the PAS, but who refrain from using the term until it appears in DSM, are lessening the likelihood that it will ultimately be included, because widespread utilization is one of the criteria that DSM committees consider. Such restraint, therefore, is an abrogation of their responsibility to contribute to the enhancement of knowledge in their professions.

There is, however, a compromise. I use PAS in all those reports in which I consider the diagnosis justified. I also use the PAS term throughout my testimony. However, I sometimes make comments along these lines, both in my reports and in my testimony:

Although I have used the term PAS, the important questions for the court are: Are these children alienated? What is the cause of the alienation? and What can we then do about it? So if one wants to just use the term PA, one has learned something. But we haven’t really learned very much, because everyone involved in this case knows well that the children have been alienated. The question is what is the cause of the children’s alienation? In this case the alienation is caused by the mother’s (father’s) programming and something must be done about protecting the children from the programming. That is the central issue for this court in this case, and it is more important than whether one is going to call the disorder PA or PAS, even though I strongly prefer the PAS term for the reasons already given.

In addition, if the court does not wish to recognize the PAS diagnosis there are other DSM-IV diagnoses that are very much applicable in this case. For the alienating father (mother) the following diagnoses are warranted: (the examiner can select from the list provided in the next section of this article). For the PAS child the following DSM-IV diagnoses are warranted: (the examiner can select from the list provided in the next section of this article). With regard to the alienated parent, the mother (father), no DSM-IV diagnosis is warranted. (However, a DSM-IV diagnosis may be warranted, but generally it is not related to the PAS as the symptoms have not played a role in contributing to the disorder).

I wish to emphasize that I do not routinely include this compromise, because whenever I do so, I recognize that I am providing support for those who are injudiciously eschewing the term and compromising thereby their professional obligations to their clients and the court.

Warshak (1999, 2001), has also addressed the PA vs. PAS controversy. He emphasizes the point that espousers of both PA and PAS agree that in the severe cases the only hope for the victimized children is significant restriction of the programmer’s access to the children and, in many cases, custodial transfer—sometimes via a transitional site. Warshak concludes that the arguments for the utilization for PAS outweigh the arguments for the utilization of PA, although he has more sympathy for the PA position than do I. Elsewhere, I have also addressed myself to this issue (Gardner, 2002).

DSM-IV Diagnoses Related to the Parental Alienation Syndrome

Examiners writing reports for and testifying in courts of law can generally find diagnoses in DSM-IV that are immune to the argument, “It doesn’t exist because it’s not in DSM-IV.” These diagnoses are not identical to the PAS, but they have common elements that can justify their utilization. None of them, however, are identical to the PAS and cannot be used as substitutes for it. I present here those that are most applicable and potentially useful in courts of law.

Diagnoses Applicable to Both Alienating Parents and PAS Childrem

297.3 Shared Psychotic Disorder

     

  1. A delusion develops in an individual in the context of a close relationship with another person(s) who has an already-established delusion.
  2. The delusion is similar in content to that of the person who already has the established delusion.
  3.  

This DSM-IV diagnosis is warranted in some of the severe PAS cases in which the programmer is paranoid, and the child’s campaign of denigration incorporates the same paranoid ideation. In a sense, most of the moderate, and even some of the mild cases of PAS, are examples of the folie à deux phenomenon. However, one cannot justifiably consider the mild and moderate cases of PAS to warrant the label psychotic with the implication of complete break with reality. In severe cases we do see bona fide delusions of persecution that can justifiably be considered paranoid. Most often, the delusional system is circumscribed to the alienated parent. It is important to note that this single diagnosis can be applied to both the alienator and the alienated child.

V61.20 Parent-Child Relational Problem

This category should be used when the focus of clinical attention is a pattern of interaction between parent and child (e.g., impaired communication, overprotection, inadequate discipline) that is associated with clinically significant impairment in individual or family functioning or the development of clinically significant symptoms in parent or child.

This diagnosis generally applies to a dyad. Obviously, there are a wide variety of parent-child relational problems that have nothing to do with PAS. In fact, it is reasonable to state that parent-child relational problems probably began with the first families that existed. This diagnosis is an excellent example of the aforementioned principle that none of the DSM-IV diagnoses described here can be reasonably substituted for the PAS. Rather, they are best viewed as disorders that have some symptoms in common with the PAS and may therefore justify being listed as additional diagnoses.

In the PAS situation there is a pathological dyad between the alienating parent and the child and another pathological dyad between the alienated parent and the child. The pathological dyad between the alienated parent and the child is one in which the child is being programmed into a campaign of denigration against the previously loving parent. The child is being programmed to exhibit any and all of the primary symptomatic manifestations of the PAS. With regard to the relationship between the child and the alienated parent, the child exhibits inordinate hostility, denigration, and fear of the target parent to the point where that parent is viewed as noxious and loathsome. Examiners using this criterion do well to emphasize that two separate parent-child relational problems are manifested.

Diagnoses Applicable to Alienating Parents

297.71 Delusional Disorder

     

  1. Nonbizarre delusions (i.e., involving situations that occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, infected, loved at a distance, or deceived by spouse or lover, or having a disease) of at least 1 month’s duration.
  2.  

Of the various subtypes of delusional disorder, the one that is most applicable to the PAS:

Persecutory Type: delusions that the person (or someone to whom the person is close) is being malevolently treated in some way

This diagnosis is generally applicable to the PAS indoctrinator who may initially recognize that the complaints about the behavior of the alienated parent are conscious and deliberate fabrications. However, over time, the fabrications may become delusions, actually believed by the programming parent. And the same process may ultimately be applicable to the child. Specifically, at first the child may recognize that the professions of hatred are feigned and serve to ingratiate the child to the programmer. However, over time the child may come to actually believe what were originally conscious and deliberate fabrications. When that point is reached the delusional disorder diagnosis is applicable to the child. Generally, this diagnosis is applicable to relentless programmers who are obsessed with their hatred of the victim parent, by which time the child will have probably entered the severe level of PAS. It is to be noted that when the PAS is present, most often one observes a circumscribed delusional system, confined almost exclusively to the alienated parent. This diagnosis may also be applicable to the PAS child, especially the child who is in the severe category.

301.0 Paranoid Personality Disorder

     

  1. A pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
    1. suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
    2. is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
    3. is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
    4. reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events
    5. persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights
    6. perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack
    7. has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner
  2.  

PAS programmers who warrant this diagnosis would often satisfy these criteria before the marital separation. A detailed history from the victim parent as well as collaterals may be important because the programming parent is not likely to directly reveal such symptoms. They may, however, reveal them in the course of the evaluation, because they are such deep-seated traits, and are so deeply embedded in their personality structure, that they cannot be hidden. Most people involved in protracted child-custody litigation become “a little paranoid,” and this is often revealed by elevations on the paranoid scale of the MMPI. After all, there are indeed people who are speaking behind the patient’s back, are plotting against them, and are developing schemes and strategies with opposing lawyers. This reality results in an elevation of the paranoid scale in people who would not have manifested such elevations prior to the onset of the litigation. We see here how adversarial proceedings intensify psychopathology in general (Gardner, 1986), and in this case, paranoid psychopathology especially. The PAS child is less likely to warrant this diagnosis. When the severe level is reached PAS children may warrant the aforementioned Shared Psychotic Disorder diagnosis. On occasion, the diagnosis Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type (295.30) is warranted for the programming parent, but such patients generally exhibited other manifestations of schizophrenia, especially prior to the separation. It goes beyond the purposes of this paper to detail the marital symptoms of schizophrenia which should be investigated if the examiner has reason to believe that this diagnosis may be applicable.

It is important for the examiner to appreciate that there is a continuum from delusional disorder, to paranoid personality disorder, to paranoid schizophrenia. Furthermore, in the course of protracted litigation, a patient may move along the track from the milder to a more severe disorder on this continuum.

301.83 Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

     

  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
    Note:Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
    Note Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g. intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  7. chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
  10.  

Some alienators may exhibit some of these symptoms prior to the separation. However, as a result of the stresses of the separation, the symptoms may progress to the point where the diagnosis is applicable. Criterion (1) is likely to be exhibited soon after the separation because the marital dissolution is generally associated with real feelings of abandonment. Criterion (2) is often seen when there is a dramatic shift from idealization of the spouse to extreme devaluation. The campaign of denigration is the best example of this manifestation of BPD.

Criterion (4) may manifest itself by excessive spending, especially when such spending causes significant stress and grief to the alienated parent. Following the separation, alienating parents may satisfy Criterion (6) with affect instability, irritability, and intense episodic dysphoria. Although such reactions are common among most people involved in a divorce, especially when litigating the divorce, patients with BPD exhibit these symptoms to an even greater degree. Chronic feelings of emptiness (Criterion [7]) go beyond those that are generally felt by people following a separation. Criterion (8) is extremely common among PAS programmers. The tirades of anger against the alienated parent serve as a model for the child and contribute to the development of the campaign of denigration. The stress-related paranoia, an intensification of the usual suspiciousness exhibited by people involved in litigation, may reach the point that Criterion (9) is satisfied.

The examiner should note which of the symptoms are present and comment: “Five criteria need to be satisfied for the BPD diagnosis. Ms. X satisfies four. Although she does not qualify for the diagnosis at this point, she is at high risk for its development. Furthermore, when one lists diagnoses at the end of the report one might note the DSM-IV diagnosis and add in parenthesis “incipient.”

301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

     

  1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements
  2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  4. requires excessive admiration
  5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
  10.  

My experience has been that most PAS indoctrinators do not satisfy enough criteria (five) to warrant this diagnosis. However, many do exhibit three or four of them, which is worthy of the examiner’s attention and should be noted in the report.

Criterion (5) is especially common in PAS indoctrinators. They act as if court orders have absolutely nothing to do with them, even though their names may be specifically spelled out in the ruling. Unfortunately, they often violate these orders with impunity because courts are typically lax with regard to implementing punitive measures for PAS contemnors. As mentioned in other publications of mine (Gardner, 1998; 2001), the failure of courts to take action against PAS programmers is one of the most common reasons why the symptoms become entrenched in the children.

Criterion (6) is often frequently satisfied by the programmer’s ongoing attempts to extract ever more money from the victim parent, but feels little need to allow access to the children. There is no sense of shame or guilt over this common form of exploitation. The programmer’s lack of empathy and sympathy for the victim parent is quite common and easily satisfies Criterion (7). The PAS, by definition, is a disorder in which a programmer tries to destroy the bond between the children and a good, loving parent. In order to accomplish the goal, the alienator must have a serious deficiency in the ability to empathize with the target parent. Criterion (9) is often seen in that PAS indoctrinators are often haughty and arrogant and this symptom goes along with their sense of entitlement. Again, if warranted, the diagnosis can be listed as “incipient.”

DSM-IV Diagnoses Applicable to PAS Children

312.8 Conduct Disorder

  1. A repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated, as manifested by the presence of three (or more) of the following criteria in the past 12 months, with at least one criterion present in the past 6 months:
  2.  

This diagnosis is often applicable to the PAS child, especially in situations when the conduct disturbances are the most salient manifestation. Under such circumstances, an examiner who is not familiar with the PAS may erroneously conclude that this is the only diagnosis. Such a conclusion necessitates selective inattention to the programming process, which is the hallmark of the PAS. Once again, we see here how a diagnosis, although in DSM-IV, cannot be used as a substitute for the PAS, but may be used as an additional diagnosis. I will not list here all 15 of the DSM-IV criteria, but only those that are most applicable to the PAS:

    Aggression to people and animals

     

  1. often bullies, threatens, or intimidates others
  2. often initiates physical fights
  3. has used a weapon that can cause serious physical harm to others (e.g., a bat, brick, broken bottle, knife, gun)
  4. has been physically cruel to animals
  5. has stolen while confronting a victim (e.g., mugging, purse snatching, extortion, armed robbery) Destruction of property
  6. has deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention of causing serious damage
  7. has deliberately destroyed others’ property (other than by fire setting)Deceitfulness or theft
  8. often lies to obtain goods or favors or to avoid obligations (i.e., “cons” others)
  9. has stolen items of nontrivial value without confronting a victim (e.g., shoplifting, but without breaking and entering; forgery)Serious violations of rules
  10. has run away from home overnight at least twice while living in parental or parental surrogate home (or once without returning for a lengthy period
  11.  

