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

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

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

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

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

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

The Parental Alienation Syndrome

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

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

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

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

Is the PAS a True Syndrome?

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

The PAS and DSM-IV

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

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

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

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

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

Recognition of the PAS in Courts of Law

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

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

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

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

Sources of the Controversy Over the Parental Alienation Syndrome

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

The PAS and the Adversary System

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DSM-IV Diagnoses Related to the Parental Alienation Syndrome

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

Diagnoses Applicable to Both Alienating Parents and PAS Childrem

297.3 Shared Psychotic Disorder

     

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

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

V61.20 Parent-Child Relational Problem

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

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

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

Diagnoses Applicable to Alienating Parents

297.71 Delusional Disorder

     

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

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

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

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

301.0 Paranoid Personality Disorder

     

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

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

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

301.83 Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

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

     

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

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

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

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

301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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

     

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

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

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

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

DSM-IV Diagnoses Applicable to PAS Children

312.8 Conduct Disorder

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

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

    Aggression to people and animals

     

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

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

309.21 Separation Anxiety Disorder

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

300.15 Dissociative Disorder
Not Otherwise Specified

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

     

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

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

Adjustment Disorders

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

309.0 With Depressed Mood.

309.24 With Anxiety.

309.28 With Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood.

309.3 With Disturbance of Conduct.

309.4 With Mixed Disturbance of Emotions and Conduct

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

313.9 Disorder of Infancy, Childhood or Adolescence Not Otherwise Specified

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

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

DSM-IV Diagnoses Applicable to Alienated Parents

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

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

Final Comments About Alternative DSM-IV Diagnoses for the PAS

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

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

Conclusions

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©2002 Richard A. Gardner, M.D.

Parental Alienation – The Kidnapper’s Trick

In Activism, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, kidnapped children, Marriage, MMPI, MMPI 2, mothers rights, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads on November 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm

by Nathan Thornburgh

Around the globe, millions have followed the story of Natascha Kampusch, the girl who was kidnapped at age 10 and held prisoner for eight years in a windowless basement near Vienna, Austria. They have clicked through snapshots of her dungeon posted on the Internet, speculated in chat rooms about why she had never been discovered, and marveled at her eloquence in her first television interview last week.

But in the U.S., one group is intently focused not on the physical layout of Kampusch’s captivity but on the mental landscape of a girl who grew up thinking her parents had abandoned her–counselors who work with children of divorced couples. Long-term abductions by strangers are thankfully rare, but psychologists say the trauma of Kampusch, 18, who was told for years that her parents had simply forgotten about her, echoes the fallout from the more common nightmare of a custody dispute in which a child is irrevocably poisoned against one parent. However composed she appears now, they warn, Kampusch has a long, treacherous road to recovering her relationship with her parents.

Convincing children that their parents don’t love them is a brutally effective way to secure children’s allegiance. Steven Stayner was kidnapped in Merced, Calif., in 1972, at age 7. For seven years, he lived with his abductor as a son, going to a public high school, often left alone but never escaping. According to Sharon Carr Griffin, a friend of Stayner’s who is writing a book about his life, Stayner’s kidnapper told him that his dad had died and his mother had signed custody of Stayner over to the kidnapper. “If you can convince a child that their parents don’t care, then you own them,” says J. Michael Bone, a mental health counselor in Winter Park, Fla.

Bone has counseled scores of victims of a phenomenon known as “Parental Alienation Syndrome,” in which one parent accuses the other of brainwashing their child and turning him or her against the parent. Parental alienation is a controversial legal theory. Some say it’s just a smoke screen for abusive or negligent parents who deserve to be hated by their children. But practitioners say that in extreme cases, parents can implant false memories of abuse or otherwise stir a child into a permanent and completely irrational rage against the targeted parent.

From the Magazine | Behavior The Kidnapper’s Trick An Austrian girl escapes her captor, but the lies he told about her parents may be harder to outrun By NATHAN THORNBURGH SUBSCRIBE TO TIMEPRINTE-MAILMORE BY AUTHOR Posted Thursday, Sep. 14, 2006 Around the globe, millions have followed the story of Natascha Kampusch, the girl who was kidnapped at age 10 and held prisoner for eight years in a windowless basement near Vienna, Austria. They have clicked through snapshots of her dungeon posted on the Internet, speculated in chat rooms about why she had never been discovered, and marveled at her eloquence in her first television interview last week.

But in the U.S., one group is intently focused not on the physical layout of Kampusch’s captivity but on the mental landscape of a girl who grew up thinking her parents had abandoned her–counselors who work with children of divorced couples. Long-term abductions by strangers are thankfully rare, but psychologists say the trauma of Kampusch, 18, who was told for years that her parents had simply forgotten about her, echoes the fallout from the more common nightmare of a custody dispute in which a child is irrevocably poisoned against one parent. However composed she appears now, they warn, Kampusch has a long, treacherous road to recovering her relationship with her parents.

Convincing children that their parents don’t love them is a brutally effective way to secure children’s allegiance. Steven Stayner was kidnapped in Merced, Calif., in 1972, at age 7. For seven years, he lived with his abductor as a son, going to a public high school, often left alone but never escaping. According to Sharon Carr Griffin, a friend of Stayner’s who is writing a book about his life, Stayner’s kidnapper told him that his dad had died and his mother had signed custody of Stayner over to the kidnapper. “If you can convince a child that their parents don’t care, then you own them,” says J. Michael Bone, a mental health counselor in Winter Park, Fla. Bone has counseled scores of victims of a phenomenon known as “parental alienation syndrome,” in which one parent accuses the other of brainwashing their child and turning him or her against the parent. Parental alienation is a controversial legal theory.

Some say it’s just a smoke screen for abusive or negligent parents who deserve to be hated by their children. But practitioners say that in extreme cases, parents can implant false memories of abuse or otherwise stir a child into a permanent and completely irrational rage against the targeted parent. Increasingly, family courts are ordering a treatment called reconciliation therapy. One technique is to have the child look through an album of photos of the alienated parent to humanize that person again. Another is to show studies about how easily the mind is tricked, to let children know it’s not their fault that they have come to believe falsehoods about their parent. But those first steps toward rebuilding the parent-child relationship can be wobbly.

That is why counselors are saluting the caution being shown in Natascha Kampusch’s case. At first blush, it seems counterintuitive: after eight years of wrenching separation, she hasn’t returned home to either of her parents (who divorced before the abduction). Instead, she has been living at Vienna General Hospital, where she is likely to stay for at least another month in the care of a cadre of social workers and psychologists. She has arranged brief, if frequent, visits with her mother but in the first week saw her father only once.

In fact, an odd custody battle for Kampusch’s allegiance appears to be playing out publicly between her father and the memory of her captor, who threw himself under a train hours after Kampusch escaped. Christoph Feurstein, the journalist who conducted her television interview, says Kampusch is angry at her father for speaking on her behalf to the media; he told an interviewer that she would celebrate her captor’s death. Kampusch, in fact, visited the morgue and saw her abductor before he was buried, and told the world she mourned his death.

When Stayner escaped 26 years ago, there was little idea that such ambivalent feelings could exist in a child. He was immediately returned to his childhood home, but by many accounts struggled to fit back in. Nine years later, he died in a motor- cycle crash.

Kampusch says she was fighting with her mother on the day she was abducted. “My mother always used to say that we should never part ways angry,” she said during her television interview, “because something could happen to her or me and we’d never see each other again.” But in the aftermath of such cruel captivity, seeing each other again comes with its own challenges.

The original article can be found here: http://www.jmichaelbone.com/jmb_site_files/jmb_site_files/jmb_site_files/page24.html

OfficialWire: Open Letter To President Obama And First Lady Michelle

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights on September 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm

This an excellent plea and letter to the President and First Lady to help end Parental Abduction and Parental Alienation worldwide. – Parental Rights

Open Letter To President Obama And First Lady Michelle

International and USA child kidnapping and abuse

Published on September 05, 2009

by MrPressRelease.com

(MrPressRelease.com and OfficialWire)

WEST PALM BEACH, FL

Re-Tweet this article
Mr. President and First Lady Michelle,

We have a world wide problem that we would like you to be aware of, which affects all children and families of every age, race and faith. The problem is parental kidnapping (abduction) and alienation which is being completely ignored by the government and vested interest groups.

Parental Kidnapping (Abduction) has been in existence since I STARTED IN 1974. Grants for missing children are only for stranger abduction but not for parental child kidnapping. We do now have in place a grassroots civil rights movement to exploit the crisis, which is an opportunity to save children from abuse. Innocent parents are being thrown into jail based on false allegations and hearsay evidence.

Children are being kidnapped and held against their will and are being brainwashed. Children are suffering – being denied the right to see their other parent – and being taught to hate them. Both children and left behind parents are victims whilst the kidnappers are being protected by the State and denied their rights.

  1. The health care system is being drained because of the problem that arises from this abuse.
  2. This abuse is perpetual – abused children repeat this cycle of abuse. We need to end this – now.
  3. Parental abduction is the source of many social problems which manifest into painful human abuse.
  4. Suicide, mental illness, sexually abused, physically abused, murdered, alcoholics, drug addicted prostitutes. These issues affect both boys and girls – of all nationalities and social class.
  5. The United States is one of only two countries in the world that have not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Somalia—a country without an internationally-recognized government—is the other. (Ref : Amnesty International)
  6. The barriers are the lawyers that turn the parental kidnapping cases into custody cases which generate huge profits for them and bankrupt the parents.  This is unacceptable.
  7. The parents resources, wages, house, cars go up in smoke and they end up in poverty.
  8. Children and parent’s human rights are taken away, never to see their children again.

The US Constitution – which all public officials pledge allegiance – enforces a fiduciary and legal responsibility to protect citizens. The abuse of children to generate profits has no place in a civilized and mature democracy like the United States – let alone in this world. We urge you to work with us to eradicate this cancer of abuse as it is damaging thousands of children and parents each week. It is patriotic and humanitarian as a human being to prevent all forms of abuse.

As a victim of stranger abduction and the parental abduction of my son I , Marianne Malky have spent over 34 years to expose and educate on this very issue. I have listened to over 2,000 cases. The voices of the children are being silenced. Our group of charities (list attached) has a common purpose – to reunite the abducted children with both parents.  We cannot remain in denial while children are being abused. We need to lead where others remain in denial and fearful to expose this crime.  We, the people, have a duty to expose and end this cycle of abuse. We like to meet you to enact solutions as this is an International crisis.

Yours sincerely,

Marianne Malky

MEDIA / PRESS CONTACT

USA Contact : Marianne Malky ( Founder and President)

Toll Free: +1-800-28 HELPME (800-284-3576) |
Other Phone: +1-561-586-8515
email : mvoice4@aol.com | For information: www.voiceforthechildren.com

Voice for the Children, Inc. (USA Charity)
411 Wilder St., West Palm Beach,  FL 33405, United States

United Kingdom (UK) Contact :
Thana Narashiman (Volunteer)
Tel : + 44-(0)791-88-39-43

OfficialWire: Open Letter To President Obama And First Lady Michelle.

Be A Father??? Yea Right, Thanks Mr. President

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome on August 16, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Be A Father??? Yea Right

I’ve got a proposal Mr. President, how about you allow men to be fathers! How about you support shared parenting and equal divorce law so that men don’t loose their homes, their children and rights to their working labor supporting a woman who left them through no fault divorce and a child that has been taken away from him. No father should be a “visitor” of 4 days a month in a child’s life. 90% of men loose their children in divorce. 70% of all divorce is initiated by women. I ask you Mr. President who is it really that is abandoning their families? Maybe the same people who entitled themselves to gain alimony and child support even in no-fault divorce,, The Women’s Party the Feminists! Maybe the same people who lobbied to create no-fault divorce, The Women’s Party, the Feminists.
How dare you speak to men in such a condescending way. “Take your kid to the zoo, play catch etc etc… How dare you act as if we need to teach men to love their children. How dare you… I have never been married and am not a father but I know the forces I face for Men’s and Father’s Rights in my country. Men have been cast out of the family structure in the largest proportions in history and now you are trying to tell men it’s their fault, that fatherhood is in crisis and it’s men who need to man up and solve the issue!!!? Men are fighting EVERYDAY to be fathers. The Men’s and Father’s Rights Movement is growing. I urge you Mr. President to go to ACFC.org and sign the shared parenting petition.

FIX FAMILY LAW AND STOP YOUR PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS BLAMING MEN FOR AMERICA’S RECORD RATE OF DISSOLVED FAMILIES, OUR 40% SINGLE WOMAN BIRTH RATE AND FATHERLESSNESS….. YOU FEMINIST, YOU ASSHOLE, HOW DARE YOU BLAME MEN AND PUT ALL THE RESPONSIBILITY TO FIX THIS ON OUR SHOULDERS!………

Is this so! Why don’t you do something about it!
With all due respect Mr. President I just graduated college several years ago and young boys and girls are taught not only in my Women’s Studies class but even in my philosophy class that men are not necessary as husbands and fathers. You see we were all taught that all that is necessary for the development of children is the extended family of grandparents, uncles and aunts and the myriad of men that come in and out of the homes of single mothers and “their” children or simply a loving gay or lesbian couple. Even I fell for it. It was only my Women’s Studies class that made me realize that it was all a lie. You see, they say single motherhood is a lifestyle choice remember? What do you think brings me here to create my blog? My Women’s Studies class you idiot. I was so angry at what they were teaching in my college my mother was worried about me. I came home red in the face my president. Think real hard about the changes in our culture in the last 35-40 years. Take a good hard look at feminism. You know, the people you surround yourself with and convinced you to create the Council on Women and Girls only. Those people!!!

Rebuking Feminism: Be A Father??? Yea Right.

Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families | Family Law and Fathers

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, kidnapped children, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Title Iv-D on July 1, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Attorney Andrew J. Thompson has written an excellent article in support of Sen. Evan Bayh new try at passing the Reponsible Fatherhood Act.  This bill was defeated in 2006, when it was co-sponsored by Senator Barack Obama… hopefully we can make some in roads into keeping fatherhood and parenting issues after divorce as a national isssue, and perhaps even get some Senate sponsors for HJ Resolution 42, the Parental Rights Amendment sponsored by Congressman Pete Hoekstra.

– Parental Rights

By Andrew J Thompson

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh joins Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Illinois Sen. Roland Burris in sponsoring the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2009.  A similar bill is being introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Danny Davis – IL.

On the one hand, Sen. Bayh deserves commendation for his leadership on the issue, helping to bring national attention and focusing on the importance of children knowing and spending time with their fathers.  As a successor to his own father as a US Senator from Indiana, Sen. Bayh is well aware of the value and importance of a father’s involvement in his children’s lives.

By consistently elevating this message into the public forum, Sen. Bayh does a great service to American families.  He has followed the lead of an earlier Indiana Sen., former Vice President Dan Quayle, in keeping the discussion alive concerning the importance of fathers’ roles in their children’s upbringing.

The bill also has some provisions that will be very helpful in reducing some of the inefficiencies incurred by the government’s intervention with poor families, and helping to put more money directly into the pockets of needy families, particularly those in two parent households – a model we should encourage and foster.

Unfortunately, however, if the goal is to help increase the involvement of fathers in their children’s lives, it badly misses the mark in most of its provisions, and may in fact help extend the continuing assault on fathers’ ability to act as parents in their children’s lives.

While both federal and state legislation are badly needed, key provisions of any legislation should address the following:

Equality in Parenting: while parents’ roles will always differ, both parents matter deeply to every child, and on the whole, their roles should be valued equally and with an equality of balance. When parents separate, divorce, and act as single parents, each parent should be responsible for roughly equal shares of financial and parenting time responsibilities.  This equality should be recognized under the law.  The father who is willing to bear his share of each of these responsibilities should be honored and acknowledged, and his role and time with the children should not be inhibited by the family courts.

Support Enforcement: while covering a relatively equal share of his children’s financial support is part and parcel to fatherhood and will always be expected of fathers, current child support standards are far too onerous and unfairly burdensome to fathers.  The federal government plays a role in support regulation today and productive reforms can be made in the law as follows:

  1. Repeal the Bradley Amendment: Fathers who have been alienated from their children, perhaps have not seen them for 5,10 or 20 years, should not be forced to pay support to the mother.  The Bradley Amendment has created a situation where we have billions of dollars of uncollectible child support over the past 20 years, and it is time for its repeal.
  2. Title IV-D Funding: Under current law, states are rewarded with federal funds based on the amount of support they collect.  This creates an incentive in the system to create unreasonably high support guidelines and calculations, set inappropriately high support awards, and deploy draconian enforcement methods that force many, good fathers to live in poverty or near poverty conditions.  States should receive federal funding focusing directly and solely on those cases where collection is achievable (actual resources are shown to be available), and there is a history of continuing dereliction and lack of cooperation on the part of the parent obligated for support.
  3. Imputation of Income: Not even the IRS can arbitrarily impute an income against which it may levy charges, yet nearly every state permits this practice in determining the amount of support a father will have to pay.  This practice defies the principles underlying many of our Constitutional rights.  No state should be allowed to receive any federal funding as long as it allows for this practice.
  4. Sanctions/Imprisonment: There are many jurisdictions nationally where more than 10% of the prison/jail population is made up of fathers who are unable to pay support.  This runs contrary to the purpose of the laws themselves, as it prevents from earning the income necessary to do what the law is expecting of him.  The law should prohibit any parent who is willing to work and pay support from being jailed for non-payment of support, and parents responsible for support should be given a preference in professional and other licensing that may be necessary in order to earn the income to pay support.
  5. Garnishments: While other creditors are limited to garnishing 25% of an individual’s income, child support agencies can collect up to 65% – 65% of a low or mid-income wage, leaves the person completely unable to meet any other obligations, even the most basic.  Garnishments for support should be limited to 25%, consistent with otehr creditors.

Domestic Violence Issues: domestic violence is a very serious crime and should always be treated as such.  Allegations of domestic violence should result in appropriate protection for the victim with appropriate sanctions.  Children should not suffer alienation from a parent, they should not be punished for the actions of the parent.

Often the consequence of charges of domestic violence are the complete alienation of parent and child, financial costs that cannot or will not be paid nor recovered, and this often results from minimal, sometimes even ex parte hearings, with no jury and a standard of proof that requires nothing more, in most cases, than the suggestion of fear on the part of the accuser.

Even where a Temporary Restraining Order is an appropriate remedy, it should not be allowed to be used as a tool for the future alienation of fathers and children.  The point of the law is to help preserve the bond between children and their fathers and the law should be designed to promote these relationships.

If there is any temporary period of separation between a child and parent, the law should require both parents to participate in a process of restoration and reconciliation of the parental relationship.  A father cannot be responsible if he is to be excluded from the family mix.

These changes will make the law better, stronger and more effective in accomplishing the goal of healthy families with responsible fathers.

Andrew J Thompson is an attorney practicing in Indiana.  Please visit Thompson Legal Services today for any assistance you need with family law related matters.

Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families | Family Law and Fathers.

Restoring U.S. Fathers’ Confidence « Gaspard Lafalaise Jr | web log

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Obama, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Torts on July 1, 2009 at 8:14 pm

This is an excellent letter to President Barack Obama.  The president holds it within his power to respect fatherhood, or to continue down the path to pandering to victims groups that favor destroying tradtional marriage.

— Parental Rights.

Restoring U.S. Fathers’ Confidence

Blinded, or heavily concerned about the destructive effects of fatherlessness in the United States; President Barack H. Obama – perhaps because of misinformation or his ignorance on this matter – is taking a very dangerous stand against U.S. Fathers.  He is using the same old fearful speech that only alienates American Fathers and; by the same token, he is casting a shadow of bad reputation on his own dad.  However, as the President of the United States, a legislator, and an intelligent man; he also holds the key to destroy institutionalized American fatherlessness forever in his country – if he wants.
Consequently, it becomes more urgent that all concerned families and fatherhood  organizations; and all oppressed fathers to keep on the light, and to spread the truth about fatherhood.

We can help President Barack H Obama to understand that:

  1. Good responsible Fathers are frightened by the same old rhetoric that he and other political leaders are treacherously using;
  2. Fathers are not the enemy. They are the solution.
  3. Family court judges with their confederated watchdogs and with the complicity of duped single mothers are systematically and viciously orchestrating the abandonment by the fathers with falsehood and coercion.

I encourage you and all concerned organizations and U.S. citizens to contact President Barack H Obama directly by phone, fax, email, mail or in person – if possible – to urge him to take the lead in the restoration of American Fathers’ dignity before they can confidently return to their children to raise young men and young women who will have the capacity to bring prosperity back in the United States.

As a symbolic gesture of his commitment, let’s urge him to proclaim this Fourth of July 2009 the day of the liberation of the United States from the yokes of institutionalized fatherlessness by declaring it a day of prayers with reasonable and liberal visitation rights for all fathers and their children who are denied access to each other because of a disgraceful judge’s court order.
Read a copy of my “Open Letter to President Barack H Obama” on this matter – sent to several partner organizations for immediate release – for your consideration.
In our community of nations, we have learned the hard way that when one nation falls, we all suffer. Incidentally, when one nation rises up, we all benefit.
The restoration of U.S. Fathers’ confidence is a proven good investment in their children and in the future of nations. Political leaders must abide by that principle.

Ww/JD/9625

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)

Federal Government Reverses Child Support Enforcement Policies for States

In child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, mothers rights, Non-custodial mothers, Obama, Parents rights, state crimes on May 13, 2009 at 8:39 pm

by Lary Holland
http://www.laryholland.com

The federal government recently reversed a policy that required states to contribute to their own child support enforcement programs, now allowing the states to again use federal incentive money to obtain additional federal grant money. Essentially federal taxpayers from other states will now be footing a significant increase for other states’ child support enforcement activities as a result of this policy reversal.

Under the Budget Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, federal taxpayers were relieved that states were no longer allowed to “double-dip” out of the federal title iv-d program coffers. It is important to note that under the Title IV-D program the programs established are not essential services for needy families, as over half of the families that receive a benefit do not even qualify for or are at risk of needing other government welfare programs.

The new Recovery Act provision is effective Oct. 1, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2010. States will receive the additional match funding based on any incentive funds used during FY 2009 and FY 2010, including incentives earned and not spent in prior years. States will access the additional funds as they currently do, through grant awards based on quarterly expenditures.

(Source: HHS Makes Estimated $1 Billion in Recovery Act Funds Available to Improve Child Support Enforcement; March 26, 2009; Press Release)

The changes under the spending bill, signed into law by President Obama, coined the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) seems to be a significant spending bill that simply increases the flow of money to government employees and not to the average American citizen, to “further stimulate the economy.” Many “Title IV-D” or “Child Support Enforcement” offices were looking at shrinking the size of their offices when they found out they were unable to support paying even a mere one-third of their own expenses to justify their existence. The ARRA now encourages continued federal spending for programs that simply are not sustainable and will only continue to drain the American Taxpayer with more and more funding requests to keep their doors open. The child support enforcement program now lives up to its name of a free-for-all welfare spending program, which amounts to an uncapped spending spree coming out of the American Taxpayers pocketbook.

To see how much additional federal incentive money was provided to each state that got their expenditure reports in, you can visit the HHS Recovery Funds Distribution Website at http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/programs/cse/qtr1awards.html.

Notes

1. The ARRA ‘09 includes clear expectations that States and other recipients of ARRA ’09 stimulus funds will be held accountable for how funds are expended and what benefits are derived from the use of these funds. ACF anticipates requests for spending and performance data that will be posted on the http://www.recovery.gov web site. Therefore, States should take care to anticipate accountability and transparency requirements and that information on state-reported impact of these expenditures will be available to the public.

