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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.

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Parental Mediation Does Not Work, Wake Up U.S. Courts

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, 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, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Maternal Deprivation, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 8, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Introduction

One of the government’s most exhaustive research reports ever commissioned called ‘Monitoring Publicly Funded Family Mediation’ found that ‘mediation‘ in this country did not ‘meet the objectives of saving marriages or helping divorcing couples to resolve problems with a minimum of acrimony’ and as a result was forced to scrap the idea of making mediation compulsory – see the statement from the former Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine, 16th.January 2000. However it is is still used as a method for deflecting fathers from receiving reasonable contact with their child or children. This section is intended to help fathers by highlighting some of the pitfalls of mediation with reference to the government’s own research report. If you have a query regarding any aspect of the mediation process, for example, Section 10, ‘The Parties Attitudes to Negotiation’, you can consult the government’s own research by clicking alongside!

“The government is committed to supporting marriage and to supporting families when relationships fail, especially when there are children involved. But this very comprehensive research, together with other recent valuable research in the field, has shown that Part II of the Family Law Act (i.e. Mediation) is not the best way of achieving those aims. The government is not therefore satisfied that it would be right to proceed with the implementation of Part II and proposes to ask Parliament to repeal it once suitable legislative opportunity occurs.”

Former Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine,
16th.January 2000

NB For all legal aid certificates ‘mediation’ has to take place before the certificate (or funding) can be issued. However it can be deemed unnecessary if the mother makes an allegation of domestic abuse.

The original article can be found here: http://www.eventoddlersneedfathers.com/

Why Kids Usually Side with the Custodial Parent Especially If They’re Emotionally Abusive

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Do your children refuse to see you since you and your ex separated? When you actually get to see your kid(s), do they lash out at you? Do they know things about your break up or divorce that they shouldn’t know? Do they “diagnose” or berate you by using adult terms and expressions that are beyond their years?

If so, you’re probably experiencing the effects of parental alienation or hostile aggressive parenting. It’s normal to have hard feelings at the end of a significant relationship, however, you have a choice about how you handle it.

Most cases of parental alienation occur in dissolved marriages/relationships, break ups, and divorces in which there’s a high degree of conflict, emotional abuse, and/or mental illness or personality disorders.

If you were emotionally abused by your ex while you were still together, then your kid(s) learned some powerful lessons about relationships, especially if you had a “no talk” policy about the rages, yelling, and verbal attacks. Children are adversely affected by witnessing constant conflict and emotional abuse, no matter their age.

Emotionally abusive women and men are scary when on the attack, which probably makes it all the more confusing to see your ex turn your child(ren) against you. Don’t your kids see how out of whack their mom or dad is being? Don’t they know that you love them and how much you want to be in their lives? Don’t they realize they need you now more than ever? Yes and no.

On some level, they do know this. Nonetheless, they’re lashing out at you like mini-versions of your ex. Why?

It’s not that confusing if you think about it from a child’s perspective. Children depend utterly upon their custodial parent. Seeing mom or dad lose it and out of control is anxiety provoking, if not downright terrifying. The following are possible reasons why your ex’s campaign of parental alienation may be successful.

1.) You left them alone with the crazy person. You got out and they didn’t. They’re mad that you’re not there anymore to intervene, buffer, protect, or take the brunt of it.

2.) Self-preservation. They see how your ex is treating you because she or he is angry with you. Your kid(s) don’t want your ex’s wrath directed at them. It’s like siding with the bully at school so they don’t beat the crap out of you.

3.) Fear of loss. If they make your ex mad they worry that they’ll be emotionally and/or physically banished, too. This is especially true if your ex used to shut you out, give you the cold shoulder, and/or ignore you when she or he was upset with you. Your kids probably fear your ex will do this to them if they don’t go along with him or her.

4.) They’re mad at you. You’re no longer physically present at home, which they experience as psychological loss. Many kids experience this as betrayal and/or abandonment. Even if they can recognize that you didn’t have a happy marriage, they still want mom and dad to be together.

Loss, whether it’s physical (death) or psychological (divorce), requires a mourning period. Children aren’t psychologically equipped to handle grief and mourning. Pending other developmental milestones, kids don’t have the psychological capacity to successfully navigate loss until mid-adolescence. If you’d died, they could idealize your memory. However, you’re alive and chose to leave (or your ex chose for you). How do you mourn the loss of someone who’s not dead? It takes a level of intellectual sophistication children don’t possess not to vilify the physically absent parent—especially when your ex isn’t capable of it as an adult.

5.) Rewards and punishment. Your ex “rewards” the kids (material goods, praise, trips and fun activities—probably with your support money—oh the irony) for siding with her or him, being cruel to you, or cutting you off. If your kid(s) stand up for you or challenge your ex’s smear campaign, they’re chastised, lose privileges, or have affection withheld from them. Remember how your ex used to treat you when she or he was displeased? It’s way scarier when you’re a kid. You have options as an adult that your children don’t.

6.) The good son or daughter. They see how upset and out of control your ex is and want to take care of and make her or him “better.” They try to do this by doing what your ex wants, which is being hostile toward you and/or excluding you from their lives. This creates what psychologists refer to as the parentified child. Parentification forces a child to shoulder emotions and responsibilities for which she or he isn’t developmentally prepared.

Emotional parentification is particularly destructive for children and frequently occurs in parental alienation cases. The custodial parent implicitly or explicitly dumps their emotional needs on the child. The child becomes the parent’s confidante, champion/hero and surrogate for an adult partner. This is extremely unhealthy as it robs these kids of their childhood and leads to difficulty in having normal adult relationships later in life.

7..) Power and control. They see the power your ex wields by behaving in an abusive and hurtful way toward you. They can wield the same power by acting out and hurting you, too. A child or teenager’s first taste of power can be thrilling for them. Of course, what they’re learning from you ex is how to gain control by being an emotionally abusive bully.

8.) It’s good to be the victim. The more your ex plays the professional victim to friends, family and the legal system, the more benefits she or he gains—deferential treatment, sympathy, power, and money. The kids pick up on this victim mentality and behaviors and use it to net their own gains.

A combination of the above reasons probably applies to your child(ren) siding with your ex, particularly when you’ve been a good and loving parent. It’s demoralizing to have your kid(s) slap or push you away each time you reach out to them. It’s maddening that family court, in many cases, is blind to the abuses of parental alienation. Try to keep in mind that most children aren’t consciously aware that the above phenomena are occurring. Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier to be the emotional and financial punching bag for your ex and children.

The original article can be found here: http://washingtonsharedparenting.com/?p=411

Maternal Deprivation? Monkeys, Yes; Mommies, No…

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Indians, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Maternal Deprivation, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Torts on June 7, 2009 at 5:00 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LA County Puts the “Fix” on Parents Rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The law also goes on to state:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Primary Parent Presumption: Primarily Meaningless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The original article can be found here.

The Macabre Dance of Family Law Court, Abnormal Psychology, and Parental Alienation Syndrome – Summary

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Jayne Major, judicial corruption, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on May 31, 2009 at 5:15 pm

by Jayne A. Major, Ph.D. http://www.breakthroughparentingservices.org/index.htm
Copyright 2009: Jayne Major. All rights reserved.

Dr. Major attended the latests Symposium For Parental Alienation Syndrome during March 27-29, 2009 in Toronto, Canada and gave this speech reprinted here:

“Our litigation system is too costly, too painful, too destructive,
and too inefficient for civilized people.”
~ Justice Warren Burger

If we accept that Family Law courts have a moral imperative to seek truth and to do as little harm as
possible, our Family Court system is failing miserably. Too often what prevails in court is not the truth, but the illusion of truth. The current litigation system is not capable of protecting children from the horrendous damage inflicted by those parents who are disturbed. Children lose critical thinking ability, incur the devastating loss of one-half of their heritage and a lifetime doomed for failed social relationships and
psychiatric disorders.

Few lawyers, judges, nor laypersons are able to recognize seriously disturbed people who look and often act
“normal.” Yet, their numbers are large and the damage they do to other parents, their children, and society is
staggering. Sociopaths are cruel—without moral conscience, empathy, sympathy, or compassion. Their purpose is to win by domination. Harvard psychologist Martha Stout, in her book The Sociopath Next Door, states that one in twenty-five people is a sociopath. Furthermore, there is an estimated 20% of the general population with personality disorders. Those individuals who are the most dangerous are described in the DSM IV, Axis II Cluster B. The descriptive labels of these disorders are borderline, narcissistic, histrionic, and anti-social.

We can assume that a much higher percentage of these disturbed people can be found in Family Law courts
because they are unable to compromise or to work out family solutions without conflict. They lack insight, are unable to realize how they contribute to the problem, want their way, blame others, can’t self-correct, have difficulty forming trusting relationships, are unreasonable and demanding, create upset and distress with people around them, and justify inappropriate behavior. They have a “my way or the highway” mindset. Their behavior is not episodic but a pervasive character flaw that has always been present.

Therapy is of little help to these individuals, as their disorder is not fixable. The reason is that you can’t have a conversation about a problem when the problem is answering the question. Thus, the cure-all of sending such people to therapy is of little value. In fact, because sociopaths have no moral conscience, therapy gives them the language and skills to manipulate others more effectively; it helps them become better at being sociopaths. And they often get the upper hand in court by diverting attention off of themselves and onto the targeted parent by making numerous false allegations.

Often judges order a psychological evaluation to help them decide what would be the best orders for a
family. The evaluation is intended to curb the dysfunctional parent from doing more damage; however, this
is often not the outcome. When only one professional evaluates a family, the chance for error is high.
Personal bias is one problem.

Psychologists are not immune to being unduly influenced by a cunning and persuasive sociopath. Another problem is a policy followed by most evaluators to routinely offer a middleof-the-road recommendation rather than address the psychiatric problems directly. A third problem is that evaluators are unwilling to use labels that would identify these disorders. While there are many valid reasons to not label people, the end result is that the psychologists’ report does not provide a clear and accurate picture of the underlying dynamics of the family and causes of the dysfunction.

Imagine a parent who has to deal with the other parent’s crazy-making behavior day in and day out as they watch his or her child deteriorate under the disturbed parent’s care. They do not understand why the alienating person is so difficult and irrational. Most of all, the targeted parent wants to know what they can do to make the situation better. Without clarity, truth is hard to distinguish. The unfortunate outcome of too many psychological evaluations is that hard decisions to protect a child are not made early, which necessitates more litigation and future evaluations… in the mean time, more damage is done.

Furthermore, in litigation, lawyers are supposed to advocate for their clients, not for their clients’ children or
the well-being of the family. It is very easy for a lawyer to manipulate situations to make the healthier parent
look disturbed and their own disturbed client appear superior. For those lawyers who hold litigation as a
sport of winning and losing combatants, the principle of “the best interest of the child” is used as a slogan to
justify what is not in a child’s best interest. The result is often disastrous. The parent who will do the most damage to a child ends up with substantial legal and physical custody. In terms of preserving the mental health of all concerned, litigation of these cases causes profound and permanent damage, a loss of family assets, and untold suffering. The dance between Family Law courts and those who are psychologically abnormal is macabre indeed.

Do we really want to continue to let mentally unstable people get the upper hand and create mayhem? We are the professionals, the leaders, the creative thinkers who have the responsibility to implement a better way of handling family reorganization. The destruction of our families, our children, our wealth, has a horrific ripple effect into all of society.

Following is a paradigm that will not only stop parental alienation syndrome but preserve the well-being of
all members of separating families. The plan relies on mediation, education, and prompt legal intervention.
Highly trained professionals who understand family systems and are able to recognize mentally disturbed
parents work as a team. Families are tracked by a Case Manager.

A 6-week Divorce Education course provides a foundation of knowledge that creates understanding and enhances positive adjustment in the reorganizing family. Financial issues are worked out by professionals who also educate parents about how to manage their money. Parents pay for the services they receive according to their ability to pay. Most of all, parents always have a place to go when they see that the family plan is not working. The cost of this method of resolving family dissolution is minimal compared to the cost of maintaining an elaborate Family Law court system. High-conflict disputes are minimized or eliminated. The result of using this method would have a healthy impact on society as we would not be passing on from one generation to the next abusive practices that carry mental instability to the next generation.

To read more of the article see: http://www.breakthroughparentingservices.org/3-09_Summary_of_Presentation.pdf

IMMUNITY BROKEN – Children Not Protected by Legal System

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 24, 2009 at 5:08 pm

by Demosthenes Lorandos, Ph.D., J.D.

ABSTRACT

This article was written to address the immunity claims made by those hired, elected or appointed to serve children in our legal system when they are sued for outrageous acts. This article argues that since the passage of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (“The Mondale Act”) false claims of child abuse have wrecked havoc on American families. In order to understand the claims for immunity made by doctors, social workers and attorneys who mis-serve children, this article provides a discussion of immunity and its operation in our law. Following a historical overview, this article describes the various claims to immunity from suit made by government officials, prosecutors, law enforcement personnel, guardians, appointed counsel, social workers and various private parties. For the purpose of illustrating how immunity claims may be addressed, this article presents an actual account of a Michigan case concerning issues of Guardian ad Litem immunity. It is the express position of this author that people who chose to aide or represent children must do so competently and professionally or not at all.

_________________________________________________

Since the passage of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (“The Mondale Act”) false claims of child abuse have wrecked havoc on American families.

Certainly it is true that children are starved, beaten, raped and killed every day. They deserve protection. The purpose of this article is to address the immunity claims made by those hired, elected or appointed to serve children in our legal system. In order to understand the claims for immunity made by doctors, social workers and attorneys who mis-serve children, this article will begin with a brief discussion of immunity and its operation in our law.

The second part of this article will focus on the various claims to immunity from suit made by government officials, prosecutors, law enforcement personnel, guardians, appointed counsel, social workers and various private parties. The last portion of this work will present an actual account of a ground breaking case being fought through the courts of Michigan on the issue of Guardian ad Litem immunity from suit for negligence, incompetence and intentional torts. It is the express position of this author that people who chose to aide or represent children must do so competently and professionally or not at all.

A. JUDICIAL IMMUNITY
EARLY FORMULATIONS:

The concept of judicial immunity developed in our law from early Anglo-Saxon origins. As Professor Block informs:

“Under Anglo-Saxon law of the tenth and eleventh centuries, a judgment (doom) could be impeached by charging the official proposing the judgment (the doomsman) with falsehood. This proceeding, known as “forsaking the doom”, developed into the complaint of “false judgment”, whereby a dissatisfied litigant obtained a writ commanding the challenged court to cause a record of its proceedings to be made and brought before the court of the litigant’s superior lord. The complainant could accept the court’s record and thus confine the issues to errors of law. But this record could be challenged by anyone willing to engage in physical combat with the champions of the challenged court. If the challenge succeeded, the lower court’s judgment was annulled and the court was amerced.” Block, Stump v Sparkman and the History of Judicial Immunity, 4980 Duke L.J. 879, 881 (l980).

Displeased with trial by combat, law evolved in England, and in the early l7th century Sir Edward Coke in Floyd and Barker, 77 Eng. Rep. 1305 (Star Chamber l607), and The Case of the Marshalsea, 77 Eng. Rep. 1027 (Star Chamber l6l2), laid out the foundation for the doctrine of judicial immunity. In Barker, Coke established the immunity of a judge “for anything done by him as a judge” 77 Eng. Rep. at l307. It seems that Judge Barker convicted William Price of murder and sentenced him to death. After the sheriff executed Mr. Price, one Mr. Floyd brought charges against Judge Barker for conspiracy. Sir Edward Coke’s decision gave immunity from suit to all of those involved in the prosecution of Price, made it quite clear that Judge Barker’s immunity was absolute. In so doing, Coke identified four (4) grounds in public policy for judicial immunity. First, he indicated a necessity for a finality of judgment. Second, Coke offered that immunity is necessary to maintain judicial independence. Third, Coke held for the independence of thought and freedom from manipulation that immunity would provide, and lastly, Coke offered that in order to engender respect and confidence in the judiciary and the government, immunity for judicial acts was necessary.

