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House Divided: Hate Thy Father | Psychology Today

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, 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, Civil Rights, CPS, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, DSM-V, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Single Parenting on December 30, 2009 at 7:30 pm

House Divided: Hate Thy Father

In 1978, after Cathy Mannis and her future husband moved into the same cooperative at U.C. Berkeley, they ran into each other often. She was not immediately smitten. “I detested him at first, and I should have stayed with that feeling,” recalls Cathy Mannis of her now ex-husband. “He was overweight and always very critical. Then he lost weight, became cuter, and started paying attention to me. He was going to be a doctor and he seemed so trustworthy; he said he would never desert his family as his own father had done to him.” They started dating, and she ultimately cared for him enough to marry him. “I thought he’d be a good father, and I was dying to be a mother. I thought we’d have a good life.”

She worked full-time as a legal secretary to put him through medical school. She also bought the two of them a town house with money she’d saved before marriage. When she gave birth to a boy, Matt (not his real name), she was as happy as she’d ever been. Over time, she saw signs that her husband was cheating on her, but she always forgave him.

Their second son, Robby, was born autistic, and things went downhill fast. The boy had speech and learning problems and was frequently out of control. Her husband was appalled. “He’s dumber than a fish,” he said.

Still, they had one more child, Harry (the name has been changed), hoping to give Matt a sibling without Robby’s problems. Harry turned out normal, but he bonded most closely with Robby; they became inseparable.

When Cathy once again became convinced her husband was cheating—he inexplicably never came home one night—she finally threw him out. He filed for divorce before she could forgive him again.

Cathy was granted primary custody of the kids, and her ex soon married the woman he’d been seeing on the side. Because of all she had to do to help Robby as well as her other two kids, Cathy could no longer hold a full-time job. Meanwhile, her ex declared two bankruptcies and, at one point, even mental disability, all of which kept alimony payments to a trickle.

Eventually Cathy was so broke that her electricity was turned off; she and the boys ate dinner by candlelight. Then she became so ill she had to be hospitalized for life-threatening surgery. She had no choice but to leave the kids with her ex. “He promised to return them when my health and finances improved,” she says.

That was almost seven years ago. Her health has long since returned and she has a good job she can do from home, but the only child ever restored to her, despite nonstop court battles, was Robby. In fact, her ex got the courts to rule that the children should be permanently separated, leaving the other two children with him, since Robby was a “threat” to his younger brother’s well-being.

Through all those years, Cathy says she faced a campaign of systematic alienation from Matt and Harry. “When I called to speak to them, I was usually greeted with coldness or anger, and often the boys weren’t brought to the phone. Then my ex sent letters warning me not to call them at home at all. Whenever the kids came to stay with me, they’d report, ‘Dad says you’re evil. He says you wrecked the marriage.’ ” Then he moved thousands of miles away, making it vastly more difficult for her to see her children.

As time has passed, the boys have increasingly pulled away. Matt, now grown and serving in the military, never speaks to Cathy. Thirteen-year-old Harry used to say, “Mommy, why can’t I stay with you? All the other kids I know live with their moms,” before leaving visits with her. Now he often appears detached from her and uninterested in Robby, whom he once adored. His friends at his new home think his stepmother is his mom, because that’s how she introduces herself. “She told me she would take my kids, and she did. The alienation is complete,” rues Cathy. “All I ever wanted was to be a mom.”

Divorcing parents have long bashed each other in hopes of winning points with kids. But today, the strategy of blame encompasses a psychological concept of parental alienation that is increasingly used—and misused—in the courts.

On the one hand, with so many contentious divorces, parents like Cathy Mannis have been tragically alienated from the children they love. On the other hand, parental alienation has been seized as a strategic tool in custody fights, its effects exploited in the courtroom, often to the detriment of loving parents protecting children from true neglect or abuse. With the impact of alienation so devastating—and false accusations so prevalent—it may take a judge with the wisdom of Solomon to differentiate between the two faces of alienation: a truly toxic parent and his or her victimized children versus manipulation of the legal system to claim damage where none exists.

A Symptom Of Our Time?

Disturbed by the potential for alienation, many divorce courts have today instituted aggressive steps to intervene where they once just stood by. And with good reason: Alienation is ruinous to all involved. “In pathological or irrational alienation, the parent has done nothing to deserve that level of hatred or rejection from the child,” explains University of Texas psychologist Richard Warshak, author of Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex. “It often seems to happen almost overnight, and neither the rejected parent nor even the rejecting child understands why.”

Often, in fact, it’s the emotionally healthier parent who gets rejected, Warshak adds. That parent tends to understand that it’s not in the child’s best interests to lose the other parent. In contrast, the alienating parent craves revenge against the ex—then uses the child to exact that punishment. “It’s a form of abuse,” Warshak says. “Both parent and child are victims.”

House Divided: Hate Thy Father | Psychology Today.

The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome – Part 1

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm

by Forensic Psychologist, Deirdre Conway Rand, PhD
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY, VOLUME 15, NUMBER 3, 1997

The Parental Alienation Syndrome, so named by Dr. Richard Gardner, is a distinctive family response to divorce in which the child becomes aligned with one parent and preoccupied with unjustified and/or exaggerated denigration of the other target parent. In severe cases, the child’s once love-bonded relationship with relected/target parent is destroyed. Testimony on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in legal proceedings has sparked debate. This two-part article seeks to shed light on the debate by reviewing Gardner’s work and that of others on PAS, integrating the concept of PAS with research on high conflict divorce and other related literature. The material is organized under topic headings such as parents who induce alienation, the child in PAS, the target/alienated parent. attorneys on PAS, and evaluation and intervention. Part II begins with the child in PAS. Case vignettes of moderate to severe PAS are presented in both parts, some of which illustrate the consequences for children and families when the system is successfully manipulated by the alienating parent, as well as some difficult but effective interventions implemented by the author, her husband Randy Rand, Ed.D., and other colleagues.

Dr. Richard Gardner was an experienced child and forensic psychiatrist conducting evaluations when, in 1985, he introduced the concept of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in an article entitled “Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation” (1). His work with children and families during the 1970s led him to write such books as Boys and Girls Book of Divorce, The Parents Book About Divorce and Psychotherapy with Children of Divorce. He knew from experience that the norm for children of divorce was to continue to love and long for both parents, in spite of the divorce and the passage of years, a finding replicated by one of the first large scale studies of divorce (2). With this background, Gardner became concerned in the early 1980s about the increasing number of divorce children he was seeing who, especially in the course of custody evaluations, presented as preoccupied with denigrating one parent, sometimes to the point of expressing hatred toward a once loved parent. He used the term Parental Alienation Syndrome to refer to the child’s symptoms of denigrating and rejecting a previously loved parent in the context of divorce.

Gardner’s focus on PAS as a disturbance of children in divorce is unique, although from the mid-1980s on there has been a proliferation of professional literature on disturbing trends in divorce/custody disputes, including false allegations of abuse to influence the outcome. At least three other divorce syndromes have been identified. In 1986, two psychologists in Michigan, who were as yet unaware of Gardner’s work, published the first of several papers on the SAID syndrome, Blush and Ross’s acronym for sex abuse allegations in divorce (3). Drawing on their experience doing evaluations for the family court, and the experience of their colleagues at the clinic there, these authors delineated typologies for the falsely accusing parent, the child involved and the accused parent. Two of the divorce syndromes named in the literature focus on the rage and pathology of the alienating or falsely accusing parent. Jacobs in New York and Wallerstein in California published case reports of what they called Medea Syndrome (4, 5). Jacobs discussed Gardner’s work on PAS in his 1988 study of a Medea Syndrome mother, as did Turkat when he described Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome in 1994 (6). Fathers, too, can be found with this disorder, as one of the case vignettes below indicates, but for some reason Turkat has not encountered any.

In addition to articles specifically on PAS and literature which refers to it, there is a body of divorce research and clinical writings which, without a name, describe the phenomenon. The literature reviewed here comes from a number of sources including: practitioners who like Gardner are seeking to improve the diagnostic skills and intervention strategies of the courts and other professionals who deal with high conflict divorce; attorneys and judges who come in contact with PAS cases; researchers like Clawar and Rivlin who reference Gardner’s work on PAS in their large scale study of parental programming in divorce (7) and Johnston whose work on high conflict divorce (8) led her to study the problem of children who refuse visitation, including a discussion of PAS (9). When PAS is viewed from the standpoint of parts and subprocesses which create the whole, the literature which pertains increases exponentially, for example: psychological characteristics of parents who falsely accuse in divorce/custody disputes; cults who help divorcing parents alienate their children from the other parent; and psychological abuse of children in severe PAS including Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy type abuse.

The trends identified by Gardner and others are the result of important social changes which began to take root and flower around the mid 1970s. The legal treatment of divorce and child custody shifted from the preference for mothers to have sole custody and the “tender years presumption” to the preference for joint custody and “best interests of the child.” This gave divorce fathers more legal options for parenting their children and increased the quantity and intensity of divorce disputes as parents vehemently disagreed over the numerous custodial arrangements now possible. By the late 1970s, rising concern about parental programming of children to influence the outcome of disputes led the American Bar Association Section of Family Law to commission a large scale study of the problem. The results of this 12 year study were published in 1991 in a book called Children Held Hostage (7). Clawar and Rivlin found that parental programming was practiced to varying degrees by 80 percent of divorcing parents, with 20 percent of engaging in such behaviors with their children at least once a day. Further discussion of this book appears below.

At the same time as new divorce trends have been emerging, sweeping social changes have been occurring in society’s treatment of child abuse. Mandated reporting became the law of the land in the 1970s and the procedures for making reports were simplified such that anonymous reports are now accepted and acted upon in some states. As the number of suspected abuse reports practically doubled, so did the number of false and unsubstantiated reports, according to statistics compiled by the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect in 1988 which showed that non-valid reports outnumbered cases of bona fide abuse by a ratio of two to one ( 10).

According to some observers, false allegations of abuse in contested divorce/custody cases have become the ultimate weapon. Judge Stewart wrote that “Family Courts nationwide are feeling the effects of a new fad being used by parties to a custody dispute-the charge that the other parent is molesting the child…The impact of such an allegation on the custody litigation is swift and major…The Family Court judge is apt to cut off the accused’s access to the child pending completion of the investigation” (11, p. 329). In response to concerns such as these, the Research Unit of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts obtained funding for a study on sex abuse accusations in divorce/custody disputes (12). Data for 1985-1986 were gathered from family court sites across the country. At that time, the incidence of sex abuse allegations in divorce was found to average two percent, but varied from one percent to eight percent depending on the court site. Results of this study suggest that sex abuse allegations in divorce may be valid only about 50 percent of the time. Many of the court counselors and administrators interviewed believed they were seeing a greater proportion of such cases than in previous decades.