2. States that have not reported expenditures made using incentive funds for the 1st quarter will not receive 1st quarter incentive grants at this time. States with applicable expenditures may revise their 1st quarter reports or include amounts in their 2nd or 3rd quarter estimates. Grants will be issued on a rolling basis promptly after reports are received.

3. Grant awards reflect 66% of actual expenditures reported by States for the 1st quarter of FY 2009 on Form OCSE-396A, line 1a column A.

The Original article can be found here: http://www.laryholland.com/serendipity/archives/589-Federal-Government-Reverses-Child-Support-Enforcement-Policies-for-States.html

Parental Rights Jeopardized by House Resolution

In adoption abuse, California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Homeschool, judicial corruption, Liberty, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 12, 2009 at 4:58 pm

House Resolution 416 Promotes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

— May 11, 2009

On May 7, Rep. John Lewis (GA-5) introduced House Resolution 416 calling on the U.S. Senate to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and several other U.N. treaties. At its introduction, the bill had 9 cosponsors from the urban centers of Oakland, San Jose, and Sacramento, California, New York City, Houston, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, and the suburbs of D.C. (VA-8’s Rep. Moran). The non-voting delegate from Guam is also signed on.

The sponsors of H. Res. 416 include John Lewis (GA-5), Ed Markey (MA-7), Madeleine Bordallo (Guam), Charles Rangel (NY-15), Barbara Lee (CA-9), Mike Honda (CA-15), Doris Matsui (CA-5), Danny Davis (IL-7), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Jim Moran (VA-8), and Raul Grijalva (AZ-7).

We will monitor the resolution’s progress and do everything in our power to hinder its passage. If you live in one of the above districts, contact your representative and let them know that you have serious concerns about the UNCRC, and believe strongly that they should pull their support of this resolution. If you have friends or family members in their district, have them contact them as well. Remember to be respectful and courteous when you call, as congressional staff will be more likely to pay attention to what you have to say if you do not sound angry or rude.

http://www.parentalrights.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={1AD9BFBE-A129-4E6C-BA06-E00E1D62E20F}

Parental Rights Caselaw

In adoption abuse, California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, DSM-IV, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Homeschool, Indians, Jayne Major, judicial corruption, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial mothers, Obama, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 12, 2009 at 12:44 am

http://www.liftingtheveil.org/supreme-court.htm

United States Supreme Court

In the early 1920s, the United States Supreme Court first reviewed the rights, liberties and obligations of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. Two important decisions, Meyer v. Nebraska and Pierce v. Society of Sisters, established a legacy which was followed by a series of decisions holding that parenting is a fundamental constitutional right, and among “the basic civil rights of man.”

Choices about marriage, family life, and the upbringing of children are among those rights the Court has ranked as “of basic importance in our society,” and as sheltered by the 14th Amendment against the State’s unwarranted usurpation, disregard, or disrespect.

Assembled here are a majority of those cases defining or reaffirming these fundamental rights. Links are provided to each case on the FindLaw Internet Legal Resources service. Each is in hypertext format, with links to related opinions of the court contained in the ruling.

M. L. B. v. S. L. J.
___ US ___, 117 S. Ct. 555 (1996)

Choices about marriage, family life, and the upbringing of children are among associational rights this Court has ranked as “of basic importance in our society,” rights sheltered by the 14th Amendment against the State’s unwarranted usurpation, disregard, or disrespect. This case, involving the State’s authority to sever permanently a parent-child bond, demanded the close consideration the Court has long required when a family association so undeniably important was at stake.

Santosky v Kramer
455 US 745 (1982)

The fundamental liberty interest of natural parents in the care, custody, and management of their child is protected by the 14th Amendment, and does not evaporate simply because they have not been model parents or have lost temporary custody of their child to the State. A parental rights termination proceeding interferes with that fundamental liberty interest. When the State moves to destroy weakened familial bonds, it must provide the parents with fundamentally fair procedures.

Lassiter v Department of Social Services
452 US 18 (1981)

The Court’s decisions have by now made plain that a parent’s desire for and right to “the companionship, care, custody, and management of his or her children” is an important interest that “undeniably warrants deference and, absent a powerful countervailing interest, protection.” A parent’s interest in the accuracy and justice of the decision to terminate his or her parental status is, therefore, a commanding one.

Quilloin v Walcott
434 US 246 (1978)

We have little doubt that the Due Process Clause would be offended “if a State were to attempt to force the breakup of a natural family, over the objections of the parents and their children, without some showing of unfitness and for the sole reason that to do so was thought to be in the children’s best interest.” Whatever might be required in other situations, we cannot say that the State was required in this situation to find anything more than that the adoption, and denial of legitimation, were in the “best interests of the child.”

Smith v Organization of Foster Care Families
431 US 816 (1977)

In this action, individual foster parents and a foster parents organization, sought declaratory and injunctive relief against New York State and New York City officials, alleging that the statutory and regulatory procedures for removal of foster children from foster homes violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment. The ruling contains an analysis of the rights of natural parents as balanced against the rights of foster parents, as well as a comprehensive discussion of foster care conditions.

Moore v East Cleveland
431 US 494 (1977)

The Court has long recognized that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. A host of cases, tracing their lineage to Meyer v. Nebraska and Pierce v. Society of Sisters have consistently acknowledged a “private realm of family life which the state cannot enter.” When the government intrudes on choices concerning family living arrangements, the Court must examine carefully the importance of the governmental interests advanced.

Cleveland Board of Education v La Fleur
414 US 632 (1974)

The Court has long recognized that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. There is a right “to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.”

Stanley v Illinois
405 US 645 (1972)

The private interest here, that of a man in the children he has sired and raised, undeniably warrants deference and protection. The integrity of the family unit has found protection in the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and the 9th Amendment.

Wisconsin v Yoder
406 US 205 (1972)

In this case involving the rights of Amish parents to provide for private schooling of their children, the Court held: “The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.”

Loving v Virginia
388 US 1 (1967)

In this case involving interracial marriage, the Court reaffirmed the principles set forth in Pierce and Meyers, finding that marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival. “The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

Griswold v Connecticut
381 US 479 (1965)

The 4th and 5th Amendments were described as protection against all governmental invasions “of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of life.” The Court referred to the 4th Amendment as creating a “right to privacy, no less important than any other right carefully and particularly reserved to the people.” Reaffirming the principles set forth in Pierce v. Society of Sisters and Meyers v Nebraska.

Prince v Massachusetts
321 US 158 (1944)

It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder. And it is in recognition of this that these decisions have respected the private realm of family life which the state cannot enter.

Skinner v Oklahoma
316 US 535 (1942)

“We are dealing here with legislation which involves one of the basic civil rights of man. Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race.”

Pierce v Society of Sisters
268 US 510 (1925)

The liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children was abridged by a proposed statute to compell public education. “The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

Meyer v Nebraska
262 US 390 (1923)

“No state … shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

“While this court has not attempted to define with exactness the liberty thus guaranteed, the term has received much consideration and some of the included things have been definitely stated. Without doubt, it denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

Preventing Parentectomy Following Divorce

In child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, family court, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 7, 2009 at 1:00 am

By Frank S. Williams M.D.
Keynote Address, Fifth Annual Conference
National Council for Children’s Rights
Washington DC

Frank S. Williams, M.D. Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst for children, adolescents and adults, is Director of Family and Child Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles. Dr. Williams also directs the Cedars-Sinai Program for Children and Families of Divorce.

Introduction

Parentectomy is the removal, erasure, or severe diminution of a caring parent in a child’s life, following separation or divorce.

Parentectomy covers a large range of parent removal from partial parentectomy, “You may visit your Daddy or Mommy every other Sunday”; to total parentectomy, as in Parental Alienation Syndrome, described by Gardner; or complete parent absence or removal. The victims of parentectomy are the children and the parents so severed from each other’s lives. A parentectomy is the most cruel infringement upon children’s rights to be carried out against human children by human adults. Parentectomies are psychologically lethal to children and parents.

In the worst consequential wake of a parentectomy , the victim parent gives up and walks away from the surgically-minded adults and the victim children. When this happens, the victim parent walks away from the chronic warring battlefield with intense ambivalence and confusion, faced with an insoluble dilemma. He or she knows that the chronic war in which one parent tries to erase the other parent, and the other parent struggles to stave off the parentectomy, is itself destructive to the children, as it causes ongoing tension and stress in them, as well as in the ongoing interaction between the children and each of their parents. On the other hand, if a mother or father gives up and walks away from the war, the children feel abandoned by a loved and needed parent, and unusually resent and become depressed over the abandonment.

Although children hate fighting and pray for it to stop, they misinterpret a parent’s giving up the fight as that parent’s not caring enough about them. Yet, clinicians know that, in these cases, even when a father or mother gives up the battle for custody, it is hardly ever due to not caring for their children enough. Rather, they give up the fight because they are emotionally depleted, physically exhausted, worn out, depressed or financially drained; they don’t want to continue to subject their children to the relentless warring; they discover that they have little chance of success against a prejudiced legal/judicial system, and little chance of success against a prejudiced, incompetent or skillful “hired gun” – mental health professional, who has been paid to facilitate a parentectomy. Unfortunately, for the right price, such psychological surgeons can be found.

Further Consequences of a Parentectomy

In addition to the worst scenario of actually being abandoned, when a parentectomy occurs, children lose the rewarding ongoing opportunity to give and receive love to and from a parent who has loved them.

These children frequently become depressed – especially in later adolescence. At times their depression reaches suicidal proportions. In my own clinical work, as well as in school and emergency room consultation experience during the past 15 years, I have found a very high correlation between suicidality in adolescents and a divorce in their earlier years, which virtually results in one parent being erased from their lives.

They often lack self esteem, particularly if they believe the erased parent willfully abandoned them, or when the remaining parent behaves as if the erased parent never existed or never loved and cared for the children.

Children with parentectomies often go on to mistrust and fail in adult intimate relationships, this is for several reasons. first, they tend to see people as good or bad, right or wrong, loving or hateful, worthy of gratitude or worthy of punishment. Secondly, they have usually witnessed models of adult relationships based on mutual accusations and defensiveness, as opposed to the healthier model of tolerating ambivalence about the good and bad in others and in oneself. Further, in cases of Parental Alienation Syndrome, they may leave home prematurely or turn against the “favoured’ parent later in life. Their turning against the one favoured parent may come about in later adolescence, when they realize they were “brainwashed” victims caused by a malicious, angry, or disturbed parent, to unjustifiably hate the other parent.

Methods Used in the Service of Parentectomy

A parent seeking to perform a parentectomy usually enlists the help of attorneys, relatives, friends, and mental health professionals, in the pursuit of the radical removal of the other parent.

They have several methods at their disposal. First they can get the potential parent victim – usually the Father – to see a “friendly,” “brilliant” mental health clinician or child development specialist, who will brain-drill the potential parent victim about a distorted, out-of-context version of the psychological and developmental needs of children. The child development specialist will reiterate that children – especially young children – need the stability, constancy and consistency of one home, and that it is emotionally harmful for the children to be shuttled back and forth between homes. They will reiterate that children need a primary psychological caretaker.

From my own clinical experience with children, I would agree with the position that one home provides stability and continuity. However, when parents are divorced, the children cannot enjoy the benefit of both parents living with them in the same home. Therefore shuttling between homes may be inevitable. In divorce, we usually do not have the option of choosing what is in the best interest of the children. Instead, we most often must choose the least detrimental of several detrimental options. This is especially so when a child has been psychologically bonded to two parents. Of two potential evils for children – the evil of shuttling between the homes of two loving, caring parents versus the evil of losing one such parent – certainly the lesser evil is shuttling between two homes. It is the continued parental bonding, not the number of homes or vehicular travel, that will be the crucial determinant of children’s forward psychological development following divorce. In these days, when both parents frequently work, and rely on sharing the child-rearing with each other, with other family members and with housekeepers and day care personnel, the concept of one “primary psychological caretaker” is outdated. frequently there are two psychological caretakers or a network of caretakers, supervised by two parents.

Should the “friendly,” “brilliant” mental health clinician described above fail to convince the victim of the need for a parentectomy, the determined other parent can then enlist the aid of the “hired-gun” child development expert. After a brief, superficial contact with the other parent, of times without ever seeing the victim parent or without ever seeing the children interact with the victim parent – the “hired-gun” will unequivocally and with utmost scientific certainty declare:

1. that the children mistrust and are afraid of the victim parent;
2. that the victim parent lacks empathy for the children;
3. that the victim parent emotionally abuses the children;
4. that the victim parent is an alcoholic or other substance abuser;
5. that the victim parent is impulsive and prone to potential child physical abuse; and,
6. worst of all, that the victim parent suffers with a serious psychiatric disorder, such as Borderline Personality, Narcissistic, Anti-Social, or Obsessive Compulsive Personality disorder, or perhaps even Paranoia or Schizophrenia.

Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse

Should the “friendly” counselling and “hired gun” approaches fail, the parent determined to perform a parentectomy can make an allegation of Child Sexual Abuse. This is most effective when the child is of preschool age, and easily confused. Such allegations need careful expert professional attention. Proper thorough evaluations must be conducted, during which time the child should not be removed from either parent. In selective situations, following parental separation and divorce, mothers, father and children are highly vulnerable to sexual abuse activity. When a child or parent is quantitively deprived of loving parent-child contact, the child or parent may over-cherish or over-respond to physical contact, which may become eroticized. When there is no other adult to console a lonely parent who feels frightened at night and that lonely parent’s child also feels lonely and frightened at night, the parent and child may wind up sleeping in the same bed together. this increases their vulnerability to erotic, sexual contacts.

Although we should not summarily dismiss the possibility of actual sexual molestation, at the same time we have found that most allegations of child sexual abuse during custody wars are false allegations. Some are calculated manipulations, while others result from parents’ anxieties, misinterpretations, and their clouded perceptions during custody battles.

Absence of Cooperation

If all the above methods fail, the parent determined to perform a parentectomy can then claim, “We can’t cooperate and therefore we cannot share parenting by way of any form of joint custody, as joint custody requires substantial parental cooperation.” Unfortunately, this declaration is often supported by mental health clinicians, because of their misunderstanding or over-statement of the writings of Dr. Richard Gardner. Dr. Gardner’s clinical experience with children and parents of divorce is often misused to reinforce this faulty point of view about parental cooperation.

When Richard Gardner stated that “joint custody” requires a high degree of parental cooperation (1986, 1989), he was using his particular definition of joint custody – one in which there is a free-flowing, flexible arrangement; one in which the children and the parents may frequently shift schedules, may often change the days and times the children are with each parent; and may alter parental responsibilities for the children’s school and social activities. In such flexible arrangements, the shifts in schedule and responsibilities can occur during any given day, week or month. Of course, such an unstructured, ever-changing form of joint custody require frequent parental contact, negotiation and discussion, and often involves the children. Such a form of flexible, free-flowing joint custody would require parental cooperation, and would not work well where one parent hates or is emotionally allergic to the other parent.

This particular form of joint custody however, is now a rare and somewhat antiquated form of joint custody. It reflects the efforts of those few special early “pioneer” parents who respected each other as parents and individuals. They were therefore able to explore flexible joint arrangements in attempts to continue their children’s lives with both parents. In essence they explored and maintained living environments, approximating the pre-divorce situation. In contrast to Dr. Gardner’s definition, my definition of “joint custody” is a multi-faceted one. At one end of the spectrum, it includes such flexible unstructured, free flowing arrangements, defined by Gardner. At the other end of the spectrum it includes a detailed, rigid and highly structured parent-child plan, which minimizes the need for parent contact, negotiation and communication. Between the two extreme ends of the spectrum are varying arrangements in which real significant living time, including overnights, is shared with the children by both parents, with varying degrees of structure and rigidity, as required. Indeed, with warring, unfriendly, uncooperative parents, a highly structured, rigid, inflexible custody schedule is necessary and appropriate. The structure for high conflict parents should include transitions for the children between parents, on neutral grounds; for example, the children can be picked up from and be returned to school, instead of the other parent’s residence. This arrangement avoids points of battle between the parents, and avoids the need for frequent negotiations on a day-to-day, or week-to-week basis, which, in turn, avoids the need to battle over decision-making, residential time, or parental authority in front of the children.

It is unfortunate that Dr. Gardner has been misunderstood and misused by some mental health clinicians advocating for sole custody to one parent. In consultation with Dr. Gardner, I learned that he believes that when there are two highly bonded loving parents, a rigid structured schedule of even 50-50 shared residential overnights, as well as a pre-defined structure decision-making authority plan for each parent may be appropriate to best serve the children. He would just not define such a 50-50, rigid, structured arrangement as “joint-custody”.

Dynamics Behind the Pursuit of Parentectomy

Parental Identity

The fear of losing one’s parental identity is the principal dynamic behind parentectomy efforts. Throughout life, all persons gain and integrate many identities, which become part of their self-images. These identities include one’s identity as: a child member of a family; a student; a peer or team member; a professional or other worker; a mate with marital identity; a person with a parental identity; and a grandparent with a grand-parental identity.

Until recent times, some parents, more traditionally mothers in our western culture, reached a point of divorce with primarily marital and parental identities. For such parents, as their mate or marital identity dissolves, as it does in divorce, the only identity often left for them to hold on to, cherish, and fight for is their parental identity.

Grandparents, especially when they are retired from both work and parenting, often fear loss of their primary remaining identity – their grandparents identity. As they envision sharing or losing valued time with their grandchildren, their fears may prompt them to harp on their sons and daughters to fight for sole custody of the children, so they will not become “unemployed” grandparents.

The appearance of a potential stepmother or stepfather on the scene is highly threatening to parental identity. This is especially so when that newcomer has a great need to parent. Hearing one’s children refer to a step parent as “mommy” or “daddy”, often triggers the search for the parental scalpel.

The Loss of the Family

For adults, the pain of losing one’s family structure is very intense, and in may cases, much more intense than the pain of losing one’s mate. Divorcing parents often desperately hold on to a myth that their family has not fallen apart, in their attempt to not feel the pain and depression which accompanies the rupture of the family. They maintain the myth of a one-family structure, embodying elements of one home and one family. This myth is much easier to hold on to is a parent does not have to see the other parent. It is especially easier to hold on to if a replacement is brought in to fulfill the other parent’s role, namely a boyfriend, stepfather, girlfriend, or stepmother.

In counselling parents of divorce, I have found it much more productive to focus on the pain caused by the loss of family structure, as opposed to focusing on the pain caused by the parent’s prior battle with each other, or the pain caused by their loss of each other.

The literature on divorce leans heavily on the concept that divorced parents chronically battle in an effort to hold on to each other and not lose the marital relationship. Although that dynamic does exist, in my experience it is not a universal post-divorce dynamic, and it is not the primary reason behind prolonged custody struggles or prolonged custody wars. Instead, I find the need to hold on to this myth of one non-ruptured family is a more usual dynamic behind prolonged custody wars. Unfortunately, maintaining that myth of one family, requires erasing the other parent.

Envy, Rage and Revenge

A parent’s desire to punish the other parent by depriving the other parent of his or her children often relates to the other parent’s apparent or fantasied greater success or luck in life. This can create rage and envy. The real or fantasied greater success is in the area of: finding a new and rewarding love relationship; achieving greater financial security; having a wholesome extended support system of family and friends; and most ironic, envy and rage in relation to the other parent’s fantasied or actual greater success in relating to their children in warm, comfortable, loving and trusting ways.

It is this rage, envy, and the wish to punish that we see most often in severe cases of Parental Alienation Syndrome, with very pathologically disturbed parents.

Psychological “Allergic” Reactions to the Other Parent

We frequently see situations in which one parent became psychologically dependent upon the other during the marriage.

Once separated and needing to break the dependency but fearful of the continued power of dependency, such a dependent parent feels and urgent compulsion to avoid the other parent as one avoids poison ivy. Feeling emotionally “allergic” the dependent parent fears susceptibility to renewed dependency. To avoid the allergen – namely the other parent – the dependent parent attempts to achieve complete avoidance which, of course, is easier to achieve if that parent can be kept out of the children’s lives. The allergy medicine – parentectomy – becomes the children’s poison!

Prevention of Parentectomy

The following recommendations on how to prevent parentectomies may, in part, appear drastic. These prevention measures which are presented in the spirit of suggestions, and based on clinical experience, include:

1. Person contemplating marriage and children should consider a proposed mate’s tendency toward relying on the role of being a parent as his or her exclusive identity. Such persons may need to rely totally on full-time control over the children for identity following divorce.
2. One should try to fall in love with and have children with a mate who has great empathy for children’s needs and feelings. A mother or father with empathy who loves his or her children will usually not subject the children to a parent removal.
3. One should not separate from one’s mate without a scheduled, structured, legal custody arrangement, in advance of parting the marital relationship.
4. Once separated, a parent should never speak with and certainly should never see a mental health professional – other than a court appointed one – that he or she has not helped choose in advance, and should further avoid like the plague a friendly-sounding psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or counsellor, who calls and says he or she wants to help the parents and children through the pain of divorce. this is especially so when that professional has already seen the children and the other parent.
5. Parents should seek and hopefully find attorneys not biased by the conviction that all children need a primary home and a primary caretaker after divorce.
6. The first moment it becomes clear that scheduled custodial time with one’s child is being consistently blocked, the parent so blocked should, run not walk, with his or her attorney, to the nearest family court.

Conclusion

Many parents, mental health clinicians, and attorneys have had contact with the process of parentectomy as a victim or as someone close to a victim. Professionals must guide victims or potential victims through the maze of legal, judicial, mental health and family processes which can lead to the radical “surgery” of parent-erasure I call parentectomy. Attempts at parentectomy create a psychological reign of terror, for the intended parent and child-victims. Those victims who survive are emotionally bloodied, bitter, war-torn, and exhausted. They often form and join support groups with committed and caring persons in organisations to protect their children and themselves, or to help others to protect their children and themselves from the dreaded sequelae of parentectomy. Most parentectomy victims and most of those who try to help such victims, experience a great deal of chronic emotional pain.

I wish there were a panacea to help reduce that pain. There is not. The author has shared his experience and thinking around children and parents of divorce, in the hope that increased understanding of the dynamics behind parentectomy, will help clinicians, attorneys, judges and parents eradicate this most dreaded, malevolent and destructive affliction of parents and children who love, care for and need each other.

The original article can be found here: http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/willia90.htm

Do Fathers Matter Uniquely for Adolescent Well-Being?

In children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, deadbeat dads, Divorce, DSM-IV, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, judicial corruption, mothers rights, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on May 2, 2009 at 5:30 am

by David Eggebeen
Research Brief No. 14, October 2008

The evidence is in and it is clear that fathers do matter for the lives of children. Hundreds of studies over the past two decades have consistently demonstrated that fathers have a measureable impact on children.[1] Studies show that infants are positively affected by the interactions and care given by their fathers.[2] Research has also established the importance of fathers for older children’s well-being. Good studies have found that the quality of parenting exhibited by the father as well as the resources fathers bring or don’t bring to their families predict children’s behavior problems, depression, self-esteem, and life-satisfaction.[3] The reach of fathers has been shown to extend to adolescents and young adults, as research shows adolescents function best when their fathers are engaged and involved in their lives.[4] Finally, there is good evidence that fathers play an important role in helping their children make the transition to adulthood.[5]

Much remains that we do not know about the link between fathers and their children. Yet the first “stage” of work, that of establishing that fathers matter, is well advanced. The next stage, exploring the unique contributions of fathers as compared with mothers or other adults, remains less well developed. To date, debates about whether fathers are essential to optimal child development have taken place without much anchor in empirical research.[6] Assessing the unique effects of fathers on children is important for several reasons.

