Tag: domestic violence

cps, domestic violence, parental alienation syndrome
THE BATTERER IN CUSTODY AND VISITATION DISPUTES

 

If you are involved in a custody battle with your abuser, this article is a must-read.  I have included below only the topics and first paragraph of each, click on the topic to read the entire article.

UNDERSTANDING THE BATTERER IN CUSTODY AND VISITATION DISPUTES

by R. Lundy Bancroft c 1998

A sophisticated understanding of the mind of the abuser, his style as a parent, and of the tactics that he most commonly employs during separation and divorce, are essential to anyone making custody recommendations or working to design visitation plans that are safe for the children and their mother. Contrary to popular belief, children of batterers can be at just as much risk psychologically, sexually, and even physically after the couple splits up as they were when the family was still together. In fact, many children experience the most damaging victimization from the abuser at this point. A genuine batterer can be difficult to distinguish from one who is unfairly accused, and batterers who will be a grave risk to their children during unsupervised visitation can be hard to separate from those who can visit safely. The insights and expertise of those service providers who have extensive experience working directly with abusers needs to be drawn from, and the level of contribution from victims themselves to policy design also needs to be greatly increased. Custody and visitation battles amidst allegations of domestic violence require policies and interveners (judges, mediators, and Guardians Ad Litem) based in the most detailed knowledge, experience, sensitivity, and integrity. The stakes for children are very high.

This article is drawn largely from the author’s ten years of experience working as a counselor and supervisor in programs for abusive men, involving contact with some 1500 abusers, and hundreds of their victims, over that period. During the first few years of this period I worked almost exclusively with voluntary clients, and during the latter period worked primarily with court-mandated ones. The characteristics of the clients changed remarkably little during that shift. In the late 1980’s, professionals in batterer programs began paying particular attention to the behavior of clients with respect to probate processes, and we began asking victims more questions about the man’s conduct with respect to visitation and custody. Since leaving direct work with batterers, I have served with increasing frequency as a custody evaluator (both as Guardian ad Litem and as Care and Protection Investigator), and have worked closely with child protective services. I also have drawn from numerous published studies, several of which are listed in the back of this article. [I have chosen for reasons of ease to refer to the abuser as “he” and the victim as “she,” but I am aware that there is a small percentage of cases of domestic violence to which this language does not apply.]

PROFILE OF THE BATTERER  (view article)

Generalizations about batterers have to be made with caution. Batterers come from all socioeconomic backgrounds and levels of education. They have the full range of personality types, from mild and mousy to loud and aggressive. They are difficult to profile psychologically; they frequently fare well in psychological testing, often better than their victims do. People outside of a batterer’s immediate family do not generally perceive him as an abusive person, or even as an especially angry one. They are as likely to be very popular as they are to be “losers,” and they may be visible in their communities for their  rofessional success and for their civic involvement. Most friends, family, and associates in a batterer’s life find it jarring when they hear what he has done, and may deny that he is capable of those acts.The partner and children of a batterer will, however, experience generalizable characteristics, though he may conceal these aspects of his attitude and behavior when other people are present:

BATTERERS’ STYLE IN MEDIATION OR CUSTODY EVALUATION (view article)

Batterers naturally strive to turn mediation and GAL processes to their advantage, through the use of various tactics. Perhaps the most common is to adopt the role of a hurt, sensitive man who doesn’t understand how things got so bad and just wants to work it all out “for the good of the children.” He may cry in front of the mediator or GAL and use language that demonstrates considerable insight into his own feelings. He is likely to be skilled at explaining how other people have turned the victim against him, and how she is denying him access to the children as a form of revenge, “even though she knows full well that I would never do anything to hurt them.” He commonly accuses her of having mental health problems, and may state that her family and friends agree with him. The two most common negative characterizations he will use are that she is hysterical and that she is promiscuous. The abuser tends to be comfortable lying, having years of practice, and so can sound believable when making baseless statements. The abuser benefits to the detriment of his children if the court representative fails to look closely at the evidence – or ignores it – because of his charm. He also benefits when professionals believe that they can “just tell” who is lying and who is telling the truth, and so fail to adequately investigate. Because of the effects of trauma, the victim of battering will often seem hostile, disjointed, and agitated, while the abuser appears friendly, articulate, and calm. Evaluators are thus tempted to conclude that the victim is the source of the problems in the relationship.

WHY CHILD ABUSE MAY BE REPORTED AT SEPARATION/DIVORCE FOR THE FIRST TIME (view article)

Allegations of child abuse that arise during custody and visitation conflicts are treated with similar skepticism by court personnel and service providers. A large-scale national study found that the rate of false child sexual abuse allegations does not increase at this time, contrary to popular belief (Thoennes and Tjaden). As with domestic violence allegations, there is no substitute for careful and unbiased examination of the evidence. Batterers who do abuse their children can be convincing at portraying themselves as victims of a deliberate strategy on the part of the victim in order to derail proper investigating. There are two salient reasons why child abuse reports may first arise at separation or divorce. First, children may disclose abuse at this time that is longstanding. The awareness of the custody battle can make the children afraid of being placed in the abuser’s custody, or of being forced to spend increased time with him without the protective presence of the other parent. This fear can lead children to make the frightening leap involved in discussing the abuse. After separation, children may begin spending extended unsupervised time with the abuser for the first time ever, so that the abuse escalates or they fear that it will. Increased visitation may cause panic in a victim of child abuse; a case of mine illustrated this point, with a child disclosing a detailed history of sexual abuse immediately after her visitation with her father was increased from one night every other weekend to two. Finally, children are known to be more likely to disclose abuse in the midst of any disruption or major change in their lives. (See MacFarlane et. al. on the above points.)