As can be seen, most of the 15 criteria for the conduct disorder diagnosis can be satisfied by PAS children, especially those in the severe category. The target parent is very much scapegoated and victimized by PAS children. In severe cases they are screamed at, intimidated, and sometimes physically assaulted with objects such as bats, bottles, and knives. The child may perpetrate acts of sabotage in the home of the victim parent. Destruction of property in that person’s home is common and, on rare occasion, even fire setting. Deceitfulness is common, especially fabrications facilitated and supported by the alienator. Stealing things, such as legal documents and important records, and bringing them to the home of the alienator is common. Running away from the home of the target parent and returning to the home of the alienator is common, especially in moderate and severe cases.

309.21 Separation Anxiety Disorder

     

  1. Developmentally inappropriate and excessive anxiety concerning separation from home or from those to whom the individual is attached, as evidenced by three (or more) of the following:
  2.  

I reproduce here those of the eight criteria that are applicable to the PAS:

1) recurrent excessive distress when separation from home or major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated

4) persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school or elsewhere because of fear of separation

8) repeated complaints of physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomachaches, nausea, or vomiting) when separation from major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated

It is important for the reader to appreciate that the original diagnosis for separation anxiety disorder was school phobia. The term separation anxiety disorder is a relatively recent development emerging from the recognition that the child’s fear was less that of the school per se and much more related to the fear of separation from a parent, commonly an overprotective mother (Gardner, 1985b). DSM-IV recognizes this and doesn’t necessarily require the school to be the object of fear, but rather separation from the home, especially from someone with whom the child is pathologically attached.

It is important to note that the PAS child’s hatred of the victim parent has less to do with actual dislike of that parent and has much more to do with fear that if affection is displayed toward the target parent, the alienating parent will be angry at and rejecting of the child. At the prospect of going with the victim parent, the child may exhibit a wide variety of psychosomatic symptoms, all manifestations of the tension associated with the visit. The distress may be especially apparent when the alienating parent is at the site of the transfer. The child recognizes that expression of willingness or happiness to go off with the alienated parent might result in rejection by the alienator. The separation anxiety disorder diagnosis is most often applicable to the mild and moderate cases of PAS. In the severe cases, the anxiety element is less operative than the anger element.

When applying these criteria to the PAS child, one does well to substitute the PAS indoctrinating parent for the parent with whom the child is pathologically attached. At the same time one should substitute the alienated parent for the school or other place outside the child’s home. When one does this, one can see how most of the aforementioned criteria apply. When the child with a separation anxiety disorder is fearful of leaving the home to go to many destinations, the school is the destination the child most fears. It is there that the child feels imprisoned. In contrast, PAS children generally fear only the target parent and are not afraid to leave the programming parent and go elsewhere, such as to the homes of friends and relatives. In short, the PAS child’s fear is focused on the alienated parent. In contrast, the child with a separation anxiety disorder has fears that focus on school but which have spread to many other situations and destinations.

300.15 Dissociative Disorder
Not Otherwise Specified

This category is included for disorders in which the predominant feature is a dissociative symptom (i.e., a disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, or perception of the environment) that does not meet the criteria for any specific Dissociative Disorder. Examples include:

     

  1. States of dissociation that occur in individuals who have been subjected to periods of prolonged and coercive persuasion (e.g., brainwashing, thought reform, or indoctrination while captive).
  2.  

Of the four categories of dissociative disorder (NOS), only Category 3 is applicable to the PAS. This criterion was designed for people who have been subjected to cult indoctrinations or for military prisoners subjected to brainwashing designed to convert their loyalty from their homeland to the enemy that has imprisoned them. It is very applicable to PAS children, especially those in the severe category. Such children have been programmed to convert their loyalty from a loving parent to the brainwashing parent exclusively. Cult victims and those subjected to prisoner indoctrinations often appear to be in a trance-like state in which they profess their indoctrinations in litany-like fashion. PAS children as well (especially those in the severe category) are often like robots or automatons in the way in which they profess the campaign of denigration in litany-like fashion. They seem to be in an altered state of consciousness when doing so.

Adjustment Disorders

The following subtypes of adjustment disorders are sometimes applicable to PAS children:

309.0 With Depressed Mood.

309.24 With Anxiety.

309.28 With Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood.

309.3 With Disturbance of Conduct.

309.4 With Mixed Disturbance of Emotions and Conduct

Each of these types of adjustment disorders may be applicable to the PAS child. The child is indeed adjusting to a situation in which one parent is trying to convince the youngster that a previously loving, dedicated, and loyal parent has really been noxious, loathsome, and dangerous. The programmed data does not seem to coincide with what the child has experienced. This produces confusion. The child fears that any expression of affection for the target parent will result in rejection by the alienator. Under such circumstances, the child may respond with anxiety, depression, and disturbances of conduct.

313.9 Disorder of Infancy, Childhood or Adolescence Not Otherwise Specified

This category is a residual category for disorders with onset in infancy, childhood, or adolescence that do not meet criteria for any specific order in the Classification.

This would be a “last resort” diagnosis for the PAS child, the child who, although suffering with a PAS, does not have symptoms that warrant other DSM-IV childhood diagnoses. However, if one still feels the need to use a DSM-IV diagnosis, especially if the report will be compromised without one, then this last-resort diagnosis can justifiably be utilized. However, it is so vague that it says absolutely nothing other than that the person who is suffering with this disorder is a child. I do not recommend its utilization because of its weakness and because it provides practically no new information to the court.

DSM-IV Diagnoses Applicable to Alienated Parents

In most PAS cases, a diagnosis is not warranted for the alienated parent. On occasion that parent does warrant a DSM-IV diagnosis, but its applicability usually antedated the separation and usually has not played a role in the PAS development or promulgation. As mentioned elsewhere (Gardner, 2001), the primary problem I have seen with alienated parents is their passivity. They are afraid to implement traditional disciplinary and punitive measures with their children, lest they alienate them even further. And they are afraid to criticize the alienator because of the risk that such criticism will be reported to the court and compromise even further their position in the child-custody litigation. Generally, their passivity is not so deep-seated that they would warrant DSM-IV diagnoses such as avoidant personality disorder (301.82) or dependent personality disorder (301.6), because such passivity does not extend into other areas of life and did not antedate the marital separation. One could argue that they have an adjustment disorder, but there is no DSM diagnosis called “adjustment disorder, with passivity.” Accordingly, I will often state for alienated parents, “No Axis 1 diagnosis.”

If, indeed, the alienated parent did suffer with a psychiatric disorder that contributed to the alienation, then this should be noted. Certainly, there are situations in which the alienated parent’s psychiatric disorder is so profound that it is the primary cause of the children’s alienation. In such cases, the PAS diagnosis is not warranted. Under such circumstances, this disorder should be described instead as the cause of the children’s alienation.

Final Comments About Alternative DSM-IV Diagnoses for the PAS

As mentioned, the primary reason for using these diagnoses is that the PAS, at this point, is not recognized in some courts of law. They cannot be used as substitute diagnoses for the PAS, but sometimes share in common some of the symptoms. Accordingly, they can be used as additional diagnoses. It is too early to expect widespread recognition because it was not feasible for the PAS to have been placed in the 1994 edition, so few were the publications on the disorder when the preparatory committees were meeting. This will certainly not be the case when the committees meet in the next few years for the preparation of DSM-V, which is scheduled for publication in 2010. None of the aforementioned substitute diagnoses are fully applicable to the PAS; however, as mentioned, each one has certain characteristics which overlap the PAS diagnosis. Because no combination of these alternative diagnoses can properly replace the PAS, they should be used in addition to rather than instead of the PAS. There is hardly a diagnosis in DSM-IV that does not share symptoms in common with other diagnoses. There is significant overlap and often fluidity in DSM diagnoses. None are “pure,” but some are purer than others, and the PAS is one of the purer ones.

At this point, examiners who conclude that PAS is an applicable diagnosis do well to list it in the appropriate place(s) in their reports (especially at the end). At the same time, they do well to list any DSM-IV diagnoses that are applicable for the alienator, the alienated child, and (if warranted) for the alienated parent. Accordingly, even if the court will not recognize the PAS diagnosis, it will have a more difficult time ignoring these alternative DSM diagnoses.

Conclusions

Controversies are likely when a new disorder is first described. This is predictable. The PAS, however, has probably generated more controversy than most new diagnostic contributions. The primary reason for this is that the PAS is very much a product of the adversary legal system that adjudicates child-custody disputes. Under such circumstances, it behooves opposing attorneys to discredit the contribution and to find every argument possible for obstructing its admission into courts of law. And this is what happened with the PAS. The purpose of this article has been to help evaluators involved in such disputes understand better the nature of the controversy and to deal with it in the context of the present legal situation. Like all compromises, the solution is not perfect. None of the additional diagnoses are identical to the PAS, but they do serve a purpose in a court of law in that they are established psychiatric diagnoses that are applicable to PAS alienators, PAS children, and (on occasion) the alienated parent. Ultimately, if PAS is admitted into DSM-V, the main argument for its inadmissibility in courts of law will no longer be applicable and the need for listing these additional diagnoses in courts of law will be reduced.

References

American Psychiatric Association (1994), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition, Revised (DSM-IV). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.

Boyd v. Kilgore, 773 So. 2d 546 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000) (Prohibition Denied)

Kilgore v. Boyd, 13th Circuit Court, Hillsborough County, FL., Case No. 94-7573, 733 So. 2d 546 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000) Jan 30, 2001

Gardner, R. A. (1985a), Recent trends in divorce and custody litigation. The Academy Forum, 29(2):3-7.

_______ (1985b), Separation Anxiety Disorder: Psychodynamics and Psychotherapy. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1986), Child Custody Litigation: A Guide for Parents and Mental Health Professionals. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1987), The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Differentiation Between Fabricated and Genuine Child Sex Abuse. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1987), Child Custody. In Basic Handbook of Child Psychiatry, ed. J. Noshpitz, Vol. V, pp. 637-646. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

_______ (1989), Family Evaluation in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1992), The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Professionals. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1998), The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition. Cresskill, New Jersey: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

________ (2001), Therapeutic Interventions for Children with Parental Alienation Syndrome. Cresskill, New Jersey: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (2002), Parental alienation syndrome vs. parental alienation: Which diagnosis should be used in child-custody litigation? The American Journal of Family Therapy, 30(2):101-123.

rgardner.com, Articles in Peer-reviewed journals and Published Books on the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). www.rgardner.com/refs

_______, Testimony Concerning the Parental Alienation Syndrome Has Been Admitted in Courts of Law in Many States and Countries. www.rgardner.com/refs

Warshak, R. A. (1999), Psychological syndromes: Parental alienation syndrome. Expert Witness Manual, Chapter 3-32. Dallas, TX:State Bar of Texas, Family Law Section.

_______ (2001), Current controversies regarding parental alienation syndrome. The American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 19(3):29-59.

©2002 Richard A. Gardner, M.D.

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) from Dr Sommers

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome on September 16, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) from Dr Sommers

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) from Dr Sommers

parental-alienation-syndromeImportant Issues in
The Parental Alienation Syndrome

Reena Sommer, Ph.D.

The Parental Alienation Syndrome (P.A.S.) is a burden that a child is forced to bear when one parent fails to recognize their child’s strong need to love and be loved by the other parent.
(Mother is Rural Manitoba – name withheld by request)

Parental Alienation Syndrome: The Problem

The Parental Alienation Syndrome (P.A.S.) is the extreme end of a custody battle gone “real bad”. P.A.S. is a most negative consequence of an increasing number of high conflict divorces. In these cases, children become the victims of a relentless and destructive “tug of war” between their parents. It is a war that children cannot win or defend themselves against. It is a war where the “enemy” (the alienating parent) is someone whom the children dearly love and depend upon for their needs to be met. For children, PAS is about loss, insecurity, fear, confusion, sadness, hopelessness and despair. In fact, some experts consider PAS to be a form of child abuse because:

it robs children of the security provided by the bond they once shared with the targeted parent
it embeds in children’s minds falsehoods about the targeted parent that are injurious to their own psyche and their sense of self (i.e., “Mom/Dad never really loved you”; “Mom/Dad is dangerous”; “Mom/Dad has done inappropriate things to you”).
the process of aligning children against the targeted parent often involves threats, lies, manipulations, deprivation and even physical abuse

For the alienating parents, PAS can have several motivators such as:

feeling betrayed or rejected by the targeted parent
revenge
jealousy
fear
insecurity
anger
money
using the children as as pawns to get a better divorce settlement

Defining Parental Alienation Syndrome

The Parental Alienation Syndrome has been variously defined. But here is the definition I tend to rely upon because it is based on my observations of and experiences with divorcing families:

“The Parental Alienation Syndrome is the deliberate attempt by
one parent (and/or guardian/significant other) to distance his/her children
from the other parent and in doing so, the parent engages the children
in the process of destroying the affectional ties and familial bonds that once existed…”

The alienating process develops over time and the distancing between the children and the targeted that occurs includes some or all of the following features:

.