First, high rates of divorce and nonmarital childbearing mean that about half of children today are likely to live some of their childhood in a home where their father does not live.[7] As of 2007, 19.2 million children were not living with a biological or adoptive father or stepfather, compared to 9.5 million children living in fatherless homes in 1970.[8] While many nonresident fathers work hard to provide for their children and take parenting seriously, research shows that responsible, involved nonresident fathers remain rare. In a large number of cases, nonresident fathers are largely absent from the lives of their children.[9] Given this demographic reality, it remains imperative for family scholars to continue to research the full “cost” of fatherlessness for children.

Second, an increasing number of children are growing up in households that differ in important ways from two biological-parent households as well as female-headed households. Certainly, the numbers of children in multigenerational households, cohabiting-couple households, and other nontraditional living arrangements can no longer be ignored. Put another way, do children develop optimally when raised by their father and their mother? Or can any number of adults, regardless of their gender, parent as effectively as a father and a mother?

Finally, there is considerable cultural pressure today for fathers to be involved in the lives of their children. What exactly this “involvement” means, however, remains unclear. Should fathers act like mothers to their children? What does it mean that children might be better off if “there is a man around”?[10] Research on the similarities and differences between mothers and fathers in characteristics, behavior, and parenting may help parents better appreciate the distinctive parenting contributions of their spouse or child’s parent.

To date, research attempts to disentangle the effects of mothers and fathers have been thin. One review of the literature on the effects of fathers on children identified only 8 of 72 studies that took into account the relationship between the mother and the child when assessing the effects of father involvement.[11] Most of these studies have simply “controlled for” (or taken out) the effects of the mother’s characteristics in their assessment of whether fathers matter. The relationship between the mother’s and the father’s characteristics and behavior on a particular outcome, however, can potentially take three forms.[12] First, the father’s effects may be additive; that is, what fathers do may have an effect on adolescent outcomes over and above what mothers do. It is also possible, however, that the father’s and the mother’s involvement or characteristics are redundant; that is, children benefit from a father or mother—it doesn’t matter which one—engaging in certain behaviors or possessing certain characteristics. Finally, it is possible that fathers have a unique effect on certain outcomes; that is, fathers, but not mothers, are important for distinct outcomes. Little is yet understood about how the father’s influence is distributed across these possibilities.

In this research brief, I explore the importance of fathers and mothers for a nationally representative sample of teenagers, specifically examining whether a father’s human capital, social capital, and role modeling may uniquely influence his adolescent’s self-identity and behavior.

Sociological Perspectives on Fatherhood

When sociologists think about what fathers do and how they might make unique contributions to the welfare of their children beyond that of mothers, they focus less on the particulars of how fathers interact with their children (the province of psychologists) and more on what resources fathers directly or indirectly provide. Much of the sociologically oriented research concentrates on using survey data to compare children living in married-couple families with children in mother-headed families. While this approach has been useful for understanding the advantages for children of growing up in a two-parent family, it is not very useful for understanding the precise role fathers play because researchers are comparing unlike situations: children reared by one parent instead of two.[13] To better understand the unique roles of fathers and mothers, this brief compares the contributions of fathers and mothers within two-parent heterosexual families to determine if they are unique.

From a sociological perspective, what kinds of contributions to children might we expect from fathers? To answer this question, sociologists tend to think about what kinds of human capital and social capital fathers possess and how this might uniquely affect children. Also, because sociologists see both parents as the primary agents of socialization, they look at the role modeling of both mothers and fathers as important influences on children.

Human Capital

How mothers and fathers care for their children is strongly influenced by their human capital—the skills, knowledge, and values that they possess and that are associated with occupational success in American society. Parents with high levels of human capital, typically indicated by years of education, are more likely to do the kinds of things that enhance their children’s cognitive abilities and school performance. They are likely to provide a stimulating home environment by limiting television and encouraging reading. They are more likely to take their children to museums, libraries, plays, and other enriching activities. They may choose to live in communities with good schools or sacrifice to send their children to strong private or parochial schools. Mothers and fathers with high human capital not only encourage high occupational aspirations in their children but also promote the kinds of behavior in their children that are associated with success in school.

Most, but not all, studies show mothers and fathers with high education levels have children who do well in school.[14] Furthermore, most of these studies find that a father’s education affects children independently from a mother’s education. Although less studied, where fathers have good education, families have also been found in some studies to have children with positive self-esteem, life skills, social competence, and cooperativeness.[15] In short, there is consistent evidence that children benefit from the human capital characteristics of both their parents.

Social Capital

In a classic article in 1988, sociologist James Coleman identified “social capital” as resources embedded in family and community relationships. The quality of the relationship between each parent and child represents one important component of social capital.[16] A large number of studies that investigated associations between paternal supportive behavior and child outcomes found that the overwhelming majority showed significant associations between father support and measures of child well-being. Only a few studies, however, took into account characteristics of mothers, and among those that did, the evidence for father effects was weaker.[17]

Role Modeling

Beyond their resources and relationships, fathers and mothers influence their children simply by who they are and how they act. Children learn by observing those around them—and parents are the most visible adults in their world. Children who observe fathers and mothers treating others with respect, handling conflict in effective ways, and engaging in responsible and appropriate behavior are likely to emulate these behaviors themselves. On the other hand, children learn quite different lessons about themselves, how to behave or treat others, when parents treat each other badly, are neglectful or abusive to their children, or engage in inappropriate or illegal behavior. In addition, fathers and mothers uniquely model to their children what it means to be a man and a woman. The importance of parental modeling has been shown in a large number of studies, although only a few studies attempted to assess the effects of both mothers and fathers simultaneously. Two recent studies that did account for the role-modeling behaviors of both mothers and fathers show that each parent’s psychological health, drinking behavior, availability, as well as the degree of marital conflict all influence the child’s self-image and behavior.[18] More research needs to be done to understand the relative importance of mothers and fathers as role models.

An Analysis Using the National Study of Adolescent Health

Data drawn from the National Study of Adolescent Health (or “Add Health”) provides an excellent opportunity to examine these theoretical ideas. The Add Health survey is a long-term nationally representative sample of 20,745 middle and high school students first interviewed in 1995–1996. A second wave of interviews was conducted one year later, and a third round of 15,170 persons was interviewed in 2001.[19] I looked only at respondents who were living with both biological parents during the first round of interviews.[20] I focused on the link between mothers and fathers and two adolescent outcomes: poor mental health (indicated by the number of symptoms of depression) and bad behavior (indicated by participation in violent or delinquent activity in the past year). Both depression and delinquent behavior become significantly more common during adolescence and represent major risk factors for poor school performance, drug and alcohol abuse, and risky sexual behavior.[21]

I used two indicators of the mother’s and father’s human capital: education levels and whether or not they had worked full time in the previous year. I used two indicators of the father’s and mother’s social capital: adolescent reports of the relationship quality with their parent and how close they feel to their parent. Finally, I looked at three indicators of the mother’s and father’s role-modeling behavior: the number of activities they did with their adolescent, whether they were available for the adolescent at certain times of the day, and whether the parent engaged in excessive drinking.[22]

Fathers and Adolescent Depression and Delinquent Behavior

I found that the father’s levels of social and human capital, as well as some role-modeling behaviors, are strong predictors of the likelihood his child will show depression symptoms. Furthermore, the father’s characteristics and behavior remain statistically significant even when the mother’s human and social capital characteristics and her role-modeling behavior are taken into account. Specifically, if the father has a poor relationship with his adolescent, the adolescent reports lack of closeness, the father has a low education level, and the father does few activities with his adolescent, the more likely both male and female adolescents are to show depression symptoms, regardless of the mother’s characteristics.

Fathers also matter a great deal when it comes to delinquent behavior. The higher the father’s social capital (quality of father-child relationship and closeness) the less likely both boys and girls are to engage in delinquency. In addition, the father’s lack of education is associated with the son’s delinquency, and the father’s lack of availability increases the likelihood of the daughter’s delinquent behavior. All these indications of the father’s influence appear to exist regardless of the mother’s social and human capital and her role-modeling behavior.

Fathers as Complementary and Unique

In my analysis, I found that fathers typically make additional or complementary contributions beyond that of mothers to adolescent well-being. In almost all of these cases, the human and social capital of mothers and fathers tended to be additive in nature. In other words, two parents are better than one. In a few instances, adolescents benefit from having at least one parent modeling appropriate behavior—or suffer if one parent models bad behavior. For example, lack of one parent’s availability tended to increase the likelihood of the boy’s delinquency, and one parent’s excessive drinking tended to increase the likelihood of the girl’s delinquency. In addition, I found evidence that mothers and fathers make unique contributions to parenting depending on the gender of the adolescent, most often by their particular role modeling. For example, the father’s, but not mother’s, lack of involvement in the adolescent’s activities was associated with the girl’s depression symptoms, and the mother’s lack of involvement in her child’s activities uniquely predicted the boy’s delinquency. The mother’s, but not the father’s, lack of availability and excessive drinking were associated with the boy’s depression symptoms.

Conclusion

What these analyses clearly show is that mothers and fathers both make vital contributions to adolescent well-being. In a few instances, fathers and mothers appear to be interchangeable. There are more instances, however, in which mothers and fathers complement each other in their characteristics or behavior in ways that benefit children, and in most cases fathers make positive contributions to the well-being of their children beyond what mothers do.

While this research demonstrates that the well-being of adolescents living with their biological parents is influenced by both mothers and fathers, significant questions remain. Very little is known about how the parenting practices, parent-child relationships, and characteristics of the parents or other adults who care for children in cohabiting-couple families or other nontraditional family arrangements are similar to, or different from, married-couple families. Until careful, methodologically rigorous studies based on reasonably representative samples are conducted, we cannot be confident that these nontraditional arrangements offer the same potential benefits to children as growing up with involved, educated, and responsible mothers and fathers.

Endnotes

1. For recent reviews of this large literature, see William Marsiglio et al., “Scholarship on Fatherhood in the 1990s and Beyond,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 62 (2000): 1173–1191; Daniel Paquette, “Theorizing the Father-Child Relationship: Mechanisms and Developmental Outcomes,” Human Development 47 (2004): 193–219; Ross D. Parke, “Fathers and Families” in The Handbook of Parenting, 2nd ed., vol. 3, Being and Becoming a Parent, ed. Mark H. Bornstein (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002), 27–74.
2. Frank A. Pedersen, The Father-Infant Relationship: Observational Studies in a Family Setting (New York: Praeger, 1980); Michael W. Yogman, “Games Fathers and Mothers Play with Their Infants,” Infant Mental Health Journal 2 (1981): 241–248.
3. Marsiglio et al., “Scholarship on Fatherhood in the 1990s and Beyond.”
4. Cheryl Buehler, Mark J. Benson, and Jean M. Gerard, “Interparental Hostility and Early Adolescent Problem Behavior: The Mediating Role of Specific Aspects of Parenting,” Journal of Research on Adolescence 16, no. 2 (2006): 265–292.
5. Paul Amato, “Father-Child Relations, Mother-Child Relations, and Offspring Psychological Well-Being in Early Adulthood,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 56 (1994): 1031–1042.
6. Joseph H. Pleck, “Why Could Father Involvement Benefit Children? Theoretical Perspectives,” Applied Developmental Science 11, no. 4 (2007): 196–202; David Popenoe, Life Without Father (New York: Pressler Press, 1996); Louis B. Silverstein and Carl F. Auerbach, “Deconstructing the Essential Father,” American Psychologist 54, no. 6 (1999): 397–407.
7. Larry L. Bumpass and R. Kelly Raley, “Redefining Single-Parent Families: Cohabitation and Changing Family Reality,” Demography 32 (1995): 97–109.
8. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Survey, March and Annual Social and Economic Supplements, 2007 and earlier, retrieved 8/20/2008 at http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2007.html. Census data does not distinguish among fathers as biological, adoptive, or stepfathers.
9. Kathleen Mullan Harris and Suzanne Ryan, “Father Involvement and the Diversity of Family Context” in Conceptualizing and Measuring Father Involvement, ed. Randal D. Day and Michael E. Lamb (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2004), 293–319; Daniel N. Hawkins, Paul R. Amato, and Valerie King, “Parent-Adolescent Involvement: The Relative Influence of Parent Gender and Residence,” Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. no. 68 (2006): 125–136.
10. For a fascinating account of the tendency for lesbian mothers to want a male to be involved in their children’s lives, see Abbie E. Goldberg and Katherine R. Allen, “Imagining Men: Lesbian Mothers’ Perceptions of Male Involvement During the Transition to Parenthood,” Journal of Marriage and Family 69 (May 2007): 352–365.
11. Marsiglio et al., “Scholarship on Fatherhood in the 1990s and Beyond.”
12. For a related discussion of these issues, see Jeffrey T. Cookston and Andrea K. Finlay, “Father Involvement and Adolescent Adjustment: Longitudinal Findings from Add Health,” Fathering 4 (2006): 137–158.
13. Pleck, “Why Could Father Involvement Benefit Children?” 200.
14. See Paul Amato, “More Than Money? Men’s Contributions to Their Children’s Lives” in Men in Families: When Do They Get Involved? What Difference Does It Make? ed. Alan Booth and Ann C. Crouter (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1998), 241–278.
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid., 245.
17. Ibid., 253–255.
18. D. Wayne Osgood et al., “Routine Activities and Individual Devia­nt Behavior,” American Sociological Review 61 (1996): 635–655; Lauren M. Papp, E. Mark Cummings, and Alice C. Schermerhorn, “Pathways Among Marital Distress, Parental Symptomatology, and Child Adjustment,” Journal of Marriage and Family 66 (2004): 368–384; Benjamin W. Voorhess et al., “Protective and Vulnerability Factors Predicting New-Onset Depressive Episode in a Representative of U.S. Adolescents,” Journal of Adolescent Health (2008): 605–616.
19. A more detailed description of the data can be found in Kathy M. Harris et al., “The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health: Research Design” (2003), available at http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth/design.
20. N=5,494.
21. Robert D. Ketterlinus, Michael E. Lamb, and Katherine A. Nitz, “Adolescent Nonsexual and Sex-Related Problem Behaviors: Their Prevalence, Consequences, and Co-Occurrence” in Adolescent Problem Behaviors, ed. Robert D. Ketterlinus and Michael E. Lamb (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1994), 17–39; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Trends in the Well-Being of America’s Children and Youth: 2003 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2003).
22. Ordinary Least Squares regression was used to estimate the models. Besides the mother and father variables, all the models included the respondent’s age and race, family income, and parent’s marital status as control variables. These analyses were all weighted using the wave 1 sample weights, adjusting the sample to be nationally representative.

About the Author

David Eggebeen is Associate Professor of Human Development and Sociology; Senior Research Associate, Population Research Institute, Pennsylvania State University.

About This Brief

This research brief was commissioned by National Fatherhood Initiative and supported by Grant No. 2006-DD-BX-K003 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the authors and do not represent the official position or policies of the United States Department of Justice.

About the National Fatherhood Initiative

The premier fatherhood renewal organization in the country, the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) works in every sector and at every level of society to engage fathers in the lives of their children. NFI is one of the leading producers of research on the causes and consequences of father absence, public opinion on family issues, and trends in family structure and marriage. NFI’s national public service advertising campaign promoting fatherhood has generated television, radio, print, Internet, and outdoor advertising valued at over $500 million. Through its resource center, FatherSOURCE, NFI offers a wide range of innovative resources to assist fathers and organizations interested in reaching and supporting fathers. Learn more by visiting www.fatherhood.org.

About the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values
Directed by Elizabeth Marquardt, the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values issues research briefs, fact sheets, and other material related to marriage, families, and children. Its Scholarly Advisory Board includes William Doherty, University of Minnesota; Norval Glenn, University of Texas; Linda Waite, University of Chicago; W. Bradford Wilcox, University of Virginia; and James Q. Wilson, UCLA (Emeritus).

The Institute for American Values is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to strengthening families and civil society in the U.S. and the world. The Institute brings together approximately 100 leading scholars—from across the human sciences and across the political spectrum—for interdisciplinary deliberation, collaborative research, and joint public statements on the challenges facing families and civil society. In all of its work, the Institute seeks to bring fresh analyses and new research to the attention of policymakers in government, opinion makers in the media, and decision makers in the private sector.

Copyright October 2008, Institute for American Values

http://center.americanvalues.org/?p=78

Is This Really Happening at DSS? …You’re Exaggerating !!

In adoption abuse, child trafficking, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Homeschool, judicial corruption, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Obama, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, state crimes on April 26, 2009 at 4:00 am

DSS Abuses are Painfully Real, and Hidden by Media Silence

By Marvin B. Cohen “The Crime Dog”

When the public reads about parents who claim that their children were taken by Department of Social Services without any abuse taking place, most people are skeptical. It’s only natural to think; “There must be more to it…”

After all, these kinds of things — government agents forcing their way into people’s homes, abducting children based on no evidence, children stolen and sold. Well, those kinds of things only happen in other countries, right? They don’t happen here! This is a democracy, based on freedom, law and justice.

In this country people have rights.

We have a Constitution and Bill of Rights. We have protections, damnit! We assume that before a child is forcefully removed from his home, the police must have been called to investigate an act of abuse to the child, an act inflicted with the intent to cause harm. Assault & battery. Beatings. You might assume that the parents you read about have been charged with something. After all, they must have had to do something for DSS to be called. Right?

That’s the way I used to think, too.

The fact is that these parents are rarely charged with anything at all. Meaning that there is no police involvement, no evidence of any crime having been committed whatsoever, and no charges pressed. You must be convicted of a crime to lose your driver’s license, but you can lose your children simply because a neighbor or social worker doesn’t like you.

A large percentage of reports of child abuse are made vindictively by disgruntled neighbors, perhaps in the course of some type of neighborhood dispute. Others are retaliatory actions in bitter divorce & custody battles. A disgruntled employee whom you fired could call DSS , or someone whose romantic interest you rejected, or some busybody who witnessed you yell at your child in the grocery store or swat them on the bottom, or your new date’s ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Or, any sad, pathetic, lonely person who has nothing better to do than try to cast their own pain onto others. The fact is that any mentally unstable busybody can file a report of suspected child abuse.

So, why wouldn’t such obviously faulty reports is screened out? Many of them are. Out of the three million filed per year, over two million are screened out eventually. (Meaning that over one million parents a year are falsely reported for child abuse in this country.)

But when an agency is rewarded financially, based on their numbers, with intense federal pressure to increase the numbers, the motivation is to create clients by any means possible.

The more documented and even false charges DSS makes, the more funding they receive from the federal level, the state level, and the local level. So, not only are the parents, children and families are being abused, the public government coffers are being defrauded by DSS.

Majority of Cases Not Maltreatment

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services documents that around 68% of all substantiated cases do not involve child maltreatment. Well, you might ask, what the heck do they involve then? The majority (55%) are due to “deprivation of necessities” due to poverty. So, if your electricity gets shut off, you may lose your kids.

Others are “emotional maltreatment” which is: “denial of child’s wishes” (now there’s a can of worms!), “immature parents,” “failure to individualize children and their needs,” and “parentifying the child” (letting child help with chores, do dishes, help prepare meals or help with younger siblings.) So, if you thought that you were being a good and responsible parent by teaching your children tasks and to be helpful, self-sufficient and competent, I guess you might be a little surprised to learn that you, too, are a child abuser.

Other supported child abuse reports are typically for school absenteeism, head lice (which they usually get in school), diaper rash, not sending a snack or mittens to school, “parents argue in front of child,” leaving kids in the car for a second while you run into the store, “risk of homelessness,” unsuitable housing, leaving kids with a teenage babysitter, messy house/house “too neat,” mothers being “over nurturing,” or any scrape, bruise, bump, or injury inevitably incurred in the normal course of childhood play.

Christians and homeschoolers are frequently targeted. Christians are accused of having “religious mania” due to bi-polar disorder. Homeschoolers are trying to isolate their children to hide the bruises.

If you have a little boy who is a good all-American Huck Finn, beware! I remember when my brother and I were little. We lived in Miami, Florida, and we were tree climbers/explorers from the time we could stand. If we were not 40 feet up in some tree, then we were climbing on buildings or crawling through a bee’s nest. We had a huge dog names Scrappy as stubborn as we were and we tried riding him like a horse and he bucked us off frequently. We had semi-permanent eggs in the middle of our foreheads, and bruise’s and scrapes all over. I think our knees stayed skinned until we were about 17. We spent so much time in the ER that they jokingly said they were building us our own cubicle with our names on a brass plaque.

Boy would our mother in trouble if we were little in today’s America. If the school wants your kid on Ritalin and you refuse, you could be reported for “medical neglect.” But if you take your adventurous or sickly child to the emergency room too often, you most definitely will be reported for “suspected child abuse.” You could even be charged with “Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy.” If you aren’t familiar with Munchausen’s, it’s the new rage. Parents are accused of deliberately injuring their child or making them sick because they like the attention they get spending so much time in the hospital. If you have a child who wets the bed or a daughter who is prone to yeast or urinary tract infections, you may find yourself charged with sexual abuse, even though yeast or UTI’s are commonly caused by careless toilet hygiene, antibiotics, or a diet high in carbohydrates.

Did you ever take any cute pictures of your kids in the bathtub? Or running through the sprinkler nude or the traditional bear skin rug pictures? Those are now reported to DSS by film developers as suspected sexual abuse. I see many nudie baby pictures in television and print advertising, including from Beechnut and Gerber. But, if you take them, you could be reported. I heard of two little girls in DSS custody who like to do the hula dance to the opening music of the TV show “Home Improvement.” DSS reported that doing the hula dance was “sexualized behavior” that led them to believe the girls might have been sexually abused by their father. (Suspicion naturally falls on the father rather than any other party.) Stemming from the hula dance the girls were forced to have sexual abuse evaluations at ages 4 and 6. They were questioned ad nauseam and exposed to anatomically correct dolls. They were taught about sex by the child savers and their innocence was removed forever. (Just in case you are wondering how DSS ever saw the girls’ hula dance while they watched “Home Improvement,” they were in a women’s shelter due to temporary homelessness and the shelter staff thought the dance was “suspicious behavior.”)

How Did DSS Get Into It?

How did DSS get so far removed from child abuse? They operate by following something called the “Clinical Model.” They see themselves as “clinicians.” In other words, they use psychology as the basis for intervention. No, they are not qualified or licensed as psychologists. But, even if they were, I do not feel that psychology can be a basis for social service intervention. Why? Well, because as human beings the nature of the beast is that we are all walking balls of pathology. If you go in search of pathology, you are going to find it.

There is no such thing as a “normal” rating. If you’re too “normal,” then that’s abnormal. No one can “pass” a psych evaluation and get a piece of paper that says: “This person tested as normal.” Psychology is a soft science, meaning that it is comprised of theory and interpretation. As opposed to a hard science such as forensics, biochemistry, or medicine where results are proven based on concrete facts and evidence (i.e., x-rays, DNA, and blood chemistry). By using the Clinical Model, anything can be interpreted to mean whatever the interpreter wants it to. How convenient. And how very dangerous when the interpreters may have “issues” of their own or be motivated by money to produce a certain result.