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN BATTERING AND CHILD ABUSE (view article)

Batterers are several times as likely as non-batterers to abuse children, and this risk appears to increase rather than decrease when the couple separates. Multiple studies have shown that 50% to 70% of men who use violence against their intimate partners are physically abusive to their children as well. A batterer is seven times more likely than a non-batterer to frequently beat his children (Straus). A batterer is at least four times more likely than a non-batterer to be an incest perpetrator. (Herman 1991, McCLoskey et. al.) Psychological abuse to the children is almost always present where there is domestic violence; in fact, the abuse towards their primary caretaker is itself a form of emotional abuse of the children, as numerous studies now document. It is true that battered women are also more likely to abuse children than non-battered women are, but unlike with batterers, those levels decline rapidly once the relationship separates(Edleson and Schecter).

JANET JOHNSTON’S TYPOLOGY OF BATTERERS AND THE AFCC RISK ASSESSMENT:THE QUEST FOR SIMPLE SOLUTIONS (view article)

Efforts are underway nationally to ease the complexity of assessing risk to children from visitation with batterers by placing batterers into distinct types, based largely on the work of Janet Johnston. For example, a risk assessment distributed nationally by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) draws heavily from Johnston’s work. The types Johnston posits are as follows:

Type A: “Ongoing or Episodic Male Battering”

Type B: “Female-Initiated Violence”

Type C: “Male Controlled Interactive Violence”

Type D: “Separation and Postdivorce Violence”

Type E: “Psychotic and Paranoid Reactions”

ASSESSMENT OF RISK TO CHILDREN FROM VISITATION WITH A BATTERER (view article)

Assessing the safety of children with batterers during unsupervised visitation requires careful examination of all available evidence, with as few preconceptions as possible about the credibility of either party. Even a highly skilled service provider cannot “just tell” that an alleged abuser is telling the truth or is not dangerous, even after several hours of interviews and even with the assistance of psychological testing. These can be important sources of information, but careful assessment of the alleged victim’s version of events, comparison with outside sources (to assess credibility), examination of court records, and confrontation of the alleged abuser to assess his reactions are all essential to an evaluation.

(view article)

cps, parental alienation syndrome
Heartbroken Parents of Alienated Children Never Stop Trying To Reach Out To Their Children

source:

Alienated parents share unanswered texts to their kids and it’s crushing

by:Alexandra Carlton

Being prevented from seeing or communicating with your child is a special kind of hell – but a parent’s love never dies.

Imagine if you were unable to see or speak to your own young child.

You may know where they live. You may have a phone number or email address or social media handle for them.

But because they live with a hostile parent who controls their contact – your efforts to communicate disappear into a black hole of despair.

Alienated parents, also known as ‘targeted parents’ are distinct from estranged parents, who have a rift in their relationship with a child for a legitimate reason such as abuse, neglect or infidelity.

Alienated children have been caught in high-conflict separations where they have been forced to choose a side, and are aligned, both physically and emotionally, with one parent, rejecting the other.

Reaching out to an alienated child: ‘Never give up’

For loving parents, yearning for child who is alive but cut off from them is a special kind of agony – a pain some have described as “a living death”.

Almost all targeted parents continue to reach out to their children by whatever means available, as a way to let their children know that they haven’t given up. Amanda Sillars, who runs alienated support group The Eeny Meeny Miney Mo Foundation, calls these communication attempts “breadcrumbs of love”.

I asked a dozen alienated parents to share some of these “breadcrumbs of love” – messages of unbreakable love that went unanswered.

The responses are beyond heartbreaking:

This mum sent thousands of unanswered messages to her sons over the years before discovering their phone had been cut off. Source: Alex Carlton

Parents never give up – no matter what. Source: Alex Carlton

What does parental alienation look like?

Never assume that a parent who doesn’t see their child has done something wrong.

In some cases there may be court orders that mandate that the child must see both parents, but the alienating parent defies them with impunity.

Sometimes there may be no court orders but the alienating parent has successfully ‘turned’ a child against their mother or father, resulting in the child taking one parents’ side in an effort to reduce the conflict between the parents.

In almost all cases, the alienated child had a loving, normal and secure relationship with the parent they no longer see before the alienation happened – even if their demeanour towards the targeted parent has become hostile.

What does the research say?

There is little Australian data available about parental alienation but according to a study from published in the Children and Youth Services Review, at least 22 million American parents may be a victim of this terrible form of abuse.

It’s thought to affect both mothers and father equally. It can be a difficult concept to understand, even for professionals. Research about it is minimal and there is little consensus about appropriate remedies.

It is recognised in courts in the US, Canada and the UK – and increasingly in Australia – but more research is needed to find out why it happens, what the effects are on children and parents and the what the legal and therapeutic communities can do to help those it affects. The Australian Institute of Family Studies has some information here.

If you are a parent who is alienated from their child or a child who is alienated from a parent, The Eenie Meenie Miney Mo Foundation has some excellent resources that may help.

Most of all, stay strong. And never give up.

How to reach out to your alienated child

Amanda Sillars urges targeted parents to keep trying to contact their children, even if they receive no response, as they may one day be the ‘breadcrumbs’ that their children can follow to reconnect and reunite with the parent they love and terribly miss.

“Often the children read the messages but they don’t want to be caught responding,” she explains. “You might not see the positive outcomes for months or years – but your kids may one day have an opportunity, away from the house or on holidays, to try and reach out. Don’t give up.”

She offers some excellent tips for parents trying to communicate with their alienated child here.