Ten years later in 1996, Congress amended the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to eliminate blanket immunity for persons who knowingly make false reports, based on information that 2,000,000 children were involved that year in non-valid reports, as opposed to 1,000,000 children who were genuinely abused (13). In addition, many states have already enacted laws against willfully making a false child abuse report. In California where the author and her husband practice, the Office of Child Abuse Prevention revised their manual for mandated reporters several years ago to include a section on false allegations in which the coaching of children during custody disputes is described as a major problem and Gardner’s work on PAS is referenced (14).

In the meantime, the 1980s saw a massive campaign to train social workers, police, judges and mental health professionals in such concepts as “children don’t lie about abuse.” To make up for society’s blind eye to child abuse in the past, professionals are encouraged to unquestioningly ” believe the child ” and to reflexively accept all allegations of child abuse as true. Widespread media attention and a proliferation of popular books and movies on child abuse continues to suggest that the problem is widespread and insidious. Parents and professionals alike are enjoined to be vigilant for what are touted as “behavioral indicators” of sex abuse. These include the common but vague symptom of poor self esteem, conflicting “indicators” such as aggressive behavior and social withdrawal, and child behaviors which may be developmentally normal such as sexual curiosity and nightmares. Little attention is paid to the fact that children may develop the same symptoms in response to other stressors, including divorce and father absence.

Children, too, are being sensitized to abuse, taught about “good touch/bad touch.” At the end of such a lesson in school, they may be asked to report anyone who they think may have touched them in a bad way. Although some instances of legitimate abuse are detected in this manner, children sometimes misunderstand the lesson such that a kindly grandfather going to scoop up his young grandson in his arms, as he had done many times before, may find the child pulling back from him in horror and accusing him of “bad touch.” Adults conducting these classes are sometimes so eager to find abuse that in one Southern state, the parents of over half the class were arrested.

The foregoing outline of recent social changes is not meant to imply that Parental Alienation Syndrome and false allegations of sex abuse in divorce are synonymous. PAS can occur with or without such abuse accusations. Although false allegations of sex abuse are a common spin-off of severe PAS, other derivative false allegations may include physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, or a fabricated history of spousal abuse. In addition, there seems to be an increase in PAS type cases of accusations by the alienating parent that it is the alienated parent who is practicing PAS, a tactic which tends to confuse and neutralize interveners.

PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME

According to Gardner, PAS is a disturbance in the child who, in the context of divorce, becomes preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of one parent, which denigration is either unjustified and/or exaggerated. Gardner sees PAS as arising primarily from a combination of parental influence and the child’s active contributions to the campaign of denigration, factors which may mutually reinforce one another. Gardner distinguishes between Parental Alienation Syndrome and the term “parental alienation.” There are a wide variety of causes for parental alienation, including bonafide parental abuse and/or neglect, as well as significant deficits in a rejected parent’s functioning which may not rise to the level of abuse. From Gardner’s perspective, a diagnosis of PAS only applies where abuse, neglect and other conduct by the alienated parent which would reasonably justify the alienation are relatively minimal. Thus Gardner conceives of PAS as a specialized subcategory of generic parental alienation. Since introducing the concept of PAS in 1985, Gardner has written two books on the subject (15, 16), and included a chapter on it in his book entitled Family Evaluation, in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration and Litigation(17).

Depending on the severity of the PAS, a child may exhibit all or only some of the following behaviors. It is the cluster of these symptoms which prompted Gardner to consider them as a syndrome.

1. The child is aligned with the alienating parent in a campaign of denigration against the target parent, with the child making active contributions;

2. Rationalizations for deprecating the target parent are often weak, frivolous or absurd;

3. Animosity toward the rejected parent lacks the ambivalence normal to human relationships;

4. The child asserts that the decision to reject the target parent is his or her own, what Gardner calls the “independent thinker” phenomenon;

5. The child reflexively supports the parent with whom he or she is aligned;

6.The child expresses guiltless disregard for the feelings of the target or hated parent;

7. Borrowed scenarios are present, i.e., the child’s statements reflect themes and terminology of the alienating parent;

8. Animosity is spread to the extended family and others associated with the hated parent.

In Gardner’s experience, born out by the clinical and research literature reviewed below, mothers are more frequently found to engage in PAS, which is likened by Clawar and Rivlin to psychological kidnapping (7). Where PAS with physical child abduction occurs, however, Huntington reports that fathers are in the majority (18). Gardner recognizes that fathers, too, may engage in PAS and gives examples in his books. For consistency and simplicity, though, he refers to the alienating parent as “mother” and target parent as “father.”

According to Gardner, the brainwashing component in PAS can be more or less conscious on the part of the programming parent and may be systematic or subtle. The child’s active contributions to the campaign of denigration may help to create and maintain a mutually reinforcing feedback loop between the child and the programming parent. The child’s contributions notwithstanding, Gardner views the alienating parent as the responsible adult who elicits or transmits a negative set of beliefs about the target parent. The child’s loving experiences with the target parent in the past are replaced with a new reality, the negative scenario shared by the programming parent and child which justifies their rejection of the alienated parent. In light of these observations, Gardner warned that children’s statements in divorce/custody about rejecting one parent should not be taken at face value and should be evaluated for PAS dynamics. According to psychologist Mary Lund, this insight is one of Gardner’s most important contributions because it alerted the legal system, parents and mental health professionals dealing with divorce to an important possibility which can have disastrous effects if unrecognized (19).

Gardner emphasizes the importance of differentiating between mild, moderate and severe PAS in determining what court orders and therapeutic interventions to apply. In mild cases, there is some parental programming but visitation is not seriously effected and the child manages to negotiate the transitions without too much difficulty. The child has a reasonably healthy relationship with the programming parent and is usually participating in the campaign of denigration to maintain the primary emotional bond with the preferred parent, usually the mother. PAS in this category can usually be alleviated by the court’s affirming that the preferred or primary parent will retain primary custody.

In moderate PAS, there is a significant degree of parental programming, along with significant struggles around visitation. The child often displays difficulties around the transition between homes but is eventually able to settle down and become benevolently involved with the parent he or she is visiting. The bond between the aligned parent and child is still reasonably healthy, despite their shared conviction that the target parent is somehow despicable. At this level, stronger legal interventions are required and a court ordered PAS therapist is recommended who can monitor visits, make their office available as a visit exchange site, and report to the court regarding failures to implement visitation. The threat of sanctions against the alienating parent may be needed to gain compliance. Failure of the system to apply the appropriate level of court orders and therapeutic interventions in moderate PAS may put the child at risk for developing severe PAS. In some moderate cases, after court-ordered special therapy and sanctions have failed, Gardner states that it may be necessary to seriously consider transferring custody to the allegedly hated parent, assuming that parent is fit. In some situations, this is the only hope of protecting the child from progression to the severe category.

The child in severe PAS is fanatic in his or her hatred of the target parent. The child may refuse to visit, personally make false allegations of abuse, and threaten to run away, commit suicide or homicide if forced to see the father. Mother and child have a pathological bond, often based on shared paranoid fantasies about the father, sometimes to the point of folie a deux. In severe PAS, Gardner has found that if the child is allowed to stay with the mother the relationship with the father is doomed and the child develops long-standing psychopathology and even paranoia. Assuming the target parent is fit, Gardner believes that the only effective remedy in severe PAS is to give custody to the alienated parent. In 1992 he suggested that courts might be more receptive to the change of custody option if the child was provided with a therapeutic transitional placement such as hospitalization, an intervention employed with success by the author and her husband (see case vignette in Part II).

Gardner’s original conception of PAS was based on the child’s preoccupation with denigration of the target parent. It was not until two years later when he published his first book on PAS that he addressed the problem of PAS with false allegations of abuse. Gardner prefers to view such allegations as derivative of the PAS, observing that they often emerge after other efforts to exclude the target parent have failed. Some of the literature reviewed below, however, indicates that false allegations of abuse may also surface prior to the marital separation, symptomatic of a pre-existing psychiatric disorder of the alienating parent which may not be diagnosed until there is further mental deterioration after the divorce. Gardner was among the first to recognize that involving a child in false allegations of abuse is a form of abuse in itself and indicative of serious problems somewhere in the divorce family system. Insofar as PAS with false allegations of abuse can result in permanent destruction of the child’s relationship with the alienated parent, it can be more harmful to the child than if the alleged abuse had actually occurred.

Gardner supports joint custody for those parents who can sincerely agree on it and have the ability to fulfill this ideal. Research by Maccoby and Mnookin suggests that about 29 percent of divorced parents are successfully co-parenting three to four years after filing (20). Gardner opposes imposing joint custody on parents in dispute and between whom there is significant animosity. For these families, Gardner recommends that a thorough evaluation be conducted to develop a case specific plan with the right combination of court orders, mediation, therapeutic interventions, and arbitration.

HIGH CONFLICT DIVORCE AND PAS

High conflict divorce is characterized by intense and/or protracted post separation conflict and hostility between the parents which may be expressed overtly or covertly through ongoing litigation, verbal and physical aggression, and tactics of sabotage and deception. Clinical and research literature suggest that Parental Alienation Syndrome is a distinctive type of high conflict divorce which may require PAS specific interventions, just as the problems of divorced families have been found to respond to divorce specific interventions rather than to traditional therapies. In their book on children caught in the middle of high conflict divorce, Garrity and Baris treat PAS as a distinctive divorce family dynamic, devoting two chapters to PAS, one on understanding it and the other on a comprehensive intervention model (#21).

In high conflict divorce without significant PAS, the parents do most of the fighting while the children manage to go back and forth between homes, maintain their own views and preserve their affection for both parents. They cope by developing active skills for maneuvering the situation or by adopting a survival strategy of treating both parents with equal fairness and distance (8). Periodically, children may exacerbate parental conflicts by embellishing age appropriate separation anxieties, telling each parent things the parent wants to hear and shifting their allegiance back and forth between the parents. Nevertheless, they avoid consistent alignment with one parent against the other and are able to enjoy their time with each parent once the often difficult transition between homes has been accomplished.

In high conflict divorce with significant PAS, the children are personally involved in the parental conflict. Unable to manage the situation so as to preserve an affectionate relationship with both parents, the child takes the side of one parent against the other and participates in the battle as an ally of the alienating parent who is defined as good against the other parent who is viewed as despicable. In a study of 175 children from high conflict families, Johnston found that chronic hostility and protracted litigation between the parents contributed to the development of PAS among older children (9). In other words, where the system is unable to settle and contain parental divorce conflicts, the children may be at increasing risk for developing PAS as they get older. Johnston acknowledges that her findings support Gardner’s contention that as many as 90 percent of children involved in protracted custody show symptoms of PAS.

A large scale study of patterns of legal conflict between divorce parents three to four years after filing contained them significant finding that the most hostile divorce couples were not necessarily those engaged in the most contentious legal battles (20). This suggests that PAS may occur not only in the context of litigation but may develop after litigation has ceased, or proceed a new round of litigation after many years, supporting what Dunne and Hedrick found in their clinical study of severe PAS families (22).