Using the Clinical Model, DSS does not take children based on inflicted injuries or evidence of a crime of child abuse. Rather, they use the behaviors of the child to “prove” that there is some sort of hidden abuse occurring in the home. I think that most of us humans who are actually from this planet, and were children ourselves once, know that all children act up at various times, and in various ways.

We earthlings call this: normal human behavior. Children play, children have tantrums, children threaten to hold their breath until they get what they want, little boys used to dunk little girls pigtails in inkwells. We don’t always know what causes human behavior. Behavior could be due to neurological causes, or genetic, or bio-chemical. There is no expert in the world who can definitively state what causes any particular behavior unless it is a result of physical brain damage. Maybe we don’t always have to find a reason or someone to blame.

But, with the Clinical Model any behavior of the child can be used to “prove” that the child has been abused by the parents. (It only works for parental abuse) Therefore, if your child is shy or just well behaved, that is documented as “fearful and withdrawn.” If they are active and noisy they are “acting out their inability to verbalize the trauma.” If they run to their dad and climb up into his lap, they are “identifying with the aggressor.” If the child says his parents never hurt him, he is “in denial” and “protecting the abuser.” If children say they love their parents, then they have the Stockholm syndrome. Or even more stupid: parents are told by social workers, “All abused children say they love their parents so their parents won’t hurt them anymore.”

Nothing is just normal, predictable human behavior.
If children are outgoing, quiet, placid, disobedient, too obedient, neat, messy, loud, easy-going or temperamental ­everything has some deep, dark, obscure “meaning” that “proves” the parents have committed some type of hidden abuse and thus supports the DSS theory that all parents are inadequate and abusive.

Therefore children must be raised by the State.

To build an airtight case, DSS provides “proof” supplied by junk psychologists who work for them. DSS holds multi-million dollar contracts with privately owned “counseling” agencies. Many of them work exclusively for the business that comes from DSS. Their very existence is dependent on DSS. It orders clients to attend their own contracted vendors, sends a referral sheet to the agency basically outlining what they want the reports to say, and the whore-psychologists provide the “proof” needed by DSS. Most of this is billed to MassHealth (Medicaid).

If you came into contact with DSS initially due to poverty reasons, like your electricity being shut off or “risk of homelessness”, then you must have counseling to find out why you are poor. God forbid the government could own up to playing a role in poverty and social problems. This method allows the politicians to feel alleviated of any responsibility for people’s problems and allows them to cast the blame on the citizens for being so dysfunctional and stupid to become poor.

David Gill, one of the nation’s leading child abuse researchers, and one of the first to question the Clinical model, writes: “Whatever problems which are actually rooted in societal dynamics are defined as individual shortcomings or pathology, their real sources are disguised, and interventions are focused on individuals…and the social order is absolved by implication from guilt and responsibility and may continue to function unchallenged in accordance with established patterns.”

Richard Wexler writes: “Why does the Medical (Clinical) Model persist in the face of so much evidence to the contrary? Probably because it confers enormous prestige on the child-savers. Rather than being glorified welfare workers trying to get a poor family’s electricity turned on, the Clinical Model transforms child savers into doctor-like experts on the cutting edge of ‘treating’ a ‘syndrome.’ It feeds the egos of the narcissistic and allows those who are haunted by their own feelings of powerlessness and inadequacy to feel powerful by dominating others, unchecked.

Armed with the Clinical Model, social workers, politicians and the public can remain comfortably free of any feelings of responsibility or guilt: it’s the parents’ fault ­ they are “sick.” If you can convince yourself that this is so, then you need not feel guilty about the enormous harm done to children by placing them in foster care; you may be able to convince yourself that it is the “lesser of two evils.”

Richard Gelles, former director of the Rhode Island Family Violence Research Program states that “We have created a child protective system designed to cure symptoms that in many cases do not exist.”

Social Workers Are ‘Superior’.

When the first social workers hit the streets in the late 1800s, they were mostly Christians and Jews and were helping those who needed some assistance over a rough spot.

Now, they are pseudo-psychologists with a little knowledge of sociology and child-care. They are no longer just helping those who need a hand. They are far “superior” to those people they meet.

They are foot soldiers in the movement to have the state control the children, not the parents.

Most of the DSS cases involving seized children have mock court hearings. DSS presents the created and trumped evidence against the parent to the judge. In 99% of these cases, the judge generally rubber stamps whatever DSS wants. These children are alienated from the parents that love them and trusted into foster care with people that have little care for them. Foster parents are not volunteers! They are paid by DSS to house these children. Many foster parents medicate the children to make them fall asleep earlier. There are scores of cases where the children have truly been abused by foster parents. I’m currently talking with a mother whose 15 year old daughter was placed in foster care by DSS. After several months, she was suddenly returned to her mother, about 2 or 3 months pregnant. She later delivered a little girl. The father is unknown and DSS will never admit any wrong doing in the matter.

DSS Works in Secrecy!

Trying to get the case history from DSS is impossible. Everything DSS does is held in strict secrecy. Because their work involves minors, they do not have to deliver or show proof. Their records are subpoena proof. This means that even if everything in a case is a complete provable lie, it is automatically sealed. Even the original accuser remains unknown to the family victims of DSS’ greed for funding.

Original article can be found here: http://familyrights.us/news/archive/2009/feb/is_this_really_happening_at_dss.html

Parental Alienation Syndrome Passes Scientific Frye Standard

In adoption abuse, California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, judicial corruption, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Obama, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, state crimes on April 25, 2009 at 5:00 am

For those false accusers in family or custody court who consider parental alienation as junk science, the door has already started to swing shut on their egregious lies and child abuse by means of false allegations against fathers and mother in court.

PA has already passed the Frye Test, the SCIENTIFICALLY ACCEPTED standard used in Federal and State Courts for the admissibility of scientific evidence. Case Law will be continually updated as more and more children are rescued from the personality-disordered, hateful kidnappers otherwise known as Custodial Parents.

The Frye standard is a legal precedent in the United States regarding the admissibility of scientific examinations or experiments in legal proceedings. This standard comes from the case Frye vs. United States (293 F. 1013 (DC Cir 1923)) District of Columbia Circuit Court in 1923, regarding the admissibility of polygraph evidence into court. In most but not all jurisdictions, the Frye standard has been superseded by the Daubert standard.

http://home.att.net/~rawars/paslegal.html

Consider the following cases:

——————————————————————————–

U.S. and International Court Rulings Relevant to Parental Alienation
(Document last updated 05/18/08: 78 items)

UNITED STATES (22 States)

Alabama

Berry v. Berry, Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County, AL, Case No. DR-96-761.01. Jan 06, 2001
Alaska

Pearson v. Pearson, Sup Ct. of AK., No. S-8973, No. 5297, 5 P.3d 239; 2000 Alas. Lexis 69. July 7, 2000.

Arkansas

Chambers v. Chambers, Ct of App of AR, Div 2; 2000 Ark App. LEXIS 476, June 21, 2000.

California

Coursey v. Superior Court (Coursey), 194 Cal.App.3d 147,239 Cal.Rptr. 365 (Cal.App. 3 Dist., Aug 18, 1987.
John W. v. Phillip W., 41 Cal.App.4th 961, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 899; 1996.
Valerie Edlund v. Gregory Hales, 66 Cal. App 4th 1454; 78 Cal. Rptr. 2d 671.

Colorado

Oosterhaus v. Short, District Court, County of Boulder (CO), Case No. 85DR1737-Div III.

Connecticut

Case v. Richardson, 1996 WL 434281 (Conn. Super.,Jul 16, 1996).
Metza v. Metza, Sup. Court of Connecticut, Jud. Dist. of Fairfield, at Bridgeport,
1998 Conn. Super. Lexis 2727 (1998).

Florida

Schutz v. Schutz, 522 So. 2d 874 (Fla. 3rd Dist. Ct. App. 1988).
Blosser v. Blosser, 707 So. 2d 778; 1998 Fla. App. Case No. 96-03534.
Tucker v. Greenberg, 674 So. 2d 807 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996).
Berg-Perlow v. Perlow, 15th Circuit Court, Palm Beach County, Fl.,Case no. CD98-1285-FC. Mar 15, 2000.
An exceptionally strong family court decision in which five experts testified to the diagnosis of PAS.
Loten v. Ryan, 15th Circuit Court, Palm Beach County, FL., Case No. CD 93-6567 FA. Dec 11,2000.
Kilgore v. Boyd, 13th Circuit Court, Hillsborough County, FL., Case No. 94-7573, 733 So. 2d 546 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000) Jan 30, 2001.
Boyd v. Kilgore, 773 So. 2d 546 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000) (Prohibition Denied)
Court ruling that the Parental Alienation Syndrome has gained general acceptance in the scientific community and thereby satisfies Frye Test criteria for admissibility.
McDonald v. McDonald, 9th Judicial Circuit Court, Orange County, FL. Case No. D-R90-11079, Feb 20, 1001.
Blackshear v. Blackshear, Hillsborough County, FL 13th Jud. Circuit: 95-08436.

Illinois

In re Violetta 210 III.App.3d 521, 568 N.E2d 1345, 154 III.Dec. 896(Ill.App. I Dist Mar 07, 1991).
In re Marriage of Divelbiss v. Divelbiss, No. 2-98-0999 2nd District, Ill.(Appeal from Circ Crt of Du Page Cty No. 93-D-559) Oct 22, 1999.
Tetzlaff v. Tetzlaff, Civil Court of Cook County, Il., Domestic Relations Division, Cause No. 97D 2127, Mar 20, 2000.
Bates v. Bates 18th Judicial Circuit, Dupage County, IL Case No. 99D958, Jan 17, 2002.
Court ruling that the Parental Alienation Syndrome has gained general acceptance in the scientific community and thereby satisfies Frye Test criteria for admissibility.[excerpt]

Indiana

White v. White, 1995 (Indiana Court of Appeals) 655 N.E.2d 523. (Ind. App., Aug 31, 1995).

Iowa

In re Marriage of Rosenfeld, 524 NW 2d 212, 214 (Iowa app, 1994).

Louisiana

Wilkins v Wilkins, Family Court, Parish of East Baton Rouge, La., Civ. No. 90792. Nov. 2, 2000.
White v Kimrey, Court of Appeal, Second Circuit, LA, No. 37,408-CA. May 14, 2003.Click here for the Court’s decision.

Michigan

Spencley v. Spencley, 2000 WL 33519710 (Mich App).

Nevada

Truax v. Truax, 110 Nev. 437, 874 P. 2d 10 (Nev., May 19, 1994).

New Hampshire

Lubkin v. Lubkin, 92-M-46LD Hillsborough County, NH. (Southern District, Sept. 5, 1996).

New Jersey

Lemarie v. Oliphant, Docket No. FM-15-397-94, (Sup Crt NJ, Ocean Cty:Fam Part-Chancery Div) Dec. 11, 2002.

New York

Rosen v. Edwards (1990) Tolbert, J. (1990), AR v. SE. New York Law Journal, December 11:27-28.
The December 11, 1990 issue of The New York Law Journal [pages 27-28] reprinted, in toto, the ruling of Hon. J. Tolbert of the Westchester Family Court in Westchester Co.
Karen B v. Clyde M., Family Court of New York, Fulton County, 151 Misc. 2d 794; 574 N.Y. 2d 267, 1991.
Krebsbach v. Gallagher, Supreme Court, App. Div., 181 A.D.2d 363; 587 N.Y.S. 2d 346, (1992).
Karen PP. v. Clyde QC. Sup Ct of NY, App Div, 3rd Dept. 197 A.D. 2d 753; 602 N.Y.s. 2d 709; 1993 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 9845.
In the matter of J.F. v. L.F., Fam. Ct. of NY, Westchester Cty, 181 Misc 2d 722; 694 N.Y.S. 2d 592; 1999 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 357.
Oliver V. v. Kelly V., NY Sup. Ct. Part 12. New York Law Journal Nov. 27, 2000.
Sidman v. Zager, Family Court, Tompkins County, NY: V-1467-8-9-94.

Ohio

Sims v. Hornsby, 1992 WL 193682 (Ohio App. 12 Dist., Butler County, Aug 10 1992).
Zigmont v. Toto, 1992 WL 6034 (Ohio App. 8 Dist Cuyahoga County, Jan 16, 1992).
Pisani v. Pisani, Court of Appeals of Ohio, 8th App. Dist. Cuyahoga Cty. 1998 Ohio App. Lexis 4421 (1998).
Pathan v. Pathan, Case No. 96-OS-1. Common Pleas Court of Montgomery County, OH, Div. of Dom Rel.
Pathan v. Pathan, C.A. Case No. 17729. Ct. of App. of OH, 2d Dist., Montgomery County; 2000 Ohio App. Lexis 119. Jan. 21, 2000
Conner v. Renz, 1995 WL 23365 (Ohio App. 4 Dist., Athens County, Jan 19, 1995).
State v. Koelling, 1995 WL 125933 (Ohio App. 10 Dist., Franklin County, Mar 21, 1995).

Pennsylvania

Popovice v. Popovice, Court of Common Pleas, Northampton Cty, PA. Aug 11, 1999, No. 1996-C-2009.

Texas

Ochs et al. v. Myers, App. No. 04-89-00007-CV. Ct. of App. of TX, 4th Dist., San Antonio; 789 S.W. 2d 949; 1990 Tex App. Lexis 1652, May 16, 1990.

Virginia

Ange, Court of Appeals of Virginia, 1998 Va. App. Lexis 59 (1998).
Waldrop v. Waldrop, in Chancery No. 138517. Fairfax County Circuit Court,(Va., April 26, 1999).

Washington

Rich v. Rich, Sup Ct, 5th Dist. Case No. 91-3-00074-4 (Douglas County) June 11, 1993.

Wisconsin

Janelle S. v. J.R.S., Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, District 4. 1997 Wisc. App. LEXIS 1124 (1997).
Fischer v. Fischer, Ct. of App. of WI, Dist. Two, No. 97-2067; 221 Wis. 2d 221; 584 N.W.2d 233; 1998 Wisc. App. Lexis 1534.

Wyoming

In re Marriage of Rosenfeld, 524 N.W. 2d 212 (Iowa App., Aug 25 1994) McCoy v. State 886 P.2d 252 (Wyo.,Nov 30, 1994).
McCoy v State of Wyoming, 886 P.2d 252, 1994.

CANADA (8 Provinces)

Quebec

Stuart-Mills, P. v. Cher, A.J.., Sup. Ct. Quebec, Dist. of Montreal, No. 500-12-184613-895 (1991).
V. (L.) C. H. (E.), 1992 CarswellQue 169; 45 Q.A.C. 100; 1992 R.J.Q. 855; 1992 R.D.F. 316 Cour d’appel du Quebec, Feb 26, 1992.
R.M c. B.R, [1994] A.Q. no 947. DRS 95-09809 No 200-09-000440-948 (200-12-042928-904 C.S.Q.) (Quebec, decision in french only) Oct. 28, 1994
R.F. v. S.P., [2000] Q.J. Np. 3412 No. 500-12-250739-004 Quebec Superior Court (Montreal) Oct. 13, 2000.

Alberta

Elliott v. Elliott, A.J. No. 74 DRS 96-05285 Action No. 4806-10272 Alberta Crt of Queen’s Bench, Jud. Dist. of Lethbridge/Macleod, Jan 25, 1996.
Elliott v. Elliott, 1996 CarswellAlta 95, 193 A.R. 177, 135 W.A.C. 177, 27 R.F.L. (4th) 23 Alberta Court of Appeals. Nov 7, 1996 (Affirmed–Appeal Dismissed)
Johnson v. Johnson, No. 4806-11508a, Jud Dist. of Lethbridge/Macleod, Oct. 09, 1997

Ontario

Rothwell v. Kisko, 1991 CarswellOnt 1326. Ontario Crt of Just. (Gen’l Div.) Docket# 36429/89, Mar 21, 1991.
Davy v. Davy, Ontario Court of Justice (Gen’l Div)Docket 92-gd-21948. 1993 CarswellOnt 1630;1993 W.D.F.L 1535. Oct 7, 1993.
Fortin v. Major, O.J. No. 3805 DRS 97-01672, Court File No. 49729/94 Ontario Crt of Justice (Gen’l Div: Ottawa), Oct 25, 1996.
Demers v. Demers, Ontario Superior Court, Docket: Kingston 54253/96. 1999 CarswellOnt 2621. June 8, 1999.
Orszak v. Orszak, Ontario Superior Court of Justice Docket: 97-FP-234664. 2000 CarswellOnt 1574. May 5, 2000.
Her Majesty the Queen vs. K.C. Superior Court of Justice, Ontario, County of Durham, Central-East Region, Court File No. 9520/01. August, 9, 2002. (Mohan Test)
Rogerson and Tessaro, Court of Appeal for Ontario, Docket: C44199, May 9, 2006. [mentions alienating conduct but not “syndrome.”]
Petternuzzo-Deschene v. Deschene, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Docket: 22661. 2007 WL 22984642007 (Ont. S.C.J.), CarswellOnt 5095. August 8, 2007. [specifically mentions PAS and cites a description of alienating behavior as abuse]
S.P. and P.B.D., Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Court File No. 22661. August 10, 2007.

British Columbia

McLelland v. McLelland, British Columbia Supreme Court Docket: Nanaimo 07907. 1999 CarswellBC 1706. July 2, 1999
Menard v. Menard, Sup. Ct of British Columbia, 2001 CarswellBC 1312; 2001 BCSC 430, Mar 21, 2001.

Nova Scotia

Badakhshan v. Moradi, Nova Scotia Fam Court. 1993 CarswellNS 423;120 N.S.R.(2d) 405; 332 A.P.R. 405. Mar 2, 1993.

New Brunswick

S.O. v. S.C.O, N.B.J. No. 326, Proceeding No. FDSJ-400-98. New Brunswick Crt of Queen’s Bench, Family Division-Jud. Dist. of St. John. Jul 28, 1999.
Jefferson v. Jerfferson, New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench Docket: FDSJ-6408.95. 2000 CarswellNB 15. Jan 18, 2000.

New Foundland

Toope v. Toope, 2000 CarswellNfld 185, 8 R.F.L. (5th) 446, 193 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 313, 582 A.P.R. 313. New Foundland Unified Family Court June 15, 2000.
Saskatchewan

B.S.P. and D.G.P., Queens Bench for Saskatchewan, Docket No. 005359 of 2006, Battleford, Family Law Division, Citation 2008 SKQB 63, Feb. 8, 2008.

AUSTRALIA

Johnson v. Johnson, 4806-11508A. FAMILY COURT OF AUSTRALIA, July 7, 1997.
Johnson v.Johnson, Appeal No. SA1 of 1997 No.AD6182 of 1993, 7 July 1997.

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS AT STRASBOURG

Familycase Koudelka/Application number: 1633/05, 20 July 2006
Familycase Zavrel/Application number: 14044/05, 18 April 2007

GERMANY

Anonymous v. Anonymous, Case No. 2xv178, Rinteln (Circuit Court) Germany, Apr. 27, 1998.
Sch. v. Sch., Kammergericht KG Berlin. vom 30 Mai 2000 – 17 UF 1413/99.
Fundstelle: Fam RZ 2000, 1606 (Heft 24 / 2000 vom 15. Dezember 2000)
“¤¤ 1671, 1696 BGB: Bedeutung des Parental Alienation Syndroms im AbŠnderungsverfahren” – Hervorhebungen durch Fettschrift –
Beschluss 17 UF 1413/99 – Volltext der Entscheidung
(136 F11 514/98 AG Berlin (Tempelhof-Kreuzberg Germany)

Anon v. Anon, OLG Ffm vom 13.07.2000 unter Az. 5 WF 112/00,(Germany).
Anon v. Anon, OLG Ffm vom 26.10.2000 unter Az. 6 WF 168/00,(Germany).
Anon v. Anon, OLG Dresden, No. 264 – UF229/02, Aug. 29, 2002 (published in FamRZ: 50(6) 2003: 397).

GREAT BRITAIN

Re: C (Children) (2002) CA (Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss P, Thorpe LJ, Kay LJ) 20/2/2002 COURT OF APPEAL REF: 2001/1642. (Great Britain)

ISRAEL

Jane Doe v. John Doe. Supreme Court, Request for Civil Appeal, 3009/92.
Jane Doe v. John Doe. Ashdod Family Court, Family Docket 2182/00. Jan. 26, 2003.

SWITZERLAND

Entscheid der delegierten des AmtsgerichtsprŠsidenten II con Luzern-Stadt vom 8. Februar 2001 im Verfahren nach Art. 175 ZGB (02 00 210)

PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME REFERENCE LIST

RESOURCES BY DR. RICHARD A. WARSHAK ON PAS, RELOCATION, AND MORE

MEDIATION AND PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME

In adoption abuse, California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, judicial corruption, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, state crimes on April 24, 2009 at 5:00 am

Considerations for an Intervention Model

by Anita Vestal
FAMILY AND CONCILIATION COURTS REVIEW, Vol. 37, No. 4, October, 1999, p. 487-503

Parental alienation syndrome (PAS), a term that originated in the mid-1980s, refers to a disturbance in which children are preoccupied with viewing one parent as all good and the other parent as all bad. Conscious or unconscious words and actions of custodial parents cause the child(ren) to align with them in rejection of noncustodial parents during divorce or custody disputes. Issues of concern for mediators include detection of PAS and an understanding of appropriate remedial plans that will allow the child to restore his or her relationship with the noncustodial parent.

An area of growing demand and concern for family mediators is in the minefields of child custody litigation. With no-fault divorce, and a standard for determining custody in light of the child’s best interests, judges are besieged with a backlog of disputed custody cases without clear and concrete guidelines to follow in deciding whether to favor the mother or the father. Many experts in family law–from both the legal and mental health arenas-have observed an increase in deceptive and manipulative tactics used by divorcing couples. This article looks at parental alienation syndrome (PAS), which is a complex manifestation of mental and emotional abuse resulting from conflicted parents fighting for custody. Recommendations are given for a model that could be employed by family mediators to ensure that families suffering from PAS receive prompt and effective intervention.

MEDIATION IN CHILD CUSTODY DISPUTES–
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES

The surge in divorce rates during the past two decades, along with major judicial reforms since the 1970s, has led to several significant changes in the ways that courts handle family law cases. Divorce and custody laws have been widely revised by states, and alternatives to litigation have emerged and gained prominence. Mediation has become a popular option, and in many states, mediation is mandatory for divorcing couples. Judicial systems in California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin were early experimenters with the concept of conciliation courts, where parents were encouraged to work out divorce and custody conflicts. In the past two decades, many states have introduced mandatory mediation of contested child custody.

There has been research that supports mediation as a positive intervention in custody disputes. Studies of custody cases in several large cities report that over one half (between 50% and 90%) of the cases are settled through mediation (Atkinson 1996). A large empirical evaluation of mediation services in three court-based programs showed generally high levels of user satisfaction according to the researchers (Pearson and Thoennes 1986). Both the Denver Mediation Project of the early 1980s and a study conducted in Toronto found mediation to be successful in keeping divorcing families out of court. The Toronto study compared couples that mediated custody with those that litigated without mediation; only 10% of mediated couples returned to the courtroom after 2 years with problems related to custody or visitation, whereas 26% of the non-mediated couples were back in court within 2 years (Herman 1990). These studies of divorcing couples did not focus exclusively on “highconflict” divorce situations.