Tips for reaching out to an alienated child

  • Speak with love and kindness
  • Always stay calm and never react
  • Focus forward
  • Don’t bombard them with communications even though you may be excited to get a break through
  • Expect crumbs in communication – anything more is a bonus
  • No response is not always a bad thing
  • Be the best version of you
  • Avoid dark and heavy conversations
  • Show your children that you are interested in them
  • Ask them about school, activities or hobbies they may be involved in, friendships they have and so on
  • Avoid talking about the situation
  • Remember: actions speak louder than words
  • Don’t make promises you cannot fulfil
cps
Understanding The Batterer In Custody and Visitation Disputes

If you are involved in a custody battle with your abuser, ESPECIALLY if Child Protective Services has involved themselves in your life, this article is a must-read.

by R. Lundy Bancroft

accountability, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, foster care, government, reform, social services, system failure, texas, welfare reform
‘Major epidemic’ Says the BBC – UK Investigates Child Abuse in the U.S.

America’s child death shame 

Every five hours a child dies from abuse or neglect in the US.

The latest government figures show an estimated 1,770 children were killed as a result of maltreatment in 2009.

A recent congressional report concludes the real number could be nearer 2,500.  In fact, America has the worst child abuse record in the industrialized world.

Why?

The BBC’s Natalia Antelava investigates. (VIDEO)
Sixty-six children under the age of 15 die from physical abuse or neglect every week in the industrialized world. Twenty-seven of those die in the US – the highest number of any other country.
Even when populations are taken into account, Unicef research from 2001 places the US equal bottom with Mexico on child deaths from maltreatment.
In Texas, one of the states with the worst child abuse records, the Dallas Children’s Medical Center is dealing with a rising number of abused children and increasing levels of violence.
Meanwhile, the Houston Center is expanding its services to deal with the rising problem of child sex abuse.
 
(Video) 
 The doctor’s experience 
 

 
(Video)
Inside a Houston help center

Emma’s story

Emma Thompson was just four years old when she was beaten to death in 2009. Her injuries included broken ribs, a bloodied lip, widespread bruising and a fractured skull. She had also been raped.Her mother and her mother’s partner have been jailed over the abuse. But Emma’s father, Ben, believes his daughter was let down by everyone around her.

(Video) ‘Everybody missed the signs’
 

Who’s to blame?

Just like Emma Thompson, hundreds more children fall through the cracks of the child protection system. Some blame overworked investigators and inefficient management, while others say it’s the federal government’s drive to keep families together that is the problem.
But child protection officials in Texas, a state with one of the highest total number of child deaths from abuse and neglect in the US, say such cases are complicated and difficult to assess – especially when a child’s guardians are hiding what is really going on.
 
 
Model of a child from a tv ad aimed at reducing abuse
The Child Protection Challenge
 
 
 
 

How to stop it

In Washington, politicians are beginning to recognize what some now describe as a “national crisis”.A congressional hearing in July heard from experts in the field about what can be done to prevent deaths from child abuse.

A national commission is being set up to coordinate a country-wide response.Many believe home visits to new parents by qualified health professionals, preparing them for the difficulties of family life, are key to that strategy.

(video) Teaching parents to be parentsTeenagers describe the challenges of having children young

Cycle of violence

While child abuse blights the lives of victims’ families, its devastating impact is felt far beyond relatives and friends.

(Video) ‘You only know anger and violence’ 
Victim Stacey Kananen on the lasting impact of abuse 
Abused children are 74 times more likely to commit crimes against others and six times more likely to maltreat their own children, according to the Texas Association for the Protection of Children. For this reason, experts believe it is in the US government’s as well as society’s interest to ensure children are protected from abuse. 
 
Each and every citizen, they say, has a responsibility to help break this cycle of violence.
Design: Mark Bryson. Production: Franz Strasser, Bill McKenna, Lucy Rodgers and Luke Ward.

EXPERTS VIEW

Millions of children are reported as abused and neglected every year

Why is the problem of violence against children so much more acute in the US than anywhere else in the industrialized world, asks Michael Petit, President of Every Child Matters.

Over the past 10 years, more than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members. That is nearly four times the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The child maltreatment death rate in the US is triple Canada’s and 11 times that of Italy. Millions of children are reported as abused and neglected every year. Why is that?

Downward spiral

Part of the answer is that teen pregnancy, high-school dropout, violent crime, imprisonment, and poverty – factors associated with abuse and neglect – are generally much higher in the US.

Michael Petit

“The sharp differences between the states raises the question of an expanded federal role” Michael Petit – Every Child Matters

Further, other rich nations have social policies that provide child care, universal health insurance, pre-school, parental leave and visiting nurses to virtually all in need.

In the US, when children are born into young families not prepared to receive them, local social safety nets may be frayed, or non-existent. As a result, they are unable to compensate for the household stress the child must endure.

In the most severe situations, there is a predictable downward spiral and a child dies. Some 75% of these children are under four, while nearly half are under one.

Geography matters a lot in determining child well-being. Take the examples of Texas and Vermont.

Texas prides itself in being a low tax, low service state. Its per capita income places it in the middle of the states, while its total tax burden – its willingness to tax itself – is near the bottom.

Vermont, in contrast, is at the other extreme. It is a high-tax, high-service state.

Mix of risks

In looking at key indicators of well-being, children from Texas are twice as likely to drop out of high school as children from Vermont. They are four times more likely to be uninsured, four times more likely to be incarcerated, and nearly twice as likely to die from abuse and neglect.

