AFCC New York Tax Exempt Status Revoked: Raising Questions about the AFCC and Family Court Politics

June 2014: The IRS has revoked the tax exempt status of a the New York Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) for failure to comply with federal tax laws. 

According to Guidestar, an organization offering information about non-profit organizations to the public, the New York Chapter of the AFCC:  “This organization has not appeared in IRS records for a number of months and may no longer exist. 

This organization’s exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years. Further investigation and due diligence are warranted.”

 http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/20-0212909/new-york-chapter-afcc.aspx

The IRS Form 990 is a tax form that most tax-exempt organizations must file every year. Form 990 provides the IRS with information about the organization’s activities, governance and detailed financial information. Form 990 helps to qualify an organization for tax exempt status. It has not been explained why the New York Chapter of the AFCC has failed to file this document. Non-profits are required to hold regular meetings, and finances are often discussed at these meetings. Non-profits commonly have grant writers, accountants, and financial committees as part of their organization. That the New York Chapter of the AFCC would fail to file Form 990 for 3 years in a row is so unusual that it demands further investigation. 

The New York Chapter of the AFCC is a charitable organization that was founded in 2002 and has about 180 members. The AFCC is an organization founded and operated by sitting family court judges and the professionals they work with including lawyers, court administrators and personnel, mental health professionals, mediators, visitation expeditors (etc) . The purpose of the AFCC is to bring these professionals together to improve family court for children and families, especially families in conflict. According to the New York Chapter of the AFCC, “AFCC members are the leading practitioners, researchers, teachers and policymakers in the family court arena…” The AFCC influences family court policies, procedures and even influences new legislation in areas like shared parenting, parental alienation awareness, child custody evaluations and more. The AFCC also offers continuing education classes for these professionals.

The AFCC is a very powerful and politically connected organization, that operates internationally. The Let’s Get Honest blog says about the AFCC, “..it’s a trade organization with a particular ideology on the field of divorce and family.  Not everyone shares this ideology — nor should the courts be forced to share it.  However, if training and credentialing controls who gets to practice, that’s virtually a private control of public courts…” 

We should also consider the testimony and complaints of parents victimized by abuses of power and systematic failures in family court–many cite problems with bias and collusion among the Court and its officers. A common complaint is that parents are referred to services like mediation, psychological testing, therapy or supervised visitation by agencies and individuals the Court has a close relationship to, and its officers have a strong bias toward the recommendation of these select professionals. Some parents say when they sought help from a different, outside agency that they faced reprisal or loss of visitation and/or custody. Other parents say the Court officers actively worked to take away the parent’s right to make decisions and forced them to work with service providers they approved of. The service providers have considerable power of the lives of individual families and if there is a dispute, the judge almost always sides with them. Parents were threatened with sanctions, jail, loss of custody, loss of visitation and forced into mental health therapy/testing if they did not comply. Other parents voiced complaints  that when they file complaints against the judge and other court officers or service providers that no action is taken or there is no system to investigate or handle complaints. The collusion within the family court system is real and harms families. That is not to say the AFCC is responsible for this political climate but there is speculation that they may have contributed.

Deborah Beacham (Atlanta), founder of MyAdvocate Center, says, “Maybe these activities don’t rise to the level of a crime. But litigants are bound to perceive misconduct any time judges and the professionals who appear before them go into business together, and those litigants are then court ordered into business relationships with the corporation’s affiliates.”(Read more at http://www.commdiginews.com/life/authorities-take-action-against-company-run-by-ny-family-court-judges-attorneys-19646/#pZH75HfTlCHdyOyY.99)

That the New York Chapter of the AFCC would fail to file such a routine tax document, or have an accountant file for them is so bizarre that it demands further investigation. The Board members of the New York Chapter of the AFCC hold public office or work with the public, the question of possible misconduct extends beyond the AFCC but also into the professional fields in which these Board members practice (family law, family court, psychiatry) etc.

When you read the resumes of the Board Members it is baffling how a group of successful people with high levels of education could simply fail to file this form so vital to their organizationhttp://afccny.org/board-members/

Elaine Kirsch is a founding member and former vice president of the Board of Directors of the New York State Chapter of the AFCC. State records register the New York State Chapter of the AFCC to her home address. According to her Linked in profile, Elaine has “30 years of law practice, including 12 years of corporate law practice”. Elaine attended Harvard law school and McGill University, earning a BA in economics and math.

