Public officials call for major changes in family law - CA parents speak out

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Public officials call for major changes in family law - CA parents speak out

Message  PapaThème le Sam 13 Juin 2009 - 13:12

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Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 11:28 PM
Subject: Public officials call for major changes in family law - CA parents speak out

Dear Friends,

The public forum yesterday in Oakland CA was just wonderful. See below for an excellent article on the event. Kathleen Russell is on a roll! She is the power behind this media campaign.

What can CA protective parents do to help with these efforts?

1. Go to, click on Your Legislators, and enter your zip code to find out who your CA Senator and Assembly Member are (if you don't already know).

2. Make an appointment right away with both of your Legislators or their staff in their district office nearest your home. They are often in the district in person on Fridays (although during this budget crisis, that is not for sure, since they stay in Sacramento longer.) They are your representatives and even if they can't involve themselves in your particular case, they can initiate and vote for bills that will help keep children safe. They need to know there is a groundswell of public outrage about child endangerment in family court.

3. Take 2 or 3 other people, hopefully other protective parents in their district, to the meeting. Each should have a one page summary of her or his case. If you have anything to lose (such as scant visitation with your child) use a pseudo nym on the summary so retaliation does not happen. Tell the Legislator that you need to protect your child from retribution so you are using a pseudonym. On the summary, name the names of the various court professionals and judges who have placed your child in danger. (Let me know if you need help in summarizing your case. We have a good way of putting this terrible information into a readable, coherent synopsis. We also have the research information available from the ongoing study by Dr. Geraldine Stahly, if you want has wonderful research if you want data.)

4. Be very polite. Your request is that you want your Legislator to help protect children from sexual and physical abuse in family court through enactment of stronger laws and accountability. You want the Legislator to know that Parental Alienation and other junk science must be prohibited by law. (The Judicial Council said they would not stop teaching this theory unless the Legislature directed them to cease.) For example, you could ask him or her to co-author AB 612 (Beall), AB 1050 (Ma), and the audit request by Senator Mark Leno. You want them to know you are appalled at the cavelier treatment by the family court of children's disclosures of crimes and that you will be closely following their response to this terrible problem.

5. Spend about 15 minutes with them. Ask them to let you know what they will be doing to protect childre n from physical and sexual abuse in family court when they begin their next Legislative session in the fall. Send a thank you note afterwards so they know you will be continuing the dialogue until there are strong laws to protect these children. Then make a followup appointment with them in the summer to see what they are planning to do to help.

Best, Connie

Public officials call for major changes in family law
By Kamika Dunlap
Posted: 06/11/2009 06:54:02 PM PDT
Updated: 06/11/2009 09:03:13 PM PDT

OAKLAND — One by one, parents around the Bay Area are beginning to step forward to share heart-wrenching stories of the injustices they experienced in California's family court system.

These parents have joined with thousands of others statewide to reform the family courts and protect child victims of violence and sexual abuse from judicial decisions the parents say place children in harm's way.

"I'm living proof this is happening today," said Susan, a California Family Court litigant and mother whose daughter was placed with her accused molester. "The family courts crisis is a plague and it's destroying peoples' lives."

About 58,000 children per year in the U.S. are ordered into unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents following divorce, according to experts at the Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence.

Many people concerned about the systemic problems with family court attended a daylong public forum Thursday at the Alameda County Conference Center.

Some compared the family court crisis to the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandals because of what they call an institutional level of collusion of harm against children. Event organizers said they hoped the forum would inspire families who have survived traumatic family court ordeals to=2 0come forward in order to shed more light on the breakdown of the family court system.

Participants, including family court litigants, child advocates and the general public, gathered to discuss the family court crisis and take a closer look at problems and solutions. The forum's session featured public testimony by speakers and a panel of legal experts and attorneys who gave free general legal advice about how to best protect themselves in the family court.

The event was organized by the Center for Judicial Excellence in partnership with UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, California Protective Parents Association, Justice for Children, California Safe Child Coalition, Child Abuse Solutions and the Incest Survivors Speakers' Bureau.

Their collective goal was to push to improve the judiciary's public accountability and strengthen and maintain the integrity of the courts.

In addition, the center produced a documentary, Family Court Crisis: Our Children at Risk, and screened a 12-minute clip at the forum.

The American Judges Association found that approximately 70 percent of batterers succeed in convincing authorities that the victims of their abuse are unfit or undeserving of sole custody.

Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele and actress Nancy Lee Grahn from ABC's "General Hospital" are family court reform advoca tes and also participated in the panel discussions.

Steele announced a new initiative to help better protect vulnerable children in family court. It includes her support of the passage of new proposed legislation by Assemblyman Jim Beall, D-San Jose, and Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, to reform family court. Her initiative also calls for the passage of Sen. Mark Leno's request for a legislative audit of Marin and Sacramento Family Courts. She also is pushing for ombudsman positions to be created in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, where parents can go for help and to plead their case.

"The system has to change in California and across the country," Steele said.

Grahn did not talk in detail about her $1 million family court battle but said her experience was "maddening and perplexing."

She was upset to learn that some laws were unfair and that some court procedures were abusive and treated children like hostages or assets that need to be divided up.

After a three-year ordeal, Grahn finally gained custody of her 11-year-old daughter. She now works with community organizations and travels the state to meet with lawmakers and inform them about the about pitfalls of the family law system.

"I met people who were in similar or worse situations," Grahn said. "There are thousands=2 0of women who were protective parents and their children were taken away and handed over to their abusers."

For more information visit,

Reach Kamika Dunlap at 510-208-6448 or e-mail <>.

Kathleen Russell
W 415-459-9211, Ext. 28
C 415-250-1180
Telling Stories, Moving Mountains

[sic] (mon soulignement en rouge)


«Qui nous protégera contre ceux qui nous protègent?» Honorable Michel DuBois, J.C.Q. citant Juvénal

Nombre de messages : 644
Localisation : La Vallée de l'Or, Planète Terre, Système Solaire
Date d'inscription : 19/05/2008

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