Texas spending

  • $6.25 billion (£4.01bn) spent in 2007 on direct and indirect costs dealing with after-effects of child abuse and neglect
  • $0.05 billion (£0.03bn) budgeted in 2011 for prevention and early intervention
Source: Univ of Houston, TexProtects

In Texas, a combination of elements add to the mix of risks that a child faces. These include a higher poverty rate in Texas, higher proportions of minority children, lower levels of educational attainment, and a political culture which holds a narrower view of the role of government in addressing social issues.

Texas, like many other traditionally conservative states, is likely to have a weaker response to families that need help in the first place, and be less efficient in protecting children after abuse occurs.

The sharp differences between the states raises the question of an expanded federal role.

Are children Texas children first? Or are they first American children with equal opportunity and protection?

Blame parents?

A national strategy, led by our national government, needs to be developed and implemented. For a start, the Congress should adopt legislation that would create a National Commission to End Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities.

Woman holding a baby
Nearly half the child fatalities in 2009 were children under the age of one

And no children’s programmes should be on the chopping block, federal or state. Children did not crash the US economy. It is both shortsighted economic policy and morally wrong to make them pay the price for fixing it.

But instead as the US economy lags, child poverty soars, and states cut billions in children’s services, we are further straining America’s already weak safety net.

Inevitably, it means more children will die. The easy answer is to blame parents and already burdened child protection workers. But easy answers don’t solve complex problems.

And with millions of children injured and thousands killed, this problem is large indeed, and it deserves a large response.

Michael Petit is the president of Every Child Matters. He served as the state of Maine’s human services commissioner, and as deputy of the Child Welfare League of America.

Related Internet links: 
Justice for Children 
Every Child Matters
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites
 Your comments (66) This entry is now closed for comments

Comment number66.

 cka1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 23:21

Virgil – Thank you for the full report. My guess is that DC isn’t a state and Nevada has a whole host of other religious issues that would make counting impossible. It is legal for a man to marry multiple underage wives of which he is related. Doesn’t happen in any other state, at least not legally. Wyoming and Montana barely have 100,000 children in them, so statistically not significant.

Comment number65.

 thehughes69
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:51

we in the uk need to worry about staying under torie leadership any longer, sorry to knock the yanks but were starting to see steps towards private healthcare like the us where the poor are left behind and the lowering of funds into social services with money going elsewhere bit like texas ey

Comment number64.

 Karen Spears Zacharias
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:48

Once again the BBC proves why it’s a news source I turn to as a journalist. Here you are doing the story that America journalists shy away from. For the past five years, I’ve been at work on a book about this issue. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] I applaud Natalia Antelava & BBC for the courage in addressing this national shame.

Comment number63.

 marie
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:48

contd No part of the world is free from this horror, but some parts of the world have far less abuse of children. It makes sense to discover possible reasons why this might be so; those countries with higher stats might then learn from this & be able to do so much more to protect their vulnerable children.

Comment number62.

 marie
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:37

@ 56 Why on earth would anyone jeer at the spectre of child abuse, whether it takes place in the USA, UK or on the Indian subcontinent?
By comparing figures across the world & looking at factors implicated such as poverty, educational levels, aswell as care provision, steps can be taken to reduce child abuse in areas where it is high, improving the lives &mortality of children who live there.

Comment number61.

 thehughes69
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:33

bit of an eye opener
think its a piece about the surprise that a country like the us has these problems were others are maybe known about

Comment number60.

 inthewakeofautism
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:27

I would like to see the statistics on children killed who are living with both their Biological parents vs those with non biological parents especially people referred to as partners in the article. I think living arrangements contribute to this most heinous of acts.

Comment number59.

 thekuhl1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 22:10

Where is China in this report or India??

Comment number58.

 thekuhl1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 21:55

This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

Comment number57.

 HMayhan
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 21:40

I am not saying there isn’t a problem with violence against children in the US. In fact I agree it is ridiculously commonplace. But reading this on a BBC website smacks of the pot calling the kettle black. Hardly a day goes by on the UK section of this website without news of a kid getting killed in the UK.

Comment number56.

 kcwhattrick
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 21:24

Why is it that Europeans take tragedies such as this and use them to jeer other countries? It’s very strange and somewhat perverted behavior. A normal person would feel horror and sadness at such a thing happening to children, yet the Europeans use it more as a way of saying “Ha, knew things were better over here all along.” Really sad way of behaving.

Comment number55.

 assynt1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 21:06

Once you start helping these kids, you can’t stop. They will truly motivate you. I always say that they deserve not just good care, but the BEST care we can give them as a community. One more thing on perp stats. There is a type of abuse that used to be called Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, now called Medical Child Abuse. Mothers are almost exclusively the perpetrators in that case.

Comment number54.

 tre4w
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:57

as a student social worker this piece really galvanises me to get out there and make a difference in the lives of kids, although i’m going to have to get past the gut wrenching reaction it provokes in me first…

Comment number53.

 assynt1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:58

You are welcome for the info. There are certain scenarios where it is “classic” to have a male perp (unrelated male living in the household as a risk for sexual abuse). If we think about the stressors that influence abuse and neglect (poverty, single parent, lack of social support, young age) and who the primary caretakers are, it’s no wonder that moms are more common in overall numbers.

Comment number52.

 stebsb
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:44

@assynt1:

Thanks for the info – although I’m not as informed on the subject as I’d like to be (and as you are obviously are!) I was surprised in what I’d read how women were more likely to be abusive than I’d thought; and I was also shocked to read how some feminists simply deny that female abuse occurs, insisting it’s virtually exclusively inflicted by men.

Comment number51.

 assynt1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:38

The perpetrators are parents 75% of the time, with mothers as the most common at 1/3, both together at 1/5 and just dads at around 1/5. This is likely because mothers tend to be caring for the kids more and so have more access. The only exception is child sexual abuse where the abusers are overwhelmingly male at 90%.