Herman (1990) challenges the suitability of mediation in some custody disputes. He asserts that the assumption that mediation will deter the bitterness, disappointment, and anger of divorcing couples and lead them toward cooperation, understanding, and tolerance has not been documented. “Even a highly skilled mediator cannot compensate for the sharp differences in sophistication and power that often exist between divorcing spouses” (p. 56). The issue of mandatory mediation of child custody cases has some outspoken critics. Carol Bruch, professor of family law at the University of California at Davis, publicly testified before the New York state legislature about her concerns that children are not best represented in mediation and women are often at a distinct disadvantage. She observes that there is no research evidence to support a claim that children whose parents mediate custody settlements do better than children of litigating parents. Furthermore, she points to her own experience with family law attorneys and mediators to support her assertion that the husband and his views are accorded more respect than the wife and her views (Herman 1990).

These conflicting viewpoints with regard to the pros and cons of mediation in child custody disputes indicate a need for additional research.

PAS AND CUSTODY DISPUTES

The foregoing section reviewed the historical context of mediation in child custody disputes and some of the research findings, both pro and con, relative to the suitability of mediation in custody cases. There are concerns that mediation may not work to the advantage of everyone concerned in all cases of contested custody. “In most divorce cases where there is animosity and conflict between the parents, there is some degree of brainwashing and programming (of children)” (Clawar and Rivlin 1991, 9). This brainwashing and programming may be relatively mild or it may be quite severe. It may be conscious or unconscious on the part of the parent(s). The parent’s conscious or unconscious disparaging of the separated spouse often leads to the phenomenon of PAS.

PAS refers to a disturbance in which children are preoccupied with viewing one parent as all good and the other parent as all bad. The bad parent is hated and verbally maligned, whereas the good parent is loved and idealized. Another hallmark of PAS is the false charging of child abuse, which comes about when one parent is intent upon driving away the other parent (Carper, et al. 1995). Cases in which PAS is suspected require a diagnosis from a mental health expert prior to being referred for mediation.

Forensic psychologist Dr. Richard Gardner originated the term PAS in the mid-1980s; however, the phenomenon was described in an earlier work by Wallerstein and Kelly (1980). They characterize an “alignment with one parent” that is a “divorce-specific relationship that occurs when a parent and one or more children join in a vigourous attack on the other parent” (p. 77). In parental alienation, one parent who has previously had a good relationship with the child becomes the object of hate and degradation by the child due to conscious or unconscious brainwashing by the other parent. Gardner (1992) claims that between 80% and 90% of all custody cases exhibit some form of PAS from mild to moderate to severe symptoms. This claim has not been supported by research, and many experts in the field feel it is an exaggeration of the proportions of the problem. Gardner, however, includes cases that he feels are relatively mild; these very mild cases will improve as soon as the custody decision has been made, according to Gardner. The issue of concern for mediators and court officials is that they may have difficulty recognizing PAS and could easily assume the “rejected” parent is indeed a poor parent and merits the child’s rejection when in fact researchers have shown the opposite is true.

Manifestations of PAS in children consist of eight elements described by Gardner (1992) (see Table 1).

Table 1
Common Characteristics of Children With Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)

PAS Trait Description of Behavior
A campaign of denigration The child is obsessed with hatred of a parent. This denigration by the child often has the quality of a litany.
Weak, frivolous, or absurd rationalizations for the deprecation The child provides irrational and often ludicrous justifications for not wanting to be near the hated parent.
Lack of ambivalence All human relationships, including parent-child relationships, are ambivalent. In PAS, the children have no mixed feelings. The hated parent is all bad, and the loved parent is all good.
The “independent thinker” phenomenon Many children proudly state that their decision to reject the other parent is completely their own; they deny any contribution by the custodial parent.
Reflexive support of the loved parent in parental conflict Commonly, the children will accept as 100% valid the allegations of the loved parent against the hated one, even after seeing evidence that the loved parent was lying.
Absence of guilt The child shows total disregard for the hated parent’s feelings.
The presence of borrowed scenarios There is a rehearsed quality to the scenarios, and they often use language or phrases that are not commonly used by the child.
Spread of the animosity to the extended family of the hated parent The child rejects the network of relatives that previously provided numerous and important psychological gratifications.

Walsh and Bone (1997) refer to parents as the “alienating parent” and the “target parent.” Another terminology, used by Johnston and Roseby (1997), is “aligned parent” and “rejected parent.” Typically, the aligned parent has an agenda for turning the child against the other parent. The motive may include revenge, guilt, fear of loss of the child or loss of the role of primary parent, or the desire to have control or ownership over the child. The aligned parent may be jealous of the other parent, or desire to obtain leverage in the divorce settlement relative to property distribution, child support, or alimony. It may be that the aligned parent suffers from a past history of abandonment, alienation, physical or sexual abuse, or even loss of identity (Walsh and Bone 1997). These motives lead him or her to program the child to deny love for, or even deny the existence of, the target parent.

Johnston and Roseby (1997) offer a more sympathetic portrayal, describing the aligned parent as one who feels rejected, sad, and afraid of being alone as a result of an unwanted divorce. “Consequently these vulnerable people can become acutely or chronically distressed . . . and turn to their children for nurturance and companionship, as allies against the world and salve for their wounded self-esteem” (p. 198). He or she may project all the blame onto the divorcing spouse and view him or her as an incompetent parent. These parents feel self-righteous and compelled to protect their children from the other parent.

The rejected parent becomes the victim of false allegations and may feel frustrated and bewildered over the changes in the childs’s behavior. Although the allegations are grossly distorted, perhaps to the point of being obviously fabricated, nevertheless the child and the aligned parent appear to deeply believe them (Walsh and Bone 1997). Most PAS researchers have described the rejected parents as passive victims of the other parents’ vengeful rage; Johnston and Roseby (1997) depart from this view and characterize rejected parents as “often rather inept and unempathic with their youngsters” (p. 199). Based on their observations, the rejected parent may contribute to the continued alienation by a combination of counter-hostility and dogged pursuit of the child with telephone calls, letters, and appearances at the child’s activities. The argument that a rejected parent should not pursue the relationship may be in contradiction to conclusions made by Clawar and Rivlin (1991) in their 12-year study of 700 PAS cases. They concluded that it may prolong the alienation if a rejected parent loses contact. The longer there is little or no contact between a parent and a child, the more difficult the impact will be to overcome.

In their study of 16 PAS cases, Dunne and Hedrick (1994) found that PAS does not necessarily signify dysfunction in either the rejected parent or in the relationship between the child and rejected parent. Instead, they argue that PAS appears to be attributable to the pathology of the aligned parent and the unhealthy relationship between the aligned parent and the child. All of the aligned parents in their study experienced intense feelings of dysphoria, which were blamed on the former spouse; in addition, the aligned parents predominantly experienced intense narcissistic injuries. Clawar and Rivlin (1991) determined that brainwashing and programming are intensified the more the rejected parent succeeds in life after the separation (financial success, new and happy relationships, etc.).

The child is the most seriously affected victim of PAS. In her study of self-concept of children of divorce, Stoner-Moskowitz (1998) concluded that when the relationship with the rejected parent is abruptly halted, the child’s emotional development is stunted. The aligned parent’s programming creates confusion in the child as a result of internalizing distorted beliefs and perceptions. In an extensive longitudinal study, 40% of the children developed self-hatred and guilt because they were used as an ally in the war against the rejected parent (Clawar and Rivlin 1991). Often, the family has been torn by extremely divergent parenting styles and perhaps a history of parental conflict. Beneath their anger and challenging behavior is a pathetic longing for the rejected parent. “The children want to be rescued from their intolerable dilemma” (Johnston and Roseby 1997, 199).

ISSUES IN MEDIATOR QUALIFICATIONS FOR PAS CASES

When these types of cases are referred to mandatory court mediation, the scenarios can be quite difficult for a mediator to sort out. The child and aligned parent will appear to have a very close and loving bond, whereas the other parent (unknowingly) is accused of a long list of horrifying behaviors, which often includes quite credible, although fabricated and false, accusations of child abuse (Gardner 1992).

There are several issues of mediator competence that need to be examined. First, the question of detection of PAS presents itself as a dilemma for mediators who are not trained in mental health diagnostic procedures. Second, once PAS is suspected, detected, or diagnosed, should mediation proceed and, if so, under what circumstances? The education, training, and skills of the mediator obviously come into play when dealing with the highly deceptive and manipulative tactics of parents who have succeeded in programming their children. Mediators need training to understand and recognize the underlying motives for a parent’s refusal to promote accessibility between the child and the other parent. Some motives could be an avenging spouse who wants to punish or get even with the spouse who left him or her; the narcissist who regards custody as a way to prove his or her self-worth to the world after a failed marriage; or a lonely parent who seeks to control the children for fear of losing them, or from a need for emotional support from the children (Warshack 1992).

When divorcing couples voluntarily participate in mediation, there may be an assumption of their willingness to cooperate on a settlement for everyone’s best interests. It may be that PAS families come to mediation not voluntarily but rather as part of a court-ordered or mandatory mediation process. Unfortunately, if one of the parents is unreasonable or uncooperative, the mediation effort can easily be sabotaged (Turkat 1994).

There is a need for training to teach mediators how to detect and deal with PAS families; again, there is no research to date indicating that family mediators are trained in PAS. A thorough literature review for this article showed no such training procedures reported at the time of this writing, although there are several researchers who call for training to help all family intervenors deal effectively with brainwashing, programming, and alienation tactics by separated parents (Cartwright 1993; Clawar and Rivlin 1991; Dunne and Hedrick 1994; Gardner 1992; Hysjulien, Wood, and Benjamin 1994; Lund 1995; Turkat 1994; Walsh and Bone 1997). In their 1994 review of methods for child custody evaluation used in litigation and alternate dispute resolution, Hysjulien, Wood, and Benjamin (1994, 485) concluded that models for training competent evaluators or for educating attorneys and the judiciary about custody evaluation issues are lacking.

ETHICAL ISSUES FOR MEDIATORS DEALING WITH PAS

It is well documented in the literature on mediation that many perceive a successful mediation as one that produces an agreement (Umbreit 1995). Couple this success indicator with a growing trend for courts to encourage joint legal custody, and a mediator who is not aware of PAS could inadvertently cause negative consequences by attempting an agreement for joint custody. Joint or shared custody normally requires a very high degree of parental cooperation. When an inflexible parent encourages the child to have nothing to do with the other parent, he or she may not be capable of such cooperation. Research has shown that the best predictor that children will adjust well to their parents’ divorce is a low level of parental conflict (Regehr 1994). Unfortunately, joint custody in cases of parental alienation may enhance parent conflict, making the situation worse for the children. There are varying degrees of severity of PAS, and in severe cases the PAS dynamic may be so toxic that a relationship with both parents may not be possible, nor will it be in the child’s best interests (Dunne and Hedrick 1994).

Mediators and other professionals who work with the divorcing population need to be aware of the symptoms of PAS and the difficulties that these cases present. A failure to properly identify and intervene in the early stages of PAS cases may result in the aligned parent being given professional support, thus reinforcing the child’s need to maintain or expand complaints about the rejected parent (Dunne and Hedrick 1994). Saposnek (1998) recommends that mediators in these cases first determine the extent of alienation, putting the child on a continuum of (1) equal attachment, (2) affinity with one parent, (3) alignment with one parent, and (4) alienated from one parent. The continuum was obtained from training materials for seminars on parental alienation developed by Joan B. Kelly (Figure 1). For children who are pathologically alienated, an intensive therapeutic approach is necessary; without it, efforts at mediation are likely to fail (Saposnek 1998). Gardner (1992) suggests that professionals need to understand the therapeutic interventions necessary to treat and alleviate symptoms of PAS before any custody or visitation arrangement can succeed. PAS should be assessed from the perspective of how much the programming process is influencing the child, not on the basis of the aligned parent’s attempts to program (Gardner 1998).

vest99figure12
Figure 1. Attachment/alienation continuum.
SOURCE: Developed by Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D. Reprinted with permission. Figure 1

Another major ethical dilemma for a neutral mediator is how to deal with the dishonesty, deception, and unwillingness to cooperate on the part of an aligned parent. These parents can be very skillful at convincing the mediator of their sincerity and create a bias that could be harmful for the rejected parent and the child. Any agreement produced without mental health intervention for the family may only serve to prolong the PAS. In their study of over 700 cases of children who were brainwashed and/or programmed by one parent to hate the other parent, Clawar and Rivlin (1991) conclude that most parents who brainwashed or programmed their children extensively were “poor candidates for re-education and counseling. They were largely ‘other-blamers’ and took no responsibility for their damaging influence on their child” (p. 153).

Thus, mediators have several ethical dilemmas to resolve. Although we know that mediators strive to maintain impartiality and neutrality, many practitioners believe that it is impossible to attain complete impartiality, neutrality, or lack of bias when working with people (Taylor 1997). Regehr (1994) points out that the bias of mediators appears to have a large impact on the decisions reached by parents. Therefore, mediators need to face some tough questions: Who do they believe–the skillful and apparently sincere parent who has the love of the children or the parent who has been rejected by the children for a number of very convincing reasons? What should be done about the obvious power imbalance favoring the aligned parent? After all, the aligned parent has the children, they are well bonded and close to one another, so the court may favor leaving the children in that home when an understanding of PAS is lacking, which is often the case. How does the mediator build trust with a party who is intent on deception and manipulation? Walsh and Bone (1997) warn: “Make no mistake about it; individuals with PAS will and do lie. They leave out . . . pertinent details or they maneuver the facts in such a manner to create an entirely false impression” (p. 94). A study of the characteristics of children who refuse postdivorce visits revealed that the custodial parents of the refusers often exhibited psychopathology (Racusin 1994). Turkat’s (1994) study on visitation interference highlights the cooperation issue. “A parent who has continually interfered with visitation may state . . . that he or she will comply with the nonresidential parent’s visitation request. Immediately following the hearing, the custodial parent returns to the visitation interference pattern, knowing that months may go by before a return to court” (p. 741).

WHEN IS MEDIATION NOT APPROPRIATE IN CUSTODY CASES?

Mediation is an informal, but structured process in which one or more impartial third parties assist disputants in talking about the conflict and in negotiating a resolution to it that addresses the needs and interests of the parties. Mediators do not impose a settlement and participation in the process is usually voluntary. (Umbreit 1995, 24)

By definition, mediation is a voluntary process in which no one is compelled to participate or to reach an agreement. A notable exception to voluntary participation is mediation that is mandatory in many states’ judicial systems. The question is raised whether it is incongruent to require unwilling parties to participate in a process that is designed to be cooperative, interactive, and participatory. In a review of existing literature on mediation, it was concluded that there is a need for empirically sound methods for discriminating between couples who are ready for mediation and those who are not (Hysjulien, Wood, and Benjamin 1994).

Mediation should perhaps be bypassed in cases with severe PAS symptoms. Cartwright (1993) states that whereas negotiation is often a good solution in other forms of litigation, it tends not to be effective in cases of PAS. He asserts that

the lack of a swift, clear, forceful judgement is often perceived by the alienator as denoting approval of the alienating behavior. This tends to reinforce the behavior and renders a great disservice to both the child and the petitioning parent. . . . Courts must not fall victim to the alienator’s scheme of stalling for time in order to continue the program of vilification. (p. 211)

Palmer (1988) also recognizes the duty of judges to take a stronger stand with regard to aligned parents who try to alienate their children from the other parent.

Issues of abuse and violence are prevalent in custody disputes. It has been argued that mediation may not be appropriate for couples who have experienced domestic violence because it may place women and children at risk for ongoing intimidation (Hysjulien, Wood, and Benjamin 1994). The mediation process can and has allowed an abusive spouse to maintain control and domination with the sanction of the courts (Geffner and Pagelow 1990). A number of states now recognize the paradox of mediating in abusive relationships, and mediation is waived where parties allege domestic violence or child abuse (Bruch 1988 and Sun and Thomas 1987 [cited in Geffner and Pagelow 1990]). Although PAS has not been formally linked with domestic violence or spouse abuse cases, the issues of control, domination, and emotional abuse are present in both types of cases. PAS and child brainwashing are forms of child abuse (Clawar and Rivlin 1991; Gardner 1992; Herman 1990; Walsh and Bone 1997) and, as such, could fall under the same mediation precautions as other types of cases that exhibit violence and abuse.

One of the major strategies for protecting domestic violence cases from the limitations of mediation is to use a premediation screening process. Premediation screening is highly recommended by many practitioners in the field to determine which cases can be mediated and which cases are not suitable for mediation (Girdner 1990; Perry 1994; Chance and Gerencser 1996; Pearson 1997; Salem and Milne 1995; Thoennes, Salem, and Pearson 1994). Such a model could be adapted for PAS cases. Those cases that are severe may need the attention of the court immediately rather than delay the case waiting for a mediation process that is not likely to resolve the issue.

A MEDIATION MODEL FOR SUSPECTED PAS FAMILIES

The question remains about whether mediation is an appropriate form of intervention in cases of PAS. Pearson and Thoennes (1986) contend that mediation will not transform hostile couples into cooperative ones and will not eliminate future conflict, but it is perceived to be a less damaging intervention than court. Murray (1999) agrees that “children of high-conflict divorce may benefit from the potentially harmful effects of the adversarial approach” (p. 94). Lund (1995, 315) believes that it is important to lower the overt conflict in PAS cases so that the children are not drawn into the parents’ conflicts. A mediator may be successful in helping inflexible custodial parents respond to changes in visitation schedules and other situations that require cooperative interaction between the parents.

vest99figure2
Figure 2. Elements of parental alienation syndrome mediation model. Figure 2

Incorporating the issues raised in this article, a mediation model designed to intervene in custody disputes where PAS is suspected must address four areas of concern (Figure 2). The first area is the need for mental health expertise both to diagnose the underlying motives and extent of alienation and to prescribe appropriate therapeutic interventions prior to any agreement or decision on custody and visitation. Second, the mediation process would need the assurance that the court will take swift, clear judicial action when necessary to discourage tactics of stalling and deception by the aligned parent. The third component needs to balance the power discrepancy felt particularly by the rejected parent who has been isolated from the child’s life and love. The last and very critical element of a mediation model is a mechanism to manage the manipulative and deceptive behavior exhibited by the aligned parent, as well as an ongoing process to monitor cooperation with court orders or agreed-upon steps in the mediation process.

An additional critical element, which needs to precede the actual mediation process, is the determination of which PAS families are “ripe” for mediation. It is very possible that in mild to moderate cases of PAS, mediation could be effective for achieving a number of goals to help conflicted parents. However, in severe cases, the research cited herein indicates that negotiating with an aligned parent who exhibits serious psychopathology would be futile. Premediation screening could be used to determine which cases are suitable for mediation, which is also a recommendation for mediation of domestic violence cases advanced by a number of practitioners (Girdner 1990; Perry 1994; Chance and Gerencser 1996; Pearson 1997; Salem and Milne 1995; Thoennes, Salem, and Pearson 1994).

Intervention models that may be useful for PAS cases have been developed and proposed by various researchers. Four such models are referenced in this review, and selected elements from these models support the major areas of concern outlined above. The mediation models are (1) the American Association for Mediated Divorce (AAMD) (Herman 1990), (2) the Stepwise Mediation Process for Psychiatric Family Mediation and Evaluation Clinic at the University of Kentucky Medical Center (Miller and Veltkamp 1987), (3) a three-phase system of child custody dispute resolution proposed by Gardner (1992), and (4) the Remedial Plan described by Michael Walsh, a certified family lawyer, mediator, and arbitrator, and J. Michael Bone, a psychotherapist and certified family law mediator (Walsh and Bone 1997).

In the AAMD process, couples are first screened to determine their suitability for mediation, and their motivation and ability to negotiate with each other are assessed. Couples that seem appropriate and are willing to enter into the process sign a premediation agreement and begin sessions. Co-mediators are suggested by the AAMD (Herman 1990, 48). The concept of comediators representing each gender, and complementing one another’s expertise in mental health, legal background, and mediation skills, fits very well with the criteria established in this article for a useful mediation model.

NEED FOR EXPERTISE IN MENTAL HEALTH

The attachment/alienation continuum model (Figure 1) would be an excellent tool to determine the extensiveness of the child’s alienation from the noncustodial parent. After that determination is made, Gardner’s (1992, 313) concept of mediation could be initiated. He recommends that training programs be set up to ensure that only qualified mediators will be used. He envisions court-designated mental health clinics that would provide mediation services at a fee commensurate with the parents’ financial situation. Implicit in the stepwise mediation process is the fact that the process is conducted by professionals trained in psychiatry at the Child Psychiatry Clinic of the University of Kentucky Medical Center. In the stepwise model, it is first determined if reconciliation or mediation is possible. When mediation proves unsuccessful, there is a shift toward (psychiatric) evaluation (Miller and Veltkamp 1987). Warshack (1992, 221) also recommends that a professional with a background in child psychology would be preferable to an attorney-mediator in disputes involving children because such a mediator could better evaluate the children’s needs. Johnston and Roseby (1997) caution that children who have witnessed family violence may need to be treated for posttraumatic stress syndrome before relationship rebuilding can be expected to succeed. A well-developed premediation screening process to identify which cases require interventions prior to mediation could reduce the need for mediators to be highly skilled in child evaluative procedures.

NEED FOR SWIFT, CLEAR JUDICIAL ACTION

Palmer (1988) and Walsh and Bone (1997) argue that successful intervention of PAS requires coordination by the court and all members of the legal and mental health community. The court-appointed psychologist initially identifies the causation factors and determines (1) the motives of all family members, (2) the defense functions of PAS in the family, and (3) the specific techniques and patterns involved. When the psychological evaluation is completed, it is forwarded to the court. At that point, the parents can attempt to negotiate a plan. If the conflict continues, the court must quickly intervene and use its authority (Walsh and Bone 1997).

Gardner (1992, 315) also recognizes the need for court intervention if mediation breaks down. Step two of his three-phase system proposes an arbitration panel consisting of two mental health professionals and one attorney who are empowered to subpoena evidence and interview witnesses. The arbitration panel would work within the court structure. Ideally, the decision of the arbitrators would be timely and clear and have the quality of a binding legal decision. It is certainly likely that arbitration would result in a more expedient decision than court litigation. Gardner’s recommended process, however, could be very expensive for either parents or taxpayers.

POWER IMBALANCE FAVORING ALIGNED PARENT

In PAS, the aligned parents seem to have power tipped in their favor. The children profess love for them and a desire to live with them. The court and legal and mental health professionals may initially be swayed by the child’s stated preference, particularly if he or she is an older and articulate child. After all, PAS is not widely recognized; there are relatively few individuals with sufficient expertise to diagnose PAS in the early stages. As Walsh and Bone (1997) point out, many therapists shy away from making a PAS diagnosis for fear of being wrong. Clawar and Rivlin (1991) agree, stating that many professionals know it exists but are frustrated with detecting it, objectifying it, and deciding what is best to do for the parents and children.

In its purest form, mediation is expected to be a neutral, impartial, and non-biased process; however, scholars and practitioners alike recognize that the mediator will have subjectivity and that subjectivity can influence the decision of the parents (Regehr 1994; Taylor 1997). To compensate for a natural tendency to favor the aligned parent, mediators must be well trained in detection, causation, underlying motives, and common patterns of deception that may be employed by the family members (including the children). Gardner (1992, 322) recommends that the mediators be trained in mental health, family law, and mediation skills. He believes training in intensive custody evaluations is also necessary. In addition, the natural gender difference can be addressed by using co-mediators of each gender.

