Category: domestic violence

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, divorce, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, government, healing, missing child, system failure
FLORIDA Child Protection Agency spokesman faces child-porn charges

Article published Feb 5, 2008
DCF to review personnel records
Agency spokesman faces child-porn charges
The head of the Department of Children and Families, “horrified and shocked” by the arrest of his agency spokesman on child-pornography charges, Monday ordered a review of personnel records for all DCF employees.

DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey briefed reporters at DCF headquarters about the arrest of Al Zimmerman on eight counts of soliciting two boys for sexual purposes.

Butterworth, who fired Zimmerman last Friday, said he sent a message to all department employees — urging them to “work with your heads held high” — and said the incident does not reflect on DCF’s work in protecting children in foster care, the elderly and other needy Floridians.

“There are certain things you can’t prepare for. I guarantee you, this is one thing I never expected to occur,” he said. “It is one person who committed, I believe, a horrific act — a horrific act — and therefore not only victimized his victims, but victimized this department, the media and the 13,500 people who work here.”

Butterworth and Bailey said one of the two teenage boys in the Zimmerman case had been in DCF care. Bailey said “there were indications” that Zimmerman might have met a boy through agency services, but both men declined to go into details for fear of giving any information that might identify one of the victims even by inference.

Butterworth said Zimmerman had no access to DCF computer systems.

Bailey, representing Attorney General Bill McCollum at the briefing, said the FBI has seized Zimmerman’s office and home computers, to see if he distributed any child pornography. Bailey said “there are indications that at least one victim was met through his job” but that Zimmerman’s access to DCF records “was limited.”

“I know of two victims at this point. There may be others,” said Bailey. “That’s what the continuing investigation will confirm or deny.”

He credited the Tampa Police Department, FBI and McCollum’s office for working with FDLE in the case. Bailey also said DCF gave “complete and open cooperation.”

Butterworth said the DCF personnel staff will first check records of all employees hired under the new policy to make sure required background checks and fingerprints are on file. Then they will check everyone else.

“After we do all those after 2006, November, we will go backwards and hand-go-through each and every file of the 13,500 employees to make sure that everything there is also there as required by policy,” he said. “I want to make sure that our policies are being followed in all cases. I want to make sure the background check is there in the file.”

Butterworth said DCF policies before November of 2006 did not require fingerprinting of employees. Zimmerman, a former TV newsman in the Tampa Bay area, was hired in 2005 and Butterworth said that although he had “glowing endorsements” from two references — public-information aides for a police agency and a fire department — none of his former employers was contacted.

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, family, system failure
Mother Kills Kids – Marshall Serving Eviction Finds 4 Bodies

I wonder if this could’ve been stopped sooner with the right kind of help in a system that’s overrun by false allegations and unsubstantiated abuse reports … 

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The deaths of four children whose bodies were discovered Wednesday in a Washington home are being treated as suspected homicides, but the remains are so badly decomposed, investigators can’t determine how the victims died, authorities said.

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Authorities remove a body from a Washington house where four were found dead Wednesday.

“Scientific tests will have to do the verification” of the victims’ identities and causes of death, said Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty.

The medical examiner is expected to provide some of those answers in 24 to 48 hours, Fenty said.

Police are questioning a woman in connection with the gruesome discovery, according to Metropolitan Police.

The victims appear to be between 5 and 18 years old, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said during a news conference in front of the two-story town home in southeast Washington where the bodies were found.

Because of their advanced state of decomposition, it’s “difficult to see if there were any signs of trauma,” Lanier said.

U.S. marshals found the bodies just after 10 a.m. when they went to the town home to serve an eviction notice, she said. The woman whom police are questioning answered the door when the marshals arrived, Lanier said.

It appears the bodies were at the home for two weeks, Fenty said. There were no signs of forced entry at the house, he added. Video Watch the mayor talk about the case »

The relationship of the victims was not clear. It was also unclear whether the woman being questioned is related to the victims.

Councilman Marion Barry, the former Washington mayor who represents the ward where the bodies were found, said he feels “somebody should have known that these young people were not in school or someplace.”

child support, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, false allegations, foster home, government, law, legal, system failure, system failures
Check out LawyersandSettlements.com – Article written about my story!

Abusive Ex-husband Makes Sure Woman Loses Son News

Its Almost Tuesday – Read Our Story on http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com

January 8, 2008. By Julia Browne RSS FeedRSS Del.icio.usDel.icio.us NewsvineSeed Newsvine FacebookFacebook

Dallas, TX: Mary’s abusive husband, Robbie, vowed to make her pay if she left him. She dared escape domestic violence, but due to additional victimization by Child Protection Services (CPS), the police, and her own mother, she lost her 8 year old son.

“After my divorce I moved with my son to a ‘safe state’, Florida. Robbie followed me there so I had to get a domestic violence protective order and he wasn’t allowed within 5 miles of us. He did try to contact me by email and phone on holidays, which I logged and reported to the local police but it wasn’t considered severe enough for an investigation.”

“For six years in Florida I was happy. I’d gotten married and was living the typical life of barbecues on Sunday and PTA. But stress from the aftermath of that previous abusive marriage and living in constant fear made things difficult and my new husband and I separated. In October 2003, with my family in Texas I figured we’d be all right there for a couple months but that was a fatal mistake.”

Abused WomanIt didn’t take long for Mary’s ex-husband to catch up with his prey.

“Just after the holiday season I reported his stalking behavior and calls to the police department of a suburb of Dallas/Fort Worth. On at least eight occasions they said, ‘oh that’s a Florida order, we’re not going to uphold that in Texas’.”