Comment number50.

 assynt1
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:36

Reply to question about geneder of perp and vics. In US, overall girls and boys are victimized at the same rate. Girls are higher for sexual abuse and boys are slightly higher for physical abuse. Neglect, though, is the number one type of abuse and occurs in equal numbers of boys and girls.

Comment number49.

 Bb
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:26

Parental rights far out way the children needs. I am personally aware of children placed in good foster homes, then removed and placed back with their abusive family.

The second issue is Right to life vs Right to choice, both should focus their resources on unwanted pregnancy. That would cut down on abortions and unwanted babies.

Comment number48. rich
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:22

Interesting to note that the comparative numbers are given for Canada and Italy. Based on the numbers in this report Italy has 181 child homicides a year. The UK by comparison has around 60 per year

http://www.nspcc.org.uk/inform/research/statistics/child_homicide_statistics_wda48747.html – Now who was it that said that British social workers were failing?

Comment number47.

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 ChildPerson
17TH OCTOBER 2011 – 20:01

Supreme Court refused to take on any responsibility for child abuse, because, wrote Chief Rehnquist in DeShaney v. Winnebago County, 1989, “A state’s failure to protect an individual against private violence” was not a denial of the victim’s rights as the state…”played no part in their [dangers to the child]creation, nor did it do anything to render him any more vulnerable to them.” Joshua died

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accountability, awareness, child abuser, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, Collin County, Texas, custody, families, family, healing, kids, parental alienation syndrome, psychiatry
Parental Alienation Do’s and Don’ts

hurt

What you do and don’t do when as a loving parent you are confronted with a severe case of Parental Alienation Syndrome in your child?

PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME – DO’S

DO…start to immediately educate yourself, your lawyer, your Judge, your psychologist and your child, if possible, about PAS.

This is one of the most widespread forms of emotional child abuse there is arising out of our Family Court system today and there are at least 1,000 internet web sites for you to obtain information from about PAS.

DO…fully prepare yourself for your Court presentation about PAS.

To do this you should print and make several copies of all the information on PAS you find on these web sites and put them in at least four (4) separate booklets and entitle them.. “URGENT IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THE COURT ON PAS…What you need to know about the abuse of my child to save him/her and me from a lifetime of pain and suffering”.

Before you go into Court you should give one of these booklets to your lawyer and your psychologist while keeping one for yourself and the Court.

DO…tell the Court if they don’t act immediately to stop your child’s abuse, you will take your PAS case and all the proof and evidence you provided the Court on your child’s PAS condition to the local newspapers and T.V. stations

…AND…

you will post your case and Judge’s name on all the PAS internet web sites for the whole world to see how derelict the Court was in not carrying out its responsibility to protect your child from your former spouse’s severe emotional abuse and the permanent destruction of you and your child’s relationship together.

DO…keep your faith in God and yourself at all times while always taking the high road to fight and solve this  problem.

DO…continue to reach out to your PAS affected child no matter how many times they tell you how much they hate you and never want to see you again.

While they may say these things to you, the fact is they really don’t hate you and actually yearn desperately to see you again, but those feelings are not allowed any expression by the abusing parent.

If you have a flair for the dramatic to make your point you can also add a reprint of my web site home page with my daughter’s picture and number of days I have not seen her because of PAS and the Court’s refusal to intervene to stop her abuse.

At the top of the page you should also write in big letters ….“I DO NOT INTEND TO ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN TO ME AND MY CHILD”

DO…take off the gloves and demand immediate action by the Court to STOP the abuse of your child.

Remind the Court in the strongest terms possible that your child’s life, mental health and their continued on going relationship with you is at stake…AND…that if they don’t intervene immediately the chances of ever saving your child and your relationship together will be ZERO.

DO…trust your own instincts as a parent to do what is in the best interests of your child when confronted with this PAS problem…AND…if the Court won’t protect your child’s interests, then you will protect his/her interests yourself.

This you will do by public exposure of your case to the media until the Court does protect your child’s interests as the law requires them to do. It may take a long time but you must never ever give up the fight.

photo-029

PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME – DON’TS

DON’T…trust or count on ANYONE to know anything about PAS or to try and help you save your child and your relationship together.

Almost all lawyers, Judges, psychologists and Court mediators who are involved in your case KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT PAS…AND…even if they did would probably not have the time or be able to fully understand your case and how important it is for Court intervention to stop your child’s PAS abuse.

In most PAS cases none of these people really care about helping you and your child either.

DON’T…delude yourself into thinking that your local Family Court, your Judge, your lawyer, your psychologist or  anyone else but you really wants to look out for and protect the best interests of your child.

DON’T…trust or count on ANYONE to properly educate themselves on PAS. This is particularly true about your  former spouse, Family Court Judges and Court appointed psychologists.

You must do all this research and education about PAS  yourself to pass on to all the people involved in your case.

DON’T…allow the Court or anyone else to intimidate you.

You will be challenged at every turn and told you don’t know what you are talking about when you mention PAS.

Many will also tell you that PAS is nothing more than a figment of your imagination and that it has never been proven and doesn’t even exist in the Psychiatric Association’s Bible of mental and psychiatric disorders known as DSM-IV. Some of these people will further tell you that this was only a “pipe dream” invented by Dr. Richard Gardner to sell his books.

DON’T believe a word these people tell you and never give in to their intimidating tactics to discredit you, PAS or Dr. Gardner.

DON’T…allow the Court or anyone else to delay or prolong your Court hearing on this matter.