The alienating parent speaks badly or demeans the targeted parent directly to the children
the disparaging comments made by the alienating parent to their children about the targeted parent can be implicit (”I am not sure I will be able to afford to send you to camp because “Mom” or “Dad” does not realize how much you enjoy it”) or explicit (”Mom/Dad” left us because he/she never cared enough about you to keep our family together”)
The alienating parent speaks badly or demeans the targeted parent to others in the presence (or within audible distance) of the children.
The alienating parent discusses with the children the circumstances under which the marriage broke down and blames the targeted parent for its failure.
The alienating parent exposes the children to the details of the parents’ ongoing conflict, financial problems and legal proceedings.
The alienating parent blames the targeted parent for changes in life style, any current hardships; his/her negative emotional state and inability to function as before and conveys this to the children.
Allegations of sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children are often made.
Alienated children come to know that in order to please the alienating parent, they must turn against the targeted parent.

These features exemplify the diagnostic criterion set out by the late Dr. Richard Gardner in his discussion of the Parental Alienation Syndrome. Dr. Gardner’s early writings are now supported by empirical research on P.A.S. conducted by numerous academics, thus adding credence to P.A.S.’s validity and existence. Nevertheless, there are still some who have chosen to misinterpret Dr. Gardner’s writings by suggesting that he advocated pedophilia and/or placing children at risk with their abusers. This is clearly a gross distortion of Dr. Gardner’s expressed intent as he emphatically and repeatedly stipulates in his papers that allegations of abuse that are made all too frequently in custody disputes must have no prior history, nor upon investigation are they to be found to have any basis. These types of outlandish criticisms are reflective of misguided thinking, ignorance and an ideological perspective that requires a distortion of reality to give it validity

The Genesis of Parental Alienation Syndrome

//
//

It is believed that P.A.S. arose out of changes to the divorce laws in western society. Starting the 1970’s, family courts began to recognize that both parents had rights and responsibilities when it came to providing for their children post divorce. Out of that recognition, the concept of “joint custody” was born where both parents were allowed to continue in their roles as “legal” parents just as they had been during the marriage. Today, joint custody is considered the norm in most western countries. However, along with this progressive move in divorce laws, there has also been an increase in the incidence of P.A.S. – where children have unfortunately become pawns in their parents’ struggles for alimony, support, the marital home and other assets of the marriage. Parental Alienation Syndrome has only recently been recognized in the divorce literature as a phenomenon occurring with sufficient frequency and with particular defining characteristics as to warrant recognition. Today, the P.A.S. as a byproduct of custody battles is attracting the attention of divorcing parents, child protective agencies, doctors, teachers, clergy, divorce attorneys and divorce courts.

The Politics of Parental Alienation Syndrome

Because the Parental Alienation Syndrome has been linked to the increase in joint custody awards, it is also an issue that has fuelled considerable debate concerning the validity of its existence. Opponents and critics of P.A.S. continue to argue that it does not exist simply because of its absence in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Version IV) or the DSM-IV. While there is no dispute that this argument has face validity, it nevertheless neglects the following alternative salient argument: – As with any phenomenon, there is always a lag period between the times it is first identified and when it is fully embraced by the community at large.

There are many examples of this such as:

schizophrenia (it was originally thought that people with this disorder were smitten by the devil)
cancer
attention deficit disorder
dyslexia
HIV and AIDS

There is no doubt that these conditions existed long before they were acknowledged in textbooks or by academic and legal authorities. However, their absence from these authoritative sources did not imply that didn’t exist or lacked validity. What it meant is that for some of these conditions, there was a lengthy lag periods – in some cases, almost a century. Hopefully, this will not be the case for P.A.S. because modern technology makes it possible for the publication of research and transmissions of information to occur much quicker than ever before. But in the meantime, if we are to discount the existence of P.A.S., we are turning our backs on children who are being deprived on their right to love and be loved by both parents. Regardless of the arguments put forth to discount the P.A.S.’s existence and validity, it is difficult to explain how a previously strong, intact, positive and loving relationship between a child and his or her parent quickly disintegrates and transforms into outward hostility toward that parent, usually following separation or some other significant family reorganization involving high levels of conflict.In spite of the divisiveness concerning the validity of the Parental Alienation Syndrome, one issue that few will debate is the fact that too many children are now caught in a “tug of war” between their separated parents.

The Consequences of Parental Alienation Syndrome

Children who are exposed to the ongoing conflict and hostility of their parents suffer tremendously. The guilt they experience when their parents’ first separate, is exacerbated by the added stress of being made to feel that their love and attachment for one parent is contingent on their abandoning the other. Although children are powerless to end the struggle between their parents’, they come to believe that if they turn against one in favor of the other, the unhappiness they experience on an ongoing basis will also end. And if the alienating process is at all successful, its long term consequences for children victimized by it may be even more profound. The main concerns rest in their ability to form healthy and lasting intimate relationships with others as well as how it may negatively influence their self esteem, self concept and general outlook toward life in general. We owe it to children to do what is necessary to prevent this from happening.

© Reena Sommer, Ph.D. 2004-2009 http://www.solutions4pas.com/PASreport.html

No related posts.

via Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) from Dr Sommers.

Federal Government Freezes County Title IV-E Funds – News Story – WJAC Johnstown

In children legal status, Childrens Rights, CPS, cps fraud, Department of Social Servies, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam on August 30, 2009 at 1:23 am

Blair County Commissioners announced Tuesday that they will have to figure out how to survive without $571,000 from the federal government.

The commissioners were hoping the money would carry them through the next few months, especially since there’s no state budget.Officials have frozen the Federal Title IV-E Funds that allow states to apply for and receive federal matching funds to aid with juvenile probation and child welfare activities.

Those activities include adoption assistance, foster care maintenance payments, training and administrative expenses.”They’re alleging that our Pennsylvania state government isn’t managing those funds properly,” Commissioner Terry Tomasetti said. “It has to do with record keeping.”

Blair County is not the only county being affected. Every county in the state has had their funding deferred.Bedford County may lose $348,000. Elk County is looking at a loss of $55,860.Tomasetti added not only will the county lose the federal funding, they may even have to pay back funds if there was indeed problems with state records.

Copyright 2009 by WJACTV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Federal Government Freezes County Title IV-E Funds – News Story – WJAC Johnstown.

Child Welfare Programs Face Deeper Cuts | News10.net | Sacramento, California | News

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children's behaviour, CPS, cps fraud, Family Rights on July 30, 2009 at 2:11 am
Two of Three Children on Child Welfare Services DO NOT NEED WELFARE SERVICES AT ALL. They were taken from their homes by fat, lazy, overpaid do-gooders to justify their overblown salaries. This means CPS and social workers will have to concentrate on kids that were really abused. It about time that CPS workers got a real job, or at least protect the real kids that need protection.

Child Welfare Programs Face Deeper Cuts
Posted By: Dave Marquis 5 hrs ago

Sacramento, CA – Child welfare programs in counties across California are losing $80 million in state funding as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger used his line-item veto power to balance the state budget.

The county-run Child Welfare Services programs respond to reports of abuse and neglect.

“Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today sent a clear message to the abused and neglected children of California: Please take a number,” said Frank Mecca, executive director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California.

In Sacramento, child advocates said the funding cuts will put children at greater risk. “We’re basically going to be cutting the prevention services, the treatment services and the ability for children to find a safe place to live,” said Sheila Boxley, C.E.O. of The Child Abuse Prevention Center.

For parents who’ve benefitted from programs at risk of being cut, the loss is personal. “We were taught how to be better parents and to use positive reinforcement,” said Malinda Bingham, the mother of four in El Dorado Hills, who says a partly state-funded parental education program helped her and her husband cope during a stressful time in their lives.

“I wonder where some of these parents are going to turn?” asked her husband, Justin Bingham.

By dmarquis@news10.net

News10/KXTV

Copyright 2009 / All Rights Reserved

Child Welfare Programs Face Deeper Cuts | News10.net | Sacramento, California | News.

Man Leading Nation in $10 Billion Suit on Behalf of America’s Fathers Speaks Out Again – Associated Content 1

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, Maternal Deprivation, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Teri C. Stoddard, Teri Stoddard on July 29, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Man Leading Nation in $10 Billion Suit on Behalf of America’s Fathers Speaks Out Again

Stakes Are Raised to $100 Billion Class Action on Behalf of All of America’s Fathers

Once again, the poor poverty stricken pennyless man who is pursuing a $10 Billion Civil Suit against the State of Oregon, the Federal Government and 49 other States on behalf of himself as lead plaintiff and hundreds of thousands of fathers across the nation has given this author permission to publish his account of his updated current circumstances for the public record.

He lived in a tent at Nickelsville in Seattle for a couple weeks and most recently has spent the past two months living under a bridge in Seattle in a pink tent! It is very cold in Seattle, Washington.

The Federal government will not give him food stamps any more and he lost his wallet with all his ID in it so the State of Washington will not give him a new drivers license, despite the fact that he worked in the state, contributing to the construction of thousands of houses over a 15 year period.

Fortunately for America, the man is not violent, for he has confessed to me in private of all the ways that he would love to destroy the legal professionals, the judges, the bankers, the ignorant and errant government workers who have prevented him from seeing his 7 year old and 13 year old sons, who still live on welfare in Eugene, Oregon.

His first wife, Aerial Long, now married to Micheal E. Long, a real estate hustler and scam artist who sells the same pieces of land over and over to people who cannot afford to live where he sells them fictional pieces of wealth through his web site, left him in 1993 and basically forced him to live on the streets, a common occurance for younger men who are perceived as unwilling yet able to work, especially in the midst of emotional upheaval and turmoil. He didn’t pay child support for 8 years, racking up a bill of over $50,000 which includes penalties and interest. He cannot discharge this debt in bankruptcy so has not filed. He has simply dropped out of the system completely and refuses to contribute to an economy that strips humanity of all sensibility and morality.

He got married again in 1994, divorced his second wife after their first child and was then convinced to marry her again in 2002, only to be divorced at the cost of $3,500 in California Superior Court in Los Angeles in 2005. He left her and the children in Reno, Nevada in April of 2004. His ex, known for her chronic lying and psychotic episodes of infinite personality disorders, swore to him during a heated argument on more than one occaision that if he left her, he would never see his children again. To that end, she has won a temporary vindictive victory at the expense of two minor children who will probably grow up gay and feminized by their mother and grandmother who are “taking care of the children”.


teri stoddard
I was hoping you were a writer I could promote. Then you said that being fatherless can lead to being gay. I’ve read enough…
Posted on 03/16/2009 at 3:03:36 PM

After only seeing his two more minor children once in five years, he has come to the conclusion that marraige in America is an insane institution that is sugar coated with religion. After ten years of not paying child support for his first child, and more than five years of not seeing his two minor children in Eugene but once, which during the visit which was well announced months before his arrival, his second ex-wife threatened to have him arrested for trespassing if he ever showed up at her house again!


teri stoddard
I was hoping you were a writer I could promote. Then you said that being fatherless can lead to being gay. I’ve read enough…
Posted on 03/16/2009 at 3:03:36 PM

He now owes more than $75,000 in back child support to Oregon, Washington and California but because the banking industry has collapsed, his former profession has become functionally obsolete. No one wants to hire a mortgage banker, not now, not ever again!

In an article originally published at the American Chronicle, it was written how the man got shafted by his second wife. This then is an update of the progress on that case which has been increased to a sum of $100 billion being sought in damages and triple damages in a Class Action that if successful will totally change the way divorces and child support and custody issues are handled in America.


teri stoddard
I was hoping you were a writer I could promote. Then you said that being fatherless can lead to being gay. I’ve read enough…
Posted on 03/16/2009 at 3:03:36 PM

Since publishing of that article more than two dozen men, fathers all across America have contacted the author, seeking the name of the man and his legal case numbers and files and unfortunately for those less informed, this author does not reveal his sources, especially on a highly sensitive case such as this one, nor will he share the case files which are locked up in a storage vault in Los Angeles, California.


teri stoddard
I was hoping you were a writer I could promote. Then you said that being fatherless can lead to being gay. I’ve read enough…
Posted on 03/16/2009 at 3:03:36 PM

It is now estimated that at least 100,000 fathers in America have been abused by the legal profession, the Court system, and an unjust set of laws and procedures laid down by lawyers, and are entitled to monetary relief damages from the Federal Government, the respective states who get paid by the Federal Government to break up families and keep fathers away from their childen in one circumstantial way or another.