“Getting away with minor violations made Robbie bolder. He conspired with my mother to take my son away from me, even though he wasn’t his biological father. Together they made allegations against me of mental and emotional abuse, of drug use, and they even claimed I was in a baby-killing cult. When my son was born I cleaned up my life and stopped any drug use. CPS did four different tests and found nothing at all so in mid 2004 I was cleared of all charges of neglect and abuse.”

Mary and her son prepared to move back to the safety of Florida. Their nightmare was over… or so they thought.

“In May 2004 my son went to church and never came home. He was abducted. When I reported it the police, they and a CPS agent showed up at my door, not to give me news, but to get me to sign another accusation of abuse from my ex-husband and my mother. I refused. My attorney tabled a motion to have my son immediately released to me but on day the court order was signed, the police came and took me to a mental hospital for ‘observation’ based on a false affidavit.”

“The doctor couldn’t find any reason to detain me but during that 24 hours I was in that hospital Robbie, GrandMommy, the police officer and a CPS worker broke into my apartment and stole over $10,000 worth of property including all my home videos and photos of me and my kids, all my legal files and evidence, electronics, medication and even my wedding ring. Even our dog was gone.”

Mary’s son was placed in a foster home.

“Parents have to do something like take parenting classes, go to rehab or counseling to have a chance at getting their kid back. I did but they said I didn’t complete their services just because I chose to get my own counselor, not the one of their choice. They called me uncooperative if I did anything that was against my civil rights but even though one of the case workers wrote that my case wasn’t of abuse but of child custody they do retaliate, I hate to say. They ruled against me because I challenged when I knew things weren’t being looked into, like my accusation of Robbie molesting children.”

“The last time I saw my son was just before Christmas 2004. The case worker arrived without him and said, ‘we forgot to bring him’. But that wasn’t possible. He’s nine years old and he knows when it’s Tuesday. The next day, December 22nd, they brought him. He had a black eye, blood on his shirt; he’d been beaten. I never saw him again.

That’s when I started my blog almosttuesdays.com which came out of a poem I was commissioned to write for Child Abuse Awareness month. It was all the things my son had said to me during out visits that we shared that no one else knows about.”

“When I realized he wasn’t coming home I fell apart. I was in such shock. I didn’t have an attorney so I represented myself. Fortunately I’m a paralegal so I could write my own pleadings but they were just ignored. My son’s name was changed, he lives with GrandMommy and I’m not allowed to talk to him. Then Robbie was jailed in 2006 for child abuse. I’m too tired to fight. How do you find an attorney when those hired by the state to work on behalf of the kids say it’s too hard to go up against the system?”

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, divorce, domestic violence, education, family
Divorce-iduced malice has become a syndrome… Moms Only…

Malicious Mother Syndrome – I say it is CHILD ABUSE SYNDROME.

While I’ve heard Parental Alienation Syndrome tossed around for years, a new term I’ve not seen before suddenly appeared before me in wikipedia – and I am amazed…

First of all, I want to say, if a couple divorces, using the child as a pawn, tool or means to an end – its not a syndrome, its CHILD ABUSE.

Harmful acts against a child that are done to satisfy the selfish desires of one of the parents is child abuse… even if you are not physically abusing the child.

But, a syndrome? if there was no malice…there’d be no divorce….

However, I do have to say – this “SYNDROME” is… a description of … my mother…

Except I am not her ex-husband and we’re not going through divorce… so how does that work out as far as the male/female thing goes?

(I will highlight in red the article’s descriptions that match those which I have suffered through my mother’s actions… )

JOURNAL OF FAMILY VIOLENCE,VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, p 253-264, 1995

DIVORCE RELATED MALICIOUS MOTHER SYNDROME

Ira Daniel Turkat, Ph.D.

With the increasing commonality of divorce involving children, a pattern of abnormal behaviour has emerged that has received little attention. The present paper defines the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome. Specific nosologic criteria are provided with abundant clinical examples. Given the lack of scientific data available on the disorder, issues of classification, etiology, treatment, and prevention appear ripe for investigation.

INTRODUCTION

A divorced man gains custody of his children and his ex-wife burns down his home*.(an arson attempt was made on my apartment)

A woman in a custody battle buys a cat for her offspring because her divorcing husband is highly allergic to cats. A mother forces her children to sleep in a car to “prove” their father has bankrupted them. These actions illustrate a pattern of abnormal behavior that has emerged as the divorce rate involving children has grown.

Today, half of all marriages will end in divorce (Beal and Hochman, 1991). The number of children involved in divorce has grown dramatically (e.g., Hetherington and Arastah, 1988) as well. While the majority of such cases are “settled” from a legal perspective, outside the courtroom the battle continues.

The media has spent considerable effort raising public awareness about the problem posed by divorced fathers who do not provide court ordered child support payments. Hedges (1991) has noted that less than 20% of divorced fathers provide child support payments three years after their divorce. Research on the decline of women’s economic status following divorce (e.g., Hernandez, 1988; Laosa, 1988) has contributed to recent legislation to address the “Deadbeat Dad” problem.

While the media correctly portrays the difficulties imposed upon women and children by the “Deadbeat Dad” phenomenon, the cameras have yet to capture the warfare waged by a select group of mothers against child support paying, law abiding fathers. Every day, attorneys and therapists are exposed to horror stories in which vicious behaviors are lodged against innocent fathers and children. Unfortunately, there are no scientific data on the subject. Similarly, the clinical literature has relatively ignored the problem.