The longer this PAS abuse goes on with your child, the more difficult it will be for you to do anything to stop it…AND…If it goes on for too long without Court intervention (ie. 6 months or more) then your chances of ever re-establishing a normal healthy relationship with your child will start to approach ZERO.

DON’T…engage in any kind of retaliatory brainwashing PAS abuse of your child yourself.

The temptation is always there to “fight fire with fire” when you are being attacked and maligned by your former spouse, BUT DON’T EVER DO IT.

REMEMBER what I said before. Always take the High Moral ground for your child and if you want to get angry and verbally attack someone, get angry and attack the people who are doing this to your child.

Never get angry at your child for how he/she is behaving or in any other way do anything to further hurt your child.

You must be able to walk a fine line always trusting in yourself and your God to see and fight this thing through for the ultimate best interests of your child and yourself.

DON’T…ever GIVE UP no matter how many well meaning and/or not so well meaning people tell you to do so.

You will constantly hear people tell you that you should merely give up the fight to save your child from PAS and wait until they grow up and find out for themselves how badly they were abused by your former spouse and the Court.

This would be the same as letting your child drown until they learned how to swim themselves. You have a solemn duty to protect your children and thus you cannot ever shirk from that duty.

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, system failure
Breaking The Silence – Moms Losing Child Custody To Their Batterers?

This is the program that aired on Public Television in October of 2005.

The documentary tells the stories of children who are taken away from their protective mothers.

October is domestic violence awareness month

This October –

Listen.

Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories (BTS) chronicles the impact of domestic violence on children and the recurring failings of family courts across the country to protect them from their abusers. In stark and often poignant interviews, children and battered mothers tell their stories of abuse at home and continued trauma within the courts. The producers approached the topic with the open mindedness and commitment to fairness that we require of our journalists. Their research was extensive and supports the conclusions drawn in the program. Funding from the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation met PBS’s underwriting guidelines; the Foundation had no editorial influence on program content.

However, the program would have benefited from more in-depth treatment of the complex issues surrounding child custody and the role of family courts and most specifically the provocative topic of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Additionally, the documentary’s “first-person story telling approach” did not allow the depth of the producers’ research to be as evident to the viewer as it could have been.

PBS has received a substantial body of analysis and documentation from both supporters of the documentary and its critics.

It is clear to us that this complex and important issue would benefit from further examination. To that end, PBS will commission an hour-long documentary for that purpose. Plans call for the documentary to be produced and broadcast in Spring 2006. We expect that the hour-long treatment of the subject will allow ample opportunity for doctors, psychologists, judges, parent advocates and victims of abuse to have their perspectives shared, challenged and debated.

About The Documentary, And The Malicious Fathers’ Rights Attacks Against It

Critics of Child Abuse Film Miss the Point in Rush to Defend Fathers”. Article By Paul J. Fink, Judge Sol Gothard, and Tasha Amador. Article addresses misconceptions circulated by fathers’ rights activists about domestic violence and the documentary. In particular focuses on writings by fathers’ rights activist Glenn Sacks.

The Latest Fathers’ Rights Attack Against “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories. Pro-PAS nonsense masquerading as fact.

“Custody Fight”, by Bob Port. A supportive article about the documentary. (This article is also available on my blog.)

The National Organization For Women On “Breaking The Silence”. This article is also available on my blog.

Angry Fathers’ Rights Activists Vs. PBS.

Caught In The Middle: Documentary shows how kids can be pawns in abuse, custody cases”.

Press Release From Stop Family Violence .

Stop Family Violence – Petition To Air “Breaking The Silence”.

Stop Family Violence: Shocking PBS Documentary Exposes Secrets Of Family Court.

October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Includes mention of “Breaking The Silence” and fathers’ rights protests.

Blogcritics: An Important Documentary – “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

Blogcritics: Fathers’ Rights Activists Livid Over Airing Of “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, system failure
Breaking The Silence – Moms Losing Child Custody To Their Batterers?

This is the program that aired on Public Television in October of 2005.

The documentary tells the stories of children who are taken away from their protective mothers.

October is domestic violence awareness month

This October –

Listen.

Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories (BTS) chronicles the impact of domestic violence on children and the recurring failings of family courts across the country to protect them from their abusers. In stark and often poignant interviews, children and battered mothers tell their stories of abuse at home and continued trauma within the courts. The producers approached the topic with the open mindedness and commitment to fairness that we require of our journalists. Their research was extensive and supports the conclusions drawn in the program. Funding from the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation met PBS’s underwriting guidelines; the Foundation had no editorial influence on program content.

However, the program would have benefited from more in-depth treatment of the complex issues surrounding child custody and the role of family courts and most specifically the provocative topic of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Additionally, the documentary’s “first-person story telling approach” did not allow the depth of the producers’ research to be as evident to the viewer as it could have been.

PBS has received a substantial body of analysis and documentation from both supporters of the documentary and its critics.

It is clear to us that this complex and important issue would benefit from further examination. To that end, PBS will commission an hour-long documentary for that purpose. Plans call for the documentary to be produced and broadcast in Spring 2006. We expect that the hour-long treatment of the subject will allow ample opportunity for doctors, psychologists, judges, parent advocates and victims of abuse to have their perspectives shared, challenged and debated.

About The Documentary, And The Malicious Fathers’ Rights Attacks Against It

Critics of Child Abuse Film Miss the Point in Rush to Defend Fathers”. Article By Paul J. Fink, Judge Sol Gothard, and Tasha Amador. Article addresses misconceptions circulated by fathers’ rights activists about domestic violence and the documentary. In particular focuses on writings by fathers’ rights activist Glenn Sacks.

The Latest Fathers’ Rights Attack Against “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories. Pro-PAS nonsense masquerading as fact.