DEALING WITH MANIPULATION, DECEPTION, AND UNCOOPERATIVENESS

The co-mediation team process advocated by the AAMD would consist of an impartial lawyer and an impartial mental health professional meeting with the divorcing couple. The model also uses a process to screen couples prior to mediation, as well as the premediation agreement mentioned earlier. The couple understand that they are working toward a three-part agreement: (1) part one reaffirms the need for both parents to be actively involved with their children after the divorce and the need for mutual cooperation toward this goal, (2) in part two, both parents agree how to share the duties of parenting and how to cooperate when decisions are made, (3) part three includes a foundation for agreement about financial issues and provides for future mediation should problems arise (Herman 1990, 48). Parties who cannot agree to this type of openness and cooperation would be screened out to bypass the option of mediating an agreement.

Additional provisions or ground rules could be addressed up front that specify unacceptable behaviors such as deceptions, fabrication, accusations, allegations, and the like. If the court is already in possession of a psychological evaluation that identifies PAS, the aligned parent may recognize that he or she needs to try to negotiate rather than stall. If the aligned parent is unwilling or incapable of cooperating, he or she may lose custody until he or she is emotionally fit to cooperate with the other parent. Although switching custody may seem like an unwise decision, it is the only recourse proven by various researchers to reverse the damaged relationship between the child and target parent in severe cases of parental alienation (Gardner 1992; Clawar and Rivlin 1991; Dunne and Hedrick 1994). The court must take the swift and forceful action necessary.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PAS MEDIATORS

Some of the implicit assumptions of this article may lead the reader to assume that mediators are expected to be highly directive in leading parents to a custody decision. The role of the mediator is to honor self-determination, but it is common for parents in protracted disputes to be emotionally and financially drained and ready to settle for almost any reasonable suggestion made. For this and the reasons outlined in this article, mediating cases in which there is severe parental alienation is usually inappropriate. Unsuccessful mediation may prolong emotional damage to the family by delaying the kinds of intervention and treatment necessary to alleviate brainwashing and programming of the children. If PAS symptoms are present in even one half of Gardner’s (1992) estimate of 80% of custody cases, all family mediators dealing with custody cases need a thorough understanding of the challenges prevalent in PAS families.

In their 12-year research study of 700 to 1,000 cases of programmed and brainwashed children, which is published by the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association, Clawar and Rivlin (1991, 163-72) conclude that the legal system in most states is not currently adequate to protect children from this form of abuse. They also determined that 80% of the children wanted the brainwashing detected and terminated, and that there was often a substantial difference between a child’s expressed opinion and his or her real desires, needs, and behaviors.

An intervention model is needed that is appropriate to the capacity of the aligned parent to recognize and abstain from his or her programming tactics, which may be unconscious. A screening process could be used to determine which families are suitable for mediation and which cases require mental health intervention before parties can negotiate. Co-mediators need knowledge and skills that include mental health expertise, an understanding of child custody evaluation techniques, familiarity with the legal system, and communication/facilitation skills that promote building trust and cooperation between disputing parties. Additional skill development techniques are recommended to help professionals (1) detect PAS and methods to objectify it, (2) determine the extent of the psychological and emotional damage done, and (3) determine how to develop an appropriate remedial plan.

With regard to the question of whether PAS cases can be mediated, Ramona Buck, director of mediation services for the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Maryland, advises:

Mediating cases in which parental alienation syndrome is present is usually inappropriate. For one thing, mediating such cases may provide a platform for the accusing parent to continue to espouse his/her hurtful views which causes more pain to the other parent. Secondly, since one parent is framing the other parent as a villain, it is most unlikely that any agreement can be reached. Thirdly, since one parent is, in a sense, psychologically imbalanced, such a psychological problem in one parent is usually an indicator that a case is not appropriate for mediation.

REFERENCES

Atkinson, J., and American Bar Association. 1996. Guide to family law. New York: Times Books.

Carper, D. L., N. J. Mietus, T. E. Shoemaker, and B. W. West. 1995. Understanding the law. Minneapolis, MN: West.

Cartwright, G. F. 1993. Expanding the parameters of parental alienation syndrome. American Journal of Family Therapy 21:205-15.

Chance, C. B., and A. E. Gerencser. 1996. Screening family mediation for domestic violence. Florida Bar Journal, April, 54-7.

Clawar, S.S., and B. V. Rivlin. 1991. Children held hostage: Dealing with programmed and brainwashed children. Chicago: American Bar Association.

Dunne, J., and M. Hedrick. 1994. The parental alienation syndrome: An analysis of sixteen selected cases. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 21:21-37.

Gardner, R. A. 1992. The parental alienation syndrome. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.

——. 1998. Recommendations for dealing with parents who induce a parental alienation syndrome in their children. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 28 (3-4), 1-23.

Geffner, R., and M.D. Pagelow. 1990. Mediation and child custody issues in abusive relationships. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 8:151-9.

Girdner, L. K. 1990. Mediation triage: Screening for spouse abuse in divorce mediation. Mediation Quarterly 7:365-76.

Herman, S. 1990. Parent vs. parent. New York: Pantheon Books.

Hysjulien, C., B. Wood, and G. A. Benjamin. 1994. Child custody evaluations: A review of methods used in litigation and alternate dispute resolution. Family and Conciliation Courts Review 32:466-89.

Johnston, J. R., and V. Roseby. 1997. In the name of the child: A developmental approach to understanding and helping children of conflicted and violent divorce. New York: Free Press.

Lund, M. 1995. A therapist’s view of parental alienation syndrome. Family and Conciliation Courts Review 33:308-16.

Miller, T. W., and L. J. Veltkamp. 1987. Disputed child custody: Strategies and issues in mediation. Bulletin of American Academy of Psychiatry Law 15 (1): 45-56.

Murray, K. 1999. When children refuse to visit parents. Family and Conciliation Courts Review 37 (1): 83-98.

Palmer, N. R. 1988. Legal recognition of the parental alienation syndrome. American Journal of Family Therapy 16:361-4.

Pearson, J. 1997. Mediating when domestic violence is a factor: Policies and practices in court-based divorce mediation programs. Mediation Quarterly 14:319-33.

Pearson, J., and N. Thoennes. 1986. Mediation in custody disputes. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 4:203-16.

Perry, L. 1994. Mediation and wife abuse: A review of the literature. Mediation Quarterly 11:313-25.

Racusin, R. J. 1994. Characteristics of families of children who refuse post-divorce visits. Journal of Clinical Psychology 50:792-802.

Regehr, C. 1994. The use of empowerment in child custody mediation: A feminist critique. Mediation Quarterly 11:361-71.

Salem, P., and A. Milne. 1995. Making mediation work in a domestic violence case. Family Advocate 17 (3): 34-8.

Saposnek, D. T. 1998. Mediating child custody disputes. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Stoner-Moskowitz, J. 1998. The effect of parental alienation syndrome and interparental conflict on the self concept of children of divorce. Ph.D. diss., Miami Institute of Psychology of the Caribbean Center for Advanced Studies. Abstract in Dissertation Abstracts International 59:1919.

Taylor, A. 1997. Concepts of neutrality in family mediation: Contexts, ethics, influence and transformative process. Mediation Quarterly 14:215-35.

Thoennes, N., P. Salem, and J. Pearson. 1994. Mediation and domestic violence: Current policies and practices. Denver, CO: Center for Policy Research; Madison, WI: Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

Turkat, I.D. 1994. Child visitation interference in divorce. Clinical Psychology Review 14:737-42.

Umbreit, M. S. 1995. Mediating interpersonal conflicts. West Concord, MN: CPI.

Wallerstein, J. S., and J. B. Kelly. 1980. Surviving the breakup: How children and parents cope with divorce. New York: Harper-Collins.

Walsh, M. R., and J. M. Bone. 1997. Parental alienation syndrome: An age old custody problem. Florida Bar Journal, June, 93-6.

Warshack, R. A. 1992. The custody revolution. New York: Poseidon Press.

Author’s Note: This article was selected as the winning entry in the 1998 Student Essay Contest of the American Bar Association Section on Dispute Resolution. The author appreciates the review and comments made by the following practitioners: Sean Byrne, John Lande, Ramona Buck, Marcia Abbo, Loree Cook-Daniels, and Susan H. Shearouse.

Anita Vestal is a doctoral student in dispute resolution at Nova Southeastern University. She has been recognized by the American Bar Association and the Association of Broward County Mediators for essays on the topic of parental alienation and mediation. She is the principal investigator of the PEACE Project, a research study on conflict resolution strategies for preschool children that is funded by the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families.

The original article is located here: http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/vestal99.htm

Denial of the Parental Alienation Syndrome Also Harms Women

In adoption abuse, California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, judicial corruption, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Obama, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, state crimes on April 23, 2009 at 5:00 am

by Richard A. Gardner. M.D.
Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
American Journal of Family Therapy 30(3):191-202 (2002).

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander
— Old Proverb

What’s bad for the gander is also bad for the goose
— Richard A. Gardner

__________________________________

Denying reality is obviously a maladaptive way of dealing with a situation. In fact, denial is generally considered to be one of the defense mechanisms, mechanisms that are inappropriate, maladaptive, and pathological. In the field of medicine to deny the existence of a disease seriously compromises the physician’s ability to help patients. If a physician does not believe that a particular disease exists, then it will not be given consideration when making a differential diagnosis, and the patient may then go untreated. This is in line with the ancient medical principle that proper diagnosis must precede proper treatment. Or, if for some external reason the physician recognizes the disorder, but feels obligated to use another name, other problems arise, e.g., impaired communication with others regarding exactly what is going on with the patient, and hence improper treatment. This is what is occurring at this point with the parental alienation syndrome, a disorder whose existence has compelling verification.

In this article I discuss the reasons for denial of the PAS and the ways in which such denial harms families. Particular emphasis will be given to the ways in which this denial harms women, although I will certainly comment on the ways in which the denial harms their husbands and children. In the past, denial of the PAS has caused men much grief. Such denial is now causing women similar grief.

Since the 1970s, we have witnessed a burgeoning of child-custody disputes unparalleled in history. This increase has primarily been the result of two recent developments in the realm of child-custody litigation, namely, the replacement of the tender-years presumption with the best-interests-of-the-child presumption and the increasing popularity of the joint-custodial concept. Under the tender-years presumption, the assumption was made that mothers, by virtue of the fact that they are female, are intrinsically superior to men as child rearers. Accordingly, the father had to provide the court with compelling evidence of serious maternal deficiencies before the court would even consider assigning primary custodial status to the father. Under its replacement, the best-interests-of-the-child presumption, the courts were instructed to ignore gender when adjudicating child-custody disputes and evaluate only parenting capacity, especially factors that related to the best interests of the child. This change resulted in a burgeoning of custody litigation as fathers found themselves with a greater opportunity to gain primary custodial status. Soon thereafter the joint-custodial concept came into vogue, eroding even further the time that custodial mothers were given with their children. Again, this change also brought about an increase and intensification of child-custody litigation.

The Parental Alienation Syndrome

In association with this burgeoning of child-custody litigation, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the frequency of a disorder rarely seen previously, a disorder that I refer to as the parental alienation syndrome (PAS). In this disorder we see not only programming (“brainwashing”) of the child by one parent to denigrate the other parent, but self-created contributions by the child in support of the alienating parent’s campaign of denigration against the alienated parent. Because of the child’s contribution, I did not consider the terms brainwashing, programming, or other equivalent words to be applicable. Accordingly, in 1985, I introduced the term parental alienation syndrome to cover the combination of these two contributing factors (Gardner, 1985, 1987a). In accordance with this use of the term I suggest this definition of the parental alienation syndrome:

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

The alienating parent’s primary purpose for indoctrinating into the children a campaign of denigration against the target parent is to gain leverage in the court of law. The child’s alienation has less to do with bona fide animosity or even hatred of the alienated parent, but more to do with the fear that if such acrimony is not exhibited, the alienating parent will reject the child.

These are the primary symptomatic manifestations of the parental alienation syndrome:

1. A campaign of denigration

2. Weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations for the deprecation

3. Lack of ambivalence

4. The “independent-thinker” phenomenon

5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict

6. Absence of guilt over cruelty to and/or exploitation of the alienated parent

7. The presence of borrowed scenarios

8. Spread of the animosity to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent

There are three types of parental alienation syndrome: mild, moderate, and severe. It goes beyond the purposes of this article to describe in full detail the differences between these three types. At this point only a brief summary is warranted. In the mild type, the alienation is relatively superficial, the children basically cooperate with visitation, but are intermittently critical and disgruntled with the victimized parent. In the moderate type, the alienation is more formidable, the children are more disruptive and disrespectful, and the campaign of denigration may be almost continual. In the severe type, visitation may be impossible so hostile are the children, hostile even to the point of being physically violent toward the allegedly hated parent. Other forms of acting-out may be present, acting-out that is designed to inflict ongoing grief upon the parent who is being visited. In some cases the children’s hostility may reach paranoid levels, e.g., they exhibit delusions of persecution and/or fears that they will be murdered. Each type requires a different psychological and legal approach. Further details about the diagnosis and treatment of the parental alienation syndrome have been described elsewhere (Gardner, 1992, 1998, 2001a).

Mothers as Alienators

In the early 1980s, when I first began seeing the PAS, in about 85% to 90% of the cases the mother was the alienating parent and the father the targeted parent. Fathers were certainly trying to program their children to gain leverage in the custody dispute; however, they were less likely to be successful. This related to the fact that the children were generally more closely bonded with their mothers. Recognizing this, I generally recommended the mother to be designated the primary custodial parent, even though she might have been a PAS indoctrinator. It was only in the severe cases (about 10 percent)—when the mother was relentless and/or paranoid and unable to cease and desist from the programming—that I recommended primary custodial status to the father. I was not alone in recognizing this gender disparity, which was confirmed during that period by others. In my experience, the time frame during which mothers were the primary alienators was from the early 1980s (when the disorder first appeared) to the mid-to-late 1990s (when fathers became increasingly active as PAS indoctrinators). The largest study confirming the preponderance of mothers as PAS alienators during the 1980s was that of Clawar and Rivlin (1991).

During this early period, it was quite common for mothers, with the full support of their attorneys, to not only deny that they were PAS programmers, but even went further and denied that the PAS existed. And this denial was especially common in courts of law where their attorneys would argue that there was no such thing as a PAS, and therefore, their clients could not be suffering with a disorder that does not exist. In many cases, neither the mothers nor their attorneys could deny that the children were alienated, but would claim that the alienation was the result of abuse and/or neglect to which the children were subjected by their fathers. Under such circumstances, confusion prevailed and “the waters were muddied,” especially in the courtroom. The PAS diagnosis demands the identification of the specific alienator. Other sources of abuse and/or neglect do not produce this particular constellation of symptoms and do not focus so clearly on a specific alienator. In this more confused environment, the mother’s diagnosis as a PAS programmer might never come to the attention of the court—especially if the lawyer was able to convince the court that there was no such thing as a parental alienation syndrome.

“PAS is Not a Syndrome”

Often, the mother’s lawyer would argue that PAS was not a syndrome, with the implication that it does not exist. A syndrome, by medical definition, is a cluster of symptoms, occurring together, that characterize a specific disease. The symptoms, although seemingly disparate, warrant being grouped together because of a common etiology or basic underlying cause. Furthermore, there is a consistency with regard to such a cluster in that most (if not all) of the symptoms appear together.

Accordingly, there is a kind of purity that a syndrome has that may not be seen in other diseases. For example, a person suffering with pneumococcal pneumonia may have chest pain, cough, purulent sputum, and fever. However, the individual may still have the disease without all these symptoms manifesting themselves. A syndrome is more “pure” because most (if not all) of the symptoms in the cluster predictably manifest themselves. An example would be Down’s Syndrome, which includes a host of seemingly disparate symptoms that do not appear to have a common link. These include mental retardation, mongoloid-type facial expression, drooping lips, slanting eyes, short fifth finger, and atypical creases in the palms of the hands. There is a consistency here in that the people who suffer with Down’s Syndrome often look very much alike and typically exhibit all these symptoms. The common etiology of these disparate symptoms relates to a specific chromosomal abnormality. It is this genetic factor that is responsible for linking together these seemingly disparate symptoms. There is then a primary, basic cause of Down’s Syndrome: a genetic abnormality.

Similarly, the PAS is characterized by a cluster of symptoms that usually appear together in the child, especially in the moderate and severe types. Typically, children who suffer with PAS will exhibit most (if not all) of the eight symptoms described above. This is almost uniformly the case for the moderate and severe types. However, in the mild cases one might not see all eight symptoms. When mild cases progress to moderate or severe, it is highly likely that most (if not all) of the symptoms will be present. This consistency results in PAS children resembling one another. It is because of these considerations that the PAS is a relatively “pure” diagnosis that can easily be made. Due to this purity the PAS lends itself well to research studies, because the population to be studied can easily be identified. Furthermore, I believe that this purity will be verified by interrater reliability studies. As is true of other syndromes, there is an underlying cause: programming by an alienating parent in conjunction with additional contributions by the programmed child. It is for these reasons that PAS is indeed a syndrome, and it is a syndrome by the best medical definition of the term.

“PAS Does Not Exist Because It Is Not in DSM-IV”

Commonly, the mother’s attorneys would argue that PAS does not exist because it is not in DSM-IV (1994). The DSM committees justifiably are quite conservative with regard to the inclusion of newly described clinical phenomena and require many years of research and publications before considering inclusion of a disorder. This is as it should be. Lawyers involved in child-custody disputes see it repeatedly. Mental health professionals involved in such disputes are continually involved with such families. They may not wish to recognize it. They may refer to PAS by another name (like “parental alienation”) (Gardner, 2002a). But that does not preclude its existence. A tree exists as a tree regardless of the reactions of those looking at it. A tree still exists even though some might give it another name. If a dictionary selectively decides to omit the word tree from its compilation of words, that does not mean that the tree does not exist. It only means that the people who wrote that book decided not to include that particular word. Similarly, for someone to look at a tree and say that the tree does not exist does not cause the tree to evaporate. It only indicates that the viewer, for whatever reason, does not wish to see what is right in front of him (her).

DSM-IV was published in 1994. In the early 1990s, when DSM committees were meeting to consider the inclusion of additional disorders, there were too few articles on the PAS in the literature to warrant its submission for consideration. That is no longer the case. It is my understanding that committees will begin to meet for DSM-V in 2003. At this point, DSM-V is scheduled for publication in 2010. Considering the fact that there are now more than 135 articles on the PAS in peer-review journals, it is highly likely that by that time there will be many more. Furthermore, considering the fact that there are now more than 65 rulings in which courts have recognized the PAS, it is probable that there will be even more such rulings by the time the committees meet. These lists are being continually updated and can be found on my website (www.rgardner.com/refs). At the time the DSM-V committees meet, these lists will be in the proposal to include PAS in DSM-V. Elsewhere (Gardner, 2002b) I have discussed the various alternative diagnoses that therapists might use in courts that stringently refuse to accept the PAS diagnosis at this time.

It is important to note that DSM-IV does not frivolously accept every new proposal. Their requirements are quite stringent, and justifiably so. Gille de la Tourette first described his syndrome in 1885. It was not until 1980, 95 years later, that the disorder found its way into the DSM. It is important to note that at that point, “Tourette’s Syndrome” became Tourette’s Disorder. Asperger first described his syndrome in 1957. It was not until 1994 (37 years later) that it was accepted into DSM-IV and “Asperger’s Syndrome” became Asperger’s Disorder.

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

“Believe the Children”

Lawyers for the mothers would often say to the judge, “Your Honor, why don’t we really listen to what these children are saying. If you don’t feel comfortable putting them on the witness stand, then bring them into your chambers. They will tell you how they feel. Let’s respect their opinions.” Judges not familiar with the PAS might be taken in by these children, and actually believe that they were subjected to the terrible indignities that they described. As far back as 1987 I wrote an article advising judges about this problem and providing them with guidelines for interviewing these children (Gardner, 1987b). Although there are certainly judges who are now more knowledgeable about the PAS than in the late 1980s, judges still play an important role in the etiology and promulgation of the PAS, especially with regard to their failure to impose reasonable sanctions on PAS indoctrinating parents. Elsewhere (Gardner, submitted for publication), I have elaborated on this problem. The believe-the-children philosophy was—and still is—espoused by therapists ignorant of the PAS. Many therapists sanctimoniously profess that they really listen to children (as opposed to the rest of us who presumably do not). They profess that they really respect what children want (with the implication that the rest of us do not). What they are basically doing is contributing to pathological empowerment, which is a central factor in the development and perpetuation of the PAS (Gardner, 2002c). Again, it is beyond the purposes of this article to describe therapists’ role in the development and perpetuation of the PAS. PAS indoctrinators know well that they can rely upon most therapists to empower children’s PAS symptomatology, and that they are readily duped into joining the PAS indoctrinator’s parade of enablers and supporters. Such therapists are often brought into the courtroom to support the mother and her lawyer’s denial of the existence of the PAS and to encourage the court to “really listen” to the children.

“Those Who Make the PAS Diagnosis Are Sexist”

Because mothers were the primary alienators during this early period, PAS was viewed as being intrinsically biased against women. And I, as the person who first wrote on the phenomenon, was viewed as being biased against women and as being “sexist.” The facts are that during this time frame women were the primary alienators. Labeling those who diagnose PAS as sexist is the equivalent of saying that a doctor is biased against women if he claims that more women suffer with breast cancer than men. And the sexist claim has also been brought into courts of law. Fear of being labeled “sexist” has been one factor in many evaluators’ eschewing the PAS diagnosis.

Denial of the PAS Has Caused Permanent Alienation

The denial of PAS has caused many men to suffer formidable psychological suffering. The lawyers of women who have been PAS indoctrinators have convinced courts that PAS does not exist, and therefore the children’s animosity against their fathers is justified. The fact that women are increasingly suffering as target parents gives these men little solace, because many of them have lost their children permanently. In my recent follow-up of 99 PAS children, I provide compelling confirmation that the denial of PAS by courts has resulted in permanent estrangement in the vast majority of cases (Gardner, 2001c).

Fathers as Alienators and Mothers as Target Parents

In the last few years, starting in the late 1990s, there has been a gender shift. Fathers, with increasing frequency, are also indoctrinating PAS into their children (Gardner, 2001b). At this point, my own extensive experiences with PAS families have led me to the conclusion that the ratio is now 50/50, with fathers being as likely as mothers to indoctrinate children into a PAS. And colleagues of mine in various parts of the country are reporting a similar phenomenon.

Why this shift? One probable explanation relates to the fact that fathers are increasingly enjoying expanded visitation time with their children in association with the increasing popularity of shared parenting programs. The more time a programming father has with his children, the more time he has to program them if he is inclined to do so. Another factor operative here probably relates to the fact that with increasing recognition of the PAS, fathers (some of whom have read my books) have learned about the disorder and have decided to use the same PAS indoctrinational maneuvers utilized by women. It is probable that other factors are operative as well in the gender shift, but these are the two best explanations that I have at this point.