There are currently 5 million children living with their father only, nearly triple the number since 1998.


teri stoddard
I was hoping you were a writer I could promote. Then you said that being fatherless can lead to being gay. I’ve read enough…
Posted on 03/16/2009 at 3:03:36 PM

With the global economy in a total state of economic depression, the issue of Fathers Rights, and Children’s Rights, and Parental Rights have taken a back stage to the events being bandied about in the mainstream media. Unfortunately for our children, more and more of them are going to find themselves out in the streets, selling whatever they can to get food, just to get to the free food, and to survive.

The number of single fathers in the United States has grown in recent years: there were 2.0 million in 1997, 50 percent more than in 1990 and triple the number in 1980. These families comprised 5 percent of all parent-child families in 1997, up from 2 percent in 1980. Single fathers are the fastest growing population in America today with more than ten million men engaged in a “Dad’s War”.


teri stoddard
I was hoping you were a writer I could promote. Then you said that being fatherless can lead to being gay. I’ve read enough…
Posted on 03/16/2009 at 3:03:36 PM

If you Google Search or Yahoo Search “Fathers Rights” you will find all kinds of resources online, but the father who I wrote about back in 2007 is now convinced that the only way to deal with the legal and financial issues surrounding his children is to “kidnap” them, but he has been advised against this by many of his friends including on former special prosecutor who now works for the Federal Court System as a public defender.

Recently he was convinced by me during our second interview in as many years, that he should take up the banner and continue to fight for his right to see his children, after all, he does want to be a good father, even if he is unemployed, unemployable, and houseless in Seattle.

To that end, the amount being sought in the class action has been increased from $10 billion to $100 billion, which if awarded by the court would amount to approximately a million dollars in settlement funds for every father in America who has lost contact with and been cut off from their children because of a system in America that values greed, capitalism, business, finance, and money more than the sanity of their offspring.


teri stoddard
I was hoping you were a writer I could promote. Then you said that being fatherless can lead to being gay. I’ve read enough…
Posted on 03/16/2009 at 3:03:36 PM

This is a recipe of extinction and the American establishment is now the most hated organization in the world.

One father says, “I love America, but I don’t trust the people running it!”

Do you?

True criminals who create scarcity in this world – the Bankers and the Lawyers – are the ones who are now losing control of the global economy, so is it any wonder that well over $50 billion is now owed in back child support by more than a million hard working fathers from the 50 states?


teri stoddard
I was hoping you were a writer I could promote. Then you said that being fatherless can lead to being gay. I’ve read enough…
Posted on 03/16/2009 at 3:03:36 PM

After all, 99.99% of Congress is composed of lawyers and the only good lawyer is a dead one according to one man who says “when the banks are all done with their deflation, it will be the lawyers who get publicly murdered for the violence they have foisted upon the families of America!”

A lawyers favorite pastime is driving people insane with false evidence, arbitrary rules, restrictive slave inducing regulations, paronoid induced procedures, jailish judgements, damning decrees, outlandish orders and perverted proclamations that only an idiot or a moron could possibly figure out. The first requirement of being a lawyer is you have to be certified as an idiot or a moron!

I have never met a lawyer who is all about justice rather than money, have you?

Man Leading Nation in $10 Billion Suit on Behalf of America’s Fathers Speaks Out Again – Associated Content.
—————————————————————-

Comments
Type in Your Comments Below

Hi Kylie, I love your face, thanks for advertizing with me!

Posted on 05/28/2009 at 7:05:44 PM

I absolutely agree with you 100%, my husband did “kidnap” his kid, even though he had an order, then they dropped the charges but made a no contact order. Convenient eh!?

Posted on 04/17/2009 at 4:04:32 PM

I was hoping you were a writer I could promote. Then you said that being fatherless can lead to being gay. I’ve read enough…

Posted on 03/16/2009 at 3:03:36 PM

Being a father is an unexplainable feeling of love and concern for your child’s welfare. I can only guess about the stress and anger this man must feel about being forced from his children’s lives. We need a one on one compassion for our fellow man or woman from government officials not a hardy, “next” while standing in a long line of disrespect. I understand this only too well having worked in the legal system for many years.

Posted on 01/03/2009 at 1:01:51 AM

;-);-)

Posted on 11/30/2008 at 7:11:13 AM

wow. ill have to let that one digest a bit before i can say anything else.

Posted on 11/29/2008 at 6:11:54 PM

Comments 1 – 6 of 6

Another ‘fat’ child removed from parents, is it the right thing to do? by Bob Toovey

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, due process rights, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights on July 27, 2009 at 12:27 am
This happened in Contra Costa County, California about 10 years ago, but I am sure it happened many times over in other states and counties.
Because of the amount of money the federal governemtn gives to these odious agencies,  if you have a fat kid, the government can take him away and violate the child’s and your parental rights.
This constitutes abuse of power by the government.  Maybe we should take some of the fat CPS social workers mommas off the street and lock them up for child abuse.  And then bar then from fast food joints forever.   Pigs.

Bob Toovey Yesterday

The Examiner website has an article by Brenda Patterson that discusses how a mother had her child removed due to his weight. She also faces criminal charges. The boy aged fourteen weighed 555 pounds. Using a 3 figure number makes it sound scarily heavy however it is also 251.74 kilos or 39.64 stones.

From the article Is mom abusive if child is overweight?

“…a South Carolina mother was arrested in June for criminal neglect — because her fourteen year old son weighed a disturbing 555 pounds. The boy was moved to foster care, and she is facing a criminal trial.”

I don’t think there is much argument that the boy was to heavy for his age, my question is, should it be called abuse and does it help to have the boy removed from his home? Will criminal charges help?

We have documented other cases where children have been removed but is it really the right thing to do?

See also…

Permanant Link | Add comment

Digg This Story Technorati Favorites Add to del.icio.us Add to Furl Add to Netscape Add Yahoo Myweb Add Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to Reddit Email This

Another ‘fat’ child removed from parents, is it the right thing to do? by Bob Toovey.

California Family-law Makeover

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath on July 23, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Family-law makeover

Opponents of California’s family-law system take their battle to the Legislature
By Ted Cox
More stories by this author…
Read 26 reader submitted comments

This article was published on 06.25.09.

Michael Newdow thinks California’s family-law courts are broken. He’s not alone.

PHOTO BY KYLE MONK

Michael Newdow is no stranger to controversy. First, in 2000, he filed a lawsuit against the Elk Grove Unified School District in an attempt to ban the Pledge of Allegiance, arguing that the phrase “under God” was an endorsement of religion. Then, in 2006, he attempted to have “In God We Trust” removed from U.S. currency. At the end of 2008, Newdow filed a suit to keep Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. from uttering “so help me God” at the conclusion of President Barack Obama’s inaugural oath.

For various reasons, all three lawsuits were dismissed. But that hasn’t kept him from focusing on a new target: the family-law system.

“The entire family-law system is unconstitutional,” Newdow told SN&R. “It deprives people of their rights to their relationships with their children.”

In 2005, 2006 and 2007 Newdow informed the speaker of the Assembly of his intent to file suit under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 526(a), which allows taxpayers to file grievances against government waste.

“You waste incredible amounts of money,” said Newdow. “People spend millions of dollars—literally—on individual cases that should be going towards the family.”

The complaint names as defendants California Superior Court Judge James Mize, Presiding Judge Eugene Balanon, State Attorney General Edmund Brown, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Controller John Chiang.

But when Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s office responded to his notice, suggesting that Newdow send his complaint to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he decided to hold off. In the meantime, he’s looking for additional plaintiffs.

“Maybe I’ll file it anyway,” Newdow said. “I doubt the Legislature will do what I want.”

Newdow believes that pitting two parents against each other from the outset of custody cases just sets the stage for trouble.

“My argument is that that’s why we have custody battles and custody wars, because we set things up to be that way,” he said.

Like Newdow’s previous cases, the chance that he could revamp the family-court system by way of a taxpayer complaint is a long shot. But reform is needed; ask just about anyone who’s trudged through the legal muck of child-custody disputes, and you’re certain to hear a horror story.

Connie Valentine is a founding member and current policy director of the Sacramento-based California Protective Parents Association. CPPA was formed 10 years ago partly to deal with what she calls abuses in the family-court system. In those 10 years, Valentine’s organization has assisted with thousands of cases. She said that the biggest problem in family-law court is a lack of oversight.

“When there’s no effective oversight, things fester and abuse of power can occur without any ability to change it,” she said. “The reason that there is no effective oversight is that most of the people who are involved in family court do not have lawyers. And if you do not have a lawyer, that means you don’t have money.”

Having no money in the family-court system, explained Valentine, means you can’t file costly appeals to challenge court rulings.

Valentine said that a second pressing problem is the unregulated cottage industry of mediators and other professionals who hold enormous sway over court rulings.

“The court has, in good faith, decided that they need assistance,” Valentine noted. “One judge is not enough to handle all the problems that they’re seeing.” The solution has been to hire mediators that hear cases and make recommendations to the court. “Now if it’s a good mediator, that may not be such a bad thing if they’re balanced and unbiased,” she continued. “But if you happen to have a bad mediator who’s biased and decides they like one person over the other—because of their looks or their gender or their persuasiveness—then you’ve got big problems, because the judges rely tremendously on their mediators.”

Another problem, said Valentine, is that children often don’t have a direct say in custody cases. Instead, attorneys report on behalf of minors. Oftentimes what the attorneys report conflicts with what the children themselves say. The solution is to let children speak directly with the judge.

“A 4-year-old in criminal court can testify against their abusers,” Valentine said. “We can certainly take children and talk to them in family court.”

Family-law attorney Barbara Kauffman feels another problem is a lack of uniform training in domestic-violence and child-abuse issues among judges and court appointees. “There are theories being taught that are all over the map,” she said.

Kauffman recounted one instance where she sat in on a training session taught by a fathers’ rights advocate. Judges and mediators were in attendance. “He was spouting off about how most domestic violence is mutual. And [the judges and mediators] were just sitting there raptly listening to this.”

Efforts are underway to fix these and many other problems.

State Sen. Mark Leno has asked the Legislature’s Joint Legal Audit Committee to investigate Sacramento and several other counties’ family courts. The audit will look at, among other things, the criteria used to assign mediators to cases.

Assembly Bill 612, sponsored by Jim Beall, would eliminate the use of controversial theories—namely Parental Alienation Syndrome—from family-court proceedings. Adherents of PAS argue that one parent alienates their child against the other. PAS opponents argue the theory is unscientific and is often used to place children into the hands of abusers.

A.B. 375 would prohibit courts from using last-minute ex parte hearings to determine child custody, except in cases where the child is in immediate danger.

A.B. 1050 “would require the family court to consider and give due weight to the wishes of a child in making an order granting or modifying custody, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference as to custody or visitation.”

Of course, reforming the system itself isn’t the only problem. As Kauffman, puts it, “In family law, everybody’s on their worst behavior. There is an incentive to lie about finances, about children.”

With attorneys, mediators and child psychologists collectively raking in millions of dollars in fees for their services, there’s an invested interest in making custody cases as nasty as possible.

Newdow’s case, even if it seems far-fetched, may simply be effective in the way it calls attention to a broken court system.

“The things that happen to these people are absolutely horrific, but it’s such a typical thing. That’s what’s so amazing,” said Newdow.

At stake here is more than just winning legal battles.

“Every parent, if you gave them the choice of being paraded around naked on a leash or losing their right to be a parent to their kid, all of [them] would say, ‘Hey, take my clothes off right now,’” said Newdow.

Contact us about this story

RELATED LINKS:

SN&R > Local Stories > Family-law makeover > 06.25.09.

Reform Divorce – Third Cord Secrets

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath on July 22, 2009 at 6:07 am

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reform Divorce

In the early 1970’s Alabama, following the state of California’s lead, changed their laws concerning divorce. Alabama became one of the first states to enacted a “No Fault” Divorce law in which it became much easier for married couples to divorce.

As no-fault divorce gained popularity, the great majority of divorces where granted on the basis of incompatibility. In 1995, the state’s divorce rate was 43 percent higher than the national average.