According to Johnston, high conflict divorce is the product of a multilayered divorce impasse between the parents (8). Often, the impasse has its roots in one or both parents’ extreme vulnerability to issues of narcissistic injury, loss, anger and control. These vulnerabilities prevent a satisfactory divorce adjustment and feed an endless, sometimes escalating cycle of action and reaction which promotes and maintains parental conflict. The parents are frozen in transition, psychologically neither married, separated or divorced, a pattern which may pertain even when only one parent is significantly disturbed. Using Johnston’s model, PAS can be viewed as an effort by one parent, with the help of the children, to “resolve” the divorce impasse with a clear-cut understanding of who is good, who is to blame and how the parent to blame should be punished. The following vignette illustrates this. Like the other case examples interspersed throughout this article, it is a composite scenario synthesized from real cases encountered by the author and her colleagues.

Mr. L had adopted his wife’s child from her previous marriage and he and Mrs. L. had a child of their own, a girl who was six years old when Mr. L. moved out of the family home. During the six months leading up to this precipitous event, Mrs. L. was living in one part of the house with the older child while Mr. L. and his daughter had rooms together in a separate part of the house. The parents hardly spoke to one another but the children visited back and forth freely with each other and with both parents. Under the circumstances, Mr. L. did not think his wife would object to his leaving, but just in case there was a scene he decided to move out first and then work out the practical issues with Mrs. L. He left a letter for her and another one for the children, explaining his decision and affirming his desire to make arrangements for visitation and child support. Mrs. L. was furious. She immediately had the locks changed and successfully blocked her husband’s efforts to contact the children by phone or to see them. Both children probably felt betrayed by father and Mrs. L. amplified such feelings by telling the children their father had abandoned them and did not- care about them at all. She also alleged that he had had numerous affairs during the marriage although Mr. L. always denied that. These allegations may have sprung from the fact that Mrs. L. found out six weeks after her husband left that he was dating someone. Outraged, she told Mr. L. that he would never see the children again. She and the children began calling Mr. L. and his girl- friend at all hours, screaming accusations and obscenities over the phone until a restraining order was obtained. When efforts by father’s attorney to arrange for mediation between Mr. and Mrs. L. were stonewalled, Mr. L. got a court order for visitation. Three months had passed when his first opportunity to see his children since moving out was scheduled. On the eve of this visit, Mrs. L. called child protective services and accused Mr. L. of sexually molesting their daughter. According to the social worker’s notes which were obtained during subsequent litigation, Mrs. L. told the social worker that she “knew” while she and her husband were still living together that he was molesting their daughter.

The family law judge ordered a custody evaluation which was very thorough and took months to complete. The evaluator documented a number of instances in which the girl’s statements about abuse and hat mg. her father seemed to be strongly influenced by mother’s overwhelming anger and that of the older half sibling, who was strongly aligned with the mother. Mrs. L. was diagnosed with a severe narcissistic personality disorder with antisocial features, while Mr. L. was seen by the evaluator as rather passive by comparison and as ambivalent and conflict avoidant. The evaluator was able to hold one meeting with father and daughter together, during which their loving attachment to one another was apparent. This was the little girl’s first opportunity to talk to her father about the feelings engendered by his leaving. As it turned out, it was also her last opportunity. The PAS intensified such that efforts to convene further father/daughter sessions failed when the child threw tantrums in the waiting room and ran screaming into the parking lot where her mother was waiting.

Seven months after the marital separation, the custody evaluator’s report was released. It stated that the alleged abuse had in all probability not occurred but failed to diagnose severe PAS with false allegations of abuse. The evaluator recommended that the mother retain primary custody and that the girl and her parents each become involved in individual therapy to facilitate father/daughter reunification. Not surprisingly, Mrs. L. arranged for the child to see a therapist/intern who never saw the custody evaluator’s report. Based on input from the mother alone, the therapist treated the girl for abuse by her father instead of providing divorce specific therapy aimed at helping the little girl to adjust to her parent’s divorce and to establish a post divorce relationship with her father. The girl’s anger at her father became more extreme with each passing month and defeated the visitations planned by the family mediation center. Finally, a year after the separation, the custody evaluator was prepared to testify as to the PAS and to make the strong recommendations needed to remedy the situation. By that time, the father was convinced that nobody could do anything about his daughter’s continued expressions of hatred toward him. He also felt daunted by the prospect of further litigation and an even greater financial drain. He decided to let go, hoping that one day when his daughter was older she would understand and seek him out.

CHILDREN HELD HOSTAGE: DEALING WITH PROGRAMMED AND BRAINWASHED CHILDREN

By the late 1970s, judges, parents, and mental health professionals involved with divorce were so concerned about parental programming that the American Bar Association Section on Family Law commissioned this 12 year study of 700 divorce families (7). Clawar and Rivlin found that the problem of parental programming was indeed widespread and that even at low levels it had significant impact on children. Data from multiple sources was analyzed including: written records such as court transcripts, forensic reports, therapy notes and children’s diaries; audio and video tapes of interactions between children, their parents and others related to the case; direct observations, such as children with parents and clients with attorneys; and interviews with children, relatives, family friends, mental health professionals, school personnel, judges and conciliators.

Gardner’s work on PAS is referenced at the beginning of Clawar and Rivlin’s book (7), but the authors take issue with what they represent as his position, that less severe cases need not be a cause of great concern. They found that PAS can result from a variety of complex processes, whether or not one parent engages in a systematic programming campaign and whether or not alienation is the programming parent’s goal. Parental alienation is only one of a number of detrimental effects. According to this study, even well meaning parents often at tempt to influence what their children say in the custody and visitation proceedings.

Mild levels of parental programming and brainwashing seem to have significant effects.

Clawar and Rivlin anchor their work in 30 years of literature on social psychology and the processes of social influence, variously referred to in the literature as thought reform, brainwashing, indoctrination, modeling, mimicking, mind control, re-education, and coercive persuasion. These terms describe a variety of psychological methods for ridding people of ideas which authorities do not want them to have and for replacing old ways of thinking and behavior with new ones. For the purposes of research, Clawar and Rivlin ascertained the need for more precisely defined terminology. They selected the words “programming” and “brainwashing.” They defined “program” as the content, themes, and beliefs transmitted by the programming parent to the child regarding the other parent.

“Brainwashing” was defined as the interactional process by which the child was persuaded to accept and elaborate on the program. Brainwashing occurs over time and involves repetition of the program, or code words referring to the program, until the subject responds with attitudinal and behavioral compliance.

According to Clawar and Rivlin, the influence of a programming parent can be conscious and willful or unconscious and unintentional. It can be obvious or subtle, with rewards for compliance that were material, social or psychological. Noncompliance may be met with subtle psychological punishment such as withdrawal of love or direct corporal punishment, as illustrated in the case vignette of S in Part II. The author encountered another case in which the alienating mother handcuffed her son to the bedpost when he was 12 years old and the boy asserted he was not willing tocontinue saying his father had physically abused him. The Clawar and Rivlin study found that children may be active or passive participants in the alienation process. As the case of the 12- year-old boy suggests, the nature and degree of the child’s involvement in the PAS may change over time.

This study identifies the influential role of other people in the child’s life, such as relatives and professionals aligned with the alienating parent, whose endorsement of the program advances the brainwashing process. In a general way, these findings appear to replicate Johnston’s research on high conflict divorce which identified the importance of third party participants in parental conflicts (8). Rand noted the influence of so-called “professional participants in Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy type abuse which in divorce can overlap with PAS “(23).

Clawar and Rivlin identify eight stages of the programming/brainwashing process which culminates in severe Parental Alienation Syndrome (7). Recognizing the power imbalance between parent and child, they view the process as driven by the alienating parent who induces the child’s compliance on step by step basis:

1. A thematic focus to be shared by the programming parent and child emerges or is chosen. This may be tied to a more or less formal ideology relating to the family, religion, or ethnicity;

2. A sense of support and connection to the programming parent is created;

3. Feeling of sympathy for the programming parent is induced;

4. The child begins to show signs of compliance, such as expressing fear of visiting the target parent or refusing to talk to that parent on the phone;

5. The programming parent tests the child’s compliance, for example, asking the child questions after a visit and rewarding the child for ” correct ” answers;

6. The programming parent tests the child’s loyalty by having the child express views and attitudes which suggest a preference for one parent over the other;

7. Escalation/intensification/generalization occurs, for example, broadening the program with embellished or new allegations; the child rejects the target parent in a global, unambivalent fashion;

8. The program is maintained along with the child’s compliance, which may range from minor reminders and suggestions to intense pressure, depending on court activity and the child’s frame of mind.

CLINICAL STUDIES OF PAS

According to Gardner and seconded by Cartwright, Parental Alienation Syndrome is a developing concept which clinical and forensic practitioners will refine and redefine as new cases with different features become better understood (24). This section reviews the work of practitioners who, like Cartwright, seek to elaborate on Gardner’s work by contributing their own knowledge and experience from work with moderate to severe PAS cases.

Dunne and Hedrick

Practicing in Seattle, Washington, Dunne and Hedrick analyzed sixteen families who met Gardner’s criteria for severe PAS (22). Although the cases show a wide diversity of characteristics, the authors found Gardner’s criteria useful in differentiating these cases from other post-divorce difficulties, lending support for the idea that PAS has distinctive features which differentiate it from other forms of high conflict divorce. Among the severe PAS cases examined, some involved false allegations of abuse and some did not. Children in the same family sometimes responded to the divorce with opposing adjustments. For example, the oldest child in one family, a 16-year-old girl, aligned with her alienating mother while her 12-year-old brother’s desire for a relationship with his father led to the mother finally rejecting the boy.

Maternal Deprivation? Monkeys, Yes; Mommies, No…

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, 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, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Indians, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Maternal Deprivation, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Torts on June 7, 2009 at 5:00 am

Do children do best with one parent over another? Or does biology determine who is the better parent?

If you ask the feminists of the 70s who wanted to be free of restrictive child-rearing and assume an equal station in the workplace and politics, the answer to the first question would be no. Why would feminists give up their biologically superior position of motherhood, in which a mother is the primary caregiver, in favor of a job? What narcissists mother would do that?

And yet, today, if you ask the very self-same feminists who are leading the charge to narrow sole-custody of children in divorce proceedings to a woman based on some “biological advantage” the answer to the second question would be yes.

Upon this, you have the creation of a legally untenable position given to women based on gender. To get around “having your cake and eating it, too,” state family law has created the “imaginary world” of the “primary parent” dictum, which guides family law today, which is just a primary rehashing of “tender years doctrine”, both of which do not have the legal merit whatsover, nor the empirical research to support either.

But if you go back to the Maternal Deprivation nonsense, you quickly find the empirical research that throws this theory back into the area of “junk science” where it belongs. Maternal Deprivation is both empirically wrong and a sexist theory.

The junk science theory and refutation can be found here:
http://www.simplypsychology.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/bowlby.html

“Although Bowlby may not dispute that young children form multiple attachments, he still contends that the attachment to the mother is unique in that it is the first to appear and remains the strongest of all. However, on both of these counts, the evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

* Schaffer & Emerson (1964) noted that specific attachments started at about 8 months and, very shortly thereafter, the infants became attached to other people. By 18 months very few (13%) were attached to only one person; some had five or more attachments.