A notable exception can be found in the clinical writings of Gardner (1987, 1989) who has provided excellent descriptions of the Parental Alienation Syndrome. Here, a custodial parent successfully engages in a variety of maneuvers to alienate the child from the non-residential parent. Once successfully manipulated, the child becomes “…preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of a parent-denigration that is unjustified and/or exaggerated” (Gardner, 1989 p. 226).

In the typical case of Parental Alienation Syndrome, both mother and child engage in an array of abnormal actions against the rather. Gardner views “brainwashing” as a concept “too narrow” (Gardner, 1989) to capture the psychological manipulation involved in turning a child against his/her non-residential parent.

While Gardner’s pioneering descriptions of the Parental Alienation Syndrome provide an important contribution to our understanding of divorce related child involved hostilities, the present paper is concerned with a more global abnormality. As noted in the examples provided in the beginning of this manuscript, serious attacks on divorcing husbands take place which are beyond merely manipulating the children. Further, these actions include a willingness by some mothers to violate societal law. Finally, there are mothers who persistently engage in malicious behaviors designed to alienate their offspring from the father, despite being unable to successfully cause alienation. In sum, these cases do not meet the criteria for Parental Alienation Syndrome. Nevertheless, they portray a serious abnormality.

The purpose of the present paper is to define and illustrate this more global abnormality with the hope of generating increased scientific and clinical investigation of this problem.

DEFINITION

The present section provides a beginning definition of the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, which has been derived from clinical and legal cases. As in all initial proposals, it is anticipated that future research will lead to greater refinement in the taxonomic criteria. The proposed definition encompasses four major criteria, as follows:

A mother who unjustifiably punishes her divorcing or divorced husband (or daughter/son – noncustodial parent of their grandchild) by:

The mother specifically attempts to deny her child(ren):

  1. Attempting to alienate their mutual child(ren) from the father.
  2. Involving others in malicious actions against the father.
  3. Engaging in excessive litigation
  4. Not allowing Regular uninterrupted visitation with the father or Uninhibited telephone access to the father
  5. Interrupting paternal participation in the child(ren)’s school life and extra-curricular activities
Tile pattern is pervasive and includes malicious acts towards the husband including:
Lying to the children
Lying to others
Violations of law
The disorder is not specifically due to another mental disorder although a separate mental disorder may co-exist.
CLINICAL ILLUSTRATIONS

      In this section, I will provide clinical illustrations for each criterion using the reference numbers provided above. As criteria 1-3 are behavior specific to the Malicious Mother Syndrome, I will provide a series of clinical examples. The fourth criterion which addresses the relationship of the proposed syndrome to other mental disorders, will be discussed more generally.

      Criterion 1A: Alienating the Children

      The range of actions taken by a mother to attempt to alienate her children from their father is impressive. For example:

      One mother lied to her children that she could no longer buy food because their father had spent all of their money on women at topless bars.

      A doctor’s wife forced her 10 year old son to apply for federally funded free school lunches to delude the boy that his “daddy has made us poor.”

      A woman who for years was very close to the children in a custody battle, was asked by their mother to give up neutrality and join her campaign against the father to “dance on his grave.” When the friend refused to give up her neutrality, the mother falsely informed her children that their father was having an affair with this woman.

      These behaviors, if successful, could lead a child to not only hate the father but perhaps go years without seeing him.

      As Cartwright (1993) has noted:

      “The goal of the alienater is crystalline: to deprive the lost parent, not only of the child’s time, but of the time of childhood” (p. 210).

      Criterion 1B: Involving Others in Malicious Actions

      The second component of the first major criterion where the mother attempts to punish the husband, involves manipulating other individuals to engage in malicious acts against the father.

      Examples of this kind are as follows:

      During a custody battle, a mother lied to a therapist about the father’s behavior. The therapist, having never spoken with the father, appeared as an “expert” witness to inform the Judge that the mother should be the primary residential parent and that the father needed to be in therapy.

      One angry mother manipulated teenagers to leave anonymous threatening notes at the ex-husband’s home.

      A mother who had lost legal custody of her child, manipulated a secretary at the child’s school to assist in kidnapping the child.

      In the above examples, it is important to note that the person manipulated by the angry mother has, in a way, been “alienated” against the divorcing husband. Typically, the individual “duped” takes on a righteous indignation, contributing to a rewarding climate for the mother initiating malicious actions.

      Criterion 1C: Excessive Litigation

      There is little question that either party in a divorce or custody proceeding is entitled to appropriate legal representation and action. Individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, however, attempt to punish the divorcing husband by engaging in excessive litigation.

      A belligerent and unreasonable mother verbally attacked her ex-husband whenever she saw him. Over time, his response was to ignore her. She then took him to court, asking the judge to require the ex-husband to talk with her.

      One mother told a judge that her daughter was not really her divorcing husband’s child.

      One woman refused to stop attacking her ex-husband through the courts despite numerous attorneys being fired or voluntarily leaving the case. Over a three year period, seven different attorneys were utilized.

      Data exist which can help in determining the range of excessive litigation. For example, Keel et al. (1988) report on the frequency of post-divorce litigation in a sample of 700 families. Their data indicate that only 12.7% of families file one post-divorce petition to the court, whereas less than 5% file two or more petitions (Keel at al. 1988); less than 1% file four or more petitions.

      Criterion 2A: Denying Regular Visitation

      Experts are in relative agreement that regular and uninterrupted visitation with the non-residential parent is desirable and beneficial for children, except in extreme circumstances (Hedges, 1991). In fact, some states, such as Florida, have laws written to reflect this view (Keane, 1990). Unfortunately, even when the father and children have legal rights to visitation, individuals with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome continue to interfere with it.