Couples mutually agree to marry however with no-fault divorce legislation, one party can unilaterally end the marriage without consent from the other party. Prior to the passage of no-fault laws, both couples had to consent to divorce and often a judge would threaten to impose sanctions that led couples to try and work things out.

We desperately need to reform our States divorce laws to remove no-fault language. Please join with us in supporting divorce reform at http://www.reformdivorce.org

Third Cord Secrets: Reform Divorce.

California Appeals Court Reverses Termination of Mother’s Rights

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, Department of Social Servies, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, Family Court Reform, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights on July 21, 2009 at 10:49 pm

In re T.M., No. C059898

| No TrackBacks

Juvenile court order terminating parental rights is reversed where no opportunity to reunify was ever afforded to the child’s mother, nor did she have an opportunity to challenge a request to deny her services.

Read In re T.M., No. C059898 in PDF

Read In re T.M., No. C059898 in HTML

In re T. M. (2009) , Cal.App.4th

[No. C059898. Third Dist. Jul. 17, 2009.]

In re T. M., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. C. M., Defendant and Appellant.

(Superior Court of Sacramento County, No. JD226226, Dean L. Petersen, Juvenile Court Referee., Judge.)

(Opinion by Cantil-Sakauye, J., with Blease, Acting P. J., and Robie, J., concurring.)

COUNSEL

Elaine Forrester, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Robert A. Ryan, Jr. County Counsel, Lilly C. Frawley, Deputy County Counsel, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

CANTIL-SAKAUYE, J.-

C.M., mother of the minor, appeals from orders of the juvenile court terminating her parental rights. (Welf. & Inst. {Slip Opn. Page 2} Code, §§ 366.26, 395.) fn. 1 Appellant contends the court could not terminate her parental rights because it found that no reunification services were provided to her. We reverse.

FACTS

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) removed the newborn minor from appellant’s custody in August 2007 following appellant’s detention on a psychiatric hold pursuant to section 5150. The social worker was unable to contact appellant at the mental health facility and appellant did not contact the social worker prior to the detention hearing in the juvenile court.

According to the jurisdiction/disposition report, appellant called the social worker several times but did not leave any contact information and appellant’s whereabouts were unknown. Appellant had ongoing mental health problems and it became apparent during the social worker’s investigation that appellant was also abusing drugs. DHHS recommended denial of services to appellant pursuant to section 361.5, subdivision (b)(1), because her whereabouts were unknown and she had failed to come forward to be assessed for services. If appellant did come forward during the next six months, the social worker intended to assess her needs and develop a plan at that time. A declaration of due {Slip Opn. Page 3} diligence in the search for appellant was attached to the report.

At the jurisdiction/disposition hearing, there was discussion about whether to make the findings to support denial of services pursuant to section 361.5, subdivision (b)(1) because the DHHS intended to offer appellant services if she contacted the social worker. However, the court did adopt the previously recommended findings which supported denial of services pursuant to section 361.5, subdivision (b)(1) and no case plan was developed. The court set a six-month review hearing.

The report for the six-month review hearing stated that a therapist from a psychiatric facility in Fresno contacted the social worker in October 2007 and told the social worker appellant had been a patient there but had been discharged. The therapist was unable to provide contact information for appellant. In November 2007, a public defender from Fresno called and told the social worker appellant was in a locked psychiatric facility. A conservator had been appointed for appellant because she was unable to care for her own basic needs. Prior to establishment of the conservatorship, appellant was placed on multiple psychiatric holds during September and October of 2007.

Because appellant was receiving a broad range of services in the psychiatric facility, no case plan was developed and the {Slip Opn. Page 4} social worker simply instructed appellant to comply with her treatment goals. Appellant’s counselor reported that appellant had made no progress in treatment since she refused to participate and address her treatment goals. Appellant had been approved for a year of treatment in the locked facility. Appellant also called the social worker and provided the name of her conservator. The six-month review hearing report recommended termination of services.

Counsel was appointed to represent appellant. At the six-month review hearing, appellant’s counsel observed that services were not offered to appellant pursuant to section 361.5, subdivision (b)(1) because appellant’s whereabouts were initially unknown. Counsel further stated that no plan was developed when appellant was located because she resided in a facility which provided appropriate services to her. According to counsel, appellant’s conservator’s assessment was that appellant could not meaningfully participate in services and counsel requested the court to amend the recommended findings and orders to reflect that no services were previously ordered. The court granted the request and made the appropriate changes to eliminate any findings to the contrary. fn. 2 The court set a {Slip Opn. Page 5} section 366.26 hearing over appellant’s objection. Notice of her right to review the order by writ was mailed to appellant, her conservator, and her guardian ad litem. fn. 3

The report for the selection and implementation hearing stated there had been no contact between appellant and the minor since the minor was placed in protective custody. Appellant had a new conservator who told the social worker appellant was diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, visitation with the minor would not be constructive and appellant’s anger issues might make visits harmful for the minor.

At the hearing, appellant’s counsel entered a general objection to termination of parental rights. The court adopted the recommended findings and orders, terminated parental rights, and freed the minor for adoption.

DISCUSSION

Appellant argues the order terminating parental rights must be reversed because it violated the provisions of section {Slip Opn. Page 6} 366.26, subdivision (c)(2)(A). (See also Cal. Rules of Court, rule 5.725(f).) fn. 4 We agree.

Section 366.26, subdivision (c)(2)(A) provides: “The court shall not terminate parental rights if . . . [a]t each hearing at which the court was required to consider reasonable efforts or services, the court has found that reasonable efforts were not made or that reasonable services were not offered or provided.” fn. 5 The juvenile court is required to consider whether the agency has made reasonable efforts at each six-month status review hearing. (§ 366.)

The only such hearing in this case was the six-month review hearing following disposition. At that hearing, “[i]f the child is not returned to his or her parent . . . the court shall determine whether reasonable services that were designed to aid the parent . . . in overcoming the problems that led to the initial removal and the continued custody of the child have been provided or offered to the parent . . . .” (§§ 366.21, subd. (e); see also 366.21, subd. (g)(1)(c); 366.22, subd. (a).) {Slip Opn. Page 7} Here, reasonable services were not offered because no services were offered pursuant to section 361.5, subdivision (b)(1). Appellant’s counsel expressly requested the juvenile court correct the record to so reflect. We view counsel’s request and the juvenile court’s response as justified and appropriate within the context of the record as a whole. This factual setting does not, however, end the inquiry.

As we have said, section 366.26, subdivision (c)(2)(A) applies when “reasonable services were not offered or provided.” On the other hand, dependency law permits the juvenile court to decline to order reunification services under the specific circumstances detailed in section 361.5, subdivisions (b) and (e). The circumstances, with the exception of subdivision (b)(1), describe situations where provision of services is futile or detrimental to the minor, generally where the parent is unable or unwilling to participate in services or where offering services would place the minor at risk of harm or other detriment. The question is whether the Legislature intended to prevent adoption when any of those circumstances were found to exist and services were not offered. (See Mark N. v. Superior Court (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 996, 1018.) To fully understand the interplay of these two statutes, it is necessary to review the legislative history of section 366.26, subdivision (c)(2)(A).

As originally enacted, section 366.26 did not include the language now found in subdivision (c)(2)(A). (Stats. 1987, {Slip Opn. Page 8} ch. 1485, § 47.) The language was added in 1991 as part of a bill making various technical changes to the dependency statutes and adding new provisions regarding services for incarcerated women. (Sen. Bill No. 475 (1991 Reg. Sess.); Stats. 1991, ch. 820, § 5.) At that time, section 366.22, which describes the procedures for 18-month review hearings, included a provision that required the juvenile court to determine that reasonable services were provided to the parent before the court developed a permanent plan for the minor. (Stats. 1989, ch. 913, § 14.) The 1991 amendments deleted that provision of section 366.22 and added subdivision (c)(2)(A) to section 366.26, which barred termination of parental rights, but not other permanent plans, when reasonable efforts were not made or reasonable services were not offered. (Stats. 1991, ch. 820, § 5.)

Section 361.5, which permits denial of services under subdivisions (b) and (e), states that “[i]f the court, pursuant to paragraph (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14), or (15) of subdivision (b) or paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) does not order reunification services, it shall . . . determine if a hearing under Section 366.26 shall be set in order to determine whether adoption, guardianship, or long-term foster care is the most appropriate plan for the child . . . .” (§ 361.5, subd. (f).) This subdivision of section 361.5 has not significantly changed (see Stats 1990, {Slip Opn. Page 9} ch. 1530, § 6) since before subdivision (c)(2)(A) was added to section 366.26, and the Legislature is presumed to have been aware of it when amending section 366.26, subdivision (c)(2)(A). (Estate of McDill (1975) 14 Cal.3d 831, 837-838.) In interpreting the dependency scheme as a whole (DuBois v. Worker’s Comp. Appeals Bd. (1993) 5 Cal.4th 382, 388), and reading the parts to avoid an absurdity (People v. King (1993) 5 Cal.4th 59, 69), section 366.26, subdivision (c)(2)(A) cannot be read to bar adoption when services are denied pursuant to the subdivisions specified in section 361.5, subdivision (f). The Legislature could not have intended to abrogate the earlier provisions in section 361.5 which contemplated adoption of a minor when services were not offered to the parent as either being futile or detrimental to the minor.

However, section 361.5, subdivision (b)(1), the basis for the denial of services to appellant, is not listed in section 361.5, subdivision (f) as one of the circumstances which can directly lead to setting a section 366.26 hearing at which adoption may be considered. This does not mean the minor must remain in limbo. Even if reunification is not to occur, permanency is an important consideration for a dependent child. (In re Marilyn H. (1993) 5 Cal.4th 295, 309.) Subdivision (c)(2)(A) of section 366.26 simply bars termination of parental rights when the parent has never been offered services because the parent’s whereabouts were unknown or when the agency has not {Slip Opn. Page 10} developed a plan or offered reasonable services even though the parent was available. Before termination of parental rights can occur, the law requires the court to find either that services would have been futile or detrimental to the minor under any of the relevant subdivisions of section 361.5, with the obvious exception of subdivision (b)(1), or that the agency at least tried to reunite the family by making reasonable efforts or offering services to the parents. (§§ 366.21, subds. (e) and (f); 366.22.)

Here, appellant’s counsel insisted the record reflect the true state of affairs, i.e., that services were not offered pursuant to section 361.5, subdivision (b)(1). When appellant’s whereabouts became known, three months after the minor’s out-of-home placement, the fact should have been brought to the juvenile court’s attention so that services could be ordered. (§ 361.5, subd. (d).) This did not occur. The posture of the case at the six-month review hearing was that no services were ordered or offered and no plan was developed. DHHS, in possession of information which might have justified denial of services under several subdivisions of section 361.5, did not raise the issue or seek an order denying services. fn. 6 Because the {Slip Opn. Page 11} court neither terminated services, after finding reasonable services had been provided, nor denied them pursuant to a subdivision of section 361.5 which would permit termination of parental rights, it should have limited the scope of the section 366.26 hearing to consideration of only guardianship or long-term foster care. It did not. The error in proceeding to terminate parental rights in the circumstances of this case is not harmless. No opportunity to reunify was ever afforded appellant nor did she have an opportunity to challenge a request to deny her services under any subdivision of section 361.5 which would have supported termination of parental rights. Reversal is required.

DISPOSITION

The order terminating parental rights is reversed. The case is remanded for a new selection and implementation hearing.

Blease, Acting P. J., and Robie, J., concurred.

­FN 1. Hereafter, undesignated statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code.

­FN 2. There is some lack of clarity in the record. The recommended findings attached to the report show the sections relating to efforts by DHHS to provide services and appellant’s efforts to comply with services were stricken because services were not ordered and the report itself was corrected to show there was no case plan for the same reason. However, the findings attached to the minute orders show only a modification to the proposed order to show that services were not ordered at the disposition hearing. The court’s specific statements in the reporter’s transcript make it clear that the efforts findings should also have been stricken in the attachment to the minute order. (People v. Smith (1983) 33 Cal.3d 596, 599.)

­FN 3. No petition for extraordinary writ was filed by the guardian ad litem or conservator. Accordingly, the orders entered at the six-month review hearing are final and cannot be challenged in this appeal. (John F. v. Superior Court (1996) 43 Cal.App.4th 400, 404-405.)

­FN 4. Respondent, apparently in an abundance of caution, views appellant’s claim, in part, as one of error at the review hearing. It is not. Thus, we need not address respondent’s arguments regarding writ review, petitions for modification, or substantial evidence to support denial of services.