“Custody Fight”, by Bob Port. A supportive article about the documentary. (This article is also available on my blog.)

The National Organization For Women On “Breaking The Silence”. This article is also available on my blog.

Angry Fathers’ Rights Activists Vs. PBS.

Caught In The Middle: Documentary shows how kids can be pawns in abuse, custody cases”.

Press Release From Stop Family Violence .

Stop Family Violence – Petition To Air “Breaking The Silence”.

Stop Family Violence: Shocking PBS Documentary Exposes Secrets Of Family Court.

October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Includes mention of “Breaking The Silence” and fathers’ rights protests.

Blogcritics: An Important Documentary – “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

Blogcritics: Fathers’ Rights Activists Livid Over Airing Of “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, system failure
Breaking The Silence – Moms Losing Child Custody To Their Batterers?

This is the program that aired on Public Television in October of 2005.

The documentary tells the stories of children who are taken away from their protective mothers.

October is domestic violence awareness month

This October –

Listen.

Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories (BTS) chronicles the impact of domestic violence on children and the recurring failings of family courts across the country to protect them from their abusers. In stark and often poignant interviews, children and battered mothers tell their stories of abuse at home and continued trauma within the courts. The producers approached the topic with the open mindedness and commitment to fairness that we require of our journalists. Their research was extensive and supports the conclusions drawn in the program. Funding from the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation met PBS’s underwriting guidelines; the Foundation had no editorial influence on program content.

However, the program would have benefited from more in-depth treatment of the complex issues surrounding child custody and the role of family courts and most specifically the provocative topic of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Additionally, the documentary’s “first-person story telling approach” did not allow the depth of the producers’ research to be as evident to the viewer as it could have been.

PBS has received a substantial body of analysis and documentation from both supporters of the documentary and its critics.

It is clear to us that this complex and important issue would benefit from further examination. To that end, PBS will commission an hour-long documentary for that purpose. Plans call for the documentary to be produced and broadcast in Spring 2006. We expect that the hour-long treatment of the subject will allow ample opportunity for doctors, psychologists, judges, parent advocates and victims of abuse to have their perspectives shared, challenged and debated.

About The Documentary, And The Malicious Fathers’ Rights Attacks Against It

Critics of Child Abuse Film Miss the Point in Rush to Defend Fathers”. Article By Paul J. Fink, Judge Sol Gothard, and Tasha Amador. Article addresses misconceptions circulated by fathers’ rights activists about domestic violence and the documentary. In particular focuses on writings by fathers’ rights activist Glenn Sacks.

The Latest Fathers’ Rights Attack Against “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories. Pro-PAS nonsense masquerading as fact.

“Custody Fight”, by Bob Port. A supportive article about the documentary. (This article is also available on my blog.)

The National Organization For Women On “Breaking The Silence”. This article is also available on my blog.

Angry Fathers’ Rights Activists Vs. PBS.

Caught In The Middle: Documentary shows how kids can be pawns in abuse, custody cases”.

Press Release From Stop Family Violence .

Stop Family Violence – Petition To Air “Breaking The Silence”.

Stop Family Violence: Shocking PBS Documentary Exposes Secrets Of Family Court.

October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Includes mention of “Breaking The Silence” and fathers’ rights protests.

Blogcritics: An Important Documentary – “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

Blogcritics: Fathers’ Rights Activists Livid Over Airing Of “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

child abuser, cps, system failures, writing
How to prepare if you are falsely reported for abuse or neglect
416514122_0597a8826f_o.jpg

Because the swing of every pendulum brings with it potential adverse consequences, it is important to emphasize that in the area of child abuse, as with the investigation and prosecution of all crimes, the state is constrained by the substantive and procedural guarantees of the Constitution. The fact that the suspected crime may be heinous – whether it involves children or adults – does not provide cause for the state to ignore the rights of the accused or any other parties. Otherwise, serious injustices may result.
Syl.Pt.3,WALLIS v. SPENCER, 202 F.3d 1126(9th Cir. 2000)
I ran across a group of articles on Helium about CPS and what to do when they come knockin’…

There’s no definite answer but having been through it I have the knowledge of the system and CPS, and even with all the cases I’ve seen, I don’t know how to tell you, this is what you should do. Every case is different and you should contact an attorney for the best personalized legal advice.

Being falsely accused is one of the worst nightmares a good parent can go through. It destroys lives. It kills…. (I’ve read several suicide reports after such family tragedies); most of all, it takes a child’s innocence and childhood from them. It forever changed my world, and it won’t ever be the same. Sometimes, like in my case, the children never come home. Its devastating. I’m still not over it, nor will I ever be. They destroyed me when I lost my boy…. I was a good mom falsely accused.

I couldn’t have prepared for it, when you’re falsely accused you don’t expect to be accused,and you don’t expect to be doubted by the state.If you’ve never dealt with them before, CPS is supposed to help families and until you see for yourself the flaws, there’s no way to believe how wrongly a good parent can be treated. I have faith in the merits of my case, in the system, and in the truth. I never expected my son wouldn’t come home. I knew I hadn’t abused him. However, my faith in the system was where I went wrong. Don’t take for granted it could happen to you. It can happen to anyone, and its the worst pain/nightmare a parent can imagine…. particularly when the child is injured, killed, or never comes home. No parent can prepare for that. Its a tragedy.

# 1 tip I tell parents is to TAPE RECORD EVERYTHING – EVERY VISIT, EVERY INTERACTION with the child, the CPS social workers, the front desk lady, even.TAPE EVERY meeting, phonecall, etc., tape it all. Its value may not be realised until late in your case or even after your case is complete when you recall something that was said, or when something conflicts with something else, etc. Keep those tapes securely in a safe place, and make copies.