      A mother who previously attacked her ex-husband physically during visitation transfers of the children, refused to provide the children when the ex-husband had the police attend to monitor exchanges.

      When one divorced father arrived to pick up his children for visitation, the mother arranged for her and the children to be elsewhere so that the father could not visit with the children.

      One mother had her physically intimidating boyfriend assault her ex-husband when he came to pick up his children for visitation.

      The President of The Council for Children’s Rights (Washington, D.C.) notes that such alienation is considered a form of child abuse (Levy, 1992).

      Unfortunately, the police typically avoid involving themselves in such situations. Furthermore, unless a victimized father is financially capable of returning to court on an ongoing basis, there is little that can be done to prevent such mothers’ behavior.

      Finally, even when such cases are brought to trial, the courts are often inadequate in supporting fathers’ visitation rights (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992).

      Criterion 2B: Denying Uninhibited Telephone Access

      Given the physical absence of one parent, the telephone plays an important role in maintaining the bond between child and non-residential parent.

      Individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome engage in an array of actions designed to circumvent telephone access.

      A father called to speak to his children and was told that they were not at home when in bet he could hear their voices in the background.

      When one father called to speak with his children, the mother put him on “hold,” informed no one, and then left him there.

      Knowing that the children’s father was away on vacation, one mother encouraged them to leave several messages on his answering machine to call back immediately only if he would like some additional visitation time with his children.

      Some fathers find the alienation attempts so painful and fruitless that they eventually are extinguished from calling their children; they simply “give up.” Placed in a no-win scenario, the father’s “abandonment” (Hedges, 1991) unfortunately achieves the precise result aimed for by the individual suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.

      Criterion 2C:Denying Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities

      An integral part of the process of maintaining one’s bond with one’s child is to participate in activities that one did before the parents separated. School plays, team sports, and religious events are just some of the types of activities of importance. Malicious Mothers frequently engage in maneuvers designed to prevent participation in these activities.

      One father was deliberately given the wrong date and time for an important event for the child. The child was asked by the mother, “I wonder why your father didn’t want to come to see you today”?

      One mother refused to provide the father with any information about any extra-curricular activities in which the children were engaged.

      Prior to a child’s soccer game, one mother told many of the team parents disparaging falsehoods about the visiting lather. When he came to watch his son’s soccer game, many of these parents looked at him with angry eyes, refused to talk with him, and walked away when he moved toward them.

      Malicious Mothers who engage in such behaviors rarely have to face penalties for such actions. Judges, attorneys, and policemen cannot involve themselves in every instance of blocked paternal access. Furthermore, most fathers cannot afford the financial requirements involved. As such, the cycle of access interference perpetuates itself.

      Criterion 3A: Malicious Lying to the Children

      Given their developmental status, children in a disputed divorce situation are quite vulnerable. When one parent decides to attack the other by lying to the children, examples of this type of malicious behavior may include some of the following.

      One divorcing mother told her very young daughter that her father was “not really” her father even though he was.

      An eight year old girl was forced by her mother to hand unpaid bills to her lather when he visited because the mother had falsely told the daughter that the father had not provided any economic means of support to the family.

      One mother falsely told her children that their father had repeatedly beat her up in the past.

      These examples of malicious lying can be contrasted with the more subtle maneuvers typically seen in Parental Alienation Syndrome, such as “virtual allegations” (Cartwright, 1993). Here, the mother setting up a Parental Alienation Syndrome may hint that abuse may have occurred, whereas the individual suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome falsely claims that abuse has actually occurred.

      Criterion 3B: Malicious Lying to Others

      Individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome may engage a wide range of other individuals in their attacks upon the ex-husband. However, with this particular criterion, the individual with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome specifically lies to other individuals in the belligerency against the father. Some examples include the following.

      One furious mother called the president of the (1500 employee) workplace of her divorcing husband, claiming falsely that he was using business property for personal gain and was abusing their mutual children at his work locale.

      One woman falsely told slate officials that her ex-husband was sexually abusing their daughter. The child was immediately taken away from him and his access to her was denied.

      During the course of a custody dispute, one mother falsely informed the guardian, who was investigating the parenting skills of each parent, that the father had physically abused her.

      Snyder (1986) has reported on the difficulty imposed upon legal authorities when confronted with someone who is an excellent liar. Consistent with research on the inability of “specialists” to detect lying (Ekman and O’Sullivan, 1991), a skilled fabricator can be a compelling witness in the courtroom (Snyder, 1986). While sometimes seen in borderline personalities, Snyder (1986) notes that pathological lying (Pseudologia Fantastica) is not restricted to that particular character disorder.

          Criterion 3C: Violating Law to Attack the Husband

      Individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome have few if any boundaries in their campaign against the divorcing husband. Violations of law are common in many cases, although the laws broken may be relatively minor. However, in some cases, the violations of law may be quite serious.

      One woman deliberately drove her automobile into the house of her ex-husband where their mutual children resided.

      In the midst of a custody battle, one woman broke into the residence of her divorcing husband and stole important business papers.

      An angry divorcing mother called a Christian evangelical television station and pledged $1000, giving the name, address, and phone number of her divorcing Jewish husband as the pledge.

      The above descriptions may remind the reader of certain personality disorders (e.g., antisocial, borderline, sadistic) but these behaviors may be demonstrated by individuals with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome who do not appear to meet official diagnostic criteria for an Axis II disorder.

      Further, in each of the four examples provided above, none of the Malicious Mothers involved was sentenced for such behavior by a Judge.