Some five years after declaring immunity for judicial acts, Lord Coke modified his doctrine in The Case of the Marshalsea, 77 Eng. Rep. 1027 (Star Chambers l6l2). In Marshalsea, Coke set forth a jurisdictional limitation on the doctrine of judicial immunity. For immunity to apply said Coke, not only did the act have to be judicial in nature, but the judge must have had subject matter jurisdiction over the cause for which he acted. In Marshalsea, a judge presiding over a case in assumpsit found against the defendant. This defendant’s surety was jailed until the judgment was paid. The surety brought an action against the judge for his imprisonment and the judge defended by claiming immunity. Rejecting the immunity claim, Coke held that the judge had no jurisdiction over actions in assumpsit and thus the proceedings were void. As Coke described it:

“[W]hen a Court has (a) jurisdiction of the cause, and proceeds inverso ordine or erroneously, there the party who sues, or the officer or minister of the Court who executes the precept or process of the Court, no action lies against them. But (b) when the Court has not jurisdiction of the cause, there the whole proceeding is [before a person who is not a judge], and actions will lie against them without any regard of the precept or process…” 77 Eng. Rep. at 1038-41.

Clearly, this laid the foundation for judicial immunity. Coke established requirements for its application, restricting immunity to judicial acts made within the judge’s jurisdiction. In addition, he set forth a policy underlying the doctrine: (1) insuring the finality of judgment; (2) protecting judicial independence; (3) avoiding continuous attacks on sincere and conscientious judges; and (4) maintaining respect for the judiciary and the government.

To read the remaining portion of this article on http://familyrights.us/bin/white_papers-articles/immunity_broken.htm

How Our Tax Dollars Subsidize Family Breakup

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 22, 2009 at 10:55 pm

By Stephen Baskerville
© 2009

Divorce and unwed childbearing cost taxpayers at least $112 billion each year or more than $1 trillion over the last decade. This estimate from the Institute for American Values is, as the authors suggest, likely to be an underestimate.

This staggering but plausible tally of the economic costs of family dissolution follows what we have long known about the social costs. All our major social ills – poverty, violent crime, substance abuse, truancy and more – are more closely linked to family breakdown and single-parent homes than to any other factor. A poor black child from an intact home is more likely to succeed than a rich white one from a single-mother home.

It is hardly surprising that massive financial costs follow from this: Welfare, law enforcement, education, health care – all these budgets are justified by the pathologies generated by single-parent homes. Indeed, family dissolution not only creates costs; by destroying society’s basic economic unit, it also prevents generating the wealth to meet those costs.

This is not to deny that we bear responsibility for all this through our sexually dissolute lifestyle, but the consequences of that lifestyle have already become institutionalized in coercive government policies. Diabolically, the very government programs advertised as addressing these social ills are the ones actually generating them. The result is a government perpetual-growth machine that will continue to expand until we have the courage stand up and unequivocally demand that it stop.

It began with welfare. Programs advertised as relieving families that had lost the father’s wages due to war and economic hardship became a bureaucratic mechanism for driving more fathers from the home. The result was the vast welfare underclass we usually associate with low-income minority communities – the vast breeding grounds of crime, drug abuse, truancy, teen pregnancy, child abuse and other horrors that soak up taxpayer dollars.

But now it is becoming even more serious. Divorce has transformed welfare programs into mechanisms for creating fatherless homes in the middle class. And here the welfare bureaucracies go further: After driving out the fathers, they are seizing family wealth and even incarcerating the fathers.

This criminalization of parents is not isolated. Perhaps the earliest welfare state provision was the public school system, which jealously guards its prerogatives of using children as political pawns. The recent California appeals court decision allowing the criminalization of homeschoolers is only one indication of government’s increasingly aggressive stance toward parents. The federal decision in Fields v. Palmdale, ruling that parents have no right to a voice in their children’s public school education, is another.

But schooling is only one arena. The divorce machinery is even more authoritarian. The divorce apparatus has so many methods of seizing children and family assets and for incarcerating parents that it is a wonder any families remain.

For example, child support enforcement is advertised as a way to recover welfare costs by forcing “deadbeat dads” to support children they “abandon.” In reality, it has become a massive subsidy on middle-class divorce, effectively bribing mothers to divorce with the promise of a tax-free windfall subsidized by taxpayers. It is also a means for incarcerating fathers without trial who cannot pay the extortionate sums. Far from saving money, child support enforcement loses money and – far more serious – subsidizes the divorces and unwed births that generate these additional costs.

Programs ostensibly for “child abuse” and “domestic violence” – problems also originating in single-parent welfare homes – have likewise become tools to create single-parent homes in the middle-class through divorce proceedings. Patently trumped-up accusations of child abuse or domestic violence, presented without any evidence, are used to separate fathers from their children and, likewise, to jail them not through criminal trials but through “civil” divorce proceedings and in new, openly feminist “domestic violence courts.” Thus does family dissolution also undermine our most cherished due process protections.

Further, mothers are not only enticed into divorce with promises of lucrative support payments; they are also coerced into it through threats of losing their children themselves. Mothers are now ordered to divorce their husbands on pain of losing their children through spurious child abuse accusations. Intact middle-class families now live in fear of a visit from the dreaded “child protective services” with the possibility of losing their children.

This machinery cannot be brought under control by marriage therapy programs, as the Institute for American Values advocates. While private church-based and community efforts like Marriage Savers should be encouraged, government psychotherapy merely puts more vested interests on the public payroll. We must demand that our tax dollars stop subsiding family breakup and ills that in turn require ever more tax dollars. By subsidizing the destruction of families, we are subsidizing the progressive impoverishing of our society. Indeed, by subsidizing the criminalization of both fatherless children and fathers, we are paying for the destruction of our freedom.

It is simply not possible to allow the family to unravel without having our civilization do the same. Yet that is precisely what we are doing.

Yet, even this is only the beginning. More alarming still are the political costs. For contrary to the beliefs even of most conservatives, divorce and unwed childbearing are not the products merely of a decadent culture. They are driven by government – the same government that is extracting $112 billion annually from our pockets.

The original article can be found on World Net Daily: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=62594

A Criminal Defense Attorney’s View of the Family Violence Industry

In Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 21, 2009 at 4:50 pm

© 2004 Paul G. Stuckle


TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. THE SPECIAL NATURE OF FAMILY VIOLENCE ALLEGATIONS
    1. TRUE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MUST STOP
    2. INNOCENT FAMILY MEMBERS CAN BE FALSELY ACCUSED OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

II. EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS NOT FAMILY VIOLENCE

III. WHO IS THE REAL VICTIM ANYWAY?

IV. ZERO TOLERANCE AND NO-DROP POLICIES

V. THE FAMILY VIOLENCE INDUSTRY
    1. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A POLITICAL CRIME
    2. THE FAMILY ADVOCACY CENTER
    3. FOLLOW THE MONEY

    4. TEAM UNITY: TAKE OUT A FAMILY FOR THE TEAM
    5. PSSST…. THEY ARE COMING….OR ARE THEY ALREADY HERE?

VI. CHANGING THE RULES TO CONVICT
    1. LEGISLATIVE CHANGES
    2. HEARSAY EVIDENCE

    3. SYNDROME EVIDENCE MAY BE ADMISSIBLE AGAINST THE ACCUSED
    4. CONVICTIONS WITHOUT PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
    5. SUMMARY : RECIPE FOR CONVICTION

VII. FAMILY VIOLENCE LEGAL FACTS: A CHECKLIST
    1. ISSUES UPON ARREST
    2. CONSEQUENCES OF A CONVICTION

VIII. SELECTING THE RIGHT ATTORNEY
    1. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS ON YOUR OWN
    2. RULES FOR THE ACCUSED
    3. FINDING THE RIGHT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
        A. LENGTH OF PRACTICE AND EXPERIENCE
        B. REJECT PLEA BARGAINS

        C. PREPARE A VIGOROUS PRE-CHARGE DEFENSE TO AVOID PROSECUTION
        D. PREPARE A VIGOROUS DEFENSE FOR TRIAL. 

IX. CONCLUSION

BIBLIOGRAPHY


“HUSBANDS AND WIVES HAVE ARGUMENTS. DOES THAT NOW MEAN A TRIP TO JAIL AND A CRIMINAL
CONVICTION?”

“A CASE OF ALLEGED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE NOW BELONGS TO ‘THE FAMILY VIOLENCE INDUSTRY.’” 

“THE BELIEF SYSTEM IS ALSO ONE OF EXTREME ARROGANCE, THAT THE FAMILY VIOLENCE TEAM KNOWS BETTER THAN ANYONE, PARTICULARLY THE FAMILY ITSELF, OF WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM."
Paul G. Stuckle, Attorney at Law


I. THE SPECIAL NATURE OF FAMILY VIOLENCE ALLEGATIONS

1. True Domestic Violence Must Stop

No rational person condones violence toward anyone, particularly a family member. In America there are many tragic domestic relationships, which involve battered wives, husbands, and members of a household. A true victim in a violent family relationship needs immediate support and protection. A true battering spouse needs to face the legal consequences of their actions.

2. Innocent Family Members Can Be Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

The legislature has enacted laws to assist police and prosecutors convict the guilty and stop the abuse of spouses and family members. The intent behind these laws is well meaning and necessary. Problems arise when laws designed to protect a victim of domestic violence are used too broadly and are applied to normal families. A big difference exists between an abusive spouse repeatedly committing violent acts, and a nonviolent family in which a single argument went too far.

Unfortunately, the politicians and authorities do not see the difference!!! 
To the self-proclaimed saviors and protectors of abused “victims,” any allegation of domestic violence means the household must be one continuously engaged in abusive
behavior.

‘The domestic violence entrepreneurs and state officials live in a different world from us. A sense of nameless vague threat is always in the background. To hear the pros talk, all the men they deal with are batterers, sexual abusers, or virtually time bombs of violence. Repeated
clichés like “at risk” and “a safe place” and “maintaining safety” pepper their sentences . . . 

John Maguire, Massachusetts News
www.massnews.com, “The Booming Domestic Violence
Industry”

If an argument between spouses was the benchmark for domestic violence, then almost every family in America would be defined as an abusive relationship. This governmental over-reaction and dragnet targeting of normal families and treating them as criminals has led us to massive injustice across the nation.


II. EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS NOT FAMILY VIOLENCE

Human beings make mistakes and act at immaturely at times. Everyone has past conduct they wish could be taken back. Part of being human is sometimes hurting those loved the most. The absurdity is to classify a single out of character nonviolent act as “criminal.” 

For instance, it is not family violence to:

– Yell and scream at our spouse or another household member;

– Use profanity during an argument with a spouse or household member;
– Engage in minor pushing incidents with a spouse or household member;
– Hold the arm or hand of a spouse or household member while arguing;
– Momentarily block the path of a spouse or household member;
– Throw and break items during an argument;
– Say hurtful and mean things to a spouse or household member;

– Use self defense to stop the other spouse or household member from attacking you.

With “Zero Tolerance” arrest policies and “No Drop” prosecutions, the number of arrests for petty family arguments has skyrocketed. A former prosecuting attorney explains the
phenomena:

Christopher Pagan, who was until recently a prosecutor in Hamilton
County, Ohio, estimates that due to a 1994 state law requiring police on a domestic call either to make an arrest or to file a report explaining
why a no arrest was made, “domestics” went from 10 percent to 40 percent of his docket. But, he suggests, that doesn’t mean actual abusers were coming to his attention more often. “ We started getting a lot of push-and-shoves,” says Pagan, “or even yelling
matches.” In the past, police officers would intervene and separate the parties to let them cool off. Now those cases end up in criminal courts. It’s exacerbating tensions between the parties, and it’s turning law-abiding middle class citizens into criminals.
Cathy Young, Vice President, Women’s Freedom Network “Domestic Violations,” Reason On Line, April
1998


III. WHO IS THE REAL VICTIM ANYWAY?

In Texas, the legal definition of a crime “victim” is not what one might think. The word “victim” seems to mean the person who was assaulted, stabbed, murdered, or had their property stolen. Under the law, the “victim” of a crime is the “State.” All criminal cases are therefore styled: “ The State of Texas vs. The
Defendant.”

Once the authorities become involved in a domestic disturbance, they will forever be intertwined with the eventual outcome of the incident. The State, meaning the government, police, and prosecutors, solely decide if a case will be prosecuted or dismissed. Even if the “real victim,” i.e. the person, who supposedly was assaulted, informs the authorities of their desire to have the case dismissed, the charging decision is still left up to the
government.

The allegedly assaulted person can provide the government with an “affidavit of non-prosecution,” a document stating prosecution is not desired and requesting the case to be dropped. Until recently, such affidavits were given substantial consideration from the government. After all, why would the authorities want to prosecute when the actual victim did not desire it? The answer is simple: 

A case of alleged domestic violence now belongs to “The Family Violence
Industry.”

A constant complaint from those at the center of a family violence investigation is how
irrelevant the family is to the investigative team. The team wants to win the case. It wants a criminal conviction. And will do anything to get it. The team, despite its public overtures, does not care about the individual family it is making life-altering decisions for. The family, alleged victim, defendant, and children alike are all mere pawns, literally at the mercy of this governmental machine.

The machine knows very well how to destroy families, yet it knows nothing of healing them.

‘The woman sitting across the table often breaks into tears and fits of trembling. She lives in fear. She says she has been threatened and emotionally battered by those who call themselves “front-line workers” in the war against violence against women.” Since the violence against women specialists invaded their lives a year ago,
husband and wife have developed ulcers, been financially battered and say they survived many attempts to break up their marriage.

Now they’re angry . . . From the start the advice from support workers connected to the Domestic Violence Court was that she should break up her marriage. She should not risk living with a violent man. Her attempts to
defend her husband were met with we- understand- and- we- know- better attitudes; she was afraid of him and was trying to protect him so he wouldn’t be angry. When it became clear she had no intention of separating from her husband, the threats from domestic violence specialists connected to the court moved to a new level that still terrifies her.

“They seemed to be threatening to take my child. They said if I wasn’t going to protect my child from his father, then the system would have
to.”

“ I learned it’s a system that doesn’t listen.”

Dave Brown, The Ottawa Citizen, 2001 “Cult of The Domestic Violence
Industry”


IV. Zero Tolerance and No-Drop Policies

‘In the Domestic Violence industry, when the accusation is made, the case is
closed.’ 

John Maguire, Massachusetts News, www.massnews.com
“The Booming Domestic Violence Industry”

In response to supply the necessary bodies to perpetuate the family violence industry, law enforcement has adopted a new tool:
“Zero Tolerance.” 

What does “Zero Tolerance” mean? Two police officers will be dispatched to a home regarding a domestic disturbance. They will not arrive empty handed. Patrol units, equipped with computers, enable officers to quickly determine if this household has had any prior domestic incidents. Officers will know the complete criminal history of each spouse before arrival.

The police will find a household in which spouses have argued and are emotionally upset. The officers will separate the parties and conduct a brief interview of each’s version of events. The police will look for physical signs of violence, such as bleeding, red marks, or scratches. Then the two officers will confer with each other and compare stories. A decision to arrest will then be made. This entire “investigative” process can be completed in mere minutes, with the arrest decision made in a split second.

‘What couple does not encounter stress, especially when they have children? But in the fever of emotion, a woman can call “911″ and have three police cars there in minutes. After this fateful act, she loses all control. The state
prosecutes her husband whether she likes it or not. He is jailed and prohibited from returning home . . . And all they wanted was the police to defuse a tense situation . . . This policy ( Zero Tolerance) is designed to accustom society (both police and victims) to the intrusion of the state into
private lives. Couples are arrested just for having an argument. Neighbors phone the police. What’s next? Cameras in our homes just like George Orwell’s “1984″’? 