* Rutter (1981) points out that several indicators of attachment (such as protest or distress when attached person leaves) has been shown for a variety of attachment figures – fathers, siblings, peers and even inanimate objects.

Critics such as Rutter have also accused Bowlby of not distinguishing between deprivation and privation – the complete lack of an attachment bond, rather than its loss. Rutter stresses that the quality of the attachment bond is the most important factor, rather than just deprivation in the critical period.

Another criticism of 44 Thieves Study as that it concluded that affectionless psychopathy was caused by maternal deprivation. This is correlational data and as such only shows a relationship between these two variables. Indeed, other external variables, such as diet, parental income, education etc. may have affected the behaviour of the 44 thieves, and not, as concluded, the disruption of the attachment bond.”

There are implications arising from Bowlby’s work. As he believed the mother to be the most central care giver and that this care should be given on a continuous basis an obvious implication is that mothers should not go out to work. There have been many attacks on this claim:

* Mothers are the exclusive carers in only a very small percentage of human societies; often there are a number of people involved in the care of children, such as relations and friends (Weisner & Gallimore, 1977).

* Ijzendoorn & Tavecchio (1987) argue that a stable network of adults can provide adequate care and that this care may even have advantages over a system where a mother has to meet all a child’s needs.

* There is evidence that children develop better with a mother who is happy in her work, than a mother who is frustrated by staying at home (Schaffer, 1990).

There are many articles relating to this nonsense, and how it has been refuted. The original theory was promulgated by John Bowlby. Bowlby grew up mother-fixated because he did not have a relationship with his father. See why here.

Psychological research includes a shocking history and continuation of maternal deprivation experiments on animals. While maternal deprivation experiments have been conducted far more frequently on rhesus macaques and other monkeys, chimpanzees were not spared as victims of this unnecessary research.
Maternal Deprivation applies to monkeys only.

LA County Puts the “Fix” on Parents Rights

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Indians, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Jayne Major, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Your rights to retain physical and legal custody of your children during divorce proceeding is compromised by California’s new ex post facto law recently passed by the California Senate. As a matter of fact, in Los Angeles County, it already is.

In California counties divorce proceedings in the past 12 years may have been “fixed” in counties where counties supplemented Judges salaries with benefits above the state mandated salary. (Under California Law, only the state may compensate judges for performance of their work. The California Constitution (Sec. 17, 19, 20) states that Judges may not receive money from other parties than their employer, the State of California, and the Legislature has the sole responsibility for setting compensation and retirement benefits.)

However California, like all 50 states and territories, receive hundreds of Billions of $$ from the federal government to run its state courts and welfare programs, including Social Security Act Title Iv-D, Child Support Iv-E, Foster Care and VAWA prevention and intimidation programs against family law litigants. The federal block grants are then given to the counties applying for the monies.

If counties have been paying judges money above state legislated salaries, then counties have been fixing cases for years by maintaining de facto judicial officers to rule in their favor. How does this affect parent’s rights? The money received in block grants is applied for by the counties based on the divorce and custody proceeding awards. For example, the more sole custody or foster home proceedings existing in the county, the more money the county is qualified to receive.

Both the US Constitution, and the California Constitution. California’s wording is even stronger than the US Constitution. Here are the direct quotes:

United States Constitution, Section 9, Article 3
“No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.”

Constitution of the State of California – Article I, Section 9
“A bill of attainder ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts may not be passed.”

The law in question is SBX2 11 which retroactively pardons, just about everyone involved in official activity including judges who received money for benefits from the county.

“The California Constitution requires the Legislature to prescribe compensation for judges of courts of record. Existing law authorizes a county to deem judges and court employees as county employees for purposes of providing employment benefits. These provisions were held unconstitutional as an impermissible delegation of the obligation of the Legislature to prescribe the compensation of judges of courts of record. This bill would provide that judges who received supplemental judicial benefits provided by a county or court, or both, as of July 1, 2008, shall continue to receive supplemental benefits from the county or court then paying the benefits on the same terms and conditions as were in effect on that date.”

The law also goes on to state:

“This bill would provide that no governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, shall incur any liability or be subject to prosecution or disciplinary action because of benefits provided to a judge under the official action of a governmental entity prior to the effective date of the bill on the ground that those benefits were not authorized under law.”

Is this why attorney Richard I Fine is in a LA County Jail? For more on his story see:

Attorney Richard Fine files suit against judges http://www.dailynews.com/ci_8113733

Richard Fine, a brave and talented California attorney and United States Department of Justice Attorney http://www.ahrc.se/new/index.php/src/tools/sub/yp/action/display/id/2652

Metropolitan News-Enterprise http://www.metnews.com/articles/2009/stur021809.htm

The Full Disclosure Network: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/538.php and http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/539.php

JUDICIAL BENEFITS & COURT CORRUPTION (Part 3-4) http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/540.php

FISCAL CRISIS: Illegal Payments Create Law For Judicial Criminal & Liability Immunity: Nominees For U S Supreme Court To Be Impacted? See: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/news/labels/SBX2%2011.html

The Bill as passed by the Senate: http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0001-0050/sbx2_11_bill_20090214_amended_sen_v98.html

The Primary Parent Presumption: Primarily Meaningless

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, 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, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 4, 2009 at 11:00 am

By Dr. Richard A. Warshak, Ph.D.
16970 Dallas Parkway, #202, Dallas, TX 75248

Nineteen ninety-three marked the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of The Feminine Mystique, the book that spearheaded the drive to unlace the cultural straitjacket of rigid sex-role prescriptions. As we expanded the conventional image of women to include roles beyond those of wife, housekeeper, and mother, we encouraged men to think of themselves as more than just husbands and bread-winners. We invited them to become active partners in the delivery room . . . and they accepted. We required their participation in Indian Guides . . . and they complied. We extolled the importance of father-child bonding, trumpeted statistics linking a father’s absence to juvenile delinquency. . . and they listened.

The problem, for some divorcing women, is that their husbands listened too well, and took seriously the call to parenthood. They became emotionally attached to their offspring, and, when the marriage ended, they were unwilling to be demoted to the second string; unwilling to sit on the sidelines of their children’s lives. Although lacking in hard data to prove the point, we have at least the perception that more men are seeking and gaining custody of their children after divorce.

Why is this a problem? Because women do not enjoy living apart from their children any more than do men. Also, most women do not want to relinquish the power that goes with custody. This has led to the ironic situation in which some of the same feminists who, in the early 70s, denounced motherhood as “enslavement” now lead a campaign to protect motherhood from divorced fathers who want more involvement with their children. But they face a crucial dilemma: They need to resurrect the belief that women are uniquely suited to rear children and therefore the natural choice for sole custody without appearing to endorse the notions that biology is destiny and that the sexes merit unequal treatment before the law.

The solution to this dilemma is the linguistic sleight of hand known as the “primary parent presumption.” This guideline would give preference to the parent who is designated “primary” in the child’s life, variously defined as the parent who spends the most time with the child, is more responsible for the child’s day-to-day care, or performs more of the daily repetitive maintenance tasks such as chauffeuring, shopping for clothes, preparing meals, and bathing. Although touted as a gender-neutral standard, everyone agrees that the primary parent presumption would give mothers the same advantage that they enjoyed with the tender years presumption. In fact, law professor Mary Becker advocates dropping the pretense of gender-neutrality and renaming the primary parent presumption the “maternal deference standard.”

Briefly, the argument goes that since women are more involved in primary caregiving, they deserve custody.
Fathers’-rights advocates respond that it is unfair to penalize men for reduced involvement with their children, since they are only fulfilling society’s notions of the man’s role as the family’s breadwinner. Neither side’s arguments are compelling. Both are blinded by the pre-19th century premise that children are property to be “awarded” to the rightful owner. Both sides miss the point that a custody decision should be guided by the needs of the child not the parents’ sense of entitlement.

Some of my colleagues offer arguments in support of the primary parent presumption. They point out that a
woman who has been most involved in her children’s daily care already possesses the requisite skills. She has less to learn than the father and, by virtue of her experience, is probably more competent to assume the duties of sole custody. Also, because the primary parent standard appears less ambiguous than the best interests standard, parents would be less likely to litigate over custody — a distinct advantage to the family. But that may be its only advantage. Under critical appraisal, this proposal suffers many serious drawbacks.

Unless we regard custody as a reward for past deeds, the decision about the children’s living arrangements should reflect a judgment about what situation will best meet their needs now and in the future. Differences in past performance are relevant only if they predict future parental competence and child adjustment. But they do not.

The primary parent presumption overlooks the fact that being a single parent is a very different challenge than being one of two parents in the same home. A consensus of research reveals a predictable deterioration in the single mother’s relationship with her children. After divorce, the average mother has less time and energy for her children and more problems managing their behavior, particularly that of her sons. Research has also demonstrated that despite mother’s greater experience in daily child care, fathers who would not be considered primary caretakers during the marriage are as capable as divorced mothers in managing the responsibilities of custody.

And, most important, their children fare as well as children do in mother-custody homes.

A more basic problem with the proposed standard: How do we determine who is the primary parent? Before divorce parents think of themselves as partners in rearing their children. Whether or not they spend equal time with the children, both parents are important, and mountains of psychological research support this.

Before divorce, we do not rank order parents. Only in the heat of a custody battle do Mom and Dad begin vying for the designation “primary parent.”

On what basis do we award this coveted title? We cannot simply measure the amount of time each parent
spends with the child. Research has established that, beyond a certain minimum, the amount of time a parent spends with a child is a poor index of that parent’s importance to the child, of the quality of their
relationship, or of the parent’s competence in childrearing.
In fact, we all know of parents who are too involved with their children, so-called “smothering” parents who squelch any signs of independence.

If more extensive contact does not make a primary parent, what does? Most definitions provide a list of responsibilities: The primary parent shops for food and clothes, prepares meals, changes diapers, bathes and dresses the child, takes the child to the doctor, and drives the child to school and recreational activities. Such criteria, though, ignore the overriding importance of the quality of parent-child relationships.

Furthermore, critics have argued that this list reflects gender bias. Shopping for food and clothes is included, but not earning the money which funds the shopping trips. Also conspicuously absent are responsibilities typically shared by fathers and in which fathers often predominate, activities such as playing, discipline, moral guidance, encouragement and assistance with school work, gender socialization, coaching team sports, and — something whose significance to children is often overlooked — providing a sense of physical protection and security.

Is the primary caretaker the one who does the most to foster the child’s sense of emotional security, the person to whom the child turns in times of stress — the role we most often associate with mothers? Or is it the parent who does the most to promote the child’s ability to meet the demands of the world outside the family — the role we most often associate with fathers? We really have no basis for preferring one contribution over the other. Both are necessary for healthy psychological functioning.

We can say that both parents contribute distinctively to their child’s welfare. And during different
developmental stages a child may relate better to one parent than the other, or rely on one parent more than
the other. But most children form strong attachments to both parents in the first year of life and maintain important ties to both parents throughout their lives. By rank ordering the importance of parents, we dismiss children’s own experiences of their parents’ value, reinforce gender stereotypes, and perhaps discourage fathers from assuming more parenting responsibilities.