­FN 5. The subdivision was formerly designated as (c)(2) (Stats. 1991, ch. 820, § 5), however, recent amendments have renamed it (c)(2)(A) (Stats. 2006, ch. 838, § 52). We use the current formulation for clarity.

­FN 6. Respondent’s contention that such findings and orders could be inferred from the information made available in the report and from appellant’s counsel at the hearing fails since the issues were not properly before the court or considered by it.

In re T. M. (2009) [ Cal.App.4th ].

NCCPR – Child Welfare Blog: Assessing the Michigan “Needs Assessment”

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, Department of Social Servies, due process rights, family court, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy on July 21, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Assessing the Michigan “Needs Assessment”

As the previous post to this Blog explains, a requirement of the consent decree between the Michigan Department of Human Services and the group that so arrogantly calls itself Children’s Rights (CR) is a “Needs Assessment.” As the name suggests this means lots of people spending lots of time creating one more document telling us what we already know: Michigan should be doing far more to keep families together.

The settlement calls for spending $4 million on needs found by the Needs Assessment. But in a true masterstroke of legal strategy, CR managed to forget to include anything in its settlement that would stop DHS from cutting ten times more than they now are required to add. Brilliant. So What DHS giveth with one hand, DHS taketh ten-fold with the other.

As for what the document actually tells us:

The Needs Assessment is a 221-page rebuke of the shortsighted approach of both DHS and CR.

Everything the assessment says Michigan’s vulnerable children need more of, DHS is providing less of. The list of what Michigan’s vulnerable children need and the list of children’s services budget cuts are nearly identical.

And that is not because of the state budget crisis. The biggest fraud in Michigan right now is the notion that the cuts in safe proven programs to keep families together are needed to balance the budget. On the contrary, the money saved from these cuts is going into more money for institutionalization and a wasteful hiring binge.

For that, the blame rests both with Ismael Ahmed’s apparent obsession with giving private agencies that warehouse children in “residential treatment” whatever they want (that’s why he’s so beloved by these agencies) and with CR, which allowed that giant loophole in the settlement mentioned above.

Though the spirit of the settlement and its legally binding guiding principles (not to mention common sense) make clear that DHS was not supposed to fund the settlement by cutting other help to vulnerable children, the settlement has no explicit provision saying this. So DHS has plowed through that loophole. DHS is using slash-and-burn budget cuts for prevention and family preservation to finance rate increases for residential treatment and a foster care worker hiring binge.

And the hiring binge is not actually required by the settlement. The settlement requires a reduction in caseloads – it doesn’t say this has to be done by hiring child abuse investigators and foster care workers. Caseloads would be far more likely to go down if DHS put more money into the very programs it now is cutting. As it stands now, all those new workers are likely to chase down all the new cases of children needlessly removed from their homes because of the budget cuts, leaving Michigan with the same lousy system only bigger.

And I’m not the only one saying this. Look at what the Needs Assessment itself says about how to reduce caseloads (Page 23):

The settlement agreement assumes that Michigan’s system reform efforts … will decrease the number of children entering the foster care system. The reduced entries will result from improvements in intake services, prevention services and in-home preservation services. These efforts will also decrease the caseload ratio for public and private agency workers, permitting MDHS to reduce caseloads to the specified levels.” [Emphasis added].

The most important part of the Needs Assessment

What may be most important about the needs assessment is what’s *not* in its recommendations:

There is no call for more “residential treatment” or other institutional care of children.

There is no call for big rate increases for providers of institutional care.

On the contrary, the Needs Assessment specifically cites the harm of institutionalization (Page 69) and examples of better alternatives (Pages 114, 115) – in other words, exactly what NCCPR said in our second report on Michigan child welfare.

There is no call for a giant hiring binge of child abuse investigators and foster care workers.

So why is DHS spending more money on all of these things while cutting the very programs the Needs Assessment says are really needed?

Are caseloads really excessive?

A key premise of the hiring binge is that it’s needed to lower excessive caseloads. But the chart on Page 56 shows that caseloads actually are surprisingly reasonable. These numbers would be suspect if they came from management; but they’re estimates from a survey of caseworkers themselves. So that raises further questions about cutting prevention to hire more investigators and foster care workers.

Other Key Findings

A repeated theme is the urgent need for concrete services, particularly transportation and housing assistance, yet these services are among those least available. (Pages 14, 15, 21, 78, 84, 111, chart p. 113). The Assessment states flat out that time in placement often is extended needlessly for lack of this kind of help. (Page 14.)

The unappreciated shining star of Michigan child welfare, the Families First Intensive Family Preservation Services program, is praised repeatedly in almost every section of the needs assessment – seen as enormously beneficial not only for preventing separation of families in the first place but also for making reunification work and for preserving adoptive families. (Pages 10, 44, 82, other references.) Yet this program is being cut yet again by Ismael Ahmed.

On Page 41, the Needs Assessment lists seven vital programs for keeping families together. Most, if not all, have been cut repeatedly in the past and are or will be cut again in the two rounds of slash-and-burn budget cuts inflicted by Ahmed and Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

The Assessment devotes two-thirds of a page to listing all the things wrong with the settlement’s former demand that all grandparents and other relatives providing kinship care be formally licensed (Page 86). And then, on Page 90, it says that unlicensed homes are absolutely essential in order to have enough places for children. Fortunately, partly as a result of pressure from NCCPR, CR and DHS backed off from their war against grandparents and changed that part of the settlement. But NCCPR and many others saw these problems right from the start – why didn’t CR and DHS?

Page 75: Most families can’t get the services they need.

Page 41: Workers admit to resorting to foster care in cases where children could remain home if the right kinds of help were available.

Page 116: There is a significant need for inpatient drug treatment programs in which parents can live with their children.

Page 62: The Needs Assessment notes what NCCPR reported in March: There are enormous, and disturbing, variations in rates of child removal in different Michigan counties.

Page 54: In the one focus group for birth parents, in Ingham County, which has one of the highest rates of removal in the state, every birth parent, no matter what the actual circumstances of her or his case, said he or she was asked to agree to termination of parental rights; an outrageous indication that the “Binsfeld mentality” – a legacy of a former lieutenant governor who trampled over the state’s impoverished families in the name of adoption-at-all-costs (discussed in detail in NCCPR’s first report on Michigan child welfare) – still is alive and well in Michigan.

None of the birth parents said they were involved in developing and implementing the “case plan” explaining what hoops they would have to jump through to get their children back.

Page 55: All of the birth parents said their case records contained inaccuracies.

NCCPR Child Welfare Blog: Assessing the Michigan “Needs Assessment”.

What Stands Between A Child And A Lasting Family? More Lies from Social Workers

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, Department of Social Servies, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights on July 21, 2009 at 6:50 pm

What the writer of this article fails to mention is that 2 of 3 children in Foster Care do not EVEN BELONG THERE and were taken from their homes by socialy irresponsible do-gooders feeding CAPTA money into the NY city system to keep this Nazi system of child stealing going.  CPS workers, foster care parents and other social do-gooder liars should have their children taken from them until the same lies that they use to steal OTHER PEOPLE CHILDREN. – Parental Rights

—————————————————————-

Foster care is meant to be a transitory status in a child’s life, a temporary if traumatic time during a parent’s lapse of responsibility, or between the guardianship of a birth parent and an adoptive parent.

For too many New York City youth, however, foster care stretches on and on, depriving children of the “forever family” that child welfare professionals say is their birthright. From parents to caseworkers to Family Court judges, participants in the system all may propose different explanations for why the median amount of time that NYC children spend under the government’s care is two years, according to the state Office of Children and Family Services, or why 4.7 years is the median time spent awaiting adoption specifically. Now a study by the legal and advocacy group Children’s Rights aims to provide a data-based description of “obstacles to permanency”: A definitive explanation of why the “foster child” designation often lasts too long.

“It’s going to give data valuable to understanding child welfare citywide,” says Children’s Rights Policy Director Julie Farber, who is leading the study. “We’ll be producing hard data on what people think are the issues” – commonly expressed frustrations such as overloaded caseworkers or time-wasting Family Court adjournments.

“This is a complex issue. There’s not going to be one answer,” Farber said. The study “will give some hard data on all of these problems, which will enable the advocacy community to focus attention” on the problems identified. When the results come out this fall, “I think it will be really informative and powerful,” she said.

The study is analyzing the cases of 153 foster children around the five boroughs who have had an unmet goal of reunifying with their own families, or of being adopted, for two years or more. The city’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and 28 of its 33 contracting private child welfare agencies that administer services to children and families are fully cooperating, thus providing the access to ongoing cases among the city’s total foster care population of 16,400 children (nearly a record low). While the sample isn’t large enough to be statistically significant by borough, Farber said, “the problems are significant enough citywide that this was an appropriate approach.” Those being analyzed were selected randomly from 3,883 cases that met the criteria at the 28 agencies.

Both Farber and ACS Commissioner John Mattingly find the collaboration itself noteworthy. Children’s Rights, after all, is well known in the child welfare world for bringing the Wilder v. Bernstein lawsuit and litigating the Marisol A. v. Giuliani settlement, two major civil actions that have shaped the administration of child welfare in New York City. “What’s sort of monumental about this, is [Mattingly] was allowing pretty much unprecedented access to an external entity … that’s sued the city in the past,” Farber said.

Mattingly also called the study “groundbreaking,” both for the participation of private groups, and the intention of his agency from the outset to work with advocates in addressing the report’s eventual findings. “It will provide information to the public in order to get thoughtful people thinking together about what it is we can do to achieve permanency for kids in care,” he said. “We should be able, at the end of this, to stand up together and say: These are issues we are all concerned about … here’s how we are going to work together to make the numbers look different.”

Ensuring that children have permanent, loving families is one of the top three goals of ACS, he said, in addition to protecting children and providing the kind of help to families that can keep them together. “Too many kids sort of get stuck in care, and we’ve got to deal with that,” Mattingly said.

As a major barrier to permanency, he mentioned the length of time Family Court cases often take, rather than receiving a disposition within 60 or 90 days. Jim Purcell, executive director of statewide organization Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies – who also backs the study as a potentially helpful tool – points instead to the “perennial problem” of housing in New York City (if a parent is unable to provide a big enough apartment for her children, for example) and the traditionally high rate of caseworker turnover as culprits.

Harlem resident Robin Wiley, a parent who has tangled with ACS in the past, shows the value of the study’s qualitative measures – in addition to the quantitative data collection, focus groups were held for discussions among parents, judges, lawyers and others – by proffering an entirely different obstacle to permanency than the professionals. At 51, Wiley is the mother of four children of whom she is proud, with her youngest starting college this fall. But he was removed from her at birth because of her drug problem, and it took five years for her to get him back.

Wiley, a parent organizer with the Child Welfare Organizing Project, said when her son was born 18 years ago, no one offered her help to get clean; it took some time to find treatment. “I wanted help. But I didn’t know how to ask for help without having my children removed,” she remembers (and says help is much more available these days).

In her case, the obstacle to permanency was a lack of trust. “If we’d been more open and honest, it would have been resolved earlier,” Wiley said.

When it comes to foster care, “The shorter time is the better time. But sometimes it doesn’t always work out like that.”

– Karen Loew

What Stands Between A Child And A Lasting Family- City Limits: News for NYC’s Nonprofit, Policy and Activist World.

MICHIGAN: State Supreme Court OKs Removing Child From Native American Mother (2009-07-15)

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, cps fraud, custody, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Indians, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, state crimes, Title Iv-D on July 20, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Idiot state court workers followed the rules, but the rules broke the ICWA which protect Indian Children.

To terminate an Indian child parent relationship takes evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt”  not clear and convincing evidence.