With the gender shift of PAS indoctrinators, there has consequently been a gender shift in PAS target parents. Mothers are increasingly finding themselves victims (I use the word without hesitation) of their husbands’ PAS indoctrinations of their children. Such mothers know well that PAS exists. They read my books and say, as have the father victims before them, “It’s almost as if you’ve lived in my house. You’re describing exactly what has been going on.” These mothers find themselves helpless. They cannot get help from therapists who are still mouthing the old mantras, “PAS is just Gardner’s theory,” “PAS doesn’t exist because it’s not in DSM-IV,” “PAS is not a syndrome.” Their lawyers, too, will tell them, “PAS might exist, but the court will not recognize it. I can’t use the word syndrome in the courtroom. It’s the ‘big S’ word.” Worse yet, many leaders in the Women’s Rights movement are reflexively chanting the same incantations, thereby abandoning the women whose cause they profess to espouse. These mantras have become deeply embedded in the brain circuitry of most of the people the alienated women are looking to for help—therapists, lawyers, guardians ad litems, and judges. And these groups cannot even turn to the Women’s Rights groups because they have long ago stridently taken the position that PAS does not exist, that PAS is not a syndrome, etc., etc. We see here how those who deny the existence of PAS are adding formidably to the grief of women. Women’s past denial and discrediting of PAS has now come back to haunt them. Women are now being injured by their own weapons, or, as the old saying goes, they are being “hoist by their own pitards.”

The Relationship Between PAS and Bona Fide Abuse

In recent years, with increasing frequency, mental health and legal professionals have been seeing cases in which one parent (more often the father) has accused the other parent (more often the mother) of inducing a PAS in the children. In response, the responding parent (usually the mother) accuses the other parent (usually the father) of abusing and neglecting the children. In short, then, the children’s alienation against the father is considered by him to be the result of the mother’s PAS programming, and the mother considers their alienation to be the result of the father’s abuse/neglect. I have no doubt that some abusing/neglectful parents are using the PAS explanation to explain the children’s alienation as a cover-up and diversionary maneuver designed to deflect exposure of their abuse/neglect. However, there is no question that some PAS-inducing mothers are using the argument that it is the father’s abuse/neglect that is causing the children’s campaign of denigration, and thereby denying any programming whatsoever. In short, such programming mothers are basically saying: “He’s getting what he deserves, and I’m not programming them.” Elsewhere (Gardner, 1998, 1999) I have described criteria for differentiating between PAS and bona fide abuse/neglect.

Of relevance to this article is the common phenomenon in which genuinely abusing husbands use the argument that the children’s alienation has nothing to do with their abuse, but is the result of the mother’s PAS indoctrinations. Such mothers will invoke the argument that this deceitful maneuver is not going to work, especially because there is no such thing as the PAS. This is a handy argument, and they will easily find legal and mental health professionals who will support them in this denial. Although I am sympathetic with these falsely accused women, their contributions to the denial of the existence of the PAS is not serving well other women who are indeed PAS victims. And this factor has been operative in increasing the grief suffered by women who are indeed PAS target parents. Their PAS indoctrinating husbands are now waving the same “PAS-doesn’t-exist” flags that PAS indoctrinating women were waving in the 1980s and early 1990s. Wives who were being falsely accused by their husbands of being PAS indoctrinators would have done much better to agree that PAS does exist, but they themselves are not indoctrinators, that the children’s symptoms are not those of PAS children, but symptoms of children who have been genuinely abused.

The Effects on Children

The denial of PAS in the early period resulted in many children living primarily with their programming mothers, with the result that they became permanently estranged from loving fathers. They were deprived, therefore, of all the benefits that could have come from their father. There is no question that follow-up studies of these children will reveal significant psychopathological residua from these early experiences. One cannot grow up and be a healthy person if, throughout the course of one’s childhood, one was taught that a previously loving and dedicated father was really loathsome and vicious. This inevitably will affect their relationships with other males—dates, boyfriends, teachers, employers, friends, etc. In the more recent phase, with men as increasingly frequent indoctrinators, we will have a similar group of children growing up believing that their previously loving mothers were vile, loathsome, and noxious. Similarly, one cannot become a healthy person believing that the primary maternal figure has been and still is a despicable and loathsome human being. Such a distortion of reality cannot but affect future relationships with other females—dates, employers, friends, etc.

The Solution

The first step in the treatment of denial is the acceptance of reality. The first step, then, must be the recognition that PAS exists, even if there are thousands of people, both husbands and wives, who claim that it does not. PAS exists, even though there are thousands of lawyers who will claim that it does not. PAS exists even though there are thousands of mental health professionals who claim that it does not. It exists even though there are Courts of Appeal who rule that it does not exist. It exists even if all nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court were to rule that it does not exist. It exists even though it is not in DSM-IV, and it will continue to exist even if the DSM-V committees choose not to include it. The first step, then, must be to recognize and stop denying its existence. Mental health professionals should be free to diagnose the disorder when it is present, and not have to worry about whether the diagnosis will be accepted in a court of law. They should recognize that in the adversarial system there will always be attorneys who will try to discredit whatever they say, because this is what they have learned to do in law school. Mental health professionals should not worry about whether they are in the minority or the majority with regard to the diagnosis. Rather, they should only be concerned with honesty and reality. They should not be concerned with those who may irrationally label them sexist or biased against either men or women if they make a diagnosis of PAS. Whenever some external considerations operate or affect one’s diagnostic objectivity, there is bound to be some contamination and bias. Worse, it will inevitably not serve well the patients whom one is evaluating and treating. If this point is reached, it is likely that the frequency of PAS will be reduced because would-be indoctrinators will recognize that they will not have available mental health professionals to help them manipulate the legal system.

Concluding Comments

Denial of PAS has caused significant psychological suffering to many men, many women, and many children. And its denial has only added to the burden of families in which this disorder has been present. Furthermore, the denial of PAS will lessen the likelihood of ultimate inclusion in DSM-V. And this will have a negative impact on all those who are afflicted with this disorder. The more PAS is recognized, the greater the number of research articles will be written. This will, in turn, enhance the receptivity of the DSM-V committees. The more courts of law that have accepted PAS, the greater the likelihood that the DSM-V committee will recognize the disorder. Mental health professionals, especially, should take this factor into consideration when they eschew the diagnosis.

In closing, I quote from the concluding comments in my follow-up study of 99 PAS children:

When I embarked upon this study, I expected that most of the PAS children would continue to be alienated from the target parent in situations in which the court neither transferred custody to the target parent nor reduced the alienating parent’s access to the children. What I did not expect was the high rate of completely destroyed relationships and the enormous grief suffered by the alienated parents. I expected the average follow-up conversation to last five minutes, during which I would get the basic data. It turned out that most conversations lasted between 15 and 30 minutes, because the parents needed me at that point for some kind of ventilation of their painful feelings. I did not expect such a degree of grief. However, on looking back upon the study, I should not have been surprised. I consider losing a child because of PAS to be more painful and psychologically devastating than the death of a child. A child’s death is final and there is absolutely no hope for reconciliation. Most bereaved parents ultimately resign themselves to this painful reality. The PAS child is still alive and may even be in the vicinity. Yet, there is little if any contact, when contact is feasible. Therefore, resignation to the loss is much more difficult for the PAS alienated parent than for the parent whose child has died. For some alienated parents the continuous heartache is similar to living death.

References

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

Clawar, W. S. & Rivlin, B. V. (1991). Children Held Hostage: Dealing with Programmed and Brainwashed Children. Chicago: American Bar Association.

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

Gardner, R. A. (1987a). Child custody. In J. D. Noshpitz (ed.) Basic Handbook of Child Psychiatry (pp. 637-646). New York: Basic Books.

Gardner, R. A. (1987b). Judges interviewing children in custody/visitation litigation. New Jersey Family Lawyer 7(2), 153ff

Gardner, R. A. (1992). The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals. Cresskill, New Jersey: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

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

Gardner, R. A. (1999). Differentiating between PAS and bona fide abuse/neglect. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 27(3), 195-212.

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

Gardner, R. A. (2001b). The recent gender shift in PAS indoctrinators. News for Women in Psychiatry, 19(4),11-13.

Gardner, R. A. (2001c). Should courts order PAS children to visit/reside with the alienated parent? A follow-up study. The American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 19(3),60-106.

Gardner, R. A. (2002a). Parental alienation syndrome vs. parental alienation: which diagnosis should evaluators use in child-custody litigation? The American Journal of Family Therapy, 30(2),101-123.

Gardner, R. A. (2002b). Does DSM-IV have equivalents for the parental alienation syndrome (PAS) diagnosis? The American Journal of Family therapy (in press)

Gardner, R. A. (2002c). The empowerment of children in the development of the parental alienation syndrome. The American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 20(1) (in press)

Gardner, R. A. The judiciary’s role in the etiology, symptom development, and treatment of the parental alienation syndrome (PAS). (Submitted for publication)

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

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

The original article can be found here: http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/gard02a.htm

Violations of the US Constitution by Democrats

In Civil Rights, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, judicial corruption, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, state crimes on April 22, 2009 at 5:00 am

by Mark Godbey
April 22, 2009

I was impressed that so much interest was generated by the tax day Tea Parties on April 15. The existence of counter resistance to our first Socialist President that has swept in the White House and Congress, is frightening to the Democrats, enough so for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue a warning about right-wing extremists and the “recruitment” of military veterans. Standing up for your civil rights is terrifying to any totalitarian regime. Is that what the U.S. government has become? Reminds me of the FBI files the government kept on Martin Luther King.

When I first heard of the report, this brought to mind the mass arrests of Japanese citizens, following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, who for the most part were good American citizens who happen to have the wrong skin color. But I have understood for a very long time now, the erosion of our civil rights began in the mid-1970 in family courts. I published this article below a week before the Tea Parties and it is still relevant.

Ever since the Socialist/Liberals and feminists have been working the 50 state legislatures, those of us involved with parenting and parents rights and family values have long lamented the destruction of the family by the state laws assuming supremacy over the federal laws, mainly the wide scale dismissal 4th through 10th and 14th Amendments rights given to all citizens.

Federal civil rights assume supremacy over state laws. Any laws enacted by state legislatures to deny federally protected civil rights violate the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution. Article IV, Paragraph 2.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

Since the mid 1970s with the end of no-fault divorce, and the institution of quickie divorces through the rabid advocacy of socialist and feminist groups, parents and children have been rippped apart and added to the welfare rolls without their consent. All of these atrocities were supported of the federal block grants provided for by the U.S. Congress. Your tax dollars hard at work. “We’re from the government and we here to help,” said President Ronald Reagan in speaking about the most feared line you can hear.

Here is how it works. It is a state-federal government 2-Step dance.

Step One. The states regulate marriage and divorce. Who gets married, and when you can divorce. Marriage is a right reserved to the states and to the people. The people of the state decides who can and can’t get married. Divorce used to be that way, but not anymore. Anyone can get divorced. A child’s consent is meaningless. States regulate divorce.

Marriage is not a sacred institution anymore, but a state secular contract and your Bill of Rights protections do not matter. The state cares even less about your children. (as a matter of federal law, a dollar value has been assessed for each child taken into state custody.)

The federal government only constitutional involvement is around the “implied” rights of parents under the 9th, 10th and 14h amendments. There is no mention of Parents or Marriage in the US Constitution. So it is up to the states, with limited protection for parents and children from the federal government with regard to protection for families with the remaining amendments.

So in the 1970s states fell into line with the socialist/liberal/feminist thinking and the greatest social experiment of all time was enacted without any public debate as to the consequences: The Single-Parent Household became the new social order. Under federal law, The Single-Parent home became a Welfare Home. Dads became dispensable. The welfare check became more important. Black fatherhood still teeters on the brink of extinction. Ask President Obama why his father left him fatherless. Single-Parent home advocates should be ashamed. So should all Republicans who voted to destroy the family with their Socialist Democrat buddies.

Step 2. States are paid by the federal for every successful divorce. See Social Act Title IV. The federal government reimburses the state for every child in divorce separated permanently from one parent or the other. Massive federal block grants support state courts.

Divorce in the 50 states became incredibly easy. You could destroy (what at one time was considered a sacred institution) a marriage and destroy a family without the consent of the other marriage partner. And the children? Their consent was not required. Children’s rights were destroyed by the states. Children’s rights were limited to what was in “their best interest.” The “best interest” doctrine replaced children’s rights to equal access to both of their parents. Children have no rights, parents have no rights, the state ignores rights in favor of Billions of federal welfare dollars.

“Best interest” in not in the US Constitution. It has been described by federal judges as vague and undefinable. State constitutions are engorged with the term. State judge and attorneys love the term. It is warm and fuzzy, and after all, who know best? Does “Father Know Best? Nope. The state has assumed that role of “best interest.” The “State Knows Best.” Long live Robert Young.

At the Tea Parties, my fellow conservatives stood up for the 1st and 2nd amendment rights. These rights in a nutshell are, freedom of the press, speech and religion, and to bear arms. It is laughingly, bitterly, sad, comical, and ironic that President Obama made the statement about people “bitterly clinging to the their guns and religion” because candidate Obama knew that the remaining Bill of Rights protections (accept the 3rd) were long gone, in the trash heap of history. I knew exactly what he meant when he said it. Also, conservatives, like all good Americans, oppose high taxes. That is another issue to be fought.

That is right. Those of you in Family Court kissed of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th 10th and 14th amendments long ago. If you become embroiled in an custody issue with your spouse or the other parent of your child or children, your US Constitutional Rights are not protected in Family Court. This is because the state legislatures have been pursuing a socialist / Democrat Party agenda for a very long time now, all in the “best interest of the children.” Or so they say. It is more of a scheme to get federal tax dollars, than about children, since we all know children do best in a two-parent household.

  • If you had your children legally kidnapped in Family Court, or had CPS violate your 4th, 5th and 6th and 14th Amendment rights, you know what I am talking about.
  • If you one of the 80 million children over the past 38 years who no longer has a dad, you know what I am talking about.
  • If you have falsely accused, lost your home, children, life savings, business license, passport, driver license, self-respect, job, friends, church or the respect of the community because you are divorced, you know what I am talking about.

To quote Stephen Baskerville, author of Taken Into Custody, from his December 2007 article TOTALITARIANISM IN AMERICA,

” Mass incarcerations without trial or charge; forced confessions; children forcibly separated from their parents with no reasons given; doctored hearing transcripts and falsified court records; evidence fabricated against the innocent; government agents entering the homes, examining private papers and personal effects, and seizing the property of citizens who are under no suspicion of legal wrongdoing; special courts created specifically to convict people who cannot be convicted in ordinary courts; children instructed to hate their parents by state functionaries: Is all this the Soviet Union in the 1930s or Communist China in the 1960s? Is this some novelist’s prognosticated dystopia? No, all this and more is routine in the United States today.”

I will end this brief article with listing of the Rights You No Longer Have:

– Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

– Fifth Amendment – due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, eminent domain.

No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

– Sixth Amendment – Trial by jury and rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

– Seventh Amendment – Civil trial by jury.

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

– Eighth Amendment – Prohibition of excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

– Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights, like Parental Rights.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

– Tenth Amendment – Powers of states and people, like Parental and Children’s Rights

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

– Fourteenth Amendment – Equal protection under the law

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

The Orphan Trains – A CPS History Lesson “In the Best Interest of Children”

In adoption abuse, child trafficking, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, Family Rights, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Indians, judicial corruption, mothers rights, Obama, Orphan Trains, Parents rights, state crimes on April 21, 2009 at 5:00 am



They were part of westward migration, Many migrants were able to get to the immigrant ports but lacked the money to migrate westward where the Feds had free homestead land waiting. Living conditions were appalling. Families lived in abandoned buildings, under loading docks, in empty packing boxes, anywhere to get out of the East Coast’s bitterly cold winters.

Employment was denied to immigrants to drive them west. Or they were paid such low wages that it amounted to slave labor. All that did was make things worse.

To feed their families, desperate parents “sent their children out” to steal, rob, sell their bodies, work in sweatshops, anything to bring home pennies and nickels which were used to feed babies too young to “send out.”

Abuse, incest, abandonment, all the abuses of children that come with destitution were endemic.

A few parents gave their children to agencies who sent them west to be auctioned off into slavery, convinced by Federal propaganda that they were “better off there than being ‘sent out.'”

Rather than finance family travel, the Feds established kidnap agencies to collect children until a carload could be sent west on “Orphan Trains,” to be picked over at trackside by migrants looking for cheap labor. Frying pan to the fire!

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children snatched children off streets and playgrounds, out of homes, schools and stores, anywhere they could be found a few feet away from their parents. Within minutes, victims were taken to one of three transport agencies. The system was “justified” by massive Federal propaganda that touted immigrant parents as “child abusers.”

(Yes, Virginia, I see the resemblance to modern massive falsification of child abuse, neglect and molestation accusations that are completely without validity and serve only to “justify” kidnapping children so they can be sold into adoption/slavery.)

Children’s Home Society was a Protestant agency that sent more children than any other agency to Protestants in the West.

New York Foundling Hospital was a Catholic agency that sent children to Catholics in the Desert Southwest, where Mexico was trying to block U.S. expansion. (See citation below for litigation that arose from that activity.)

Juvenile Asylum was government controlled. They couldn’t have cared less where the kids went as long as they went west. They handled primarily babies.

The Orphan Trains brought the U.S. close to revolution. Older children ran away home. Mobs attacked police and SPCC agents. In the West, Orphan Train and other victims became cannon fodder for a revolution that came close to splitting the U.S. into five nations. (See the Standing Bear cite below, the turning point.)

Orphan Train documentation is crawling with propaganda lies, most of them disinformation disseminated in a futile attempt to sucker the public into thinking they were done “in the child’s best interests.” Most blatant of all were:

The Jacob Riis photos are to this day hyped as “photos of starving street kids sleeping on grates to keep warm in New York City’s bitter cold winters.” Take a good look at those photos. Those kids are clean, neatly dressed, hair cut and combed and far from malnourished. Those pics were posed, period! There was no other way he could have taken them. For one thing, true street kids would have stolen his camera, robbed him of whatever money he had in his pockets and stripped him of his clothes to keep themselves warm.

This is equally true of every source of the time, whether sanitized government records, agency records, police records or family stories. With one exception that stands out like the beacon on a lighthouse.

The New York Times, from Day One to 1925 is the only source that I consider reliable and accurate for the Orphan Trains.

The reason is a peculiarity that I have never seen in any documentary source before or since. My reasoning is so heavily biased in their favor that I owe it to the reader to describe it.

Go to the original handwritten index and find the articles about a Catholic maid in Rome who stole her Jewish employer’s baby boy and gave him to the Papal Guards. There was a world wide furor. The Times was almost rabid in their condemnation of the Pope’s refusal to return the baby. The Pope ignored the world, eventually acknowledging the existence of intense world wide hostility with a terse statement that “We gotta save that baby from Satan!”

I probably should have included the episode in the master file that underlies this biblio, but I didn’t. Maybe some day I will.

The Times settled into heavy bias against snatching babies from natural parents. That conflicted with their equally strong support of Conquest of the West. It created editorial schizophrenia that resulted in coverage of the Trains that laid out for all to see the good, the bad and the ugly of the Trains, warts and all. That is the kind of data I look for in any kind of research, especially into the social and political sciences. The Times is the only place where I ever found it in one source.

The articles are indexed under “Children.” The phrase “Orphan Trains” does not appear in any source of the time. The time of it’s appearance in American language is uncertain. In any event, the change in language hampered my research until I discovered the correlation. Others are advised to use the same indexing approach.

“Rescuing thousands of starving children” is a classic example of lying when the truth would have served better. Even rabidly pro-Train writers on the Times staff found no evidence of “starving children.” What they did find was thousands of children who fed themselves and their families with every conceivable kind of crime, including lethal violence. The Times reported children kidnapped by SPCC from incestuous drunks, pimps, Fagins (Adults who used kids to commit crime, taking part of the profits.) and every other kind of child abuse one could think of. I believe those kids did in fact benefit from being kidnapped and sent west to be sold into slavery.

One thing I hear but have never confirmed is judges telling juvenile criminals “Go west or go to jail — your choice you little SOB!” The trend of the stories makes me think that it wasn’t done the first time a kid got busted for a minor offense. Rather, it was done only to the worst of the worst. This would be a good research project for some student who has access to New York City court archives.

The anti-Train faction on the Times staff reported kids taken from parents’ homes and front steps, out of yards and off the streets while on their way to the store, anyplace SPCC could find them in a vulnerable situation.

The Times reported mobs attacking SPCC agents and police, rescuing children and returning them to parents. There was one parental suicide. One infuriated mother walked into an agency’s child warehouse and so cowed the adults that they let her take her child home. The picture is one of extreme public hostility towards Train snatches. There were several anti-Train organizations.

The dichotomy in Times philosophy surfaced repeatedly in editorials. There is one back-to-back pair where the first supported Kansas’ complaints of “diseased, violent Train kids.” Next day, another editorial appeared saying “Kids OK. Shut up and take ’em!”

Westchester Temporary Home for Destitute Children did not sent children west. Instead, they kept the children until parents could afford to reclaim them. They also “straightened out” uncontrollable children. Their refusal to send children west incurred the wrath of SPCC, the Times and other Train supporters. They filed a criminal child abuse complaint against the Home’s director. The ensuing trial had strong similarities to McMartin. Eventual vindication became the first domino in the collapse of the Orphan Train system. The first step was disbanding SPCC and reorganizing it into the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Purists will object to my failure to include specific citations. There are two reasons. First, the total biblio would be twice the length of this one. (It’s a huge part of my original research folder.) Second, I hope to encourage researchers to duplicate my work. There are side alleys galore that lead to information that I did not include, but which would make projects in their own right.

There are auxiliary sources that suggest other lines of research.

There was a dog-eat-dog fight between Catholics and Protestants over control of the West. The Protestants wanted independence from Europe. The Catholics wanted the Desert Southwest returned to Mexico.

That culminated in the Catholics sending kidnapped children to Mexicans in the Desert Southwest. But they did not count on Protestant mobs mass kidnapping the children back and giving them to Protestants who were migrating into the same area.

New York Foundling Hospital v Gatti: U.S. Reports, 203 US 429 (1906.) Technically, This ruling said that the Federal courts had no jurisdiction to hear child custody cases. In reality, it upheld a Protestant mob snatching children placed with Mexicans in Arizona to thwart U.S. expansion into the area.

Norfolk, Nebr News Flyer, July 15, 1987, P 2. — See also Orphan Train Heritage Society, Rt 4, Box 565, Springdale Arkansas 72764. Their newsletter. The children’s view of the Orphan Trains. The first is an interview with a now elderly Orphan Train child. There is a reservoir of such interviews and articles if a researcher is willing to spend the time to find them. The trend is towards portrayal of slavery and abuse. The second is an organization that collects the stories of Orphan Train children. They work for reunions.

Much of the personal history of the Train children is already lost to death. The rest will follow unless somebody picks up their stories.

Hostility in recipient states. Orphan Train Heritage Society (ibid) has information. A researcher could easily find a law library with a good archive section and go through early state statutes. Several states celebrated their newly acquired statehood by enacting statutes prohibiting “placing out” Train children inside their borders.

Buckskin and Blanket Days Autobiography of Thomas Henry Tibbles (University of Nebraska Press, 1957 reprint.)

He was stolen from his widowed mother at about age 10 by an Ohio Sheriff and sold to a neighbor for Indenture. He promptly ran away and went west to live with the Indians.

He eventually became a major national activist, championing Indian Rights, fighting lies used to con people west, was Vice Presidential Candidate for the Populist Party and other activity. His most important activity was editor/writer/researcher for the Omaha Herald and was the prime mover in the Standing Bear litigation.

Tibbles was the leader of a group of people who included at least two Army Generals, Crook and Miles, Omaha Indian Chief Iron Eye — whose daughter, Bright Eyes, later married Tibbles — and at least one other in the Desert Southwest. I make out that they were within days of open military revolt with the objective of splitting the nation into five parts: The original 13 Colonies. The Deep South, basically the Confederacy. The Louisiana Purchase would become a separate nation under the leadership of Tibbles, Judge Dundy and Iron Eye. The Pacific Northwest would join Canada under Miles’ leadership. The Desert Southwest would rejoin Mexico under unknown leadership.