In sum, the primary parent presumption is misinformed, misguided, misleading, and primarily meaningless.

Copyright © 1996 by Richard A. Warshak, Ph.D.
16970 Dallas Parkway, #202, Dallas, TX 75248 Dr. Richard A. Warshak is a clinical, research, and
consulting psychologist, clinical professor of psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center at Dallas, and author of The Custody Revolution and Divorce Poison: Protecting the
Parent-Child Bond From a Vindictive Ex. He has published extensively in the area of divorce and
custody and consults with attorneys, mental health professionals, and families. Additional custody
resources, including material on relocation, overnight access, and parental alienation syndrome,
can be found at http://www.warshak.com.

[A version of this essay was published as Chapter 28 (pages 101-103) in 101+ Practical Solutions for the
Family Lawyer, Gregg M. Herman, Editor, American Bar Association (1996).]

The original article can be found here.

Parental Rights – Analysis by Article of the UNCRC – Part 9 of 9

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Jayne Major, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Obama, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 4, 2009 at 12:30 am

Last year the Parental Rights.org group analyzed article by article the impact of ratification of the
United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) would have on Parental Rights and Children’s Rights in the United States.

Here is that continuing analysis:

Giving the State a Grasp on Your Kids

Part II of an in-depth look at Article 18 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

When Kevin and Peggy Lewis volunteered their child for special education services, they never dreamed they would need a lawyer if they wanted to change their minds. After their son developed several learning issues, including an inability to focus in class and difficulty processing and understanding oral and written communication, the Lewis’s turned to the Cohasset Middle School in Massachusetts for help.1 But after a year in the school’s special education program, their son was not improving academically, and felt harassed by school officials who were closely monitoring and reporting on his behavior – everything from chewing gum in class to forgetting his pencil.2

Initially, the Lewis’s requested that the school pay for private tutoring, but as their relationship with the administration continued to decline, the exasperated parents finally decided to withdraw their son from the school’s program and to pay for private tutoring out of their own pockets.3

Apparently, that option wasn’t good enough for the school.

In December 2007, Cohasset hauled Kevin and Peggy into court, claiming that the parents were interfering with their son’s “constitutional right to a free and appropriate education.”4

After a day-and-a-half of argument, the judge sided with the school in an unwritten opinion.5

“This is truly devastating to all parents who have children on an IEP,” Peggy said, referring to the individual education plans for special education students. “What it means in fact when you sign an IEP for your child, you sign away your parental rights. . . . Now Cohasset has their grasp on my kid.”6

“Help” for Parents

At first glance, it seems odd that a school would take parents to court to compel them to accept state services. After all, as observers of the case commented, schools usually objects when parents demand more aid for their children, not when the parents try to withdraw their child from the program.7

But according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, once parents have asked the state for assistance in raising their children, the state has both the responsibility and the authority to see the job through – even if the parents no longer support the state’s solution.

In addition to imposing legally-enforceable “responsibilities” on parents, Article 18 of the Convention also requires states to “render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities,” and to establish “institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.”8

At first glance, the offer of “assistance” to parents may appear harmless, and even generous, but appearances are often deceiving. While the government may claim to offer services to parents on a purely “voluntary” basis, parents soon discover that government “assistance” isn’t always free.

When “voluntary” doesn’t mean “voluntary”

For examples of this dangerous trend, one need look no further than the nation of Sweden, the first western nation to ratify the Convention.

In addition to mandatory sex-education, free child care for working parents, and a national ban on corporal punishment, Sweden’s local municipalities are also required by law to offer parents a broad array of “voluntary” services that promote “the favourable development of children and young persons.”9 Unfortunately, according to Swedish attorney and activist Ruby Harrold-Claesson, voluntary care “in no way is voluntary since the social workers threaten the parents to either give up their child voluntarily or the child will be taken into compulsory care.”10

If the state determines at a later date that the “voluntary” services are not helping, the municipality has both the responsibility and the authority to physically “take a child into care and place him in a foster home, a children’s home or another suitable institution.”11 According to Harrold-Claesson, since the emergence of such programs, “children are being taken from their parents on a more routine basis.”12

Unfortunately, these disturbing trends are not confined to Sweden. Even here in the United States, “voluntary” services for parents are often the first step toward state control of families.

Holding Children Hostage

As a young mother of three, “Katianne H.” faced tremendous difficulties in making ends meet.13 Although she was never unemployed, Katianne had difficulty putting her job ahead of the needs of her young family. So when her three-month-old son Xavier developed severe allergies to milk and soy protein, her pediatrician recommended that she relieve some of the pressure placed upon her by requesting that her son be placed in “temporary out-of-home care.”14 Thinking such a placement was truly “voluntary,” Katianne agreed.

Within a few months, Xavier was weaned from the feeding tube to a bottle, but when Katianne sought to bring him home, the state refused. It would take more than two-and-a-half years – and a decision from the Nebraska Supreme Court – before Katianne would win her baby boy back. 15

In a unanimous ruling, the court said the child should have been returned to his mother as soon as his medical condition was resolved. Instead, state authorities drew up a detailed plan requiring the mother to maintain steady employment, attend therapy and parenting classes, pay her bills on time, keep her house clean, improve her time management, and be cooperative with social workers. When she failed to fully comply with all these obligations within fifteen months, her parental rights were terminated.16

The Court condemned the state for keeping Xavier “out of the home once the reasons for his removal had been resolved,” and warned that a child should never be “held hostage to compel a parent’s compliance with a case plan” when the child could safely be returned home.17

A familiar pattern

According to studies, scholars, lawyers, and advocates, voluntary placement in the United States – like “voluntary” placement in Sweden – is often the first step toward the state getting a grasp on children. Here are just a few examples from within our own borders:

· A 1994 study in New Jersey found that “parents often report signing placement agreements under the threat that court action against them will be taken if they do not sign,” particularly parents who have “language or other barriers making it difficult or impossible for them to read and understand the agreement they were signing.”18 There are also no “clear legal standards to protect a family once it has entered the system,” even if it enters voluntarily: “existing legislation grants judges and caseworkers virtually unrestricted dispositional authority.”19

· In 1998, Melville D. Miller, President and General Counsel of Legal Services of New Jersey, warned that when parents sign voluntary placement agreements, parents give the state “custody of their children without any decision by the court that they have abused or neglected them.”20 In addition, voluntary placement often waives a family’s opportunity for free legal representation in court, leaving families – particularly poor families – with “no assistance in advocating for what they need” when disputes with the state arise.21

· In 1999, Dr. Frank J. Dyer, author and member of the American Board of Professional Psychology, warned that parents can be “intimidated into “voluntarily” signing placement agreements out of a fear that they will lose their children,” and that in his professional counseling experience, birth parents frequently complain that “if they had known from the outset that the document that they were signing for temporary placement of their children into foster care gave the state such enormous power over them, they would have refused to sign and would have sought to resist the placement legally.”22

· The Child Welfare League of America, in its 2004 Family’s Guide to the Child Welfare System, reassures parents that the state “do[es] not have to pursue termination of parental rights,” as long as the state feels that “there is a compelling reason why terminating parental rights would not be in the best interest of the child.”23 If parents and social workers disagree about the fate of a child in “voluntary placement,” the CWLA simply states that “if you decide to bring your child home, and the agency believes that this would interfere with your child’s safety, it has the right to ask the court to intervene. You also have the right to explain to the court why your child’s safety would not be in jeopardy if he came home.”24

· The National Crittenton Foundation, in a web booklet published for young, expectant mothers who are currently in the foster care system, warns in large, bold print that by signing a voluntary placement agreement, “you will most likely lose all custody of your baby, even if you want to regain custody of your baby after you turn 18.”25

Never Too Late

If one can learn anything from the stories of the Lewises, Katianne, and the plight of Swedish parents, it is that the government wields incredible power over parents who have “voluntarily” accepted its aid when caring for their children. These parents are often poor, struggling, and searching for the means to keep their families together, but instead of helping them, the open hand of the state can easily become a clenched fist, either bullying parents into submission or forcibly taking their children from them.

Thankfully, it is not too late to protect children and their families by protecting the fundamental right of parents to raise their children, and to reject government programs that are unneeded or unwanted. The state should only interfere with the family for the most compelling reasons – not because loving parents were misled about the true nature of “voluntary” care.

Please consider sending this message to your friends and urging them to sign the Petition to Protect Parental Rights.

This article was written for ParentalRights.org by Peter Kamakawiwoole, Jan. 29, 2009.

Notes

1. James Vazniz, “Cohasset schools win case v. parents,” The Boston Herald (December 15, 2007) (accessed January 28, 2009).
2. James Vazniz, “Parents want son out of special ed,” The Boston Herald (December 13, 2007) (accessed January 28, 2009).

3. Vazniz, “Cohasset schools win case v. parents.”

4. Vazniz, “Parents want son out of special ed.”

5. Vazniz, “Cohasset schools win case v. parents.”

6. Vazniz, “Cohasset schools win case v. parents.”

7. Vazniz, “Cohasset schools win case v. parents.”

8. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 18.2.

9. Ruby Harrold-Claesson, “Confiscating Children: When Parents Become Victims,” The Nordic Committee on Human Rights (2005) (accessed January 17, 2009)

10. Harrold-Claesson, “Confiscating Children: When Parents Become Victims”

11. Harrold-Claesson, “Confiscating Children: When Parents Become Victims”

12. Harrold-Claesson, “Confiscating Children: When Parents Become Victims”

13. “Katianne” is the name given to the mother by the Nebraska Supreme Court, which decided her case in In Re Xavier H., 740 N.W.2d 13 (Neb. 2007).

14. In re Xavier H., 740 N.W.2d at 21.

15. “Nebraska Supreme Court returns boy to mother,” Omaha World Herald (October 19, 2007) (accessed January 29, 2009).

16. “Nebraska Supreme Court returns boy to mother.”

17. In re Xavier H., 740 N.W.2d at 26.

18. Emerich Thoma, “If you lived here, you’d be home now: The business of foster care,” Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, Vol. 10 (1998) (accessed January 27, 2009).

19. Thoma, “If you lived here, you’d be home now.”

20. Melville D. Miller, “You and the Law in New Jersey ” (Rutgers University Press, 1998): 200.

21. Miller, You and the Law in New Jersey,” 200.

22. Frank J. Dyer, “Psychological Consultation in Parental Rights Cases” (The Guilford Press, 1999): 26.

23. Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), “Placements to Obtain Treatment and Services for Children,” A Family’s Guide to the Child Welfare System (2004): 5 (accessed January 27, 2009).

24. CWLA, “Placements to Obtain Treatment and Services for Children,” p. 5.

25. The National Crittenton Foundation, “Crittenton Booklet for Web,” pp. 11-12. (accessed January 28, 2009)

Parental Rights – Analysis by Article of the UNCRC – Part 8 of 9

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Last year the Parental Rights.org group analyzed article by article the impact of ratification of the
United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) would have on Parental Rights and Children’s Rights in the United States.