5715143.jpgOther best advice I have – don’t take anything for granted, and kiss your babies twice every night that you put them to bed. Once for you, and once for all the parents who can’t kiss their kids goodnight.

They may not be there tomorrow.

Thank you to Helium.com and the writers for their contributions. You can also see my articles on Helium here.

How to prepare if you are falsely reported for abuse or neglect

  • by Dan Weaver October 4, 2004. I will remember that day for the rest of my life. For me, September 11, 2001 fades in comparison bec… read more
  • by Catsy Jones I can remember the day quite clearly. I was sitting on the couch, my husband was packing our things for the move to o… read more
  • by Frances Gordon I’ve had allot of experience with child Protection Services. A great deal of experience. The Departments vary a lit… read more
  • by Shanna Coon No one expects to be falsely accused of child abuse or neglect; yet bogus cases are reported daily to Child Protectiv… read more
  • by Sabrina Schleiger First of all, let me just say that if your child has any birth marks or blotches on his or her skin, be sure to tell … read more

View All Articles on: How to prepare if you are falsely reported for abuse or neglect

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child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, health, lawsuits, legal
Foster care abuse alleged


Foster care abuse alleged

Two brothers claim in a lawsuit that the state failed to stop their sexual and physical abuse.

By LEONORA LaPETER
Published October 13, 2004


PINELLAS PARK – The two brothers grew up in separate foster homes, but both say they were abused again and again – physically and sexually – while in foster care in Hillsborough County.One brother said he was sodomized in three different homes. The other claimed he was also raped and forced to sit in his urine for hours or kept outside without food or water.

Both brothers, Jesus de la Cruz and Sue F. Flores, claim in a lawsuit against the state Department of Children and Families filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court Tuesday that they told caseworkers about the abuse. But either nothing was done or they were moved to another bad situation year after year, the suit says.

Jesus de la Cruz, now 24 and out of foster care for six years, stood in his lawyer’s conference room Tuesday and held up a poster board picture of himself as a toddler when he was placed into the foster system. Cruz, reeling from the loss of his premature 5-month-old daughter a few days ago, said he wanted to come forward to help other children.

“This has been going on for a long time, … and I don’t want it to happen to any more children,” he said. “They didn’t look out for my safety. They weren’t protecting me.”

A number of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of children who suffered abuse or neglect in the foster care system over the years. But they typically take years to litigate and many are dismissed because of a lack of evidence.

“With these sort of lawsuits there are procedural hurdles that often prevent the court from getting to the substance of the issue, which is, that while the state had these children, they allowed them to get hurt,” said Gerard Glynn, executive director of the statewide children’s advocacy group, Florida’s Children First, in Orlando. “And the question is, should they be allowed to be made whole? … The state does everything in its power to avoid addressing that question.”

DCF spokesman Andy Ritter said the agency had not yet received the brothers’ lawsuit, but department policy prevented him from commenting on it anyway. He said the department has a zero tolerance policy for any abuse in foster care homes.

Asked if anything had changed at the agency since de la Cruz, the youngest brother, left the foster care system six years ago, Ritter said a department representative now visits all 29,284 children in the foster care system once a month.

Joseph H. Saunders, attorney for de la Cruz and Flores, said the brothers’ case files are full of their claims of abuse but show little action on the part of the state to either investigate their plight or check into their foster families.

“The failings of the department resulted from a lack of funding and inadequate staffing of the department,” said Saunders, a Pinellas Park attorney who has also handled some cases on behalf of victims alleging abuse by priests.

Though lawsuits over abuse in the foster care system are difficult to win, some cases have resulted in judgments. Still, there is a statutory $100,000 cap on the state’s liability. Any judgment above that must be approved by the Legislature in a special spending bill.

Some cases have been won by filing a federal civil rights lawsuit. One 16-year-old girl who was repeatedly raped by her foster father in Miami-Dade County beginning when she was 8 years old won a $650,000 settlement this way, said Karen Gievers, her Tallahassee attorney and president of Children’s Advocacy Foundation, a nonprofit organization set up to educate about children’s needs.

De la Cruz, who is now disabled from a car accident, was first placed into a foster care home when he was about 3 years old because his mother, who had six children, was an alcoholic who left them unsupervised and without food, the lawsuit says.

In his second foster care home when he was 7, he claims he was sodomized and his sister was raped by another older son of the family.

In all, he was moved about a dozen times to foster homes in Brandon, Tampa and Plant City and sexually abused by different people when he was 10 and 14. De la Cruz’s sister, who was placed with him, is not part of the lawsuit, and he said he had not seen her in some time.

The other brother, Flores, now 32, was placed in 16 different foster homes. He was not present at the news conference in Saunders’ office Tuesday. But he claims he was sexually abused beginning when he was 9. He said he informed his counselor, but no one believed him, the lawsuit says.

De la Cruz said he also faced disbelief on the part of his caseworkers. They continued to write reports that indicated the abuse was unfounded.

“I was very afraid and I couldn’t trust nobody,” said de la Cruz, who attended Sickles High School in northwest Hillsborough County. “I felt no one believed me, No. 1 because I was a boy.”

He said he had not sought criminal charges against any of the people he claims abused him, but Saunders said he might do so in the future.

He said the abuse has scarred him emotionally and made him question his sexuality, “whether I was going to be gay.”

“I had a lot of anger and I took a lot of therapy,” he said. “If it weren’t for therapy, I’d probably be one of them (an abuser).”

[Last modified October 13, 2004, 00:37:14]