The Michican Supreme Court justices apparently cannot read or understand federal law is the supreme law of the land.  – Parental Rights

25 U.S.C. § 1912 (d), (e), (f).

Reasonable Doubt Standard for Termination of Parental Rights

Section 1912(f), supra, specifies a beyond a reasonable doubt standard of proof for termination of parental rights proceedings. A number of other jurisdictions use a dual standard of proof in ICWA cases in which a clear and convincing standard is applied to the state law requirements for termination of parental rights and the reasonable doubt standard is applied only to the requirement in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f) that continued custody by the parent is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child. E.g., In re H.A.M., 961 P.2d 716, 719 (Kan. App. 1998). The prevailing practice in Oklahoma trial courts has been to use the reasonable doubt standard for both the state law requirements for termination of parental rights and the requirements in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f), however. In addition, in In the Matter of T.L., 2003 OK CIV APP 49, ¶ 15, 71 P.3d 43, the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals applied the reasonable doubt standard to both the requirements in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f) and the Oklahoma state law requirements that the parent failed to correct conditions leading to adjudication and that the child had been in foster care for 15 of the 22 months preceding the filing of the termination proceedings. Using the reasonable doubt standard for both the state law requirements and the requirements in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f) avoids the difficulty of explaining different standards of proof to the jury, and is therefore less confusing to the jury. Applying the higher reasonable doubt standard also gives greatest effect to the ICWA, and it is therefore less likely to result in reversal of a termination of parental rights decision than applying the lower clear and convincing evidence standard. Accordingly, the reasonable doubt standard is used in these instructions for both the state law requirements and the requirements in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f).

———————————————————————————-

MICHIGAN: State Supreme Court OKs Removing Child From Native American Mother (2009-07-15)

(2009-07-15)

(MPRN)

The Michigan Supreme Court says state welfare workers followed the rules when they removed an American Indian child from her mother’s home, and asked a court to terminate her parental rights.

The issue here is whether state Department of Human Services employees complied with a court rule. It says the state has to make a special effort to avoid breaking up American Indian families. The mother is a member of the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Five justices of the Supreme Court said there was clear and convincing evidence that removing the boy was necessary to rescue from further emotional or physical harm. The mother had already had already lost custody of her other children. And the majority said the fact that she was convicted of drunk driving showed substance abuse counseling was not helping her.

Two justices dissented. Justices Michael Cavanagh and Marilyn Kelly said child welfare workers should have done more to show how the mother’s current circumstances, and not just her history, required authorities to remove the child. © Copyright 2009, MPRN

MICHIGAN: State Supreme Court OKs Removing Child From Native American Mother (2009-07-15).

False Allegations of Child Molestation and Child Abuse

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on July 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm

FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD MOLESTATION AND CHILD ABUSE: WHAT IS REAL AND WHAT ONLY APPEARS TO BE REAL, AND HOW TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE

By: Edward Martinovich, Attorney at Law and Ariella Rosenberg

In 1986, a defendant was convicted of four counts of first-degree sexual offense and ordered to serve two life sentences. In 2001, after spending fourteen years in prison, this defendant was released, two years after his daughter, admitted that she had lied about her father molesting her. Although a medical examiner had found no evidence of the defendant’s alleged sexual abuse, the daughters story was so convincing that it held up until she finally admitted to the falsehood. Her excuse: she had lied to escape her strict, religious upbringing. The cost: 14 years of freedom and his reputation. His life was irreparably harmed.

A similar case occurred last year, when, after spending twelve years in prison, the defendant walked free. The defendant had been sentenced to forty years in prison in 1992 for molesting a 3-year-old girl. A few years ago, the alleged victim found out that the defendant was in prison and told a relative that she had been coerced into lying to authorities. Apparently, another relative, who had harbored a long-standing grudge against the defendant, had coached the girl.

Sadly, false accusations of molestation are a frequent reality in the criminal justice system.
Besides detracting from credible cases of true sexual abuse, false accusations have put many innocent men and women behind bars, while destroying their families and ruining their lives. The motives for manipulating a child into making a false accusation can range from revenge over a broken relationship to a desire to gain full custody of a child. In cases where there are huge sums of money at stake, or in cases involving celebrities, such as the recent Michael Jackson trial, the motives often include a desire to obtain a financial winfall from a public figure.

Federal Law on Child Abuse Prevention

The Mondale Act of 1974, also known as the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), brought the phenomenon of child molestation to the public eye.
42 U.S.C.A. 5101. Before the passage of CAPTA, child abuse was concealed and rarely reported. With the Acts adoption, states were required to enact more effective child abuse laws, threatening to withhold funding should the provisions of the federal code not be incorporated into state law.

Although the Act is clearly beneficial to the plight of abused children, it is also vulnerable to abuse by those with unseemly agendas. Whereas the Act contains provisions for immunity for individuals making good faith reports of suspected or known instances of child abuse, anyone failing to report any incident of suspected child abuse can be convicted of a felony and have their professional license suspended. 42 U.S.C.A. 5106a. Understandably, the system encourages officials and experts to err on the side of reporting cases of potential child abuse. However, the combination of extreme pressure on officials not to miss a valid report of abuse and the relatively minor consequences faced by false accusers create a tension in the bureaucratic structure, thereby creating a legal nightmare for the wrongfully accused.

After spending twenty years in a California prison after a 1985 child molestation conviction, on defendant was released last year on his 61st birthday. Four of the defendants accusers, now adults, testified that overzealous criminal investigators manipulated them until they fabricated the stories of abuse. Doctors had never even examined the victims. The defendants case demonstrates a classic case of nervous and overanxious childcare officials fearing the legal consequences of failing to protect a truly abused child, only to overreact and lead children into false accusations of molestation.

Different states maintain different statutes regarding punishment for those who coach their children into false accusations against a spouse to gain advantage during a bitter divorce or custody battle. The phenomenon is common enough to have been given a name by mental health professionals: SAID syndrome (sexual allegations in divorce). It goes hand in hand with Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a disorder made up of a combination of brainwashing of a child by one parent to incriminate the other, and of self-created contributions by the child in support of the alienating parents campaign of incrimination. PAS is almost exclusively seen in the context of child-custody disputes, during which false accusations of molestation often arise. Whereas the legal consequences for convicted molesters can include life in prison and lifetime registration as a criminal sex offender, oftentimes those who coerce a child into a false accusation face no more than a fine and less than a year in jail. Let us examine the high-stakes custody battle between a casino mogul and former playboy model wife. Although the judge in the initial trial found that the defendant had coached the couples twin daughters, then 4, to make false accusations of sexual abuse against their father, on appeal, judges still returned the twins to their mothers custody. In this case, the penalty his estranged wife suffered for forcing their children to lie was actually a victory, in that she gained custody of the children.

What To Do If You Are Falsely Accused

False allegations of child molestation are different from most other criminal allegations due to their sexual content, which makes them emotionally charged and highly sensitive. Moreover, since a mere touch of a child can form the basis for a molestation charge in most jurisdictions, these allegations rarely have any medical evidence to support them. Consequently, the trial becomes a battle between the words of a very sympathetic young child versus those of a less sympathetic adult. Add to this, general public paranoia and outrage fueled sometimes by incessant media coverage and you have a recipe for disaster. Therefore, when a child claims to have been abused, the accused is forced to become a public figure and come forward to proclaim his innocence, and, in some instances, be forced to testify at a trial. This creates unfairness within the criminal justice system, wherein the accused has a right to remain silent and is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the prosecution.

Those who have been falsely accused of crimes against children, especially crimes that are sexual in nature, have options. It is imperative to retain expert legal counsel early on in the process. This means at the beginning of an investigation by either the social service agency or law enforcement. What is done at the outset can dictate how and if a criminal prosecution will ensue. Of course, it goes without saying that anyone who is facing criminal prosecution should have an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of criminal cases. Many accused adults decide to plead no contest or guilty to false accusations of molestation under the mistaken belief that a plea does not constitute a criminal conviction. Further, they feel compelled to accept such a plea offer because it results in less custody time than they face if they went to trial and were convicted. What the uninformed person does not know is that a plea of no contest or a plea of guilty is a criminal conviction, which may result in the loss of ones right to appeal, the requirement of lifetime registration as a sex offender, and the public posting of ones name and place of residence. 42 U.S.C.A. 14071. A convicted sex offender may also be ordered to undergo treatment, may be barred from holding certain kinds of jobs, and may be ordered to stay away from children, including their own, regardless of whether or not they were the alleged victims, or to enjoy only supervised visits. Moreover, convicted sex offenders often are subject to searches, seizures, and interrogations by law enforcement every time that a sex crime occurs in the area in which they live. The bottom line is that before one makes a decision that has such far-reaching consequences, one must be absolutely certain that he has received the best counsel possible.

For these reasons, a seasoned legal expert is crucial to help fight false accusations. A smart attorney will prepare a roadmap of the strategy to be used to defend against these types of allegations. A good attorney will discuss with the client what resources will be needed to wage the war against the governments charges. One most certainly will consider the need for medical, psychological and sociological experts.

1. Experts can evaluate and analyze medical or scientific evidence.
2. Experts can conduct an in-depth evaluation of the client.
3. Experts can educate a judge and jury as to the nature of child witnesses and the subject of suggestibility of children.
4. Experts can review and analyze video, audio and written accounts of a childs interview to determine whether the proper interviewing techniques were employed and whether or not a child is credible.

A smart attorney will also counsel the client as to how to conduct himself and what proactive steps to take prior to any trial in order to prepare for certain phases of the case. It is important to note that one who is accused should never confront the child or any other witness about the investigation. A simple conversation may lead to charges of violation of an order of protection, which orders are routinely issued in these types of cases, as well as accusations of intimidating a witness or endangering the welfare of a child.

A smart attorney may also discuss the possibility of having the client submit to a polygraph test (records the bodys responses to truths and lies to judge credibility) and/or a plethysmograph test (records sexual responses to pedophilic material to determine whether any sexually based mental health disorders may be present). Some of these tests and their results may not be legally admissible in court; however, they may be successfully used in discussions with a prosecutor prior to the filing of a criminal complaint to affect the decision as to whether and what types of charges are filed or in negotiation and mitigation once the criminal prosecution has begun.

If I am innocent of the allegations, why do I need a lawyer?

A person who is being investigated for a crime he or she did not commit can benefit from hiring an attorney as soon as possible, even before charges are brought. In particular, in investigations of sexual crimes, such as child molestation, it is important to have the benefit of counsel as early as possible. As a person under investigation, your most important protection is your right to hold the government to the burden of proving its case without any voluntary statement from you.

Your attorney can communicate on your behalf to the investigators. False allegations of child abuse and child molestation sometimes occur when a family member is engaged in a child custody or divorce proceeding. Although many states have laws that impose sanctions for making such accusations, (for example, California Family Code Section 3027.1)(*1) many accusations are still made because it is often difficult for the court to conclude that the allegation was made in bad faith, and not out of an exercise of caution in response to some statement by the child.

If child abuse investigators are contacting you, they have already concluded they have some basis to believe the accusations are true. Investigative agencies are not legally required to follow up on all accusations they receive, and often reject fanciful and contrived allegations without contacting the suspect. If the allegation is false but sufficiently believable for investigators to proceed, the accuser has most likely provided a wealth of factual detail to support the allegations. In questioning a suspect, investigators rarely provide the accused with reports of the allegations, and are even permitted to mislead the accused in an effort to prompt the accused to give a statement. Your statement may inadvertently corroborate relatively minor details, providing sufficient evidence for an arrest to occur.

If you are falsely accused of child molestation it is important to take precautions. Falsely accused persons often mistakenly believe that hiring counsel will cause the authorities to assume the suspect must be guilty. In truth, investigators, prosecutors, and courts must respect your right to counsel and your right to remain silent. They cannot infer that your statement would have implicated you merely because you have retained counsel, or you have declined to give a statement. On the other hand, any statement a falsely accused suspect gives may supply inadvertent corroboration to the accusations, and therefore allow the authorities to obtain probable cause for arrest.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee as to the length of time an accused person will be questioned or under what circumstances. Investigators who believe they can break down a suspects resistance to admitting the truth of a crime may prolong questioning for many hours. They may also question the accused about a wide range of topics, which may appear to not even relate to the present situation. They may conduct the interview in a very uncomfortable setting, even leaving the accused isolated for many hours in an effort to overcome resistance and make the suspect feel hopeless. Finally, investigators are trained at obtaining statements and admissions that are favorable to the prosecution, and may succeed in doing so, even when the accused is innocent.

Due to the current legal and political environment described above and the significant consequences of a sex crimes criminal conviction a criminal defense attorneys assistance could prevent formal charges.

A person investigated for child molestation should remember that only conversations with his or her attorney and the attorneys staff and investigators are privileged against discovery. Any conversation with police investigators, child protective services, family, friends and the alleged victim can be admitted into court as evidence of admissions (*2) or prior inconsistent statements. Even minor deviations between a different persons accounts of the accusers side of the story can appear significant in a later trial.