Here is that continuing analysis:

Article 18, Part 1: Government-Supervised Parenting

During our series on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, most of the articles we have considered have focused on the relationship between the state and the child. Article 18 is therefore unique in its emphasis on the responsibilities of parents, and the supervised relationship that these parents have with the state.

Article 18 is also one of the more complex articles in the Convention, divided into three sections that address distinct facets of the relationship between parents and the state. This week, we will focus on the first section, which says that “States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child,” and that parents are primarily responsible for their children. As parents, “the best interests of the child will be their basic concern.”

The danger of Article 18 is that it places an enforceable responsibility upon parents to make child-rearing decisions based on the “best interests of the child,” subjecting parental decisions to second-guessing at the discretion of government agents.

Obligations on Parents?

Article 18 stands out because it affects not only the relationship between the UN and the nation that ratifies the Convention, but also the relationship between private individuals and their government: a relationship that is usually changed through legislation at a local level. In fact, the UN’s Implementation Handbook for the CRC explains that “when article 18 was being drafted, the delegate from the United States of America commented that it was rather strange to set down responsibilities for private individuals, since the Convention could only be binding on ratifying governments.”

But instead of paying heed to this objection, the drafters of the CRC rejected it, making the Convention enforceable against private individuals and requiring that “parental rights be translated into principles of parental responsibilities.” The Handbook itself notes that if the actions of parents could be shown to impair the child’s physical, psychological, or intellectual development, “the parents” – not the state – “can be found to be failing in their responsibilities.” (emphasis added).

The end result is parental involvement under state supervision. According to Chris Revaz, Article 18 “recognizes that parents and legal guardians have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child, with the best interest of the child as their basic concern,” but also invests in the state “a secondary responsibility to provide appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in meeting their responsibilities.” Roger Levesque opines that such supervision attempts to “regulate the relationship between child and state,” essentially relegating the role of parental and familial involvement to a position of “secondary importance.”

Enforcing the “Best Interest” Standard

As a previous article in our series has already discussed, the “best interests of the child” is a significant theme in the Convention, providing “decision and policy makers with the authority to substitute their own decisions for either the child’s or the parents’.”

The inevitable result, according to Levesque, is that “by placing the burden on the State to take affirmative steps toward ensuring the fulfillment of children’s rights, the Convention assumes responsibility and invokes the State as the ensurer and protector of rights.” This point is echoed by Law Professor Bruce Hafen, who warns that the Convention’s emphasis on the “best interests of the child” creates “an arguably new standard for state intervention in intact families.” According to Hafen, legal authors in Australia have already suggested that “under the CRC, parental childrearing rights are ’subject to external scrutiny’ and ‘may be overridden’ when ‘the parents are not acting in the best interests of the child.’”

Hafen warns that this conclusion – though in opposite to America’s cultural and legal heritage – is “consistent with the CRC’s apparent intent to place children and parents on the same plane as co-autonomous persons in their relationship with the state.” This is a far cry from America’s legal heritage, which has long held that parents have a fundamental right to oversee the upbringing and education of their children, free from government control. Article 18 makes it plain, however, that under the Convention, it is the state that is ultimately responsible for the fate of its children, and has authority to supervise its parents.

Article written for ParentalRights.org by Peter Kamakawiwoole, June 24, 2008.

Sources

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm

Cris Revaz, “An Introduction to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child,” in The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child: An Analysis of Treaty Provisions and Implications on U.S. Ratification (2006): 10-11.

Roger Levesque, International Children’s Rights Grow Up: Implications for American Jurisprudence and Domestic Policy (1994): 214.

Bruce and Jonathan Hafen, Abandoning Children to their Autonomy (1996): 461-462, 464.

United Nations Children’s Fund, Impl

Parental Rights – Analysis by Article of the UNCRC – Part 7 of 9

In adoption abuse, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, 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, federal crimes, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Indians, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 30, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Last year the Parental Rights.org group analyzed article by article the impact of ratification of the
United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) would have on Parental Rights and Children’s Rights in the United States.

Here is that continuing analysis:

Article 16: Privacy From Parents

During our series on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a constant theme has been the recurring intervention of government power in the relationship between children and their parents. Broad discretion for the state is particularly prevalent in the Convention’s “freedom” provisions, which guarantee choices to children when it comes to expression, information, religion, and association.

Perhaps the most troubling of these “freedom” provisions is article 16, which stipulates that “no child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence.” More so than any other section of the Convention, article 16 invokes the power of the government in ways previously unseen and untested in America’s legal and political history.

Paradigm Shift

The key to understanding article 16 is found in its absolute language: no child is to have his or her right to privacy violated. According to American law professor Cynthia Price Cohen, article 16 “uses the strongest obligatory language in the human rights lexicon to protect the child’s privacy rights.”

This is a strong break from American law. According to Catherine Ross, writing in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, the concept of a “right to privacy” has been used within the American context to support limited reproductive freedom for children, including the right to receive information, counseling, and contraceptives without parental consent or notification. But even in such cases, the Supreme Court has attempted to draw some sort of balance between the privacy rights of the child and the role of parents in raising and directing their children: never has the Court stated that children have an absolute right to privacy even from their parents.

Displacing Parents

In contrast, the “right to privacy” within the Convention is far broader than anything contemplated in American law or jurisprudence, bestowing an absolute right to privacy which, according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in their 2004 report on Japan, includes privacy in “personal correspondence and searching of personal affects.” This includes more than just a child’s diary or letters to a pen pal: it includes e-mails composed, websites visited, and a growing plethora of other means of communication with the outside world.

Law professor Bruce Hafen notes that this strong language makes little allowance for the role of adults who are unavoidably involved in a child’s private world – namely, the child’s parents. Scholar Barbara Nauck adds that when the responsibility of parents to “guide and direct” their children comes into conflict with the right of children to have privacy, it is highly questionable whether parents will have the lawful authority to interfere with the child’s privacy.

Only the First Step

On this basis alone, law professor Richard Wilkins has warned that Article 16 has the potential to place the basic ability to discipline and monitor children – activities necessary for effective parenting – into serious doubt. In addition, the provision’s absolute guarantees could also be extended through state laws or the decisions of judges to include other “rights” guaranteed by the Convention – such as the freedom of religion, expression, or information – with devastating consequences to the authority and effectiveness of parents. It is the absolute, all-encompassing nature of article 16 that poses the real danger to both children and parents.

Please forward this message on to your friends and urge them to sign the Petition to Protect Parental Rights at http://www.parentalrights.org/join-the-fight.

Article written for ParentalRights.org by Peter Kamakawiwoole, May 12, 2008.

Sources

Cynthia Price Cohen, The Role of the United States in Drafting the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1998): 34.

Catherine Ross, An Emerging Right for Mature Minors to Receive Information (1999): 261.

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Japan, CRC/C/15/Add.231 (2004)

Bruce Hafen and Jonathan Hafen, Abandoning Children to their Autonomy (1996): 472.

Barbara Nauck, Implications of the United States Ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1994): 700.

Richard Wilkins, et. al., Why the United States Should Not Ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child (2003): 421.

Parental Rights – Analysis by Article of the UNCRC – Part 6 of 9

In adoption abuse, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Support, child trafficking, 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, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Homeschool, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D on May 30, 2009 at 5:00 am

Last year the Parental Rights.org group analyzed article by article the impact of ratification of the
United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) would have on Parental Rights and Children’s Rights in the United States.

Here is that continuing analysis:

Article 14: Religion Is Child Abuse?

This week, we continue our series on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child with Article 14, which says that the government shall “respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” and shall also “respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.”

Proponents of the CRC, such as law professor Jonathan Todres, has commented that Article 14 “provides for the role of parents in teaching religion to their children, while ensuring that the government does not impose restrictions on any child’s right to freedom of religion.” Nevertheless, a deeper understanding of this provision reveals that the purportedly “pro-parent” language is really another avenue for government power, not a shield to protect parental rights.

How much “direction” is too much direction?

On its face, this article may seem to support the role of parents, but such a position is merely wishful thinking. The Convention merely recognizes the parents’ primary role to “provide direction” to the child, and there is considerable disagreement on what this “direction” should entail. For example, according to Faulkner University law professor John Garman, Article 14 is one of the few clauses in the CRC that “actually brings the parents into play to ‘provide direction to the child.’”

But another CRC proponent, law professor Cynthia Price Cohen, disagrees. According to Cohen, one of the earliest drafts of Article 14 included “two paragraphs that protected the right of parents to guide the exercise of this right and to ‘respect the liberty of the child and his parents’ with regard to the child’s religious education.” When the final text was adopted, however, all language protecting the rights of parents to “ensure the religious and moral education of the child” was omitted. This omission makes no sense if the purpose of Article 14 was to protect the rights of parents to instruct their children.

Religious “indoctrination” as abuse?

The danger to parents is compounded by a growing movement among American and international academics to prevent parents from “indoctrinating” their children with religious beliefs. For example, British scientist and bestselling author Richard Dawkins recently described religious “indoctrination” of young children as a form of child abuse. “Odious as the physical abuse of children by priests undoubtedly is,” Dawkins writes, “I suspect that it may do them less lasting damage than the mental abuse of bringing them up Catholic in the first place.”

Dawkins is not alone in his analysis. In 1998, bestselling author and professor of psychology Nicholas Humphrey, teaching at New York University at the time, argued for “censorship” of parents, who have “no right to limit the horizons of their children’s knowledge, to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma and superstition, or to insist they follow the straight and narrow paths of their own faith.”

Both authors advocate an outside solution to “protect” children from indoctrination: intervention by the government. In The God Delusion, Dawkins quotes from Humphrey, who writes that “children have a right not to have their minds addled by nonsense, and we as a society have a duty to protect them from it.” Humphrey bluntly adds that “parents’ rights have no status in ethics and should have none in law” – parenting is a “privilege” that operates within parameters set by society to protect the child’s “fundamental rights to self determination.” If parents step beyond these boundaries by indoctrinating their children, “the contract lapses – and it is then the duty of those who granted the privilege to intervene.” (emphasis added)

Some have called for international talks on whether children should be involved in religion. Innaiah Narisetti of the Center for Inquiry (a U.N. NGO) said, “The time has come to debate the participation of children in religious institutions,” continues Narisetti. “While some might see it as a matter better left to parents, the negative influence of religion and its subsequent contribution to child abuse from religious beliefs and practices requires us to ask whether organized religion is an institution that needs limits set on how early it should have access to children.” Narisetti also said that “The UN must then take a clear stand on the issue of the forced involvement of children in religious practices; it must speak up for the rights of children and not the automatic right of parents and societies to pass on religious beliefs, and it must reexamine whether an organization like the Vatican should belong to the UN”

The “fundamental interest of parents”

This aggressive censorship of parents captures the true spirit of Article 14. According to law professor Bruce Hafen, the language of Article 14 views “parents as trustees of the state who have only such authority and discretion as the state may grant in order to protect the child’s independent rights,” and is consistent with what the state deems as the child’s “evolving capacities.” Such a calloused view of parents stands in stark contrast to our own legal tradition, which has long upheld “the fundamental interest of parents, as contrasted with that of the State, to guide the religious future and education of their children.”