Editorial,
Winnipeg Free Press, “Zero Tolerance,” February 10, 2002

The Dallas County Texas Task Force on Domestic Violence was a federal grant award recipient in 1998 for $1,333,951.00. The title of the award, “Grants To Encourage Arrest Policies,” is a federal directive encouraging “Zero Tolerance.” The grant states: 

‘Purpose: These funds will allow the Dallas County Task Force to continue ensuring arrests and prosecution of domestic violence offenders, provide counseling and support to victims, and ensure that victims have access to
protective orders. Funds will support the addition of staff attorneys and prosecutors.’
www.ojp.usdoj.gov/vawo/map/arrest/1998/txgtea.htm

AND THEN THE CASE WILL NOT BE DROPPED.

“Zero Tolerance” by the police leads to a “No-Drop” policy by the prosecution. An arrest means the case will be prosecuted. Prosecution offices associated with Family Advocacy Centers will proceed with the case even if the family situation has been resolved. An “Affidavit of Non-Prosecution” is ineffective as this legal document merely reflects what the victim wants to do. The affidavit indicates the family is in healing and desires to work on repairing the marital relationship. The Family Violence Industry does not consider salvaging the marital relationship as an acceptable end result. 

The “protectors” view their job entails ending the relationship. Prosecutors are not concerned with the wishes or needs of the real victim. The “No –Drop” policy requires the case to go to trial even if the real victim wants the charges dismissed. “No-Drop” means the government will push the case all the way regardless of hardship upon
the family. To the entrepreneurs of the Family Violence Industry, “helping” the victim
may necessitate separation of the family enforced through protective orders, followed by divorce. In
addition, the helping agenda may include loss of employment for the accused spouse, financial
hardship, and adding unnecessary emotional stress to a family.

“Zero Tolerance” means that the government, not you, the government knows what is best for your
family.

If the government is so concerned about stopping family violence and helping families, why would they push prosecution when the family is asking them not to?


V. THE FAMILY VIOLENCE INDUSTRY

1. Domestic Violence Is a Political Crime

“Hello. I’m from the Government and here to help.” This old saying is satirically funny. Governmental intervention into anything usually creates nameless, faceless bureaucracies, solving nothing, complicating everything, and resulting in higher taxes.

The government has definitely made its way into family violence:

‘Like many crusades to stamp out social evils, the War on Domestic Violence is a mix of good intentions (who could be against stopping spousal abuse?), bad information, and worse theories. The result has been a host of unintended consequences that do little to empower victims while sanctioning interference in personal relationships.’ 
Cathy Young, Vice President, Women’s Freedom Network “Domestic Violations”, Reason On Line, April
1998

Ever few years a new “crime de jour “ (crime of the day) is created. This phenomenon begins with a legitimate social problem needing to be addressed. Examples in recent years of “crimes de jour” include “Driving While Intoxicated” and “Child Sexual Abuse.” The tragic consequences of isolated worst-case scenarios of these crimes are highly publicized. The nation is inundated with media coverage and informed the problem is not being adequately dealt with by the criminal justice system. Crime victims form support groups (such as M.A.D.D.- “Mothers Against Drunk Driving”), and these support groups in turn create lobby groups. The lobbyists influence the media, judges, and politicians. Political candidates sense community outrage and run campaigns with platforms designed to solve the “crime de jour.” After each campaign year and legislative session, new laws address perceived omissions, loopholes, and provide additional punishment for those convicted of the “crime de jour.”

The enactment of such special interest group legislation officially converts the “crime de jour” into a “political
crime.”

‘Some crusaders openly argue that domestic violence should be taken more seriously than other crimes. In 1996, the sponsor of a New York bill toughening penalties for misdemeanor assault on a family member (including ex-spouses and unwed partners) vowed to oppose a version extending the measure to all assaults: “The whole purpose of my bill is to single out domestic violence,” Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said. “ I DON’T WANT THE WORLD TO THINK WE’RE TREATING STRANGER ASSAULTS THE SAME WAY AS DOMESTIC ASSAULTS.”
Cathy Young, Women’s Freedom Network,” Domestic Violations” Reason On Line, April
1998

The new “crime de jour” is domestic
violence.

2. The Family Advocacy Center 

A strange conglomeration of individuals pushing varying agendas comprise the force behind the family violence movement. The movement combines legitimate victims and their advocate supporters with professional vendors who have much to gain through concentrated efforts to expand the industry:

‘These people, some idealistic and some merely pragmatic, have networked, talked with each other, served on various commissions, boosted each other’s careers, and helped to expand the definition of family violence, and the
size of state and federal funding massively . . . Only ten years ago, the women’s safety-advocates were a small group of idealists, operating on pennies. Today the movement has
grown large on state and federal tax monies. Every month, it seems spawns new sub-programs, clinics, shelters, research institutes, counseling centers, visitation centers, poster campaigns. Today, domestic violence is a big industry . . . Mapping the full extent of the domestic violence industry is not easy, because it’s a cottage industry, spread out in hundreds of places. State and federal money (in each state) goes to well over a hundred institutes, clinics, programs for counseling or outreach or coordination or training, computer databases, coalitions, shelters, PR agencies and other groups.’
John Maguire, “The Booming
Domestic Violence Industry, ”Massachusetts News
www.massnews.com 

The media, pressured by women’s safety advocate groups has perpetuated public hysteria by over inflating the true incidence of domestic violence. While a legitimate social problem and cause for reasonable concern, the response to the force-fed hysteria has been legislative overkill. In order to facilitate the legislative demands, bureaucracies must be formed. The result is “The Family Advocacy
Center.”

A typical family advocacy center combines many agencies and individuals into one facility. The center will house police, legal, medical, social service, substance abuse, housing, women’s advocacy, victim’s rights, and counselors in one facility. The Irving Texas “Family Advocacy Center” defines itself as
“one stop shopping for victims.” www.irvingpd.com/IFAC.htm). 

3. Follow the Money

Federal law provides funding to states for the creation, development, and utilization of Family Advocacy Centers through the “Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.” (Title III of the Child Abuse Amendments of 1984, Pub. L. 98-457, 42 U.S.C. 10401). The bottom line for the falsely accused is this:
Domestic Violence is now an enormous financial industry. Each state receives millions of federal dollars in grant money by adopting provisions of federal
law.

‘(Women’s Shelter Centers) provide DSS (Department of Social Services) with additional clients. The women’s groups get more money and DSS gets more state and federal money. They both are artificially inflating their numbers. They inflate domestic violence statistics this way and through the use of coerced restraining orders. By artificially inflating the domestic violence statistics they are able to create political hysteria– leading to more funding.’
Nev Moore, “Unhealthy Relationship between DSS and Domestic Violence Industry.”

In effect, the government has created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Federal money is awarded to communities who can statistically justify the need for a family violence center. In so doing, the government itself perpetuates charges of domestic violence. It creates a “Family Violence Industry.” This circular reasoning mirrors the previous “crime de jour” of child sexual assault in the 1990’s. A comparison of the governmental domestic violence movement with the prior special interest group-driven child sexual assault hysteria
illustrates:

‘According to the late Dr. Richard Gardner, the reason for the alarming rise in child abuse allegations and specifically false allegations can be rationally explained. “ There’s a complex network of social workers, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officials that actually encourages charges of child abuse–- whether they are reasonable or not.” Dr. Gardner is referring to the fact that the Mondale Act (CAPTA) is responsible for the dramatic increase in child abuse charges. “ In effect, the Mondale Act, despite its good intentions, created and continued to fund a virtual child abuse industry, populated by people whose livelihoods depend on bringing more and more allegations into the system”’.
Armin Brott, “A system out of Control: The Epidemic of False Allegations of Child Abuse” 

The Federal Government will award $20 million in grants in 2004 to communities across the nation to plan and develop Family Advocacy Centers. (United States Department of Justice “Fact Sheet” on “The President’s Family Justice Center Initiative”;
www.ojp.usdoj.gov). The DOJ’s “Fact Sheet” reveals hidden financial incentives in the formation of centers to promote domestic violence cases. Family violence “services” will create a large number of jobs and benefit center associated professionals. Dropping cases will not. According to the DOJ Fact Sheet, the Family Violence Centers may include the following
“services”:

– Medical Care, Including On-site or Off-site Primary Physical Care, Mental Health Counseling for Victims and
Dependents, Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Collection;

– Law Enforcement and Legal Assistance Services, Including On-site Help to Get Protective Orders Signed and Enforced, to Investigate and Prosecute Offenders, and Provide Witness Assistance and Court-based Victim Advocates;

– State-of-the-art Information Sharing and Case Management Systems;

– Social Services, Including Federal and State Welfare Assistance for Parents and Children;

– Employment Assistance, Including Employment and Career Counseling and Training Through Local One Stop Employment Centers or Other Local Services;

– Substance Abuse Treatment;

– Child-related Needs Such as Parenting Classes, Teen Pregnancy Services, Supervised
Visitation and Safe Exchange Programs, Services for Child Witnesses of Domestic Violence, Assistance for Relocating Children into New Schools, Truancy Programs, and Youth Mentoring Programs;

– Housing and Transportation Assistance to Cover Immediate Needs and Help with Long-term Housing Solutions; and

– Chaplaincy or Faith-based Counseling Programs Providing Victims and Their Families with Non-sectarian Spiritual Guidance. 

United States Department of Justice
www.ojp.usdoj.gov

Fact Sheet: The President’s Family Justice Center
Initiative

Which professionals directly benefit from a community-based Family Violence Center?

– Medical: Physicians, S.A.N.E (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners), and Nurses;

– Law Enforcement: Police Investigators, Patrol, Polygraph Operators; Supervisors, Staff;

– Legal: District Attorney’s Offices; Assistant District Attorneys, Investigators, Staff;

– Social Services: Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, Caseworkers, Investigators, Supervisors, and Support Staff;

– Employment Offices: Employment Agencies, Workers, and Staff;

– “Forensic Interviewers”; – Substance Abuse Centers: Substance Abuse Counselors;

– Child Related Vendors; Counselors and Therapists;

– Housing Authorities; Placement and Personnel

– Counseling Services: Mental Health, Rage and Anger, Battering Intervention Prevention Program Counselors, Marriage Counselors, Family Counselors;

– Women’s Advocacy Group Personnel – Women’s Shelter Placement Personnel and Shelter Personnel

– Victim Advocate Services Personnel (Advocates to Support Victims and Monitor the Individual Case from Arrest Through
Trial).

Who on the above list benefits if no arrest and charge are made?

Ultimately, this begs the big question:

Is the government interested in the quality or the quantity of domestic abuse cases?
Silverstorn, “The Truth About Child Protective Services”,
www.home.attbi.com/-silverstorm/cps.htm

A critic of the Family Violence Industry, John Flaherty, co-chairman of the Fatherhood Coalition states:

‘This industry is an octopus. It’s got its tentacles in more and more parts of everyday life. It’s a
political movement . . . This industry doesn’t answer to anybody. They’re in it mainly for the
money . . . The industry’s problems may be about to increase, because it is becoming clear
through scientific research that the whole premise of the movement and the industry it spawned
– – that “domestic violence” means bad men hitting helpless, innocent women – – is just plain wrong.’
 
John Maguire, Massachusetts News
www.massnews.com, “The Booming Domestic Violence
Industry”

The Family Advocacy Centers will operate with the group mindset of most bureaucracies.

“ The agencies’ main objective is self preservation: to perpetuate the bureaucracy and to expand the bureaucracy.” 

(Silverstorn,“The Truth About Child Protective Services,” www.home.attbi.com/-silverstorm/cps.htm).

The method for doing this is by seeking and making cases. 

How will the advocacy centers get the number of cases they need? A philosophical change at the most basic level was needed. In order to make the numbers work, the definition of family violence had to be expanded to extend beyond battering spouses and include normal family arguments. In essence, the system adapted by accepting each family violence “911″ call as a potential customer. 

‘A call to 911 is generally mutually assured destruction of a relationship, marriage, family, and the lives of all involved. It doesn’t matter that you’re innocent. Or that she attacked you first. Or that you both went over the line and that both of you want to put it behind you and work it out. The system will prosecute you and persecute you until you’ve confessed your sins– even if you’ve none to confess. And you’re not cured until they say you’re cured– even if you were never sick to begin with.’ 

Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., quoting Glenn Sacks, 
“What Happens When 911 is Dialed Under Current Colorado
Law”

“Zero Tolerance” and “No- Drop” policies create a constant stream of what the advocacy centers need most: bodies. More arrests result in more persons charged. The assembly line then takes over, and the unwitting family becomes passed on from one self-interested protector to another. Post arrest the victim is ”assisted” by the police detective, “forensic interviewer,” and the prosecutor. Incriminatory statements secured, the prosecution team will temporarily lose interest until trial.

At this point, the victim support groups take over, advocates are appointed, and shelters are called, counselors engaged. The list goes on until the family is emotionally, psychologically, and financially drained. And if it all goes perfectly for the team: conviction.

In essence, a great food chain is created, in which many professionals, counselors, physicians, and vendors, are feeding off persons arrested and charged under “Zero Tolerance” programs. Family advocacy salesmen freely admit the concept is a direct springboard from the child advocacy centers. An Allen Texas Police Investigator states: “The children’s advocacy center works very well in Collin County . . . crime victims groups in Collin County work well together. So having a family justice center would encourage that more.” (Dallas Morning News, Collin County Edition, March 14, 2004, “Groups Unite To End Domestic
Violence”).

The financial rewards for Family Advocacy Centers will not be dependent upon criminal convictions. The funding will be given to the centers regardless of the outcome of the case, or truth of the allegations. With absolute immunity from liability, the Family Advocacy Center team members have no fear of any repercussions for their actions.

4. Team Unity: Take Out A Family For the Team

The majority of District Attorney’s Offices in North Texas follow the national model of having specialized family violence units, where assigned prosecutors and investigators handle only domestic violence cases. Many North Texas law enforcement agencies have specialty family violence teams. All of the law enforcement agencies affiliated with an advocacy center assign officers to the center as part of a domestic violence task
force.

The creation of specialized domestic violence prosecution teams has but one goal: conviction of a suspected perpetrator. The advocacy team collaboration of prosecutors, police, social workers, medical professionals, counselors and others are a team in every sense of the word. They share more than a central location. They share belief systems, ideologies, strategies, and a game plan. That game plan is to convict any person charged with domestic violence. The belief system is one that every person charged with domestic violence is a batterer. The belief system also finds every victim of domestic violence to be a battered spouse.

The belief system incorporates extreme arrogance. The family violence team knows better than anyone, particularly the family itself, of what is best for them. The team works together in secret, planning and mapping out strategy to forge the future of the family, whether it is in their best interests or not.

‘Unfortunately, it won’t really matter what happened that night or how capable she (alleged victim) is of deciding for herself whether or not she needs protection– the court and the prosecutors can still say no. They can stand by and tell that victim that she doesn’t really know what’s best for her and her family. She is a victim– how can she possibly know what’s after what she’s been
through?

Many of these people know exactly what is best for them and their families, and yet are revictimized by the powerlessness imposed upon them by a system of people who know better.’
Janeice T. Martin, Attorney at Law,Naples (Florida) Daily News, 
November 3, 2002, “Domestic Violence- The Other Side of Zero Tolerance” 

The above statement is not an aberration. It is common to find family service plans forced upon alleged victims by advocacy center social workers to include conditions, which require:

1. The alleged perpetrator to reside out of the household while the case is pending;

2. The alleged perpetrator to have no contact with the family while the case is pending;
3. The alleged victim to “assist” in the prosecution of the alleged perpetrator.

Assisting in prosecution means the victim must testify against the defendant. It also often means the victim must pursue divorce proceedings against the defendant. If the victim does not want to divorce or testify, advocates for failing to protect her children will eventually threaten her. Then the protectors will threaten removal of the children unless the victim pledges allegiance to the team and assists in convicting the defendant.