Frequently police set up a call from the alleged victim to the suspect and monitor the call for any type of incriminating statement, which may be used in the subsequent criminal prosecution. A person is under no obligation whatsoever to cooperate with authorities in his own criminal prosecution and by allowing an attorney to speak for him, the falsely accused may very well save himself from a criminal conviction. An attorney may even be able to supply evidence in your favor, such as statements from other witnesses, or arrange for a psychological evaluation showing that you do not have the personality profile of a person who victimizes children.

The vast majority of those convicted of criminal charges have made some type of statement in investigators, while conversely those who exercise their right to remain silent have a much stronger likelihood of avoiding a criminal prosecution.

As our discussion reveals, the crime of child molestation and other crimes against children are serious offenses that are not to be taken lightly under any circumstances. Given the gravity of the offenses and the severity of the possible consequences, those who have been falsely accused of child molestation or similar crimes must have an experienced attorney at their side in order to prepare and execute an effective defense.


Back to Firm Articles

*1 California Family Code 3027.1.

False accusations of child abuse or neglect during child custody proceedings; knowledge; penalties

(a) If a court determines, based on the investigation described in Section 3027or other evidence presented to it, that an accusation of child abuse or neglect made during a child custody proceeding is false and the person making the accusation knew it to be false at the time the accusation was made, the court may impose reasonable money sanctions, not to exceed all costs incurred by the party accused as a direct result of defending the accusation, and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in recovering the sanctions, against the person making the accusation. For the purposes of this section, “person” includes a witness, a party, or a party’s attorney.

(b) On motion by any person requesting sanctions under this section, the court shall issue its order to show cause why the requested sanctions should not be imposed. The order to show cause shall be served on the person against whom the sanctions are sought and a hearing thereon shall be scheduled by the court to be conducted at least 15 days after the order is served.

(c) The remedy provided by this section is in addition to any other remedy provided by law.

*2 An admission is any statement made by a criminal defendant outside of court. An admission need not even be a statement adverse to the defendants interest. For example, California Evidence Code Section 1220 defines an admission by a party as:

1220. Admission of party
Evidence of a statement is not made inadmissible by the hearsay rule when offered against the declarant in an action to which he is a party in either his individual or representative capacity, regardless of whether the statement was made in his individual or representative capacity.

This rule is very advantageous to a criminal prosecutor, because while any alleged statement of the defendant can be admitted, because the defendant is a party to the case, the accuser is not a party to the case, and his or her statements out of court are therefore not admissible under this rule.

A prior inconsistent statement is also admissible. California Evidence Code Section 1235 provides:

1235. Inconsistent statements
Evidence of a statement made by a witness is not made inadmissible by the hearsay rule if the statement is inconsistent with his testimony at the hearing

CALCRIM Instruction No. 318 explains to juries that all versions of a witnesss statement, whether spoken live in court, or introduced as a prior inconsistent statement are admitted for the jury to consider for their potential truth. This also allows jurors to decide if the version presented in court by the witness is to be believed:

318. Prior Statements as Evidence

*3 You have heard evidence of [a] statement[s] that a witness made before the trial. If you decide that the witness made (that/those) statement[s], you may use (that/those) statement[s] in two ways:

1. To evaluate whether the witness’s testimony in court is believable;
AND

2. As evidence that the information in (that/those) earlier statement[s] is true.
This rule applies to any witness who testifies on either side of the case, or whose hearsay statements are admitted through another witnesss testimony.

3. All criminal courts allow the accused to admit evidence of his or her good character as a defense to crimes. Juries may find a verdict of Not Guilty based on good character alone, for example, CALCRIM Instruction 350 reads in part: Evidence of the defendants character for _______ <insert character trait> can by itself create a reasonable doubt In the California case of People v. Stoll (1989) 49 Cal.3d 1136, 783 P.2d 698, 265 Cal.Rptr. 111, the California Supreme Court found that a defendant may introduce evidence of a psychologists expert opinion, based on interviews of the client and standardized psychological testing that the defendant is not sexually deviate:

we found prejudicial error in the exclusion of expert opinion testimony that defendant is “not a sexual deviate” where offered to prove that he did not commit lewd and lascivious acts upon a child. (Stoll, supra, 49 Cal.3d at 1152).

Imhoff & Associates, PC Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Divorce and false allegations of child abuse – the story of Dr. David Menchell

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, CPS, cps fraud, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Sociopath, state crimes on July 15, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Divorce and false allegations of child abuse – the story of Dr. David Menchell

July 15, 5:54 AM

Dr. David Menchell never dreamed when he reported bruises on his older son’s body that it would lead to Child Protective Services investigating him. He first noticed the bruises when he took his children to the Poconos for a vacation. While at a water park, he asked his son where they came from. His son has emotional issues, so it was difficult to find out from him how he had gotten bruised.

Later that weekend, Dr. Menchell’s mother talked to her grandson. She then told Dr. Menchell the child had implied that an older child at school had been fighting with him and had bruised him.

The next day, Dr. Menchell phoned the school and talked to the psychologist who works with his son. She assured him that the students were usually supervised, and it would be unlikely for his son to be in a fight without someone knowing about it. She said, however, that she would follow up with his teachers and also call Dr. Menchell’s ex-wife to discuss the situation.

The next day Dr. Menchell’s ex-wife took the boy to the pediatrician, and he documented the same bruises. The day after that, Dr. Menchell received a call from Child Protective Services stating that they were investigating the boy’s bruises. Dr. Menchell responded that he had expected that they would do that. It was then that Child Protective Services informed Dr. Menchell that he was the subject of the investigation.

Dr. Menchell’s rights to visit his children were immediately suspended, and he has not seen his children for three months. Child Protective Services indicated the report, meaning that the investigator claims to have found some credible evidence that he committed the abuse. Some credible evidence is an extremely low standard of proof. It is not unusual for an investigator to indicate a report when there is little or even no evidence.

When Dr. Menchell goes before an administrative law judge to get the indicated report amended to unfounded, Child Protective Services will have to meet a higher standard of proof–a fair preponderance of evidence. Doctor Menchell understands this because he was put through the same ringer on another occasion.

Following the first investigation, Dr. Menchell was not allowed to see his children for two months. After Dr. Menchell was interrogated by a court appointed psychologist, he was allowed visits with his children but only if they were supervised.

While he was finally exonerated of any wrong doing following a fair hearing, the doctor had this to say.

“…it was an easy matter to disprove the inept findings of the report and reverse the decision of CPS, but it took two years, stuck me with a label of child abuser, cost a fortune in psychologist’s and attorney’s fees, and disrupted the normal parenting time I might have had with my children.”

Dr. Menchell is confident that the results of the second investigation will be overturned as well. He says,

“I don’t doubt that I will overturn this additional finding from CPS. The very fact that I have had to endure this insult twice is an indictment of the system. The principles that apply in other venues, like criminal court, should extend to CPS and Family Court: the right to a fair trial or hearing, the assumption of innocence, the right to address your accusers. Until these issues are addressed and CPS is held accountable, there will be continued abuse and injustice perpetrated by CPS and the courts. And our children and their parents are both the victims.”

While Child Protective Services does not divulge the names of people making calls to the child abuse hotline, Doctor Menchell attributes his problems with Child Protective Services to a marriage gone sour.

Many estranged or divorced spouses have testified to similar problems.

Ledger.com reported yesterday that a Lakeland, Florida father, William Dunn, is suing the Florida Department of Children and Families for not allowing him to see his daughter for eleven months after he was falsely accused of sexually abusing her. The judge who ruled that Dunn did not abuse his daughter and returned her to his care expressed concern that the girl’s mother coached her to say that she had been abused, although the mother denies it.  Both the father and daughter have suffered physical and emotional problems due to the false allegations.

Earlier this week, the grown children of Clyde Raye Spencer testified at a hearing that their father never abused them. Spencer has served 19 years in prison for child abuse. Both of Spencer’s children say that their mother told them they were just blocking out the memory of the abuse when they told her they had not been abused.

Dean Tong, who is an expert on false allegations of abuse, spent $150,000 and ten years to clear his name after his estranged wife accused him of sexually abusing his daughter. He has since become an author and a leading expert witness on parent alienation syndrome, and false allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse during or after a  divorce,

Tong has this to say about divorce and false allegations of abuse.

“Even in so called “no-fault” divorce states, parents and relatives of divorcing parties seeking to gain an upper hand in custody and financial arrangements file false or unfounded allegations of domestic violence or child abuse. Once falsely accused, an innocent party oftentimes must spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars defending their good name while finding it nearly impossible to remove the stain of abuse allegations. Such allegations also damage the children involved by forcing them to participate unnecessarily in intrusive psychological examinations and courtroom proceedings.”

Divorce and false allegations of child abuse – the story of Dr. David Menchell.

The Ring Thing

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 12, 2009 at 4:57 pm

We must have marriage

By W. Bradford Wilcox

This Sunday, neighbors, husbands, and especially children should lift a glass to the mothers who have managed to get and stay married to the fathers of their children. For, despite the fact that single motherhood never seems to go out of style with the media, motherhood typically works best — for our nation’s neighborhoods, children, and even most moms — with a wedding ring.

You will not read any of this in the New York Times, which seems to think sperm-donor-dads are just fine, but married mothers serve our nation’s neighborhoods, children, and even themselves better than any of the dizzying array of alternatives to married motherhood. This truth was abundantly clear to me after surveying the social-scientific literature on marriage and child well-being with 15 other family scholars for a recent report, Why Marriage Matters: Twenty-Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences.

Take crime. Mothers who manage to get and stay married are much less likely to produce boys who end up terrorizing playgrounds, parks, and little old ladies walking home from the grocery store. One recent Princeton study found that boys who grew up in an intact, married family were half as likely to end up in prison as young adults. After studying murder and robbery rates in our nation’s cities, Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson observed, “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.” This is why neighbors should thank the married mothers on their block.

Or take psychological well-being. Children who are fortunate to grow up with a married mother and father are much less likely to find themselves in serious emotional trouble. By contrast, children who grow up without their father are significantly more likely to suffer from depression. And for some children, it gets much worse than depression. In the last half-century, suicide has more than tripled among teens and young adults; one recent Harvard study found the single “most important explanatory variable” behind this disturbing rise in youth suicide was the “increased share of youth living in homes with a divorced parent.” This is why children should thank their mothers for getting and staying married.

Or take a mother’s relationship with her sons and daughters. No one is surprised to learn that divorced and never-married fathers typically have poor relationships with their fathers. After all, most nonresidential fathers do not even see their children once a week. But even mothers are much more likely to have poor relationships with their children when dad is not in the picture. One study found that young adults whose parents were divorced were nearly twice as likely to report that they had a poor relationship with their mother compared to young adults who were raised in an intact, married family (30 versus 16 percent). This is why mothers, who usually make great efforts to have good relationships with their children, should also make every effort to get and stay married.

This is not to say that mothers should endure abusive or adulterous relationships, nor is it to devalue the heroic sacrifices that many single mothers make on behalf of their children. (Full disclosure: I think my own mother did a wonderful job raising me and my sister all on her own.) Indeed, the best social-scientific evidence suggests that children do better when their parents part ways if their relationship is characterized by serious physical or emotional abuse.

But the sad fact of the matter is that most divorces — two-thirds, according to a recent book by Penn State sociologists Paul Amato and Alan Booth — do not involve such abuse. All too many divorcing spouses “grow apart,” take an interest in an attractive coworker, or decide that their personal happiness is more important than the happiness of their spouse and children. And, according to Amato and Booth, these divorces are precisely the ones that are most devastating to the children who have to endure them.

Why does marriage matter so much for children? Typically, two parents bring more social and economic resources to the parenting enterprise than does one parent. Two parents offer one another mutual support, encouragement, and relief when a child is difficult, disobedient, or depressed. For instance, a husband can step in and relieve a wife who has grown angry or exhausted with her children. This, by the way, is one reason married moms are more likely to have children who report good relationships with them; because of the financial, practical, and emotional support they receive from their husbands, married moms are more likely to be affectionate and authoritative — and less likely to be abusive — than are single mothers.

Marriage also binds children to their fathers, who usually find it very difficult to maintain consistent and positive relationships with their children without the support and encouragement of their children’s mother. Finally, children who are fortunate to have married parents who are considerate of and committed to one another enjoy a measure of emotional security — not to mention a model of adult love that gives them hope for their own marital future — that their peers in broken homes do not.

So, this Mother’s Day, lift a glass to dear old Mom, and lift it especially high if she honored the vows she made on her wedding day.

— W. Bradford Wilcox, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, is a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute.

via The Ring Thing by W. Bradford Wilcox on National Review Online.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 115 other followers