America’s legal heritage has consistently held that parents have a fundamental right to teach their children about religion, shielded from well-intentioned but intrusive interference from the state. The danger of Article 14 is that it disrupts this crucial balance, tipping the scales in favor of the government and those who claim to “know better” in our society. If we wish to secure these freedoms, we must act now to place parental rights into the text of our Constitution.

Please forward this message onto your friends and urge them to sign the Petition to Protect Parental Rights.

Article written by Peter Kamakawiwoole, May 5, 2008.

Sources

Jonathan Todres, “Analyzing the Opposition to the U.S. Ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child,” in The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (2006): 24.

Cynthia Price Cohen, “Role of the United States in Drafting the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Loyola Poverty Law Journal (1998): 30-31.

Bruce Hafen, “Abandoning Children to their Autonomy,” Harvard International Law Journal (1996): 470.

Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 232 (1972).

Parental Rights – Analysis by Article of the UNCRC – Part 5 of 9

In Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Support, child trafficking, 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, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Homeschool, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 29, 2009 at 5:00 am

Last year the Parental Rights.org group analyzed article by article the impact of ratification of the
United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) would have on Parental Rights and Children’s Rights in the United States.

Here is that continuing analysis:

Article 13, part 2: No, Thank You, Mom and Dad

In an age where information is becoming easier to access every day, children face new and uncharted risks. Our American heritage has long honored the right of parents to direct their child’s access to information, recognizing that in the vast majority of circumstances, parents are best situated to monitor their child’s activities and to provide necessary guidance during the transition from childhood to adulthood. Unfortunately, this vital role is being undermined by the rising tide of international thought, far removed from our own tradition and championed by international agreements like the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Last week, we began our discussion of Article 13 of the UNCRC by looking at its impact on what children are taught. This week, we return to Article 13 to examine the right of the child “to seek information,” and the impact this guarantee has on the relationship between children, their parents, and the state.

Article 13 is divided into two sections. The first states that “The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.” The remainder of the article clarifies that this right be restricted, but these restrictions must be provided by law and necessary to “respect the rights or reputations of others” or for “the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals.”

This article focuses on the implications of a child’s “right to information.” Although our Constitution does not expressly grant such a right, there is a growing trend – both within our boarders and abroad – to grant children such rights.

Setting Children Free

Article 13 begins by guaranteeing to all children the right to seek, receive and impart all kinds of information and ideas. Although some proponents of the Convention allege that article 13 is particularly important for children who are seeking to discover more of their identities after spending years of their lives in the care of the state, there is nothing in the text which limits this provision to such a narrow meaning.

According to advocates of the CRC, such as Marian Koren, international author for the UN at the Hague, a more acceptable interpretation of article 13 would require the government to establish and support a whole host of government programs aimed at educating children, such as “advice and information services for children, free access to libraries and loans, workshops for children on topics of their interest,” and so on. According to law professor Bruce Hafen, such a “right” is a broad departure from current US law, and not only poses difficulties for parents, but also for schools, teachers, and educational administrators who have to make difficult decisions about what they teach the children entrusted to their care.

No Thank You, Mom and Dad

While article 13 allows the right of information to be restrained in order to “respect the rights or reputations of others,” this respect does not extend to the decisions of parents. As Koren writes, whenever the state feels that parents are “failing” to protect their child’s rights, “it is the duty of the state to control parents to take their responsibilities and to fulfill their tasks towards their children.” (emphasis added)

American law has long recognized the importance of parents in guiding their children to make good decisions. In 1979, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Parham v. J.R. that “most children, even in adolescence, simply are not able to make sound judgments concerning many decisions, including their need for medical care or treatment. Parents can and must make those judgments.”

The UNCRC shifts this recognized balance in favor of increased autonomy for the child. According to Barbara Nauck, writing in the Cleveland State Law Review, “the more assertive language of Article 13 presumably means that Article 13 would prevail where there is a conflict between the child’s desire to freely express herself and the parent’s interest in curbing that expression.” Given the arguments advanced by many of today’s child advocates, “the interpretation of the Convention that will be argued in the courts is that the parent may act as counselor, suggesting the pros and cons and possible consequences, but the final choice would be in the hands of the child.” (emphasis added)

Our Children in Harm’s Way

It does not take a parent long to imagine the Pandora’s box that would be unleashed if the final choice is placed in the hands of the child. With television and the internet opening up an almost infinite number of avenues for children to seek information, it is more important than ever for parents to have the freedom to guide their children through the journey to adulthood. Article 13, and the autonomous ideology that it perpetuates, undermines these vital efforts.

Please forward this message onto your friends and urge them to sign the Petition to Protect Parental Rights.

Article written by Peter Kamakawiwoole, April 25, 2008.

Sources

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Marian Koren, “The Right to Information: Too Vague to Be True?” in Monitoring Children’s Rights, Eugeen Verhellen, ed. (The Hague, 1996): 675.

Bruce & Jonathan Hafen, “Abandoning Children to Their Autonomy: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Harvard International Law Review (1996): 468

Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979): 603.

Barbara J. Nauck, “Implications of the United States Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Civil Rights, the Constitution and the Family,” Cleveland State Law Review (1994): 693.

Richard G. Wilkins, “Why the United States Should not Ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Saint Louis University Law Review (2003): 420-421.

Parental Rights – Analysis by Article of the UNCRC – Part 4 of 9

In adoption abuse, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Support, child trafficking, 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, DSM-IV, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Homeschool, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D on May 28, 2009 at 4:00 am

Last year the Parental Rights.org group analyzed article by article the impact of ratification of the
United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) would have on Parental Rights and Children’s Rights in the United States.

Here is that continuing analysis:

Article 13, part 1: Homeschooling Illegal?

This week, we continue our series on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by considering Article 13, which states that “the child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.”

The crux of this article is the child’s “right to information.” Children access information through what they are taught and what they discover on their own. This week, we will consider the Convention’s implications on what children are taught.

Homeschooling

Article 13 is far more sweeping than any right articulated by our Constitution or Supreme Court, guaranteeing all children the right to seek information of all kinds. International author and commentator Marian Koren explains that although the state should generally refrain from interfering in the family, “the State also has a positive obligation in supporting the possibilities for children to seek information or to express their views.” Ultimately, “it is the duty of the State to respect the rights of the child and his freedom to thought, conscience, belief, expression and opinion.” (emphasis in original)

Although the United States has not yet ratified the CRC, there is a growing sentiment that the state should bear the responsibility for ensuring that children are “properly educated,” instead of parents. A striking example occurred this past February, when a California court declared in In Re Rachel L. that “parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children,” unless they are certified by the state to teach. In so ruling, the court declined to follow the Supreme Court’s 1972 decision in Wisconsin v. Yoder and its 2000 ruling in Troxel v. Granville, which guarantee parents the fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children.

Whose Responsibility?

Rachel L., like Article 13, presumes that it is ultimately the state’s duty to ensure that the child’s right to information is respected. The California court quoted repeatedly from an earlier California decision in 1952, which concluded that children must be educated in traditional public or private schools, subject to state standards and regulations: anything less would “take from the state all-efficient authority to regulate the education of the prospective voting population.” (emphasis added)

The language of “all-efficient authority” is not the language of liberty. According to Dr. Martin Guggenheim, Professor of Law at New York University, “our future as a democracy depends on nurturing diversity of minds. The legal system’s insistence on private ordering of familial life ultimately guards against state control of its citizens.” There may be questions over the “best way” to educate children, but according to Guggenheim, the American answer is that “unless the answers are so clear that there is no room to disagree, parents are free to decide for themselves what they believe will best serve their children.”

Thankfully, the public outcry to this decision led California courts to decide to rehear the Rachel L. decision this summer, allowing parents – at least for the moment – to continue teaching their children at home. But only time will tell whether the California courts will have a change of heart, or whether the damaging decision will simply be repeated. The strong words of the first Rachel L. decision suggest that this is a real possibility.

America’s legal heritage has consistently held that parents, not the state, have the right to decide whether their children would best benefit from public schooling, a private school, or even learning at home, but this recent decision from California highlights just how tenuous this freedom can be. If we wish to secure these freedoms, we must act now to place parental rights beyond the reach of judges</U? by protecting them within the Constitution.

Article written for ParentalRights.org by Peter Kamakawiwoole, April 21, 2008.

Sources

Marian Koren, “The Right to Information: Too Vague to Be True?” in Monitoring Children’s Rights, Eugeen Verhellen, ed. (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1996): 675.

In Re Rachel L., 73 Cal.Rptr.3d 77 (Ca.App. 2008)(VACATED)

Martin Guggenheim, What’s Wrong with Children’s Rights (2005): 24-27, 43.

What Rights Do Parents Have? – Autism, Vacination and Children

In Autism, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, Department of Social Servies, Family Rights, fathers rights, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Liberty, mothers rights, Parents rights on May 13, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Victim Families Say Autism-Vaccination Link Painfully Obvious

Attempts at disclosure have been silenced by the government and media, who continually deny that any connection exists. Huge potential liabilities and lost profits are thought to be the primary reason for stonewalling relief for a situation that now effects approximately 1 in 66 families.

by Sterling D. Allan
Greater Things News Service

May 21, 2004

– MIDWEST CITY, OKLAHOMA
Faith Dyson, Cultural Arts Director for Project America Foundation, does not believe the much-publicized Institute of Medicine report issued on May 18 that claims there is no link between immunizations and autism. Faith agrees with the National Autism Association’s reply that cites “strong clinical evidence from accredited doctors and researchers that suggests otherwise.”

Her 18-month-old twins, Michael and Robert, “screamed for three days” after they received the DPT vaccination. When she called the doctor’s office, the nurse assured her, “That’s a good reaction. The more they scream, the better it’s working.”

Her gut instinct said otherwise. She had read the book Mal(e) Practice by Dr. Robert Mendelson, a Pediatrician who warns about the dangers of vaccinations, especially MMR, which was shown to produce more sickness than what occurred in those not immunized. Leery, she had postponed immunizing her mirror-image-identical twins. But she finally gave in to pressure from her family.

Seeing Michael and Roberts’ reaction to their first shot, she vowed to not give them any more vaccinations. “I didn’t care what my family said.”

After the shots, the twins began to grow non-communicative and withdrawn. At three years of age they were officially diagnosed as having autism. Faith was told she could do nothing to remedy their condition and that she might as well have them institutionalized.

“Over my dead body,” was her response. “I walked out, rolled up my sleeves, and went to work.”

That was twenty years ago.

Studying everything she could, and implementing what she learned to the best of her ability, she was able to see a considerable recovery in her sons. She home schooled them, treated them as normal as she could, fostered their creativity. Involvement in Irish music played a significant role in their recovery.

“They are not retarded. They know what is happening around them. It’s just that they were severely hindered in being able to express themselves.”