      Criterion 4: Not Due to Another Disorder

      In assessing the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, it is important to note that many of the above clinical examples seem to have occurred in individuals who had no prior mental disorder diagnosis or treatment. In fact, one mother who engaged in extreme maliciousness toward her divorcing husband had several mental health professionals testify that she was not suffering from any type of mental disorder.

      Clearly, it would seem that individuals who have Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome may or may not have a concomitant mental disorder.

      In the author’s experience, for each mental disorder that might come to mind to account for some of this behavior, an exceptional case presents. For example, in some cases an Adjustment Disorder might seem an appropriate diagnosis, yet one woman still denied her ex-husband visitation 10 years after the divorce. Other cases might suggest a possibility of a personality disorder diagnosis, yet one woman who repeatedly violated the law in attacking her ex-husband, received no personality disorder diagnosis despite being evaluated by masters level and doctoral level examiners. In some instances, Intermittent Explosive Disorder might be considered, yet the anger for many of the mothers does not appear to be intermittent.

      Finally, the reader should appreciate that while diagnostic accuracy for certain psychiatric difficulties is not as good as one would like (e.g., the personality disorders, see Turkat, 1990), the problem is compounded in family law where incompetent mental health examiners sometimes become involved in the judicial process (Turkat, 195)3). Clearly, the relationship between Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome and other mental disorders is a complex one which requires significant investigation.

      DISCUSSION

      The above description of the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome raises a variety of important clinical, legal, and scientific issues.

      From a clinical perspective, families that involve a Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome are subject to serious episodes of stress and distress. Yet, there is no scientific evidence on how to treat this phenomenon. It is particularly compromised by the fact that many of these cases that appear to meet the proposed diagnostic criteria deny that there is anything wrong with them.

      An additional difficulty is that many therapists are unaware of this pattern of malicious behavior (Heinz and Heinz, 1993). As such, there are therapists who are “fooled” by such cases and, as noted earlier, will come to court testifying that there is nothing wrong with the mother involved.

      From a legal perspective, there are some attorneys who may unintentionally encourage this type of behavior (Gardner, 1989). On the other hand, there are some attorneys who deliberately encourage such behavior, as the financial rewards for them are time dependent. In other words, the more involved the litigation process, the greater the profits for the attorney (Grotman and Thomas, 1990). However, even for the subset of attorneys for whom this may be true, there is a point of diminishing returns. Furthermore, independent of economic considerations, many who become involved with family law courtrooms find that these types of cases are not handled well (Greif, 1985; Levy, 1992).

      The woman who is not disturbed “enough” to lose custody of her children in the courtroom will not have money denied to her because she engages in this behavior; nor will she go to jail. Thus, many clients report significant frustration when they and their children are exposed to this type of behavior, and the courts seem to do little if anything about.

      In a review of pertinent law literature on bias against men in family law proceedings, Tillitski (1992) concluded that there is widespread discrimination. This is well illustrated by one family law Judge’s statement that, “I ain’t never seen the calves follow the bulls, they always follow the cow; therefore, I always give custody to the mamas” (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992 p. 742). Similarly, it is noted that visitation rights of fathers are not enforced as rigidly as are child support orders (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992). Such bias against men in family law proceedings results in a unique group of fathers who unintentionally become relatively helpless victims of the system (Tillitski, 1992). This situation would seem to reinforce much of the vicious behavior displayed by women suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.

      The issue of sex distribution of the disorder certainly needs to be addressed. The overwhelming majority of custodial parents are female (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992). Gardner (1989) has noted that Parental Alienation Syndrome appears most commonly in females, although it is possible for a male who has custody of the children to engage in the same type of alienating behaviors.

      The author’s experience with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome is similar to Gardner’s. However, the present writer has yet to see a case of a father engaging in all of the criteria listed. This does not mean that it is not possible for there to be a “Malicious Father” Syndrome. In fact, Shepard (1992) reports that there is significant abuse of some custodial mothers by non-residential fathers. On the other hand, it should be noted that there are females who are required to pay child support, but we have yet to heara about “Deadbeat Moms.” Given at the present time that a case in which the father met all of the criteria for Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syntlrome has yet to be documented, it appears advisable to await scientific evidence to guide issues of nosologic labeling.

      How prevalent is the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome? The answer is unknown. Gardner (1989) reports that approximately 90% of all custody battles involve some aspects of parental alienation. Further, Kressel (1985) reviewed data indicating that up to 40% of maternal custodians denied visitation to the ex-husband in order to punish him.

      Relatedly, Arditti (1992) reported that 50% of a sample of divorced fathers (N = 125) indicated that visitation was interfered with by the mother.

      While aspects of parental alienation may be common, it is highly unlikely that such a percentage of maternal custodians would meet all of the criteria for Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.

      In regard to incidence, it would appear through the title of this syndrome that the malicious behavior is precipitated by the divorce process.

      However, this is clearly an empirical question. While the malicious actions may first be noted during a divorce process, it is possible that maliciousness may have been present earlier but undetected. Research on pre-divorce parental conflict (Enos and Handal, 1986) supports this speculation. Relatedly, it may also be that there are some cases of pre-existing mental disorder that have not been discovered until the stress of the divorce itself unfolds.

      Finally, it should be noted that research on the nature of post-divorce family functioning is beginning to emerge. Some data exist on the role of parental conflict in children’s postdivorce functioning (e.g., Frost and Pakiz, 1990; Furstenberg et al., 1987; Healy, Malley and Stewart, 1990; Kudek, 1988), but studies have yet to appear on the more extreme cases of Parental Alienation Syndrome and Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.