‘Women are coerced into accepting their cultish indoctrination via the use of threats, intimidation, and the fear of losing their
children . . . Women are ordered to leave their husbands, even in the absence of real domestic violence or abuse. They are ordered to never let the fathers see their children, or DSS will charge the women with neglect.’

Nev Moore, “Unhealthy Relationship between DSS and Domestic Violence Industry.” 

5. Pssst . . . They Are Coming . . . Or Are They Already Here?

Family Advocacy Centers are a relatively new innovation in the “War on Domestic Violence.” They are quickly following in the footsteps of Child Advocacy Centers. Many communities are combining the two into one super center. The City of Phoenix Arizona may have been the first to create a strictly domestic violence center upon opening the “Family Advocacy Center” in August 1999. The Phoenix model is a good indicator of the self fulfilling prophecy behind Family Advocacy Centers,
“Build It – They Will Come.” Statistics of cases from the Phoenix Center
show:

Since August 1999, Phoenix has had 16,439 domestic violence “contacts” in which 59% have received “services.” Translated, this figure means roughly 9700 domestic violence cases in five years since the opening of the Phoenix Family Advocacy Center. (www.phoenix.gov/CITZASST/fac.html).

How many of those cases resulted in criminal convictions could not be ascertained.

The first known Family Advocacy Center in Texas opened its doors in January of 2002. The City of Irving “Family Advocacy Center” describes its goal to “bring together those police units and outside agencies that provide support, prosecution, and therapy for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.”
(www.irvingpd.com/IFAC.htm). To no one’s surprise, the Irving Police Department adopted a “Zero Tolerance” stance on domestic violence. Again, not surprisingly, Irving boasts of rising statistical increases in the number of domestic violence cases received since the creation of its Family Advocacy Center. Consistent with Phoenix, the Irving police department website does not cite statistics regarding actual criminal convictions.

Rest assured, the Family Advocacy Center is coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

According to the Department of Justice, the federal government will award $20 million in grants in 2004 to communities across the nation to plan and develop Family Advocacy Centers. (United States Department of Justice Fact Sheet on The President’s Family Justice Center Initiative;
www.ojp.usdoj.gov).

Collin County, Texas is one of the communities applying for the federal grant money. However, a spokesman for the Collin County District Attorney’s office indicated the county “ would pursue the center even if it did not win the grant. But without financial backing, the project would take longer.” (Dallas Morning News, Collin County Edition, March 14, 2004, “Groups Unite To End Domestic
Violence”).

North Texas is an active participant in the domestic violence industry. Dallas and Denton Counties have instituted specialty family violence courts, in which domestic violence cases are primarily the only cases on the docket. Specialized courts allow prosecutors and judges to create a uniform method to streamline cases. The accused faces a tremendous obstacle in a family violence court. The court’s very existence is silently predicated upon convicting as many defendants as possible. Only convictions can feed the system, as with convictions come fines, community supervision fees, battering intervention program costs, and other methods of pouring money back into the industry. Rising numbers of convictions mean the need for more prosecutors, judges, probation officers, domestic violence counselors, domestic violence programs
and more specialized domestic violence courts. Convictions also support the propaganda generating the movement: “family violence is prevalent in your community at an unconscionable
rate.”

The government substantiates its national cry of a plethora of domestic violence through statistical data. Since there is not a nationwide plethora of domestic violence, the protectors needed assistance in the form of fuzzy math. The fuzzy math was easily solved. Simply cite statistics that show the number of domestic violence “contacts” or “services provided” rather than domestic violence convictions. By using “contacts” as the statistical benchmark, family violence crusaders are able to point to every police dispatch to a family argument as a “case.” These “cases” then secure the numbers needed for federal and state grant
money.

Another problem facing the protectors was dealing with the end result of minuscule criminal activity. How would prosecutors secure criminal convictions in court after arresting family members for arguments and trivial push-shove matches? For this, the protectors and politicians needed to change the law.

The legislature responded with open arms.


VI. CHANGING THE RULES TO CONVICT

1. Legislative Changes

Pro football star, Warren Moon, former quarterback of the Houston Oilers and Minnesota 
Vikings was charged with domestic violence assault in July 1995. The case captured national attention as his wife, the alleged victim, Felicia Moon did not want to testify or pursue charges. 

The prosecution forced Felicia Moon to testify after the Texas Legislature amended and limited the “Husband – Wife” privilege. Prior to the change in the law, a spouse could elect not to be a witness for the state to testify against the other
spouse.

‘The couple said they scuffled at their home July 18 after an argument over credit cards provoked Mrs. Moon to throw a 2-pound candleholder at Moon’s back. Mrs. Moon ended up with scratches and bruises around her neck and shoulders. Moon said that he was probably responsible for the injuries but that he was trying to calm his wife, not harm her.

Mrs. Moon likewise insisted her husband never intended o hurt her. She had pleaded with prosecutors to not press charges but was forced to take the stand under a 1995 law eliminating the right to refuse to testify against one’s spouse. More than 40 states have eliminated
the spousal privilege.’
Terri Langford, Associated Press, February 23,
1996.

It took the jury merely 27 minutes yesterday to acquit Warren Moon of the assault.

The 1995 amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure and Rules of Evidence authorize the prosecution to mandate a spouse to testify against the other spouse. The provisions read: 

ART. 38.10 EXCEPTIONS TO THE SPOUSAL ADVERSE TESTIMONY PRIVILEGE

The privilege of a person’s spouse not to be called as a witness for the state does not apply in any proceeding in which the person is charged with a crime committed against the person’s spouse, a minor child, or a member of the household of either spouse.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 38.10

(b) Privilege Not to Testify in Criminal Case

(4) Exceptions: The privilege of a person’s spouse not to be called as a witness for the state does not apply:

(A) Certain criminal proceedings.

In any proceeding in which the person is charged with a crime against the person’s spouse, a member of the household of either spouse, or any minor. 

Texas Rules of Evidence 504 : Husband – Wife Privileges

In addition to the legislative changes, Texas Appellate Courts have broadened hearsay exceptions, authorizing the prosecution to introduce supposed prior statements of an alleged victim. 

2. Hearsay Evidence

Hearsay is defined as “ a statement, other than one made by the declarant while
testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.” (Tex. Rules. Evid. 803 (2)). In layman’s terms, hearsay occurs when a witness testifies regarding what they heard someone else say. Hearsay is inadmissible at trial; however, there are many exceptions to the hearsay
rule.

In domestic violence cases hearsay evidence is often admitted as substantive evidence of guilt. It is typical for courts to allow a police officer to testify to the officer’s memory of what the victim supposedly said at the time of the incident. This testimony is admitted even though the victim’s alleged statements were not recorded by the officer. Rather, the officer is testifying from notes in the police report
made several hours or even days after the arrest. This testimony is admitted as an “excited utterance.”

An excited utterance is defined as “A statement relating to a startling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition.” (Tex. Rules. Evid. 803 (2)). It is common for a statement to be admitted at trial as an excited utterance even if the incident occurred several hours prior to the officer obtaining the statement from the victim. The hearsay exception of excited utterances also allows the state to play the recorded “911″ call from the victim to the jury. Whether an “excited utterance” is admissible is within the discretion of the trial court
judge.

A criminal defense attorney will object to hearsay testimony as a violation of the defendant’s right to confront their accuser at trial. When a witness at trial is reciting hearsay testimony, the defendant cannot cross-examine or confront the person who actually made the statement. The person who made the statement, called the declarant, is not the witness on the stand. The United States Constitution and state constitutions guarantee the defense the right to confront the accuser at trial. Generally speaking, an objection on the grounds the confrontation clause was violated is overruled by the trial court judge if the state can prove a hearsay exception.

On March 8, 2004, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of
Crawford v. Washington, 2004 U.S. Lexis 1838, 72 U.S.L.W. 4229. The court interpreted the Sixth Amendment “Confrontation Clause” of the United
State’s Constitution. In Crawford, the Court found the confrontation clause was violated when a recorded statement by Crawford’s spouse was played for the jury. Crawford’s wife did not testify at trial under Washington’s “Husband-Wife” privilege.

The case may not impact traditional hearsay rule exceptions. The Court made a distinction between “testimonial” and “non-testimonial” hearsay. The spouse in
Crawford, had also been arrested and gave her statement while in police custody. The Court found those circumstances to be testimonial hearsay, inadmissible as a violation of the confrontation clause when the recording was played at trial and she did not
testify.

Crawford does not cover “non-testimonial” statements such as when a spouse makes incriminating statements against the alleged battering spouse on a “911″ call. Additionally,
Crawford‘s ruling may not apply to “excited utterance” hearsay statements made by the victim when police first arrive on the scene. That question will be addressed by state appellate courts.
With anticipated pressure from the Family Violence Industry, state appellate courts may take a very narrow view of
Crawford’s holding and allow hearsay statements into evidence.

3. Syndrome Evidence May Be Admissible Against the Accused

A new strategy is being urged by the state in domestic violence cases, particularly when the alleged victim has recanted or changed her story. The prosecutors are borrowing concepts from child sexual assault cases and attempting to expand them to family violence cases. In many states, prosecutors in child abuse cases can offer expert testimony that a child is suffering from the “Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome”(C.S.A.A.S.). This syndrome is based on the theory that abused children will exhibit certain character traits indicative of abuse.

Prosecutors in adult assault cases are now attempting to show a victim who recants or changes the original story is suffering from “Battered Woman’s Syndrome.” The new prosecutorial trend is to use the syndrome to explain why a victim of domestic violence would recant. The state wants the jury to hear expert testimony explaining that a victim is likely to recant, not due to the absence of violence, but because she is a battered
woman.

“Battered Woman Syndrome describes a pattern of psychological and behavioral symptoms found in women living in battering relationships.”
People v. Romero, 13 Cal Rptr 2d 332, 336 (Cal App 2d Dist. 1992). 

The nation’s leading expert on the syndrome, Dr. Lenore Walker, states:

There are four general characteristics of the syndrome:

1. The woman believes that the violence was her fault.
2. The woman has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere.
3. The woman fears for her life and/or her children’s lives.

4. The woman has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient.

Walker, found nine typical characteristics of the battered wife:

(1) has low self-esteem;
(2) believes all the myths about battering relationships;
(3) is a traditionalist about the home, strongly believes in family unity and the prescribed feminine sex-role stereotype; 
(4) accepts responsibility for the batterer’s actions;

(5) suffers from guilt, yet denies the terror and anger she feels;
(6) presents a passive face to the world but has the strength to manipulate her environment enough to prevent further violence and being killed;
(7) has severe stress reactions, with psychophysiological complaints;
(8) uses sex as a way to establish intimacy; and
(9) believes that no one will be able to help her resolve her predicament except herself. 
Dr. Lenore Walker, ‘The Battered Woman Syndrome’
(1984)

Slowly the syndrome is appearing in domestic violence courts throughout the country as a means to strengthen the state’s case against the accused. The majority of courts are disallowing expert testimony without specific proof the victim in that case suffers from the syndrome. However, it is anticipated this syndrome will soon gain the same status as C.S.A.A.S. and become a routine prosecutorial tactic against defendants in domestic violence cases.

With syndrome evidence, the state replaces its lack of real proof with speculation. Expert
testimony stating the wife is a battered woman is fatal to the falsely accused. A wife testifying for the defendant describing the incident may tell the jury she exaggerated or was the instigator herself. The prosecution in rebuttal will call an expert witness to inform the jury that she is testifying in a manner consistent with being a battered spouse and merely protecting her husband.

A variety of state law cases indicate this prosecutorial trend seeking to introduce evidence the victim belongs to the class of persons known as “Battered Woman’s
Syndrome”:

1. Russell v. State, Court of Appeals of Alaska, 2002 Alas. App. LEXIS 237, ( 2002) (Memorandum decision, not legal precedent);
2. People v. Williams, Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Four, 78 Cal. App. 4th 1118; 93 Cal. Rptr. 2d 356;
3. State v. Yusuf, Appellate Court of Connecticut, 70 Conn. App. 594; 800 A.2d 590; 2002 Conn. App. LEXIS 349 (2002);

4. State v. Niemeyer, Appellate Court of Connecticut, 55 Conn. App. 447; 740 A.2d 416; 1999 Conn. App. LEXIS 408 (1999);
5. Michigan v. Christel, 449 Mich. 578, 537 N.W.2d 194, 1995 Mich. LEXIS 1477;
6. State v. Cummings, Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Appellate District, 2002 Ohio 4178; 2002 Ohio App. LEXIS 4353 (2002);
7. Garcia v. State, NO. 01-99-01068-CR, Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, Houston, 2000 Tex. App. LEXIS 3774, (2000)(Unpublished, not legal precedent). 

4. Convictions Without Physical Evidence

Defendants have been convicted of domestic violence without any physical evidence introduced against them at trial. In many cases, the argument resulting in the arrest was so slight the alleged victim does not need or seek medical treatment. Frequently, the accused is convicted for intentionally causing “bodily injury” without any testimony from a qualified medical expert. The victim’s testimony alone that she felt pain or suffered bodily injury is sufficient for a conviction. 

This testimony can be supported by police officer testimony of having observed red marks, scratches, or bleeding, to substantiate the decision to arrest. These claimed injuries may or may not be photographed and preserved for trial. Commonly, a defendant is convicted of causing bodily injury without medical or photographic evidence.

The creation of the Family Advocacy Center is anticipated to follow their Child Advocacy Center predecessors. Medical nurses and employees, whose livelihoods depend upon their contracts with the centers, will give opinions that a victim was abused. Failure to give the right opinion will mean the contract is not renewed. These opinions from medical “experts” will say the findings are “consistent with” abuse. Of course, “consistent with abuse” is not a true medical diagnosis. This testimony, when attacked by the defense attorney will reveal the findings given, as “consistent with abuse” are just as “inconsistent with
abuse”.

Instead of physical and medical evidence, the falsely accused are now and will continue to be convicted upon theories, inferences, and speculation. Prosecutors secure convictions by manipulating the juries’ fear of releasing a battering spouse back into the home. This fear will be combined with hearsay, expert witness “syndrome evidence”, misleading medical testimony, and the biased opinions of family advocacy investigators. Immediately after arrest the alleged victim will be hustled to the Family Advocacy Center to be interviewed. At the center, a “forensic interviewer” with the help of state agents will orchestrate a video taped interview. The prosecutor and police detective will be monitoring the process through a two-way mirror in the adjacent room. The interviewer will be in communication and fed questions from the agents through a wireless microphone earpiece. The interviewer will question the alleged victim when she is still highly emotional and upset, prone to exaggeration and motivated to hurt the accused. Many cases have shown investigators to require an alleged victim to add the phrase “ I felt pain” to any written or verbal description of the incident. The alleged victim is unaware that “pain” is the legal buzzword authorities must have to prosecute. 

5. Summary: Recipe for conviction:

1. “911” call from the alleged victim claiming assault and
injury;

2. Recorded preservation of the “911″ call for trial; 

3. A biased police investigation;

4. A Zero Tolerance policy requiring the police to make an arrest;

5. A biased interviewer requiring the alleged victim to state or write that she felt “pain”; 

6. A biased medical report by a “nurse” contracted by the domestic violence
industry;

7. Syndrome evidence from an “expert” witness if the victim recants or changes her story; 

8. Trial testimony through “excited utterance” hearsay and denial of the husband – wife privilege not to testify against their spouse; 

9. Conviction on little or no physical evidence.


VII. FAMILY VIOLENCE LEGAL FACTS: A CHECKLIST

1. Issues Upon Arrest 

– What Is Family Violence?
Family violence is defined as “an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.”
Tex. Fam. Code § 71.004 (2004)

– What Is An Assault Family Violence Offense?

There is not a Texas penal code statute entitled “Assault – Family Violence.”
Despite what offense may have been written on the magistrate’s warning or bail bond, the actual offense is for “Assault”. In Texas, an assault offense can range from a Class C misdemeanor (similar to traffic citation) to a felony. The charge is a Class C misdemeanor if the physical contact is merely regarded as “ offensive “ or “provocative”. In those situations, the suspect usually receives a citation and promises to appear later in a Municipal Court where the maximum punishment is by fine up to $500.00.