Faith believes that her sons condition would have been more severe if she had given them the full regimen of vaccinations prescribed by her doctor when the Michael and Robert were young.

By the age of 19, they were nearly independent enough to live on their own. “You would not think there was anything unusual about them, to look at them — just when they spoke.” They were being trained to work in a local video store and did their own grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Though their language was not fluent, “they could communicate well enough to express their needs.”

During this time, Faith separated from her husband who was ill and unable to care for the family. She moved to a more economically conducive area of the country where she might support the family. It was during this time that she lost her legally competent, adult sons to the Division of Social Services (DSS) when an aunt and uncle who were taking care of them for the first time ever, and only for a brief weekend, fraudulently turned them over to Social Services, claiming they were the primary care givers.

That was four years ago.

“DSS has since violated the twin’s civil rights by denying their documented demand to leave,” said Faith. “The state of Maryland has stubbornly refused to release my sons who, as Virginia citizens with two very acceptable homes in which to live, are not even eligible for their services. No charges of abuse or neglect have been filed against anyone in the family. My sons are Virginia citizens, not even eligible for Maryland tax-payer’s monies or federal tax-monies for that state’s care. That makes their crime Federal Fraud.”

States receive $40,000 a year for each disabled person in the care of social services. The price for non disabled in their care is $30,000 per year. They receive $6,000 per disabled child adopted out, and $4,000 per non-disabled child adopted out — however many times they get adopted out.

Faith says the Human Care industry “is now big business.” Foster Care in the United States “did over 12 billion dollars last year. Not only are the neurotypical children affected by this inter-connected fraud, but so too are particularly the disabled, and elderly made a prey regardless of age.”

“The pharmaceutical companies, local Social Services offices, and crooked social workers are the big winners in this state orchestrated lottery. The state and federal governments are creating their own means of support through the autism epidemic, forced drugging, and state care fraud.”

“Why would the Federal government want to investigate fraudulent state care practices, or fund the research necessary to find the cure and fund the services that would recover an autistic, when the disabled have become one of the most profitable commodities?”

No matter where she has turned, from every level of government to most every level of mainstream media, she is ignored, and her sons “are denied justice and freedom.”

Ironically, Senator Roy Dyson is a cousin of Michael and Robert, who are being held in his district. Faith comments that “this highlights just how much politicians want to look the other way and pretend that none of it is happening. He won’t protect his own flesh and blood from state corruption.”

She is not alone in this situation.

Nor is she the only one who has an Erin Brockovich disposition to not stop until remedy is found. Faith can cite just two mainstream journalists that have been friendly to the cause, not just in talk but in writing, including Kelly O’Meara of Insight magazine, and Melissa Ross of First Coast News in Florida.

Faith also cites a stream of organizations that have sprung up over the years to carry various facets of the cause. Their memberships number in the hundreds and thousands.

In her studies, and quest to find answers — not just for the cure but for the cause and for financial remedy for her son’s predicament — she has crossed paths personally with “at least a hundred” other families who have autistic children. “Almost all of them” likewise identify a connection between the immunization and the autism in their own situation. It is generally a given.

Much fewer of these parents have their children forcibly taken away by social services as hers were, “but the trend is increasing,” she said, if anything because of a rise in the number of incidences of autism.

According to VaccinationNews.com, “In the years between 1970 and the late ’90s, the autism rates in America rose from 1 in 10,000 children to 1 in 166.” The US Department of Education data on autism in children shows that in the decade between 1992 and 2002, the rate of autism was up an average of 1,000 percent in all 50 states.

Dr. Bernard Rimland of the Autism Research Institute says, “It is conservatively estimated that nearly 400,000 people in the United States have some form of autism — the third most common developmental disability.”

Faith sees the epidemic eventually growing to a point that all will be affected and not enough will be left able to serve in the military or run the country.

The vicious cycle is fueled because Social Services, “who are a law unto themselves,” gain major funding for each child taken into their care. They get more for the disabled.

Raymond Gallup, Founder and President of Autism Autoimmunity Project couldn’t physically handle the 24-7 care his six-foot-two son, Eric, would need. The power full-grown autistics convey during an autistic meltdown is frightening. New Jersey told Mr. & Mrs. Gallup the only way they could get their help was if they gave guardianship over to the state. Eric’s medical care and visitations would be subject to the state’s control, and the state would then receive the means to care for Eric, while his parents were denied all contact. Under state care the Gallups would no longer be able to see their son when they wanted, nor would they be able to properly direct his needs.

This option was “the only recourse,” they were told. When the Gallups rejected these requirements, the state forcibly intervened with a threatened lawsuit if they did not place Eric in a psychiatric hospital. They reluctantly acquiesced. More recently, the Gallups have been able to have Eric released to go to Kennedy Kreiger Institute in Baltimore for proper behavior modification programs.

John Travolta is one of the spokespersons for Autism Autoimmunity Project, recognized on their website, where Ray Gallup’s name is listed at the top, among dozens named as part of the project. The names include many M.D.s and Ph.D.s. Yet Ramond Gallup is treated as a mal-suited parent by the state.

When asked why the government or media will not intervene, Faith can only speculate. What she does know is that she has “not found one politician willing to tell the truth or investigate.”

She watched closely as Congressional hearings took place on the matter, and was astounded when at the end the vaccine-autism link was denied.

“There is a lot of money involved,” both in the administration of vaccinations, as well as in “the potential liabilities that the state would incur” if found to have been negligent. The False Claims Act stipulates that for every false claim given to the federal government for federal monies to house a child that doesn’t need to be in the system, a fine of up to $10,000 is to be imposed. This is called Qui Tam or The Whistleblower’s Law, but not because it favors a whistleblower. “The Catch 22 in this law,” says Faith, “is that if the parents have their story published, then the state will not be fined at all.”

“The parents are terrified,” she said. They are led to believe that they are not allowed to speak out.

“Governor Robert L. Ehrlich of Maryland has ordered all of the police officers to not investigate anything that takes place relating to the Division of Social Services activities. When asked to do something about the plight of those wrongfully taken and those who need assistance, his administration replied to Faith that he has “no power over any of the offices beneath him.” She said the administration before him had a similar policy in place.

A call to Governor Ehrlich’s office to verify this sentiment led to a run-around of forwarding to different agencies and no returned call.

“I don’t know of any governor who has responded any differently,” she said.

A congressional hearing is being planned whereby parents may convey their stories of abuse at the hands of social services wrongfully taking children and elderly. The irony is that in bringing forward their stories into this public venue, they lose their right to a remedy award because of the above “self-serving” law designed to gag disclosure.

Faith says judges also intimidate parents, placing gag orders on them, while their cases are being considered, and then rule against the parents anyway. She has recently learned that the immunity that the judges appear to have is not well founded, and she plans to begin challenging their right to be on the bench. She is working with Gregory Romeo, Founder of the Tulsa Area Father’s Rights Association and the National Coordinator, International Liaison of the Million Dad’s March, to pursue legal remedies against patsy judges who rule by politics, not principle.

He references Title 22, OS, Section 1181, Removal of Officers, which states that “Any officer not subject to impeachment elected or appointed to any state, county, township, city, town, or other office under the laws of the state may, in the manner provided in this article, be removed from office for any of the following causes: First. Habitual or willful neglect of duty. Second. Gross partiality in office. Third. Oppression in office. Fourth. Corruption in office.”

Romeo further said, “In the situation of your sons, it would be extremely powerful for you to draft a letter of demand to those that are in official capacity within not only the State of Oklahoma, but in Maryland as well as any person working in the positions as described by law.”

“Put them on notice that these fraud schemes have occurred and by issuing a letter of demand, you have lined them up to either perform their duties as per their oath, or, by their neglect to do so, have ‘willfully neglected their duties’, which is an indictable offense but in most cases will alert them that they are in a position to either act on your behalf, or enjoin the crimes your have pointed out, merely by willful failure of duty to solve these matters as per their position in office.”

While “conspiracy” is a word and concept that is immediately shunned by mainstream press, Faith is privy first-hand to less-than-honest brokering behind the scenes.

Her late husband, Robert Dyson, who was a manager for a limo transport company, MTM Inc., based in Arlington, chauffeured once for Ben Burns, former governor of Texas. He bragged to Dyson that he was the one who arranged for George W. Bush to get out of serving in active duty while in the National Guard.

“I don’t have any evidence to prove that this conversation took place, but I remember well when he came home from work and told me about what he had heard that day,” said Faith. “Now we find that Bush is apparently involved with Eli Lily, the manufacturer of Thimerosal.”

History is not absent a precedence for politicians and journalists being bought for a price. The greater the potential for fallout, the more tightly the controls are put in place to secure the territory.

Instead of reporting the stories of the victims, who have volumes of documentation, the media reports the stories of the scientists who claim to have done studies that show no link between immunizations and autism.

The National Autism Association is seeking to expose and fight a provision that was added in the middle of the night to the Homeland Security Bill and would absolve Eli Lilly of any law suits for poisoning kids with mercury laced vaccines.

With no professional scientific training, Faith believes she is quite close to being able to connect the dots on one of the reasons the immunizations lead to autism.

According to the FDA, Thimerosal is a mercury-containing organic preservative used to prevent microbial contamination of drugs, including vaccines.

Responding to the May 18 IOM report denying a vaccination-autism link, Dr. Alan D. Clark and Lujene G. Clark, both of NoMurcury.org, said:

“…After reviewing hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers, we can say unequivocally, the scientific, clinical and biological evidence; including toxicological, chemical and pharmacological data, shows a strong relationship between Thimerosal, a known neurotoxin, and neurodevelopmental disorders.”

Faith points out that mercury poisoning has been implicated in a number of diseases. Mad-hatter’s disease in the 1800s was shown to be caused by the mercury contained in the lining of men’s hats. Japanese children were shown to be getting ill from the mercury levels in fish. Mercury fillings in teeth have been shown to have various ill health consequences.

Mercury apparently effects the calcium-phosphorous balance in the body. This imbalance could be at the root of the physiological malfunction of the nerve system in the brain that enables a person to respond to stimulus. This Ca-P imbalance also can be shown to be associated with the leaky-gut syndrome also seen in some autistic cases.

The developmental stage of the child’s brain at the time the vaccinations are typically given could be the prime link. That portion of the brain that handles sensory feedback and response is in active development at the same time period the Thimerosal/mercury-laden vaccinations are prescribed.

Auto-immunity could also be involved, the body’s immune system turning on itself during this crucial time of development.

Because the government denies any link between vaccinations and autism, funding for objective research is likewise restrained.

Lorenzo’s Oil is one of Faith’s favorite movies.

If science isn’t going to help her, then she will dig out the answer herself if she has to. But she is not alone. There are many parents on the same quest. They will not take no for an answer. It’s their child that is sick. You don’t mess with momma bear.

“Mothers from Hell,” is a name adopted by one organization involved in the battle to receive proper care and services for disabled children.

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Original article can be found here: http://greaterthings.com/News/daily/2004/05/21/autism-vaccination_link/

http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/

National Autism Association