      The Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome represents an important societal phenomenon.

      The disorder affects children, parents, attorneys, judges, guardians, mental health professionals, and others. Until this phenomenon is explored more thoroughly in the scientific and clinical literature, the problems imposed by individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome will continue to plague us. Hopefully, the present manuscript will stimulate research so that clinical and legal management guidelines can be developed.

      REFERENCES
      • Artlitli, J. A. (1992). Factors related to custody, visitation, and child support for divorced fathers: An exploratory analysis. J. Div. Remarr. 17: 23-42.
      • Beal, E. W., and Hockman, D. (1991). Adult Children of Divorce, Delacorte Press, New York.
      • Cartwright, D. F. (1993), Expanding the parameters of parental alienation syndrome. Am. J. Fam. Ther. 21: 205-215.
      • Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System. (1992). Gender and justice in the courts: A report to the supreme court of Georgia. Georgia State Univ. Law Rev. 8: 539-807.
      • Ekman, P., and O’Sullivan, M. (1991). Who can catch a liar? American Psychologist, 46: 913-920.
      • Enos, D. M., and Handal, P. J. (1986). The relation of parental marital status and perceived family conflict to adjustment in white adolescents. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 54: 820-824.
      • Frost, A. K., and Pakiz, U. (1990). The effects of marital disruption on adolescence: Time as a dynamic. Am. J. Orthopsychiatry 60: 544-555.
      • Furstenberg, F. F., Morgan, S. P., and Allison, P. D. (1987). Paternal participation and children’s well being after marital dissolution. Am. Sociological Rev. 52: 695-701.
      • Gardner, R. A. (1987). The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Differentiation Between Fabricated and Genuine Child Sex Abuse, Creative Therapeutics, Cresskill, NJ.
      • Gardner, R. A. (1989). Family Evaluation in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation, Creative Therapeutics, Cresskill, NJ.
      • Greif, G. L. (1985). Single Fathers, Lexington Books, Lexington, MA.
      • Grutman, R., and Thomas, B. (1990). Lawyers and Thieves. Simon & Schuster, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
      • Healy, J. M., Malley, J. E., and Stewart, A. J. (1900). Children and their fathers after parental separation. Am. J. Orthopsychiatry 60: 531-543.
      • Hetherington, E. N., and Arasteh, J. D. (eds.). (1988). Impact of Divorce, Single Parenting and Step-Parenting on Children, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.
      • Heinz, H. R., and Heinz, S. A. (1993). Emotional incest: The tragedy of divorcing families. Am. J. Fam. Law 7: 169-174.
      • Hernandez, D. J. (1988). The demographics of divorce and remarriage. In Hetherington, E. M., and Arasteh, J. D. (eds.), Impact of Divorce, Single Parenting, and Step-Parenting on Children, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 3-22.
      • Hodges, W. E (1991). Interventions for Children of Divorce, (second edition), Wiley, New York.
      • Keane, G. (1990). Florida Divorce Handbook, Pineapple Press, Sarasota, FL.
      • Koel, A., Clark, S. C., Phear, W. P., and Hauser, B. B. (1988). A comparison of joint and sole legal custody agreements. In Hetherington, E. M., and Arasteh, J. D. (eds.), Impact of Divorce, Single Parenting, and Step-Parenting on Children, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 73-90.
      • Kressel, K. (1985). The Process of Divorce, Basic Books, New York.
      • Kurdek, L. (1988). Custodial mothers’ perceptions of visitation and payment of child support by non-custodial fathers in families with low and high levels of pre-separation interparental conflict. J. Appl. Devel. Psychol. 9: 315-328. Laosa, L. N. (1988). Ethnicity and single parenting in the United Stales. In Hetherington, E. M., and Arasteh, J. D. (eds.), Impact of Divorce, Single Parenting, and Step-Parenting on Children, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 23-49.
      • Shepard, N. (1992). Child-visiting and domestic abuse. Child Welfare 71: 357-367.
      • Snyder, S. (1986). Pseudologia Fantastica in the borderline patient. Am. J. Psychiatry 143: 1287-1289.
      • Tillitski C. J. (1992). Fathers and child custody: Issues, trends, and implications for counseling. J. Ment. Health Counsel. 14: 351-361.
      • Turkat I. D. (1990). The Personality Disorders: A Psychological Approach to Clinical Management, Pergamon, New York.
      • Turkal, I. D. (1993). Questioning the mental health expert’s custody report. Am. J. Fam. Law 7: 175-179.

      Ira Daniel Turkat, Florida Institute of Psychology and University of Florida College of Medicine,1225 Avenida Del Circo, Venice, Florida 34285.

      awareness, child custody, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, family, foster care, foster child, government, healing, law, legal, love, parental alienation syndrome, system failure
      Hostile? Leave the kids out of it…

      It is the responsibility of the parents to not alienates the child from the noncustodial parent. Those around the child can make or break a child.

      It is the family members, co-workers, friends, neighbors, school & court officials, social workers, doctors, etc., who recognize the signs of this type of abuse and take the appropriate action that protects the child and victim parent.

      Those people surrounding the child may save a life…

      The effects of this abuse can be more than a little bit harmful, but extremely detrimental, and even deadly.

      If you haven’t read my story, you can find it here –Its Almost Tuesday, The True Story.