The vast majority of family violence cases are charged as Class A misdemeanors in which it is alleged the defendant caused ”bodily injury” to the victim. In cases in which “serious bodily injury “ is alleged, the offense is characterized as a felony. It also will be a felony if “the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense against a member of the defendant’s family or
household”.

– What Evidence Do The Police Need To Make An Arrest?
An officer must arrest if probable cause exists to believe that bodily injury has occurred.

– Do the Police Need A Warrant To Arrest Me?

Texas state law authorizes the police to make an arrest without a warrant of:

“ persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have committed an assault resulting in bodily injury to a member of the person’s family or household.”
Tex. Code. Crim. Proc. Art. 14.03 (a) (4).

This legal authorization leads to an automatic arrest or “zero tolerance” policy by many police departments. Once a call for assistance was made to a “911″ operator regarding a domestic disturbance, someone is going to jail if there is any evidence, credible or not, of bodily
injury.

– What is Bodily Injury?

“Bodily Injury means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition”.
Tex. Pen. Code § 1.07 (8) 

It does not take much to make an allegation of “bodily injury”. Bodily injury does not require a trip to the doctor, any medication, or even any sign of injury such as a bruise or red mark. The alleged victims’ statement they felt pain is sufficient for an arrest to be made. This is why the police officer will ask the alleged victim if she was “hurt” or felt “pain”. If the victim says yes, then the officer has been provided with probable cause the bodily injury provision has been
met.

– What Happens If the Alleged Victim Decides She Does Not Want to Prosecute?
The State will prosecute the case anyway.

– What Is Zero Tolerance?
Zero Tolerance means the police will make an arrest without exception after a family argument if they have probable cause to believe any bodily injury has occurred.

– What Is A No Drop Policy
A “No Drop Policy” means the State will prosecute all domestic violence cases without exception, even if the victim wants the case dismissed and has filed an affidavit of non-prosecution. 

– Can I Be Held in Jail Even after I Make Bail?
The magistrate (judge) can hold the arrested person in jail for four (4) hours after making bail, if there is probable cause to believe any violence would continue if the person were immediately released. 

This period can be extended up to forty -eight hours if authorized in writing by a magistrate. If the extended time period exceeds twenty four (24) hours, the magistrate must make a finding the violence would be continued if the person were released and the person has previously been arrested within ten (10) years on more than one occasion for family violence or for any other offense involving the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 17.291 (2004)

– What Is the Arraignment?

After an arrest the accused will be brought before the magistrate for the arraignment. At this hearing, the magistrate will read the accused their legal rights, set bail, and usually issue an emergency protective order. 
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 15.17

– What Is an Emergency Protective Order?
An emergency protective order is issued against the accused by the magistrate at the arraignment hearing. The protective order may:

– evict the accused from their residence for sixty (60) days;

– prohibit the accused from possessing a firearm;
– prohibit the accused from communicating directly with a person protected by the order or a member of the family or household in a threatening or harassing manner;
– going to or near the residence, place of employment, or business of a member of the family or household or of the person protected under the order; or the residence, child care facility, or school where a child protected under the order resides or attends.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– What Happens If I Violate The Emergency Protective Order?

Violation of the emergency protective order results in a separate criminal offense punishable by a fine of as much as $ 4,000 or by confinement in jail for as long as one year or by both. An act that results in family violence or a stalking offense may be prosecuted as a separate misdemeanor or felony offense. If the act is prosecuted as a separate felony offense, it is punishable by confinement in prison for at least two years. 
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– Can the Judge Kick Me out of My Own House?
The protective order may evict the accused from their residence for sixty (60) days.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– Can I Be Ordered Not to Have Any Contact with My Wife or Children?

An emergency protective order by itself cannot prohibit the arrested person from making non-threatening communication or contact with the protected person. However, nothing prohibits the magistrate from making an additional “no – contact” condition of bail. Art. 17.40.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Conditions Related to Victim or Community Safety

– Can I Get the Protective Order Modified, Changed or Dismissed?
The court, which issued the emergency protective order, can modify all or part of the order after each party has received notice and a hearing has been held. In order to change or modify the order, the court must find:

(1) the order as originally issued is unworkable;
(2) the modification will not place the victim of the offense at greater risk than did the
original order; and

(3) the modification will not in any way endanger a person protected under the order.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– What If My Spouse Says She Will Not Enforce The Protective Order?
Only the Judge who issued the emergency order can change it or set it aside. No other person can give permission to anyone to ignore or violate the order.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– How Long Is The Protective Order In Effect?
An emergency protective order is in effect for not less than thirty-one (31) days and not more than sixty-one (61) days.
Art. 17.292. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

A final protective order issued by a District Court may be in effect for up to two (2) years.
Tex. Fam. Code § 85.025 (2004)

– Can I Own or Possess a Firearm While out on Bail?

After arrest a magistrate will usually issue an emergency protective order, which can prohibit the arrested person from possessing a firearm, unless the person is a peace officer.
Art. 17.292. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

The magistrate or judge assigned the case can make additional bond conditions, which prohibit the accused from possessing a firearm while the case is pending.

– What Happens If I Have Right To Carry Handgun License?
The magistrate can suspend a license to carry a concealed handgun.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– What Kind of Conditions Will I Be under While out on Bail?
A magistrate can require any condition to bail that he / she finds to be reasonable as long as it is related to the safety of the victim or the community.
Art. 17.40. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Conditions Related to Victim or Community Safety

In some cases this may mean there is to be no contact between the alleged victim and the defendant. Once the case has been assigned to a court, that judge may order additional conditions of bond. A judge in Collin County, Texas, has made it a practice to require the accused to attend a weekly batterer intervention counseling program for eighteen (18) weeks even though there has been no conviction.

– The Prosecutor Must Notify Family Law Court Of An Arrest For Domestic Violence If Temporary Orders Regarding Custody or Possession of a Child Are In Effect.

The prosecutor must notify a family law court of an arrest for family violence if the family law court had previously entered temporary orders.
Art. 42.23. Notification of Court of Family Violence Conviction

– What Is An Affidavit of Non-Prosecution?
This affidavit is a legal document from the victim informing the authorities prosecution is
not desired and requesting the case to be dropped. 

– What Happens If My Spouse Executes an Affidavit of Non-prosecution?

The charging decision belongs to the government. In all likelihood, the State will prosecute the case anyway. 

– Should We Meet With The Prosecutor To Get The Case Dismissed?
Sometimes the alleged victim wants to meet with the prosecutor to change her story and
get the charge dismissed.

This procedure needs to be skillfully handled by an attorney. If your spouse meets with either the prosecutor or police investigator alone, she will be threatened with arrest and prosecution if she wants to change the original story. The prosecutor will threaten to charge her with making a false statement to a police officer and / or perjury.

– Can The Case Ever Be Dismissed?
Yes, even with a “no-drop” or “zero tolerance” policy, a good attorney can eventually influence the prosecutor to drop the case. Prosecutors, despite great overtures about caring for the victim and similar altruistic posturing, care very much about winning. The only thing that matters to a prosecutor is winning the case and advancing their career. The alleged victims are just numbers whose faces and situations will be forgotten by the prosecutor with the start of the next case.

The defense motivates the prosecutor to dismiss. Prosecutors hate to lose cases. If confronted with a case that cannot be won they will try to deviate from office policy to dismiss, “just this one time”.

– What If There Is No Physical Evidence of Bodily Injury ?
In many cases evidence of injury is slight, or no physical evidence of injury may exist at all. The State will prosecute the case anyway.

– How Could I Be Found Guilty If There Is No Physical Evidence?
The State can get a conviction solely on the testimony of the alleged victim without any physical evidence of bodily injury.

– What If The Victim Does Not Show Up For Trial?
The State will subpoena her for trial. If she does not appear the judge will issue a writ of attachment (arrest warrant). The Sheriff will arrest your spouse and bring her to the courthouse. If she cannot be located, the judge will grant the State’s motion for a continuance. If she cannot be found, even after a continuance, the State will prosecute the case and present hearsay evidence of what your spouse
said:

1. On the 911 dispatch tape;
2. To the investigating police officers;
3. By introducing any written or recorded statements of your spouse. (Written or recorded statements may now be inadmissible after the United States Supreme Court decision in Crawford v. Washington, 2004 U.S. Lexis 1838, 72 U.S.L.W. 4229.)

– Can the Case Be Won At Trial?
These cases are frequently won at trial by skilled criminal defense attorneys. In many situations, the argument involved both parties and any physical assault was actually mutual combat. Self-defense is a defense to prosecution under Texas and all states law.

2. Consequences Of A Conviction

– Will An Arrest Or Conviction Be on My Record?
A conviction, probated sentence, or deferred adjudication will result in a permanent criminal record. In Texas there are only two ways to remove a domestic violence arrest record. An attorney can have the records of arrest expunged (destroyed) if the state never files a case or if the case is won at trial.

A plea of guilty or no contest to the charge or a finding of guilt, will result in a criminal record even if the defendant is placed on probation or deferred adjudication and successfully completes the community supervision period. 

There is no method by law to expunge, destroy, or seal domestic violence convictions, probations, or deferred adjudications.
Tex. Govt. Code § 411.081

– What Happens If I Am Not a U.S. Citizen?
A person charged with domestic violence who is not a United States citizen can face serious penalties.

Deportation is possible even if the case ends in probation or deferred adjudication.
A re-entry into the United States may be denied after arrest, even if the case has not gone to trial.

– Who Would Have Access to My Record?
The records will be available for anyone with access at the courthouse or over the internet. Even a deferred adjudication case will be discoverable to any person. Present or future employers will have access to domestic violence records.

– If I Successfully Complete Deferred Adjudication, Can I Get the Records Sealed?
Deferred adjudication for family violence cannot be expunged or have the records sealed.
It will be a permanent record, even though a formal conviction is not entered.

Tex. Govt. Code § 411.081

– Can I Own or Possess a Firearm?
If the person enters a plea of guilty or no contest or is found guilty at trial they will not be able to possess a firearm for (5) years under Texas law, and not possess a firearm or ammunition at all under federal law. The federal law has no time limitation to it. The loss of the right to possess a firearm applies whether the case ends in a conviction, probation, or deferred adjudication.
Tex. Penal Code § 46.04 (2004); 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g) (9)

– If Placed On Community Supervision, Will I Have to Attend Counseling?

A person on community supervision for domestic violence will be required to attend a year long Battering Intervention Prevention Program counseling course. The average defendant is required to attend once a week for a fifty – two (52) week period. Failure to attend, or missing too many meetings will result in revocation of the community supervision and placement in jail.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.141 (2004)

– Can I Attend Counseling of My Own Choosing?
The defendant does not get to select a counseling program. This program will be set up in
advance and the defendant will be required to attend. 
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.141 (2004)

– What Are Typical Probation / Deferred Conditions for Domestic Violence Cases?
The defendant is responsible for all costs of counseling and probation. Typical conditions of Community Supervision include:

– Fine; 
– Court Costs; 
– Victim Impact Panels; 

– Counseling for Victim; 
– Contributions to Women’s Domestic Violence Shelters; 
– Weekly Batterers Intervention Prevention Program Counseling; 
– Anger Management Counseling; 
– Monthly Probation Fees of $50.00 per Month; 
– No Contact With Victim; 

– Random Urinalysis Testing; 
– Monthly Reporting To Probation Officer; 
– Community Service; 
– Other Conditions the Judge Finds to Be Reasonable. 
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.14

– A Domestic Violence Conviction Will Result in a Finding of Family Violence.
If the defendant enters a plea or is found guilty, the trial court must make an affirmative finding of family violence and enter the affirmative finding in the judgment.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.013 (2004)

– What Does it Mean to Have a Family Violence Finding?
A plea of either guilty or no contest will result in a family violence finding even if the sentence is deferred.

A finding of family violence can have drastic consequences for a parent facing a child custody or modification case. There may be a presumption that the accused is not a fit parent. 

– The Trial Court Judge Must Notify Family Court Of A Family Violence Finding.
The trial court judge must notify the family court judge if the defendant was found guilty or pled guilty or no contest to a family violence offense. This must be done even if the defendant is placed on deferred adjudication.
Art. 42.23. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Notification of Court of Family Violence Conviction

– A Final Protective Order Can Be Entered Against a Person Found to Have Committed Family Violence.
A family court judge may enter a final protective order against a person found guilty or pled guilty or no contest to a family violence offense. This can be done even if the defendant is placed on deferred adjudication
Tex. Fam. Code § 85.022 Requirements of Order Applying to Person Who Committed Family Violence

– What Are the Possible Penalties for a Conviction?
In Texas, the accused faces up to a $4,000.00 fine for a conviction, whether by a plea or a finding of guilt at trial. The accused may be incarcerated for up to one year in the county jail upon conviction, whether by a plea or a finding of guilt at trial.

If the accused has a prior conviction for family violence, a second charge will be prosecuted as a third degree felony offense, carrying a range of punishment of not less than two (2) years or more than ten (10) years in the penitentiary and a fine up to $10,000.00.
Tex. Pen. Code. § 12.21; § 12.34


VIII.  SELECTING
THE RIGHT ATTORNEY

1. Do Not Attempt This On Your Own

If informed that surgery is needed to remove a tumor, the patient would not go home and start rummaging through kitchen knives to commence a self-service operation. Obviously this procedure is best left to the skilled hands of a professional physician. The same principle exists when a family desires to have a criminal case dismissed. This is not the time to do it yourself.

The criminal justice system is a great mystery to those who are not familiar with its inner sanctum. There is a right way and wrong way to get things accomplished. The family finding itself facing an accusation does not understand how to approach the system. Common sense and justice, thought to be inherent in the system, does not exist. Rather the criminal justice system is more concerned with power, perpetuation of the appearance of justice, and statistics.

Media and political attention concerning domestic violence may tend to have the naive think the system is concerned with the well being of families. This is incorrect. The system does not care one iota about the families it captures in its web. A family in recovery, healing from domestic conflicts presumes the protectors would be pleased to discover prosecution is no longer desired. This is certainly the public persona exemplified by the protectors. Referring to the Smith County, Texas Family Advocacy Center, Executive Director Carol Langston said: “ I would love for the center not to have to be here 20 or 40 years from now.” (Laura Krantz, Staff Writer, March 20, 2004, Tyler Morning Telegraph).
Baloney.

In fact the exact opposite is true. The protectors want as many cases as possible and are not concerned with what’s best for the family. The system is concerned with what’s best for itself, growth and expansion. Those goals are not met by dropping
cases.

“This is crazy. We had an argument that got out of control. Everything is fine now. My spouse does not want to prosecute. If I talk to them and explain it will go away.” This is the initial feeling of a family who does not want any additional complications, such as a frivolous prosecution in their lives. The family may be experiencing problems and difficulties, but it is not a matter that requires governmental intervention. Husband and Wife desire to work out their issues on their own, their way. All that is needed now is to make an appointment to speak to the prosecutor and have the State to drop the
case.  The State Will Not Drop the Case. 

2. Rules For The Accused

Rule No. 1: There is nothing you can say to these people to make them go away. 

Nothing an accused or alleged victim can say or do will convince the protectors (Family Advocacy Prosecutor, Family Advocacy Center Caseworker, Police Detective) that the abuse did not occur. NOTHING!

Rule No. 2: The case will not be dismissed until the government finds a dismissal is in their best interests, not the best interests of the family. 

The individual effected family means nothing to these people. The family is a mere meal ticket, another in a long line of families the system will victimize. Informing the protectors that the family is fine, has made up, is working out their problems, and does not need prosecution will be met on deaf ears. The system does not care. The protectors need bodies to meet necessary quotas to continue receiving grant money and expand.