Tibbles is an excellent example of the level of hatred that is generated among child victims of whatever form of “adoption” takes them from their families and drives them into lifetimes of revolt against the authorities who did it.

Standing Bear et al v Crook: Federal District Court, Omaha, Nebraska. Case No 136 E. Filed April 8, 1879. Heard by Judge Elmer S Dundy May 12, 1879

Habeas Corpus, claiming illegal arrest of Standing Bear and others by U.S. Army

Culminated in freeing the Ponca party in a ruling that had landmark effects.

The records are no longer available from the Federal Archives in Kansas City. I have photocopies of the original paperwork, obtained from the Clerk of the Federal District Court in Omaha. I consider it a rare document whose importance is overlooked by historians and researchers.

The importance of this litigation is that prior to it Indians were legally dangerous wild animals. They were rounded up and confined to “reservations” to “preserve the species.” In those days, Indian Reservations bore a striking resemblance to modern zoos, used to save dangerous wild animals from extinction.

This litigation elevated Indian legal status from wild animal to human, entitled to the same legal and constitutional protections as Whites. In the purely legal sense, it is a lower court ruling, not entitled to precedent status. But Washington was afraid to appeal it because they knew doggone well it would be upheld all the way to the Supreme Court. It was a turnover event that reached far beyond Indian Rights to bring about major changes that reverberate even yet.

I spent several days reading media coverage of the time. The W Dale Clark Library in downtown Omaha has microfilms of two newspapers, the Omaha Bee and the Omaha Herald. Their views were so strongly opposed that they gave me the editorial dichotomy I look for when I research events of that importance. In essence, the Bee took the stand that Indians were pests to be exterminated while the Herald took the stand that Indians were martyrs to White greed, violence and bigotry.

There is one reference to a Congressional speech that talked about “a second Civil War.” There is much to support the concept.

Union Pacific got wind of it and realized that they would be split into at least three railroads. They sent in their top attorney, Andrew J Poppleton, who was attorney of record for Standing Bear in the litigation. Poppleton was assisted by attorney Jno L Webster, who was a Nebraska State Representative.

To someone like me, who has been in just such litigation, the paperwork reeks of sandbagging Washington. Judge Dundy “went bear hunting” just long enough to let Poppleton get the paperwork in order but not long enough for Washington to yank the case out from under him. General Crook put the Army under the jurisdiction of a local civilian court, which to this day has no legal standing. (I am not talking about individuals in the Army. The Army itself was the true defendant in this case.) General Crook told the world that the Poncas were “too sick to move” to keep them in Omaha so the Army couldn’t move them out of the Court’s jurisdiction. The witness who certified the Indians’ “X” signatures was one of Crook’s officers. It goes on and on like that.

This litigation was followed by a series of events that brought an end to the horrendous abuses of “Conquest of the West.” The new York Times changed it’s editorial stand from supporting the Orphan Trains to hostility. A few years later, the Westchester Home case toppled the Trains from their pinnacle of power. Union Pacific suckered a bunch of Eastern workers west with promises of non-existent jobs. Some infuriated workers, under the leadership of a close friend of Crook’s, former General Kelly, took over trains at gunpoint and went home, while others marched home, taking food and other supplies by force of arms as they went. Union Pacific and the Army were uncharacteristically meek and mild and stayed out of the way of the “Industrial Armies.” Hype that ignored harsh living conditions in the west suddenly became more realistic. Standing Bear, Tibbles and Bright Eyes did lecture tours stumping for Indian rights and more humane treatment of Native Americans. There was a marked change in Indian School policies and mass kidnaping Indian children was markedly reduced, driving what was left underground, where it continues even today.

Standing Bear exerted a profound influence that reduced the official child abuse called “Orphan Trains.” The influence was strong enough to force an Orwellian double-speak name change to “adoption.”

Tibbles is a good indication of the level of anger that is generated among mass kidnap victims and sublimated into revolutionary activity. There are others, such as serial killer Ted Bundy. This would make a good line of research for somebody developing a thesis.

My thanks to Leonard Henderson for this “history lesson.” http://familyrightsassociation.com/departments/kids/orphan_trains/orphan_trains.html

saved from http://incolor.inebraska.com/eaustin/adopt10.html

Child Protective Services CaseLaw

In child trafficking, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, Family Rights, federal crimes, judicial corruption, mothers rights, Obama, Parents rights, state crimes on April 20, 2009 at 5:00 am

Beltran v. Santa Clara County, 514 F.3d 906, (9th Cir. 2008)
Beltrans sued two caseworkers under 42 U.S.C. ‘ 1983, charging constitutional violations in removing child from their custody and attempting to place him under the supervision of the state by fabricating evidence. Court overruled Doe v. Lebbos, and reversed the district court’s ruling that defendants were entitled to absolute immunity.

Brokaw v. Mercer County, 235 F.3d 1000, (7th Cir. 2000)
In 1983, three-year old A.D. Brokaw was removed from her parents’ home based on allegations of child neglect. After she turned eighteen, she sued her paternal grandfather, aunt, and uncle, alleging that they conspired to violate her constitutional rights by reporting false claims of child neglect. A.D. also sued the various state actors and agencies involved in removing her from her parents’ custody. The district court held that A.D.’s suit was barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine because, in effect, A.D. was challenging the validity of the state removal proceedings. The Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded.

Calabretta v. Floyd, 189 F.3d 808 (9th Cir. 1999)
“This case involves whether a social worker and a police officer were entitled to qualified immunity, for a coerced entry into a home to investigate suspected child abuse, interrogation of a child, and strip search of a child, conducted without a search warrant and without a special exigency.” Can you guess what the answer was? “An unlawful entry or search of a home does not end when the government officials walk across the threshold. It continues as they impose their will on the residents of the home in which they have no right to be.”

Chavez v. Board of County Commissioners, 2001-NMCA-065, New Mexico Court of Appeals (2001)
Defendants are deputy sheriffs with the Curry County Sheriff’s Department, who were called to assist two social workers from the Children, Youth & Families Department on a “child welfare check” at Plaintiff’s home. Plaintiff’s son had not been attending elementary school. Thus, one reason for the visit to Plaintiff’s home was to investigate suspected truancy or educational neglect. Held: “At the time of entry into Plaintiff’s home, it was well-settled that the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibited unreasonable searches and seizures and was intended to protect the sanctity of an individual’s home and privacy.”

Croft v. Westmoreland County Children and Youth Servs., 103 F.3d 1123 (3d Cir. 1997)
Holding that “a state has no interest in protecting children from their parents unless it has some reasonable and articulable evidence giving rise to a reasonable suspicion that a child has been abused or is in imminent danger of abuse.”

Doe v. Gooden, 214 F.3d 952 (8th Cir. 2000)
School district officials can be liable under 1983 if they are deliberately indifferent to acts committed by a teacher that violate a student’s constitutional rights.

Franz v. United States, 707 F 2d 582, US Ct App (1983)
“The undesirability of cultural homogenization would lead us to oppose efforts by the state to assume a greater role in children’s development, even if we were confident that the state were capable of doing so effectively and intelligently.” A brilliant analysis of the fundamental right to be free of unwarranted state interference between the child-parent bond, in this case stemming from the Witness Protection Program.

Good v. Dauphin County Soc. Servs. for Children and Youth, 891 F.2d 1087, (3d Cir. 1989)
“[P]hysical entry into the home is the chief evil against which the … Fourth Amendment is directed,” the Court explained, while adding: “It is a ‘basic principle of Fourth Amendment law’ that searches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable.” No qualified immunity claim to be found here.

Heartland Acad. Cmty. Church v. Waddle, 335 F.3d 684, (8th Cir.2003)
Waddle, as Chief Juvenile Officer for the Second Circuit of Missouri, effected the removal of 115 boarding students from Heartland Christian Academy . Waddle had obtained ex parte probable-cause state-court orders to remove some of the boarding students, there were no orders of any kind to remove many of the students who were taken from the school. This case is noted for its brilliant analysis of Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, and immunity as an officer of a juvenile court. The court held that: “any single violation of Heartland’s federal constitutional rights in this case would be sufficient to sustain Heartland’s claim for injunctive relief under ‘ 1983.”

Jones v. Hunt, 410 F.3d 1221 (10th Cir. 2005)
No qualified immunity in this ‘ 1983 action for alleged violations of Fourth Amendment rights arising from girl’s in-school seizure by a deputy sheriff and s Social Worker Supervisor for the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department (“CYFD”). “We conclude that the Fourth Amendment violation as alleged in this case is both obvious and outrageous.”

Kelson v. Springfield, 767 F 2d 651, (9th Cir. 1985)
“Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit precedent establish that a parent has a constitutionally protected liberty interest in the companionship and society of his or her child. The state’s interference with that liberty interest without due process of law is remediable under section 1983.”

Lopkof v. Slater, 103 F.3d 144 (10th Cir. 1996) (Unpublished)
Defendants do not dispute that the law was clearly established that a warrantless search of a private residence is per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment unless one of “a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions” applies. Defendants maintain that because they had “received specific information questioning the safety of children,” they acted in an objectively reasonable manner when they entered Lopkoff’s private residence. Wrong, and no qualified immunity for these officers.

Loudermilk v. Arpaio, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76819 (D. Ariz. September 27, 2007)
With respect to Plaintiffs’ claim based on violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, parents and children have a constitutional right to live together without governmental interference and will not be separated without due process of law except in emergencies. Motion to dismiss by CPS worker and others who coerced entry into home denied.

Mabe v. San Bernardino, 237 F.3d 1101 (9th Cir. 2001)
Section 1983 creates a cause of action against any person who, acting under color of state law, violates the constitutional rights of another person. Whether reasonable cause to believe exigent circumstances existed in a given situation, “and the related questions, are all questions of fact to be determined by a jury.” Hence, no immunity for social worker under 42 U.S.C. 1983.

NEW! Michael v. Gresbach, (7th Cir. 2008)
The court held that: “a reasonable child welfare worker would have known that conducting a search of a child’s body under his clothes, on private property, without consent or the presence of any other exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment, is in direct violation of the child’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches.” No qualified immunity for this CPS caseworker! The court also held that the state statute that allowed for “investigations” on private property without a search warrant was itself unconstitutional as applied.

Malik v. Arapahoe County Dept. of Soc. Servs.191 F.3d 1306, (10th Cir. 1999)
“The defense of qualified immunity protects government officials from individual liability under 42 U.S.C. ‘ 1983 for actions taken while performing discretionary functions, unless their conduct violates “clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” Court also held that: “it was clearly established law that, except in extraordinary circumstances, a parent has a liberty interest in familial association and privacy that cannot be violated without adequate pre-deprivation procedures.”

Norfleet v. Arkansas Dept. of Human Servs., 989 F.2d 289 (8th Cir. 1993)
Court denies qualified immunity to the Human Services Director and caseworker involved because the state obligation to provide adequate medical care, protection, and supervision with respect to children placed in foster care was well established as of 1991.

Parkhurst v. Trapp, 77 F.3d 707 (3rd Cir. 1996)
The defendants attempt to avoid the imposition of summary judgment by arguing that, even if their conduct violated the Fourth Amendment, qualified immunity should shield them from liability. Qualified immunity is available to state actors in Section 1983 suits if those actors reasonably believed that their conduct was lawful. However, a good faith belief in the legality of conduct is not sufficient. Held: No qualified immunity.

Ram v. Rubin, 118 F.3d 1306 (9th Cir. 1997)
Holding “a parent has a constitutionally protected right to the care and custody of his children and he cannot be summarily deprived of custody without notice and a hearing except when the children are in imminent danger.” No qualified immunity for social worker who removed child not in imminent danger.

Rogers v. County of San Joaquin, 487 F.3d 1288 (9th Cir. 2007)
Court held: “the rights of families to be free from governmental interference and arbitrary state action are also important. Thus, we must balance, on the one hand, the need to protect children from abuse and neglect and, on the other, the preservation of the essential privacy and liberty interests that families are guaranteed under both the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of our Constitution.” Section 1983 case reinforces that removal of children from home by caseworker absent either a warrant or exigent circumstances violates those rights, and therefore no qualified immunity applies to caseworker.

Roska v. Peterson, 328 F.3d 1230, (10 Cir. 2003)
Holding no immunity for caseworkers who entered a home lacking either exigency or a warrant, and finding constitutional protection in the right to maintain a family relationship, Court held: “the law is now clearly established that, absent probable cause and a warrant or exigent circumstances, social workers may not enter an individual’s home for the purpose of taking a child into protective custody.”

Tennenbaum v. Williams, 193 F.3d 581, (2d Cir. 1999)
“We affirm the judgment insofar as it holds that the medical examination violated the Tenenbaums’ and Sarah’s procedural due-process rights and Sarah’s Fourth Amendment rights and awards damages therefor. . . We conclude, however, that there is a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendants’ removal of Sarah from school was contrary to the procedural requirements of the Due Process Clause and to Sarah’s right to be free from unreasonable seizures under the Fourth Amendment.” The Missouri Bar has an informative Courts Bulletin describing the case.

Turner v. Houseman, Docket: 07-6108 (10th Cir. 2008) (Unpublished)
“It was clearly established, at least two years before the events in question, that absent probable cause and a warrant or exigent circumstances, neither police nor social workers may enter a person’s home without a valid consent, even for the purpose of taking a child into custody, much less to conduct a search. It was also established that the warrantless seizure and detention of a person without probable cause or exigent circumstances, as alleged in Turner’s petition, is unreasonable.”

Wallis v. Spencer, 202 F.3d 1126 (9th Cir. 2000)
“In cases of alleged child abuse, governmental failure to abide by constitutional constraints may have deleterious long-term consequences for the child and, indeed, for the entire family. Ill-considered and improper governmental action may create significant injury where no problem of any kind previously existed.”

Walsh v. Erie County Dep’t of Job & Family Servs., 240 F. Supp. 2d 731, (N.D. Ohio 2003)
“Despite the Defendants’ exaggerated view of their powers, the Fourth Amendment applies to them, as it does to all other officers and agents of the state whose requests to enter, however benign or well-intentioned, are met by a closed door. . . Any agency that expects to send its employees routinely into private homes has a fundamental obligation to ensure that those employees understand the constitutional limits on their authority.”

Weller v. Dept of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, (4th Cir. 1990)
“Substantive due process does not categorically bar the government from altering parental custody rights.” What I find interesting about this case is that it was brought pro se, and that he sued a lot more people than I am.

Whisman v. Rinehart, 119 F.3d 1303 (8th Cir. 1997)
Whismans filed this action against juvenile officers and social workers, claiming they violated plaintiffs’ constitutional rights of familial association, denying plaintiffs due process of law. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, contending that plaintiffs’ claims were not actionable under 42 U.S.C. ‘ 1983. Guess again!

Wooley v. City of Baton Rouge, 211 F.3d 913, (5th Cir. 2000)
Holding that a “childs right to family integrity is concomitant to that of a parent. No qualified immunity for police officers who removed young child in this section 1983 action.

Relocation as a Strategy to Interfere with the Child-Parent Relationship

In California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, judicial corruption, mothers rights, Obama, parental alienation, Parents rights, state crimes on April 19, 2009 at 5:00 am

by IRA DANIEL TURKAT, PH.D., Venice, Florida
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF FAMILY LAW, VOLUME 11, 39-41 (1996)

The custodial parent who seeks to relocate poses a special problem for the noncustodial parent opposed to such a move. Physical distance between the visiting parent and his or her offspring can become a serious impediment to their relationship. When a relocation effort is clearly in the best interest of the children, one is hard-pressed to interfere. However, when it is unclear as to whether relocation is in the best interest of the children, the court must wrestle with a difficult dilemma.

In certain cases, a custodial parent may seek to relocate as a way to interfere with the relationship between the children and the noncustodial parent. However, at times such a motive may remain fairly well concealed. Guidelines for assisting triers of fact in identifying interference-guided relocation efforts have yet to appear. This article provides a beginning set of potential indicators for identifying interference-motivated relocation efforts.

THE STRATEGY BEHIND INTERFERENCE-BASED RELOCATION

Divorce-related child visitation interference causes special problems for families, attorneys, and judges. It is difficult to manage.(1) When a custodial parent seeks to relocate to hurt the noncustodial parent, the family’s problems multiply significantly. However, from the viewpoint of this type of custodial parent, such a manipulation has obvious benefits.

First, relocation prevents the nonresidential parent who wants an active and ongoing relationship with his or her offspring from having it. A short drive to the former marital home is no longer available. Easy access to the child’s school is a thing of the past. The family pleasures of soccer games, gymnastics, school carnivals, and religious events are no longer easily experienced. The emotional enrichment provided by a full set of readily accessible parents is now denied the child.

Second, relocation of the custodial home increases the financial expenditures the nonresidential parent must incur to visit with his or her children. Short drives are replaced by long journeys. Hotel stays become a necessity. Phone bills increase significantly.

Third, after the relocation has occurred, if the noncustodial parent’s visitation is interfered with, legal recourse becomes more difficult. Jurisdiction becomes a battle. Interstate legal expenditures accrue. Discovery, trial preparation, and hearings become increasingly complicated in their practical and emotional aspects.

Finally, in certain cases of visitation interference,(2) denying exposure to the children becomes even more attractive to the custodial parent who has relocated. Before, the denied parent merely retreated to his or her home a short drive away; now, whenever the visitation interference takes place, he or she has absorbed a significant loss of money, effort, and time. The custodial parent with a sadistic predisposition in this regard(3) gains an additional sense of satisfaction.
It should be noted that each risk factor may operate independently or may coexist with other risk factors.

Given the above factors, the need to identify those custodial parents seeking relocation for malevolent purposes is obvious. Where appropriate and possible, such individuals should be stopped. To aid in the process, this author has approached the problem of identifying potential interference-based relocation efforts through a consideration of “risk factors.”

RISK FACTOR DEFINED

A risk factor is that which increases the likelihood that a particular problem may emerge. Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer. Obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Multiple partners is a risk factor for transmission of sexual disease. Prior bankruptcy is a risk factor for loan repayment

The presence of a risk factor does not mean that the problem one is concerned with will necessarily emerge. For example, some individuals may smoke cigarettes for a lifetime and never develop lung cancer. Similarly, a person who was forced to declare bankruptcy at one time may have no difficulty keeping up with a hefty mortgage at some point in the future. The presence of a risk factor merely means that the problem of interest has an increased likelihood of occurring. However, even when a risk factor is present, in certain cases the problem of concern may never appear.

The concept of risk factors provides a useful framework for approaching the difficulty imposed by relocation efforts aimed at disturbing the relationship between the noncustodial parent and his or her offspring. Specification of potential indicators for interference-guided relocation efforts can play a valuable role in dealing with such cases.

IDENTIFYING RISK FACTORS

In a sophisticated field of science, risk factors are systematically studied for their utility. For example, the association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer has been investigated extensively. However, the initial development of risk factor identification typically begins at the practitioner level. Such is the case with interference-based relocation efforts.

To this author’s knowledge, a list of potential risk factors for relocation as an interference strategy has yet to appear. Based on exposure to a multitude of clinical and legal cases, this discussion outlines several potential risk factors for identifying when a relocation effort is guided by a desire to interfere with the relationship between the noncustodial parent and his or her offspring.

RISK FACTORS FOR INTERFERENCE-BASED RELOCATION

Listed below are eight potential risk factors for identifying a custodial parent who desires to relocate based on an underlying motivation to interfere in the relationship between the nonresidential parent and his or her offspring:

1. a parent who threatens to relocate the children;
2. a parent with significant anger;
3. a parent who lies repeatedly;
4. a parent with a history of interfering with visitation;
5. a parent who has not been punished by the court for prior interference with visitation;
6. a parent with a history of willfully defying a court order;
7. a parent exhibiting parental alienation syndrome,(4) and
8. a parent exhibiting divorce-related malicious mother syndrome.(5)

RISK FACTOR ANALYSIS

Several issues emerge when considering the eight potential risk factors cited above. First, it should be noted that each risk factor may, operate independently or may coexist with other risk factors. For example, a parent with parental alienation syndrome may also be very angry at the nonresidential parent. Relatedly, a parent with a history of defying court orders may evidence none of the other risk factors; he or she may simply enjoy the impulsive thrill of violating rules (as occurs with certain personality disorders).(6)

Second, the time when a risk factor emerges may also vary. For example, in certain cases, before a petition for dissolution of marriage has been filed, the (eventual) primary residential parent may have threatened the (later to be) nonresidential parent with the possibility of moving the children away. Typically, this risk factor emerges when there is major conflict during the marriage. In other cases, however, such a threat may emerge only during the course of a custody battle or perhaps after the final divorce decree has been entered.
Certain risk factors may be present, but the intent to relocate may truly be based on the best interest of the child.

Third, the degree of risk factor intensity is important to consider. A parent may be angry with the other parent, but not enough to deprive that parent the opportunity to be involved in the daily life of their children. On the other hand, some parents may be so angry that the idea of not relocating would seem intolerable. Again, a risk factor may be present, but it does not guarantee that interference-motivated relocation will be attempted. In fact, an angry and psychologically disturbed parent may deliberately not relocate so that he or she can torment the other parent with regular episodes of visitation interference.

A fourth issue to consider is that certain risk factors may be present, but the intent to relocate may truly be based on the best interest of the child. For example, a parent who may have a history of repeated lying in the courtroom may also have a child who has developed a life-threatening medical condition. In such a case, relocation to a home near a specialized treatment facility may be necessary for the child’s survival.

CONCLUSION

Parents who attempt to relocate as a way to interfere with the relationship between the nonresidential parent and his or her offspring should not be permitted to do so. Too much is at stake. Unfortunately, relocation issues do not always appear in a cut-and-dried manner. Hopefully, the eight risk factors outlined herein will serve a useful role in the consideration of certain relocation issues. They await scientific inquiry.

ENDNOTES

1 Ira Daniel Turkat, Management of Visitation Interference, 36 Judge’s J. (forthcoming Feb. 1997).

2 Ira Daniel Turkat, Child Visitation Interference in Divorce, 14 Clin. Psychol. Rev. 737 (1994).

3 Ira Daniel Turkat, Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, 10 J. Fam. Violence 253 (1995).

4 Parental alienation syndrome was first described by Gardner in relation to a custodial parent who teaches his or her offspring to hold unjustified antagonistic beliefs and behaviors toward the nonresidential parent. R.A. Gardner, The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Differentiation Between Fabricated and Genuine Child Sex Abuse (Creskill. N.J., Creative Therapeutics 1987); R.A. Gardner, Family Evaluation in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration. and Litigation (Creskill, N.J., Creative Therapeutics 1989). Sec also Kenneth H. Waldron & David E. Joanis, Understanding and Collaboratively Treating Parental Alienation Syndrome, 10 Am. J. Fam. L. 121 (Fall 1996).

5 Divorce-related malicious mother syndrome was first described by this author regarding the custodial mother who aims to hurt her former marital partner through any means, including using the children as a tool for injury. Turkat, supra note 2, and Turkat, supra note 3.

6 Ira Daniel Turkat. The Personality Disorders (New York, Pergamon/Simon & Schuster 1990).

Dr. Ira Daniel Turkat maintains a clinical and consulting practice in Venice, Florida, is on the faculty Of the University of Florida College of Medicine, and is associate editor of the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, which is received in 25 countries throughout the world.

The original article can be found here: http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/turkat96.htm