      Children deserve their childhoods to be free of abuse…

      The effects are devastating and may not be immediately noticeable, but long-term and lasting…

      photo-059.jpg

       

      What is implacable hostility?? (Source: Wikipedia):

      After separation or divorce implacable hostility denotes the attitude shown by one parent to another in denying access to, or contact with, their child(ren).What differentiates implacable hostility from the typical hostility that may arise after separation/divorce is that the deep-rooted nature of the hostility cannot be justified on rational grounds and measures taken by third parties including mediators and the family courts are to no avail.

      Cases of implacable hostility are increasingly being seen as domestic violence and as a human rights abuse if not recognized by agencies involved, although it is important not to classify hostility as implacable if it is itself justified by domestic violence perpetrated by the other parent.

       

      Implacable hostility is akin to Parental Alienation Syndrome; but is not the same condition.

      The typical outcome of situations of implacable hostility is that the parent to whom implacable hostility is directed becomes excluded from the life of their child(ren). There are two ways in which this exclusion arises.

      Firstly, the excluded parent, having exhausted all the avenues available for resolving the situation, finally gives up the effort. This may be done in the belief that the option of withdrawal is best interests of the child(ren) given the stress that inevitably arises from repeated applications for access/contact.

      Secondly, the child(ren) may become parentally alienated — they deny that they want to see the excluded parent. Once a child has become alienated from the excluded parent, the originating implacable hostility becomes subsidiary. From this point, the formerly implacably hostile parent often claims that they are supportive of access/contact but they have to respect the wishes of the child.

      Family courts are usually unwilling to force children to see one of their parents against their expressed wishes – and often fail to examine the cause of such statements.

      Most often the child is who is harmed.


      (more…)

      adoption, child, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, foster child, healing, love, system failure
      How to Bond With Your (Foster) Child

      Top 10 Five Minute Bonding Activities

      FREE Newsletter. Sign Up Now!
      These activities are not for every foster/adoptive parent or every foster/adoptive child. Only do what is comfortable for you and your foster/adopted child.
      Keep in mind:

      • Child’s Age – Chronological and Emotional
      • Child’s History of Abuse and/or Neglect
      • Comfort Levels

      Please note that I’m not promoting these activities as a way to create an instant bond between you and your child. Bonding is a process that takes time. These activities are ideas that will help start the process of bonding.

      1. Brushing Hair

      This can be a great and easy way to spend time with a child. It also involves a safe touch, which is so important to creating a loving bond.

      2. Read a Story

      Not only will you be increasing your bond by spending time together, you’ll be increasing the child’s vocabulary and other literary skills.

      3. Sing Songs

      We used to have a tradition of singing songs before tucking our daughter into bed, favorites included Old Macdonald, London Bridge, and many different Sunday School songs. Also try songs like “This Little Piggy” where each line of the song is sang as you tickle a toe, involves appropriate, safe touching with a child who may be fearful of touch due to past abuse.

      4. Clapping Games and Rhymes

      Remember the games played on elementary playgrounds? If not here are some web sites with words. Fun activity involving safe touch.

      5. Bed Time Routine

      A routine can include tucking in with a soft blanket, hugs and kisses, a short story, song, or prayer. Keep in mind the comfort level of all involved. If a history of sexual abuse exists or you don’t know the child’s history, protect yourself against allegations by having another adult with you at bed time.

      6. Staring Contest

      Maintain direct eye contact, the first person to look away or blink loses. A fun game for older children and a great way to have eye contact which helps build attachment. Be sure the child does not interpret this activity as threatening or intimidating and understands that it is a game.

      7. Hand Games

      More safe touching activities like Rock Paper Scissors, Bubble Gum Bubble Gum in a Dish, or Thumb Wrestling. Some of the above links will take you to pages filled with more game ideas.

      8. Paint Finger and Toe Nails

      More appropriate for girls – this is a sweet way to spend five minutes. Consider allowing the child to paint your nails.

      9. Rocking

      This is one bonding activity in which you must calculate emotional age, history, and comfort levels. My son was 12 when he came to us as a foster child, but he needed and welcomed being held and rocked. I spoke to his therapist before rocking him and had no trouble in doing so. He was extremely small for his age, which made rocking him easier. Be aware of sexual arousal with older children and activities that involve such closeness.

      10. Lotioning

      Applying lotion to a child’s hands and feet can also be part of a bedtime routine. Children of color will benefit from having lotion applied to their legs, arms, face, and back. Caution: Consider child’s sexual abuse history, age, and comfort level with this activity. Some abused children can misinterpret different kinds of touch. Be aware of sexual arousal. If you sense that any activity is upsetting to the child – stop. Document the incident, tell the therapist at your next meeting.

      This About.com page has been optimized for print. To view this page in its original form, please visit: http://adoption.about.com/od/parenting/tp/fiveminutebond.htm

      ©2007 About.com, Inc., a part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.

      child death, cps, domestic violence, family, foster care
      Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Filed After 2-Year-Old’s Death
      A photo of Whitney Williams, who was only 2-years-old when she died after being physically abused.
      A photo of Whitney Williams, who was only 2-years-old when she died after being physically abused.
      09/27/2005
      PRINCESS ANNE, Md. (AP)– The Somerset County Department of Social Services on Monday settled a suit brought by the father of a fatally abused child for $50,000.
      The father, Clark Bell, sued Somerset County Social Services for $1 million, claiming the agency ignored reports that his daughter, 2-year-old Whitney Williams, was being abused at her mother’s home.
      Whitney died in October 2002. Her mother, Carole Anne Quillen, was convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced to a five-year prison term. Quillen’s boyfriend, Christopher Allen, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for child abuse resulting in death.
      Bell will receive $48,000. Another $2,000 was granted to the Williams estate, which in effect grants $1,000 each to Bell and Quillen. (Source: Somerset County, MD)
      child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, General, government, healing, missing child, system failure
      Register Your Case Against the Department of Social and Health Services
      A lawsuit has been filed and is seeking class action status against the department alleging violations of constitutional rights. Nine Latina child care workers claim the state came into their homes and seized personal records in search of ‘phantom children’. The lawsuit also alleges discrimination against child care workers on the basis of ethnicity and language.