It is only when the protectors recognize they will lose the case, possibly in an embarrassing fashion, that a dismissal will be considered. The state must be motivated through its own fear of losing face with a jury before it will consider the needs of the family.

Rule No. 3: Talking to the protectors without an attorney present is the single worst thing a wrongfully accused person can do.

In most cases an experienced attorney will not allow you to talk to the prosecutor or the police or give a statement. The attorney knows whatever you say will be used against you.

The violation of these rules by unaware family members is commonplace. A family desiring to put the incident behind them believes sanity will intervene at some point, and decide to contact the police and prosecution. The alleged victim and suspect will give written and videotaped statements. In addition, they will talk on the phone or offices of detectives and prosecutors without knowing they are being recorded. 

The protectors are not interested in conducting a fair and thorough investigation. The accused and alleged victim who walk into a Family Advocacy Center without an experienced attorney to “tell their side of things” or “clear this all up” is doing exactly what the authorities want. The protectors know what they are doing. At this meeting they will obtain real or implied admissions and circumstances presenting opportunity for battering coming from the accused’s own
mouth.

An attorney can place you in a position so that you are “cooperating” with the investigation without incriminating yourself. The attorney can assist you in making the decision of whether to meet with the authorities. In most situations, the attorney knows the charge decision has already been made and that a meeting will not change the forthcoming prosecution. 

3. Finding the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

Very few attorneys specialize in fighting domestic violence allegations. Many lawyers represent clients with assault charges. These lawyers will handle such cases in addition to a general criminal defense practice. Domestic cases are different from the typical criminal charge and must be handled differently!

Consider the following in hiring the right attorney:

A. Length of Practice and Experience.

A family violence allegation can only be defended successfully by an attorney with significant trial experience and specifically with assault cases. The accused is not in a position to have inexperienced counsel. 

Unfortunately, the police, Family Advocacy Center personnel, and the public will consider you to be guilty. For one charged with family violence, it is important to act immediately. The accused must prove their innocence! An attorney who does not begin an all out defense at the very beginning is wasting valuable time and compromising your future.

There is no “home field advantage” in a domestic violence case. Do not shy away from a good attorney who is located in a different county from where you are being charged. Judges are elected politicians. Judges do not get re-elected if the public views them as soft on family violence. It makes no difference how well a local attorney knows the judge; it will not be of any assistance with this type of charge. An “outsider” who does not care about making the judge or prosecutor happy, but just wants to defend you and win, is much better than a local name.

B. Reject Plea Bargains.

A false allegation of domestic violence must be beaten through either a dismissal or an acquittal (not guilty finding) at trial. There is no victory in a plea bargain with these cases. The innocent persons life will be significantly affected by pleading guilty. At no time in dealing with a false allegation should there ever be an admission of guilt. A plea bargain may seem an easy way out, but it will ruin the life of the falsely accused forever. 

Deferred Adjudication, successfully served will not result in a conviction for the defendant. However, the lack of a formal conviction is meaningless. Whether the accused receives deferred, straight probation, or is released from jail, he will still have a criminal record and a finding of family violence. These records are public and the nature of the charges can be made known to anyone. Family violence findings may result in the loss of employment and the inability to secure future meaningful employment.

Community Supervision for the defendant will require battering intervention program counseling. In this setting, the offender is required to admit that not only the actual charge is true, but also any extraneous charges or allegations made in police or advocacy center reports are true. It matters not that the charge is exaggerated, untrue, or only partially true. It matters not that the extraneous other charges did not occur. Failure to admit that everything alleged is true will result in a revocation of community supervision and incarceration. 

The prosecution will tempt the inexperienced defense attorney with offers of deferred adjudication and “counseling” instead of incarceration. Do not fall for this guise. It can be difficult to complete probation as the rules keep changing. Making community supervision more difficult for family violence offenders is a legislative reality. Politicians enact new laws, which offer the appearance of fighting domestic violence. No lobby group exists for persons charged with domestic abuse and the legislature can make the community supervision process intolerable without
opposition.

A finding of family violence can mean that you will lose your children.

C. Prepare a vigorous pre – charge defense to avoid prosecution.

If an attorney says to wait and see if you are formally charged; walk away immediately; the best time to get a dismissal is before a formal charge.

Many times the best method of winning a false allegation case is to defeat it before it officially starts. Evidence can be collected pre-charge by the defense that does not have to meet the standards of admissible evidence at trial. The defense can produce typically inadmissible evidence such as polygraph examination results, character letters, and other forms of hearsay. The defense can also offer expert witness reports and affidavits explaining the unreliability and tainted evidence procured by the prosecution. Here are some common examples of evidence that can be assessed for a charge dismissal packet:

A. Your Criminal History
B. Honorable Discharge 
C. Education Records
D. Polygraph Results
E. Polygraph Report
F. Psychological and Personality Testing of Client
G. A Factual Summary of the Defense Version of the Case
H. Sworn Statements That the Alleged Victim Has Made False Accusations in the past
I. Legal Research and Case-law to Show Reason to Not Indict 

J. Good Character Letters
K. Availability of Defendant and Others to Testify If Requested.
L. Recantations from Alleged Victims When Available.
M. Expert Witness Testimony and Affidavits Regarding Tainted Evidence Comprising the States’
case. Test Results Showing the Accused Does Not Have the Psychological Characteristics of a Batterer.

If your attorney insists that pursuing a pre-charge defense is a waste of time, fire him.

D. Prepare a vigorous defense for trial.

If the prosecutor accepts the charge, then the case must be prepared for trial. It is rare for the state to dismiss a case once they have formally filed an assault charge. Your attorney must be prepared to try these specialized types of cases. 

Selection of the jury is critical for domestic violence cases. The potential jurors come into the case with heavy emotional attachments regarding allegations of abuse to a spouse. Strong emotions held by jurors about domestic violence must be overcome and their attention placed on being fair and acknowledging that false allegations are made. The jury panel must understand the serious potential for injustice a false allegation can cause. 

In addition, the attorney must educate the jury panel on how false allegations could be made. The panel needs to understand how an alleged victim can make false and exaggerated statements and what motivation exists to do so.

The attorney must be well skilled in cross-examination to show deficiencies in the states investigation through a preconceived assumption of guilt shared amongst the advocacy team. Cross-examination is a skill obtainable only through years of trial practice itself. 

The attorney must also be prepared to offer strong defensive witnesses. Contrary to many criminal cases, the accused must testify in a domestic violence case if the defense wants an acquittal. Until the jury hears it straight from the accused’s mouth that the abuse did not occur, it will convict.


IX. CONCLUSION

True domestic violence is criminal and has resulted in tragic consequences. However, the cure may be as abhorrent as the disease. Governmental overkill has created the Family Violence Industry. The future is here as “Family Advocacy Centers “ are springing up across the nation with hands held out competing for federal funding. A needless bureaucratic machine defining innocent family members as batterers is the inevitable outcome of “zero tolerance” and “no – drop” policies. 

Further, the protectors have assimilated into a system of arrogance and self-righteousness believing it and it alone knows what is best for the family. The protectors protect only themselves and seek not to do justice, but to expand and grow at the expense of those truly victimized, the individual family they claim to assist. A nation of Americans face a well funded and driven system intent upon finding family violence for every minor and insignificant transgression. 

Instead of tackling real and legitimate domestic violence, the industry is content, fat, and happy with prosecution of the minutia. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 

1. Irving Family Advocacy Center www.irvingpd.com/IFAC.htm

2. “Fact Sheet: The President’s Family Justice Center Initiative”
‘United States Department of Justice’, www.ojp.usdoj.gov

3. “Cult of The Domestic Violence Industry” Dave Brown, ‘The Ottawa Citizen’,
2001

4. “Groups Unite To End Domestic Violence”‘ Dallas Morning News- Collin County Edition’, March 14,
2004

5. “Zero Tolerance Sucks” Editorial, ‘Winnipeg Free Press’, February 10,
2002

6. “Domestic Violence the Other Side of Zero Tolerance” Janice T. Martin, Esq., Naples (Florida) Daily News, November 3,
2002

7. “Domestic Violations,” Reason on Line, April 1998Cathy Young, Vice President, Women’s Freedom
Network

8. “The Booming Domestic Violence Industry” John Maguire, Massachusetts News, August 2, 1999,
www.massnews.com

9. “What Happens When 911 is Dialed Under Current Colorado Law” Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., Equal Justice
Foundation

10. “Mandatory Restraining Order Pursuant to Section 18-1-1001″, C.R.S.
Charles E. Corry, Ph.D. 2002 Equal Justice Foundation

11. “Money and Politics Corrupting Domestic Violence Laws and
Enforcement” Charles E. Corry, Ph.D, 2002 Equal Justice Foundation

12. “Family Violence, A Report from: Family Resources & Research”
Sam & Bunny Sewell, www.landwave.com/family/

13. “Mandatory Arrest And Restraining Orders” From ‘Domestic Violence: Facts and
Fallacies’ Richard L. Davis, A.L.M.

14. “Specialized Criminal Domestic Violence Courts” Julie A. Helling, ‘Violence Against Women Online
Resources’ www.vaw.umn.edu

15. “Advocacy In a Coordinated Community Response” Rose Thelen, Gender Violence Institute, ‘Violence Against Women Online
Resources’ www.vaw.umn.edu

16. “Criminal Prosecution of Domestic Violence” Linda A. McGuire, Esq., ‘Violence Against Women Online
Resources’ www.vaw.umn.edu

17. “Assessing Justice System Response to Violence Against Women: A Tool for Law Enforcement, Prosecution, and the Courts to Use in Developing Effective
Responses” Kristen Littel, M.A., ‘Violence Against Women Online Resources’
www.vaw.umn.edu

18. “Building Bridges Between Domestic Violence Organizations and Child Protective
Services” Linda Spears, ‘Violence Against Women Online Resources’ www.vaw.umn.edu

19. “Legal Interventions In Family Violence: Research Findings and Policy
Implications” Research Report, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, July
1998

20. “Litigating Domestic Violence Cases: Effective Use of the Rules of
Evidence” American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Civil Law Institute,
2000.

21. “Domestic Violence” NAA Text 2000, Chapter 9. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of
Justice

22. “Domestic Violence Protocol for Law Enforcement” Police Chief’s Association of Santa Clara County,
2002

23. “Family Violence Prevention – Best Practice Guide” Santa Clara County Social Services Agency, Department of Family and Children’s
Services

24. “Domestic Violence: A Model Protocol for Police Response” B.J. Hart, Esq., Minnesota Center Against Violence and
Abuse

25. “ A Process Evaluation of the Clark County Domestic Violence Court”
Randall Kleinhesselink, Clayton Mosher, Minnesota Center Against Violence and
Abuse March 2003.

26. “Creating a Domestic Violence Court: Combat in the Trenches” Randall Fizzier; Leonore M.J. Simon, ‘Court Review’, Spring
200

27. “Specialized Courts and Domestic Violence” Kristin Littel, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, May
2003

28. “Domestic Violence Court Opens” Amy Wallace, ‘Seacoast Online’,
2002

29. “Domestic Violence Court” www.utcourts.gov/domviolence/domov.htm

30. “Misandry Is No Solution” John Sample, ‘The Backlash’, August
1996

31. “A Tool Kit To Destroy Families” ‘Washington Times’, Commentary Section, December 9,
2001

32. “Irving Police Extend Hand To Crime’s Victims” Robert Miller, ‘Dallas Morning News’, March 28,
2004

33. “ Chandler (Kentucky Attorney General) Declares Zero Tolerance Policy On Violence Against Women,” Jennifer Schaaf, March 12, 1998,
www.kyattorneygeneral.com/news/releases/006

34. “Garrett County To Crack Down On Domestic Violence” Garrett County State’s Attorney’s Office, Press Release, June 12,
1998

35. “Knocked for Six: The Myth of a Nation of Wife-batterers” Neil Lyndon, Paul Ashton, ‘The Sunday Times of London’, January 29,
1995

36. “Zero Tolerance For Domestic Violence” www.co.contra-costa.ca.us./depart/cao/DomViol

37. “Family Advocacy Center, A Safe Place To Get Help” City of Phoenix, Family Advocacy Center General
Information, www.ci.phoenix.az.us./CITZASST/facbroch

38. “Baseball Player’s Domestic Violence Arrest Demonstrates How Men Are Presumed Guilty In Domestic Disputes,” Glenn Sacks, March 26, 2004,
www.glennsacks.com

39. “Advocacy Center Unites Agencies To Battle Abuse” Laura Jett Krantz, March 20, 2004, Tyler Morning
Telegraph

40. “Domestic Violence Information and Referral Handbook” Santa Clara County Probation
Department www.growing.com/nonviolent/victim/vict_res.htm

41. “Advocacy Center Offers Refuge for Battered” A.E. Araiza, ‘The Arizona Daily Star’, March 14, 2004

The original article can be found here: http://familyrights.us/bin/white_papers-articles/stuckle/fv-industry.htm

Parental Rights and Due Process

In Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, HIPAA Law, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 19, 2009 at 12:00 pm

PUBLISHED IN
THE JOURNAL OF LAW AND FAMILY STUDIES
VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2 (1999), pp. 123– 150
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH SCHOOL OF LAW

Donald C. Hubin
Department of Philosophy
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210
614-292-7914
hubin.1@osu.edu

Copyright © 1999 by Donald C. Hubin

ABSTRACT FOR “PARENTAL RIGHTS AND DUE PROCESS”

The U. S. Supreme Court regards parental rights as fundamental. Such a status should subject any legal procedure that directly and substantively interferes with the exercise of parental rights to strict scrutiny. On the contrary, though, despite their status as fundamental constitutional rights, parental rights are routinely suspended or revoked as a result of procedures that fail to meet even minimal standards of procedural and substantive due process. This routine and cavalier deprivation of parental rights takes place in the context of divorce where, during the pendency of litigation, one parent is routinely deprived of significant parental rights without any demonstration that a state interest exists— much less that there is a compelling state interest that cannot be achieved in any less restrictive way. In marked contrast to our current practice, treating parental rights as fundamental rights requires a presumption of joint legal and physical custody upon divorce and during the pendency of divorce litigation. The presumption may be overcome, but only by clear and convincing evidence that such an arrangement is harmful to the children.

Parental Rights and Due Process
DONALD C. HUBIN *

Forget, for a moment, the title of this paper. Imagine that it is titled, “Due Process and the Deprivation of Rights”. Now, consider an unspecified right, R, which is “a fundamental right protected by First, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments“. 1 Suppose that this right is regarded as “far more precious than property rights” 2 and that the Supreme Court characterizes R as an “essential” right 3 that protects a substantial interest that “undeniably warrants deference, and, absent a powerful countervailing interest, protection“. 4 Imagine that “it cannot be denied without violating those fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions” 5 and that, because of this, “there must be some compelling justification for state interference” 6 with R.

These aspects of the nature of R stipulated, imagine further that our legal system actively functions to suspend or deny this right literally tens of thousands of times a year— that this is done openly and under color of state law. Suppose that the suspension, and sometimes even the denial, of R is done on the basis of little or no evidence of any state interest whatsoever. Imagine that, in these cases of suspension or denial, there is no demonstration, and often no allegation, that R has been, or is likely to be, abused or that the retention of R by the individual in question would be harmful to the legitimate interests of any other person. Suppose, further, that even the temporary suspension of this right shifted the burden of proof onto the former right-holder to demonstrate that the suspension should not become a permanent denial.

If there were such a right and it were treated in such a cavalier way, what should our reaction be? Outrage? Indeed!

But is there a right that can be substituted for R and make all of the above suppositions true? Absolutely. But it is neither the right to property (and not simply because it cannot be more precious than itself) nor the right to liberty. Though there are often legal threats to these rights, on the whole they receive significant protection from the courts. There is only one right that has the importance described above and receives so little protection. It is the right of custody of our children— the cluster of rights labeled ‘parental rights’. 7

The above might strike one as flagrant hyperbole. Termination of parental rights is not done in the casual way I have described. 8 The state is required, a critic might point out, to show by “clear and convincing evidence” that a compelling state interest is at stake before termination of parental rights. 9. And so it is, sometimes. But there is a context in which parental rights are suspended with little or absolutely no evidence of the involvement of any state interest whatsoever. That context is divorce. While this context apparently affects our reaction to the casual procedures by which we suspend or terminate parental rights (else one would expect a hue and cry over this practice), it does not weaken the argument against such procedures. Divorce proceedings routinely involve unconscionable violations of minimal due process protections of fundamental rights and liberties. 10

I argue for this thesis below. I begin by discussing some features of parental rights and of the state interest in the custody of children. Next, I examine the sorts of due process considerations that have arisen in the context of termination of parental rights outside the divorce context. I then describe a procedure commonly used during divorce proceedings to determine custody during the period of the divorce litigation (pendente lite). The arrangements during the pendency of the litigation are extremely important because they establish a status quo which influences what it is reasonable to do with respect to parent/ child arrangements in the final divorce decree and, even more importantly, because of the direct effect they appear to have on the long-term parent child relationship. (A full explanation of the reasons for focusing on the procedures for determining temporary custody, as opposed to permanent custody, will be offered later.) In the penultimate section, I argue directly for the thesis that this procedure involves the temporary denial of fundamental rights without due process of law. Finally, I turn from the abstract discussion of the nature and basis of legal rights to discuss the real interests protected by these rights.

The issue of parental rights and due process is not sterile or pedantic; parental rights protect the vital interests of parents and children alike. Our cavalier legal treatment of them is inexcusable for the real human devastation it causes.

To read more, following this link: http://familyrights.us/bin/white_papers-articles/parental_rights_and_due_process.htm

Children and Parents Rights – States to feds: Stay in D.C.!

In California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, state crimes on May 14, 2009 at 2:20 pm

$11 trillion ‘micromanaging’ price sparks explosion in sovereignty movement

Posted: May 12, 2009
8:59 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A movement to reclaim for states all rights not specifically designated to the federal government in the U.S. Constitution is exploding across the nation, with 35 states already acting or at least considering such proposals – and one state lawmaker estimating the nation as a whole could save $11 trillion in coming years if it would succeed.

WND reported not long ago when the number of states with lawmakers considering such sovereignty efforts reached 20.

Now, according to the Tenth Amendment Center, such provisions have been launched in at least 35 states. They all address the Tenth Amendment that says: “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.”

South Carolina’s S. 424 is an example. It is titled: “To affirm South Carolina’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution over all powers not enumerated and granted to the federal government by the United States Constitution.”

Essentially it’s a reminder that the United States is made up of individual states; it’s not a federal authority broken up into political subdivisions.

In South Carolina, the proposals remains pending in the state Senate, where Sen. Lee Bright said he still hopes that it will be adopted this year.

The proposal there notes specifically that the “federal government was created by the states … to be an agent of the states,” and the states currently “are treated as agents of the federal government,” many times in violation of the Constitution.

The resolution states:

Be it resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives concurring: That the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina, by this resolution, claims for the State of South Carolina sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the United States Constitution.

Be it further resolved that all federal governmental agencies, quasi-governmental agencies, and their agents and employees operating within the geographic boundaries of the State of South Carolina, and all federal governmental agencies and their agents and employees, whose actions have effect on the inhabitants or lands or waters of the State of South Carolina, shall operate within the confines of the original intent of the Constitution of the United States and abide by the provisions of the Constitution of South Carolina, the South Carolina statutes, or the common law as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

Bright told WND the movement is spreading from state to state as fast as lawmakers discover it.

Michael Boldin, a spokesman for the Tenth Amendment Center, said his organization has created a posting for all such proposals to be tracked.

Among the states where such proposals at least have been considered are Louisiana, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, West Virginia, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Nevada, Oregon, Alabama, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Idaho, New Mexico, South Dakota, Virginia, Kentucky, Alaska, Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Minnesota, South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Texas, New Hampshire, Missouri, Iowa, Montana, Michigan, Arizona, Washington and Oklahoma.

In North Dakota, it passed the House and Senate both in April, with the House a short time later adopting changes made by the Senate.

In South Dakota, it was approved by both houses of the Legislature and under that state’s rules does not need the governor’s signature.

Just last week, Rep. M.J. “Manny” Steele, a Republican in South Dakota, wrote that he believes up to $11 trillion is being wasted in the coming years by Washington’s efforts “to duplicate and micromanage our states’ affairs.”

He said states should manage their own affairs and not be dependant on a federal cash cow to make ends meet. Likewise with industries, he said, citing federal cash dumps on the banking, insurance and automobile industries.

After all, he agreed, with enough federal money allocated to the industry, Americans all still could be listening to 8-track tapes in their cars, but would that really be the best outcome?

Steele told WND his dollar estimate was based on what President Obama himself has allocated in the coming years to spend on stimulus packages, industry bailouts and the like.

“If we would just let the market take care of these things,” he said.

His letter noted that Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Carolina legislatures joined South Dakota’s in passing some statement on the Tenth Amendment this year. The results vary based on state procedures, however. In Oklahoma, the governor vetoed the plan and it was launched on its second trip through the legislature.

“Over the course of decades, there have been increasing federal mandates and acts designed to effectively step in and legislate the affairs of our various states from Washington D.C.,” Steele said. “Federal usurpation into state affairs severely limits the ability of state governments to operate according to their citizens’ wishes.”

The Wholesale Sedation of America’s Youth – Parents Lose Rights

In children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Divorce, family court, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, mothers rights, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parentectomy, Parents rights on May 10, 2009 at 1:00 am

By Andrew M. Weiss, Skeptical Inquirer. Posted May 5, 2009.

Eight million kids today have been diagnosed with mental disorders, and most receive some form of medication. Is this child abuse?

In the winter of 2000, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of a study indicating that 200,000 two- to four-year-olds had been prescribed Ritalin for an “attention disorder” from 1991 to 1995. Judging by the response, the image of hundreds of thousands of mothers grinding up stimulants to put into the sippy cups of their preschoolers was apparently not a pretty one.

Most national magazines and newspapers covered the story; some even expressed dismay or outrage at this exacerbation of what already seemed like a juggernaut of hyper-medicalizing childhood. The public reaction, however, was tame; the medical community, after a moment’s pause, continued unfazed. Today, the total toddler count is well past one million, and influential psychiatrists have insisted that mental health prescriptions are appropriate for children as young as twelve months. For the pharmaceutical companies, this is progress.

In 1995, 2,357,833 children were diagnosed with ADHD (Woodwell 1997) — twice the number diagnosed in 1990. By 1999, 3.4 percent of all American children had received a stimulant prescription for an attention disorder. Today, that number is closer to ten percent. Stimulants aren’t the only drugs being given out like candy to our children. A variety of other psychotropics like antidepressants, antipsychotics, and sedatives are finding their way into babies’ medicine cabinets in large numbers. In fact, the worldwide market for these drugs is growing at a rate of ten percent a year, $20.7 billion in sales of antipsychotics alone (for 2007, IMSHealth 2008).

While the sheer volume of psychotropics being prescribed for children might, in and of itself, produce alarm, there has not been a substantial backlash against drug use in large part because of the widespread perception that “medically authorized” drugs must be safe. Yet, there is considerable evidence that psychoactive drugs do not take second place to other controlled pharmaceuticals in carrying grave and substantial risks. All classes of psychoactive drugs are associated with patient deaths, and each produces serious side effects, some of which are life-threatening.

In 2005, researchers analyzed data from 250,000 patients in the Netherlands and concluded that “we can be reasonably sure that antipsychotics are associated in something like a threefold increase in sudden cardiac death, and perhaps that older antipsychotics may be worse” (Straus et al. 2004). In 2007, the FDA chose to beef up its black box warning (reserved for substances that represent the most serious danger to the public) against antidepressants concluding, “the trend across age groups toward an association between antidepressants and suicidality . . . was convincing, particularly when superimposed on earlier analyses of data on adolescents from randomized, controlled trials” (Friedman and Leon 2007). Antidepressants have been banned for use with children in the UK since 2003. According to a confidential FDA report, prolonged administration of amphetamines (the standard treatment for ADD and ADHD) “may lead to drug dependence and must be avoided.” They further reported that “misuse of amphetamine may cause sudden death and serious cardiovascular adverse events” (Food and Drug Administration 2005). The risk of fatal toxicity from lithium carbonate, a not uncommon treatment for bipolar disorder, has been well documented since the 1950s. Incidents of fatal seizures from sedative-hypnotics, especially when mixed with alcohol, have been recorded since the 1920s.

Psychotropics carry nonfatal risks as well. Physical dependence and severe withdrawal symptoms are associated with virtually all psychoactive drugs. Psychological addiction is axiomatic. Concomitant side effects range from unpleasant to devastating, including: insulin resistance, narcolepsy, tardive dyskenisia (a movement disorder affecting 15–20 percent of antipsychotic patients where there are uncontrolled facial movements and sometimes jerking or twisting movements of other body parts), agranulocytosis (a reduction in white blood cells, which is life threatening), accelerated appetite, vomiting, allergic reactions, uncontrolled blinking, slurred speech, diabetes, balance irregularities, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, sleep disorders, fever, and severe headaches. The attempt to control these side effects has resulted in many children taking as many as eight additional drugs every day, but in many cases, this has only compounded the problem. Each “helper” drug produces unwanted side effects of its own.

The child drug market has also spawned a vigorous black market in high schools and colleges, particularly for stimulants. Students have learned to fake the symptoms of ADD in order to obtain amphetamine prescriptions that are subsequently sold to fellow students. Such “shopping” for prescription drugs has even spawned a new verb. The practice is commonly called “pharming.” A 2005 report from the Partnership for a Drug Free America, based on a survey of more than 7,300 teenagers, found one in ten teenagers, or 2.3 million young people, had tried prescription stimulants without a doctor’s order, and 29 percent of those surveyed said they had close friends who have abused prescription stimulants.

n a larger sense, the whole undertaking has had the disturbing effect of making drug use an accepted part of childhood. Few cultures anywhere on earth and anytime in the past have been so willing to provide stimulants and sedative-hypnotics to their offspring, especially at such tender ages. An entire generation of young people has been brought up to believe that drug-seeking behavior is both rational and respectable and that most psychological problems have a pharmacological solution. With the ubiquity of psychotropics, children now have the means, opportunity, example, and encouragement to develop a lifelong habit of self-medicating.

Common population estimates include at least eight million children, ages two to eighteen, receiving prescriptions for ADD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, autism, simple depression, schizophrenia, and the dozens of other disorders now included in psychiatric classification manuals. Yet sixty years ago, it was virtually impossible for a child to be considered mentally ill. The first diagnostic manual published by American psychiatrists in 1952, DSM-I, included among its 106 diagnoses only one for a child: Adjustment Reaction of Childhood/Adolescence. The other 105 diagnoses were specifically for adults. The number of children actually diagnosed with a mental disorder in the early 1950s would hardly move today’s needle. There were, at most, 7,500 children in various settings who were believed to be mentally ill at that time, and most of these had explicit neurological symptoms.

Of course, if there really are one thousand times as many kids with authentic mental disorders now as there were fifty years ago, then the explosion in drug prescriptions in the years since only indicates an appropriate medical response to a newly recognized pandemic, but there are other possible explanations for this meteoric rise. The last fifty years has seen significant social changes, many with a profound effect on children. Burgeoning birth rates, the decline of the extended family, widespread divorce, changing sexual and social mores, households with two working parents — it is fair to say that the whole fabric of life took on new dimensions in the last half century. The legal drug culture, too, became an omnipresent adjunct to daily existence. Stimulants, analgesics, sedatives, decongestants, penicillins, statins, diuretics, antibiotics, and a host of others soon found their way into every bathroom cabinet, while children became frequent visitors to the family physician for drugs and vaccines that we now believe are vital to our health and happiness. There is also the looming motive of money. The New York Times reported in 2005 that physicians who had received substantial payments from pharmaceutical companies were five times more likely to prescribe a drug regimen to a child than those who had refused such payments.

So other factors may well have contributed to the upsurge in psychiatric diagnoses over the past fifty years. But even if the increase reflects an authentic epidemic of mental health problems in our children, it is not certain that medication has ever been the right way to handle it. The medical “disease” model is one approach to understanding these behaviors, but there are others, including a hastily discarded psychodynamic model that had a good record of effective symptom relief. Alternative, less invasive treatments, too, like nutritional treatments, early intervention, and teacher and parent training programs were found to be at least as effective as medication in long-term reduction of a variety of symptoms (of ADHD, The MTA Cooperative Group 1999).

Nevertheless, the medical-pharmaceutical alliance has largely shrugged off other approaches and scoffed at the potential for conflicts of interest and continues to medicate children in ever-increasing numbers. With the proportion of diagnosed kids growing every month, it may be time to take another look at the practice and soberly reflect on whether we want to continue down this path. In that spirit, it is not unreasonable to ask whether this exponential expansion in medicating children has another explanation altogether. What if children are the same as they always were? After all, virtually every symptom now thought of as diagnostic was once an aspect of temperament or character. We may not have liked it when a child was sluggish, hyperactive, moody, fragile, or pestering, but we didn’t ask his parents to medicate him with powerful chemicals either. What if there is no such thing as mental illness in children (except the small, chronic, often neurological minority we once recognized)? What if it is only our perception of childhood that has changed? To answer this, we must look at our history and at our nature.

The human inclination to use psychoactive substances predates civilization. Alcohol has been found in late Stone Age jugs; beer may have been fermented before the invention of bread. Nicotine metabolites have been found in ancient human remains and in pipes in the Near East and Africa. Knowledge of Hul Gil, the “joy plant,” was passed from the Sumerians, in the fifth millennium b.c.e., to the Assyrians, then in serial order to the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Indians, then to the Portuguese who would introduce it to the Chinese, who grew it and traded it back to the Europeans. Hul Gil was the Sumerian name for the opium poppy. Before the Middle Ages, economies were established around opium, and wars were fought to protect avenues of supply.

With the modern science of chemistry in the nineteenth century, new synthetic substances were developed that shared many of the same desirable qualities as the more traditional sedatives and stimulants. The first modern drugs were barbiturates — a class of 2,500 sedative/hypnotics that were first synthesized in 1864. Barbiturates became very popular in the U.S. for depression and insomnia, especially after the temperance movement resulted in draconian anti-drug legislation (most notoriously Prohibition) just after World War I. But variety was limited and fears of death by convulsion and the Winthrop drug-scare kept barbiturates from more general distribution.

Stimulants, typically caffeine and nicotine, were already ubiquitous in the first half of the twentieth century, but more potent varieties would have to wait until amphetamines came into widespread use in the 1930s. Amphetamines were not widely known until the 1920s and 1930s when they were first used to treat asthma, hay fever, and the common cold. In 1932, the Benzedrine Inhaler was introduced to the market and was a huge over-the-counter success. With the introduction of Dexedrine in the form of small, cheap pills, amphetamines were prescribed for depression, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, motion sickness, night-blindness, obesity, narcolepsy, impotence, apathy, and, of course, hyperactivity in children.

Amphetamines came into still wider use during World War II, when they were given out freely to GIs for fatigue. When the GIs returned home, they brought their appetite for stimulants to their family physicians. By 1962, Americans were ingesting the equivalent of forty-three ten-milligram doses of amphetamine per person annually (according to FDA manufacturer surveys).

Still, in the 1950s, the family physician’s involvement in furnishing psychoactive medications for the treatment of primarily psychological complaints was largely sub rosa. It became far more widespread and notorious in the 1960s. There were two reasons for this. First, a new, safer class of sedative hypnotics, the benzodiazepines, including Librium and Valium, were an instant sensation, especially among housewives who called them “mothers’ helpers.” Second, amphetamines had finally been approved for use with children (their use up to that point had been “off-label,” meaning that they were prescribed despite the lack of FDA authorization).