      Register your Department of Social and Health Services Case

      If you feel you qualify for damages or remedies that might be awarded in a possible class action or lawsuit, please click the link below to submit your complaint. By submitting this form, you are asking lawyers to contact you. You are under no obligation to accept their services. Lawyers are usually paid out of the proceeds of the settlement or verdict rendered.

      Please click here for a free evaluation of your case
      Columbia Legal Services – Joe Morrison
      (Source: LawyersandSettlements.com)

      “Its ALmost Tuesday” and its blogowner  is merely providing you with a link to register your Department of Social and Health Services case; we make no promises, form no opinions as to how your case may be evaluated; and we are not lawyers nor giving legal advice.
      domestic violence, family, foster care, foster parent, healing, law, legal, missing child, murder, system failure
      Schaefer: Trial by jury needed to remove child

      Sunday, December 2, 2007
      Last modified Thursday, November 29, 2007 9:03 AM EST

      Schaefer: Trial by jury needed to remove child
      By Tom Law

      Source: The Toccoa Record

      State Sen. Nancy Schaefer last week called for an overhaul of the state’s child protection services provided through the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS).

      Among the recommendations by Schaefer, who represents the 50th District which includes Stephens County, was that a jury trial be held when a child is taken from their parents.

      Schaefer also called for the requirement of a warrant signed by a judge before removing a child from their parents, except in an emergency situation such as a medical crisis.

      “The Department of Family and Children’s Service, known as the Department of Child Protective Services in other states, has become a protected empire built on taking children and separating families,”

      Schaefer said in a lengthy e-mail…

      “This is not to say there are not children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection,”

      Schaefer said.

      “This report is concerned with the children and parents caught in legal kidnapping, ineffective policies and DFCS that does not remove a child or children when a child is enduring torment and abuse.”

      Schaefer offered as an example an unnamed county in her district where she met with 37 families to discuss the “gestapo” tactics of the DFCS.

      “I witnessed the deceitful conditions under which children were taken in the middle of the night, out of hospitals and off school busses,”

      Schaefer said.

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

      Among Schaefer’s conclusions:

      • Poor parents are targeted to lose their children because they do not have the wherewithal to hire lawyers and fight the system.

      “Being poor does not mean you are not a good parent or that you do not love your child or that your child should be removed and placed with strangers,”

      Schaefer said.

    1. All parents are capable of making mistakes and that making a mistake does not mean children should be removed from the home.
    2. Parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling referrals, therapy classes, etc. are demanded of parents with no compassion by the system while they are at work and while their children are separated from them.
    3. Caseworkers and social workers are often guilty of fraud.
    4. “They withhold evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights. However, when charges are made against them, the charges are ignored,” Schaefer said.
    5. Separation of families is a growing business because local governments have grown accustomed to having taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-expanding budgets.
    6. DFCS and juvenile court can always hide behind a confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions.
    7. There are no financial resources and no real drive to unite a family and help keep them together.
    8. The incentive for social workers to return children to their parents quickly after taking them has disappeared.
    9. The policy manual for DFCS is considered the last word.“The manual is too long, too confusing, poorly written and doesn’t take the law into consideration,” Schaefer said.
    10. Children removed from homes may not be safer in foster care.“Children of whom I am aware have been raped and impregnated in foster care and the head of a foster parents association in my district was recently arrested because of child molestation,” Schaefer said.
    11. Grandparents are not often contacted by DFCS when children are removed from homes.“Grandparents who lose their grandchildren to strangers have lost their own flesh and blood. The children lose their family heritage, and grandparents lose all connections to their heirs,” Schaefer said.Schaefer is calling for an independent audit of DFCS to expose possible “corruption and fraud.”She also called for immediate change. “Every day that passes means more families and children are subject to being held hostage.”Schaefer said any financial incentives to separate families should end, and parents should be given their rights in writing.She also called for a required search for family members to be given the opportunity to adopt their own relatives, and when someone fabricates or presents false evidence, a hearing should be held with the right to discovery of all evidence.
    12. child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, family, foster care, government, missing child, system failure
      Failure to Protect – A look at CPS and the System

      I’ve added a new page,

      Failure to Protect – Caseworker Files.

      Go check it out and the source:

      PBS’s Frontline series about CPS and our families/system.

      The information and stories are indescribable
      and full of information everyone needs to know.
      I’d love your comments on it, and if you’ve been
      affected by CPS and the system, please tell us your story.
      Everyone deserves to be heard.
      “We see them in special education.
      We see them in the justice system.
      We see them in the prison system.
      We see them as parents,
      where now we’re asking them about taking away their children.
      So at some point, this country has got to come to grips,
      where the rhetoric about our children
      and the resources to carry out that rhetoric have
      got to be matched. And there is not so far demonstrated
      in this country that the political will is there to do that.”
      “The whole system is a way of dealing with poverty,
      especially with poor minority families. And maybe if
      we admit it, we would be more willing to take those
      billions and billions and billions of dollars spent
      on keeping children away from their families,
      on providing support for children and families to
      begin with, so that they wouldn’t have to end up
      in a system like this.”