Pharmaceutical companies, coincidentally, became more aggressive in marketing their products with the tremendous success of amphetamines. Valium was marketed directly to physicians and indirectly through a public relations campaign that implied that benzodiazepines offered sedative/hypnotic benefits without the risk of addiction or death from drug interactions or suicide. Within fifteen years of its introduction, 2.3 billion Valium pills were being sold annually in the U.S. (Sample 2005).

So, family physicians became society’s instruments: the suppliers of choice for legal mood-altering drugs. But medical practitioners required scientific authority to protect their reputations, and the public required a justification for its drug-seeking behavior. The pharmaceutical companies were quick to offer a pseudoscientific conjecture that satisfied both. They argued that neurochemical transmitters, only recently identified, were in fact the long sought after mediators of mood and activity. Psychological complaints, consequently, were a function of an imbalance of these neural chemicals that could be corrected with stimulants and sedatives (and later antidepressants and antipsychotics). While the assertion was pure fantasy without a shred of evidence, so little was known about the brain’s true actions that the artifice was tamely accepted. This would later prove devastating when children became the targets of pharmaceutical expansion.

With Ritalin’s FDA approval for the treatment of hyperactivity in children, the same marketing techniques that had been so successful with other drugs were applied to the new amphetamine. Pharmaceutical companies had a vested interest in the increase in sales; they spared no expense in convincing physicians to prescribe them. Cash payments, stock options, paid junkets, no-work consultancies, and other inducements encouraged physicians to relax their natural caution about medicating children. Parents also were targeted. For example, CIBA, the maker of Ritalin, made large direct payments to parents’ support groups like CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) (The Merrow Report 1995). To increase the acceptance of stimulants, drug companies paid researchers to publish favorable articles on the effectiveness of stimulant treatments. They also endowed chairs and paid for the establishment of clinics in influential medical schools, particularly ones associated with universities of international reputation. By the mid 1970s, more than half a million children had already been medicated primarily for hyperactivity.

The brand of psychiatry that became increasingly popular in the 1980s and 1990s did not have its roots in notions of normal behavior or personality theory; it grew out of the concrete, atheoretical treatment style used in clinics and institutions for the profoundly disturbed. German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin, not Freud, was the God of mental hospitals, and pharmaceuticals were the panacea. So the whole underlying notion of psychiatric treatment, diagnosis, and disease changed. Psychiatry, which had straddled psychology and medicine for a hundred years, abruptly abandoned psychology for a comfortable sinecure within its traditional parent discipline. The change was profound.

People seeking treatment were no longer clients, they were patients. Their complaints were no longer suggestive of a complex mental organization, they were symptoms of a disease. Patients were not active participants in a collaborative treatment, they were passive recipients of symptom-reducing substances. Mental disturbances were no longer caused by unique combinations of personality, character, disposition, and upbringing, they were attributed to pre-birth anomalies that caused vague chemical imbalances. Cures were no longer anticipated or sought; mental disorders were inherited illnesses, like birth defects, that could not be cured except by some future magic, genetic bullet. All that could be done was to treat symptoms chemically, and this was being done with astonishing ease and regularity.

In many ways, children are the ideal patients for drugs. By nature, they are often passive and compliant when told by a parent to take a pill. Children are also generally optimistic and less likely to balk at treatment than adults. Even if they are inclined to complain, the parent is a ready intermediary between the physician and the patient. Parents are willing to participate in the enforcement of treatments once they have justified them in their own minds and, unlike adults, many kids do not have the luxury of discontinuing an unpleasant medication. Children are additionally not aware of how they ought to feel. They adjust to the drugs’ effects as if they are natural and are more tolerant of side effects than adults. Pharmaceutical companies recognized these assets and soon were targeting new drugs specifically at children.

But third-party insurance providers balked at the surge in costs for treatment of previously unknown, psychological syndromes, especially since unwanted drug effects were making some cases complicated and expensive. Medicine’s growing prosperity as the purveyor of treatments for mental disorders was threatened, and the industry’s response was predictable. Psychiatry found that it could meet insurance company requirements by simplifying diagnoses, reducing identification to the mere appearance of certain symptoms. By 1980, they had published all new standards.

Lost in the process was the fact that the redefined diagnoses (and a host of new additions) failed to meet minimal standards of falsifiability and differentiability. This meant that the diagnoses could never be disproved and that they could not be indisputably distinguished from one another. The new disorders were also defined as lists of symptoms from which a physician could check off a certain number of hits like a Chinese menu, which led to reification, an egregious scientific impropriety. Insurers, however, with their exceptions undermined and under pressure from parents and physicians, eventually withdrew their objections. From that moment on, the treatment of children with powerful psychotropic medications grew unchecked.

As new psychotropics became available, their uses were quickly extended to children despite, in many cases, indications that the drugs were intended for use with adults only. New antipsychotics, the atypicals, were synthesized and marketed beginning in the 1970s. Subsequently, a new class of antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft was introduced. These drugs were added to the catalogue of childhood drug treatments with an astonishing casualness even as stimulant treatment for hyperactivity continued to burgeon.

In 1980, hyperactivity, which had been imprudently named “minimal brain dysfunction” in the 1960s, was renamed Attention Deficit Disorder in order to be more politic, but there was an unintended consequence of the move. Parents and teachers, familiar with the name but not always with the symptoms, frequently misidentified children who were shy, slow, or sad (introverted rather than inattentive) as suffering from ADD. Rather than correct the mistake, though, some enterprising physicians responded by prescribing the same drug for the opposite symptoms. This was justified on the grounds that stimulants, which were being offered because they slowed down hyperactive children, might very well have the predicted effect of speeding up under-active kids. In this way, a whole new population of children became eligible for medication. Later, the authors of DSM-III memorialized this practice by renaming ADD again, this time as ADHD, and redefining ADD as inattention. Psychiatry had reached a new level: they were now willing to invent an illness to justify a treatment. It would not be the last time this was done.

In the last twenty years, a new, more disturbing trend has become popular: the re-branding of legacy forms of mental disturbance as broad categories of childhood illness. Manic depressive illness and infantile autism, two previously rare disorders, were redefined through this process as “spectrum” illnesses with loosened criteria and symptom lists that cover a wide range of previously normal behavior. With this slim justification in place, more than a million children have been treated with psychotropics for bipolar disorder and another 200,000 for autism. A recent article in this magazine “The Bipolar Bamboozle” (Flora and Bobby 2008) illuminates how and why an illness that once occurred twice in every 100,000 Americans, has been recast as an epidemic affecting millions.

To overwhelmed parents, drugs solve a whole host of ancillary problems. The relatively low cost (at least in out-of-pocket dollars) and the small commitment of time for drug treatments make them attractive to parents who are already stretched thin by work and home life. Those whose confidence is shaken by indications that their children are “out of control” or “unruly” or “disturbed” are soothed by the seeming inevitability of an inherited disease that is shared by so many others. Rather than blaming themselves for being poor home managers, guardians with insufficient skills, or neglectful caretakers, parents can find comfort in the thought that their child, through no fault of theirs, has succumbed to a modern and widely accepted scourge. A psychiatric diagnosis also works well as an authoritative response to demands made by teachers and school administrators to address their child’s “problems.”

Once a medical illness has been identified, all unwanted behavior becomes fruit of the same tree. Even the children themselves are often at first relieved that their asocial or antisocial impulses reflect an underlying disease and not some flaw in their characters or personalities.
Conclusions

In the last analysis, childhood has been thoroughly and effectively redefined. Character and temperament have been largely removed from the vocabulary of human personality. Virtually every single undesirable impulse of children has taken on pathological proportions and diagnostic significance. Yet, if the psychiatric community is wrong in their theories and hypotheses, then a generation of parents has been deluded while millions of children have been sentenced to a lifetime of ingesting powerful and dangerous drugs.

Considering the enormous benefits reaped by the medical community, it is no surprise that critics have argued that the whole enterprise is a cynical, reckless artifice crafted to unfairly enrich them. Even though this is undoubtedly not true, physicians and pharmaceutical companies must answer for the rush to medicate our most vulnerable citizens based on little evidence, a weak theoretical model, and an antiquated and repudiated philosophy. For its part, the scientific community must answer for its timidity in challenging treatments made in the absence of clinical observation and justified by research of insufficient rigor performed by professionals and institutions whose objectivity is clearly in question, because their own interests are materially entwined in their findings.

It should hardly be necessary to remind physicians that even if their diagnoses are real, they are still admonished by Galen’s dictum Primum non nocere, or “first, do no harm.” If with no other population, this ought to be our standard when dealing with children. Yet we have chosen the most invasive, destructive, and potentially lethal treatment imaginable while rejecting other options that show great promise of being at least as effective and far safer. But these other methods are more expensive, more complicated, and more time-consuming, and thus far, we have not proved willing to bear the cost. Instead, we have jumped at a discounted treatment, a soft-drink-machine cure: easy, cheap, fast, and putatively scientific. Sadly, the difference in price is now being paid by eight million children.

Mental illness is a fact of life, and it is naïve to imagine that there are not seriously disturbed children in every neighborhood and school. What is more, in the straitened economy of child rearing and education, medication may be the most efficient and cost effective treatment for some of these children. Nevertheless, to medicate not just the neediest, most complicated cases but one child in every ten, despite the availability of less destructive treatments and regardless of doubtful science, is a tragedy of epic proportions.

What we all have to fear, at long last, is not having been wrong but having done wrong. That will be judged in a court of a different sort. Instead of humility, we continue to feed drugs to our children with blithe indifference. Even when a child’s mind is truly disturbed (and our standards need to be revised drastically on this score), a treatment model that intends to chemically palliate and manage ought to be our last resort, not our first option. How many more children need to be sacrificed for us to see the harm in expediency, greed, and plain ignorance?

This piece was originally published in the Skeptical Inquirer.
http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/139796/the_wholesale_sedation_of_america%27s_youth/?page=entire

C.P.S. is Government KIDNAPING says Former Oregon Prosecutor

In child trafficking, Childrens Rights, CPS, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, judicial corruption, mothers rights, Parents rights on May 4, 2009 at 5:00 am

Comment:
That’s my sentiment as well. Without the payouts, these agencies would be defunct. The Federal Government was never intended to become the Leviathan it has developed into. This admission by Weidner is priceless, and great ammunition for later use. Everyone should watch this, including your local CPS agents.

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

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.

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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

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.

Constitutional Rights You No Longer Have

In Childrens Rights, CPS, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, judicial corruption, mothers rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, state crimes on April 8, 2009 at 10:00 pm

by Mark Godbey
April 8, 2009

Conservatives are desperately clinging to what is left of the Bill of Rights: The 1st and 2nd Amendment. The upcoming TEA parties (Taxed Enough Already?) essentially are about the taxes. And the rest of the Bill of Rights? Gone. When myself and other speak to Conservatives about the Parental Rights Amendment a resolution in Congress to take back our Bill of Rights Protections, most have not heard of it, so I quickly show them what it can do for Parents and Families.

But ever since the Liberals and Feminist have been working the 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 4th through 10th Amendments. Federal civil rights assume supremacy over state laws. Any laws enacted by state legislatures to deny federally protected civil rights violates 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 liberal 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 US Congress. Your tax dollars hard at work. “Were 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 one-two punch.

Punch 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 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. 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.

Punch Two. 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.

Divorce in the 50 states became incredibly easy. You could end (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 have 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.

I think it is sad to watch as my fellow conservatives fight 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.

That is right. Those of you in Family Court kissed of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th 10th and 14th amendments long ago. I wish the “bitter clingers” well and good luck with their TEA Parties because with the election of President Obama you have entered the era of a New World Order. The 1st and 2nd may soon fall. And the 3rd amendment, soldiers in your home……?

  • 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.

Federal Incentives Make Children Fatherless

In child trafficking, Childrens Rights, deadbeat dads, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, judicial corruption, mothers rights on April 8, 2009 at 7:20 am

Phyllis Schlafly
May 11, 2005

Why has Congress appropriated taxpayers’ money to give perverse incentives that break up families and deprive children of their fathers? The built-in financial incentives in the current child-support system have expanded the tragedy of fatherless children from the welfare class to millions of non-welfare divorced couples.

Americans have finally realized that providing generous welfare through Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was counterproductive because the father had to disappear in order for the mother to receive taxpayer-paid benefits. Fathers left the home, illegitimacy rose in alarming numbers, and children were worse off.

AFDC provided a taxpayer-paid financial incentive to reward girls with their own monthly check, food stamps, health care and housing if they have an illegitimate baby. “She doesn’t need me, she’s got welfare” became the mantra.

Congress tried to reform the out-of-control welfare system by a series of child-support laws passed in 1975, 1984, 1988, 1996 (the famous Republican Welfare Reform), and 1999. Unfortunately, these laws morphed the welfare system into a massive middle-class child-support system that deprives millions of children of fathers who never abandoned them.

As Ronald Reagan often said, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”

People think that child-support enforcement benefits children, but it doesn’t. When welfare agencies collect child support, the money actually goes to the government to reimburse for welfare payments already given to mothers, supposedly to reduce the federal budget (which, of course, is never reduced).

In 1984, Congress passed the Child Support Enforcement Amendment which required the states to adopt voluntary guidelines for child-support payments. In 1988, Congress passed the Family Support Act, which made the guidelines mandatory, along with criminal enforcement, and gave the states less than a year to comply.

The majority of states quickly adopted the model guidelines conveniently already written by an HHS consultant who was president of what was shortly to become one of the nation’s largest private collection companies making its profits on the onerous guidelines that create arrearages.

The 1988 law extended the guidelines to ALL child-support orders, even though the big majority of those families never had to interact with government in order to pay or receive child support. This massive expansion of federal control over private lives uses a Federal Case Registry to exercise surveillance over 19 million citizens whether or not they are behind in child-support payments.

The states collect the child-support money and deposit it in a state fund, but the federal government pays most of the administrative costs and, therefore, dictates the way the system operates through mandates and financial incentives. The federal government pays 66 percent of the states’ administrative overhead costs, 80 percent of computer and technology-enhancement costs, and 90 percent of DNA testing for paternity.

In addition, the states share in a nearly-half-billion-dollar incentive reward pool based on whatever the state collects. The states can get a waiver to spend this bonus money anyway they choose.

However, most of the child support owed by welfare-class fathers is uncollectible. Most are either unemployed or earn less than $10,000 per year.

So, in order to cash in on federal bonus money, build their bureaucracies and brag about successful child-support enforcement, the states began bringing into the government system middle-class fathers with jobs who were never (and probably would never be) on welfare. These non-welfare families have grown to 83 percent of child-support cases and 92 percent of the money collected, creating a windfall of federal money flowing to the states.

The federal incentives drive the system. The more divorces, and the higher the child-support guidelines are set and enforced (no matter how unreasonable), the more money the state bureaucracy collects from the feds.

Follow the money. 1. The less time that non-custodial parents (usually fathers) are permitted to be with their children, 2. the more child support they must pay into the state fund, and 3. the higher the federal bonus to the states for collecting the money.

The states have powerful incentives to separate fathers from their children, to give near-total custody to mothers, to maintain the fathers’ high-level support obligations even if their income is drastically reduced, and to hang onto the father’s payments as long as possible before paying them out to the mothers. The General Accounting Office reported that in 2002 states were holding $657 million in UDC (Undistributed Child Support).

Fatherless boys are 63 percent more likely to run away and 37 percent more likely to abuse drugs, and fatherless girls are twice as likely to get pregnant and 53 percent more likely to commit suicide.

Fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of high school twice as likely to end up in jail.

We can no longer ignore how taxpayers’ money is incentivizing divorce and creating fatherless children. Nor can we ignore the government’s complicity in the predictable social costs that result from more than 17 million children growing up without their fathers.

http://www.eagleforum.org/column/2005/may05/05-05-11.html