Steve Abel is a founding member and former president of the Board of Directors of the New York State Chapter of AFCC. Steve’s name and home address is listed as a contact on public non-profit records. Steve is a family attorney and mediator with more than 40 years experience.  http://www.taxexemptworld.com/organization.asp?tn=222639

Co-President Judge Jane Pearl (New York County) was appointed to the New York City Family Court bench in 2000 by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and in 2009 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She is a former Court Attorney ­Referee and Support Magistrate.

Co-President Karen Rosenthal, Esq. specializes in family law and, “has been selected by my peers to be included in the 2013, 2012 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as well as New York Magazine’s New York Area Top Lawyers in 2013, 2012.” Ms. Rosenthal claims, “I have represented, over the years, hundred of clients, submitted at least that many motions, have argued before many Courts…”

Treasurer Teresa Ombres, Esq. is a graduate of Fordham University and New York Law School. Ms. Ombres states, “she is committed to acting like a human being and helping her clients and adversaries to do the same…”

Parliamentarian Alberto Yohananoff specializes in forensic psychology and as been appointed to the Mental Health Professional Panel, First and Second Judicial Department in the State of New York.

Guidestar indicates that there are currently 13 AFCC chapters still in good standing. Authorities have revoked or involuntarily dissolved AFCC chapters in California, New York, Florida, Kansas, and Illinois. The AFCC also members from 20 countries and 6 continents.

For more on story, and other AFCC scandals, plz read “Authorities take action against company run by NY family court judges, attorneys” by Anne Stevenson, Communities Digital News. Thanks Anne for your hard work in vestigative reporting and research!: http://www.commdiginews.com/life/authorities-take-action-against-company-run-by-ny-family-court-judges-attorneys-19646/#pZH75HfTlCHdyOyY.99

The “Let’s Get Honest” blog has also researched the AFCC: http://familycourtmatters.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/afcc-a-users-manual-intro-and-for-now-some-of-arizona/

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Remember Romans 8:28

Emily Court:

Keep fighting…

Originally posted on The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel:

Sometimes we just need to remember this scripture…

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

For what we see around us…

as the turmoil seems to twirl.

Is not what we will end up with…

when we overcome this world.

View original 138 more words

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Parental Alienation: Insight & Tips from Judge Michele Lowrance

Summary: In her article “Parental Alienation – A Corrosive Legacy”, Judge Lowrance shares her insight on what parental alienation is, the damage it causes and what can be done to legally protect yourself (and your children).

“Parental Alienation – A Corrosive Legacy” includes tips for Judges on to recognize parental alienation. Judge Lowrance offers tips for parents on what you can do about parental alienation in the courts, and how to cope with the difficult emotions and reactions caused by parental alienation.

____________________

..Some Additional Thoughts….

What Is Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation is a form of severe emotional and psychological abuse inflicted on children, it often contributes to physical abuse–even murder. 

According to Judge Lowrance, when one parent declares war against another, the damage and trauma inflicted not only affect the child involved but can contaminate a family for generations. This is especially devastating when one parent resorts to alienation in that war, using a child as a weapon against the other, “targeted parent”. 

Parental Alienation is when one parent intentionally seeks to destroy a child’s relationship, and bond, with the other “targeted parent”. According to Judge Lowrance, the child is made to feel like, and believe, that their very survival depends on removing the “targeted parent” from their life. A child’s boundaries a broken down by Parental Alienation, the “love” and protection they receive from the Alienating Parent is dependent entirely upon fighting against, and removing, the “targeted parent” from the child’s life. The way the child is allowed to process emotions or feelings is greatly compromised. Often, the child becomes enmeshed or co-dependent with the Alienator.  According to Judge Lawrence, “Soon the child forgets how to protect him or herself, and must align with the alienating parent as if life depends on it — because it does.” 

My thoughts: Parental alienation is literally a parent bombarding a vulnerable child with messages, threats, gestures, bribes etc. For a child who has been traumatized by divorce/separation, especially if abuse is present in the home,  they are not only grieving and experiencing loss but seeking protection, reassurance, a sign that things will be okay again. An Alienator parent takes advantage of the child’s vulnerabilities, and manipulates them to believe that they alone can provide that. The child is then brainwashed to hate. denigrate, fear, even retaliate against the “targeted parent”.

A Family Court can also enable Parental Alienation. That happens when Courts become biased, and take the side of one parent while excluding the other parent. A Court may also deny one parent of their parental rights or refuse to follow laws meant to protect their legal rights. Family Courts also enable parental alienation by making extreme decisions that unfairly limit or deny a parent their custody and visitation with the child, or punish a parent for speaking out about their concerns.

Similarly, if a child is subject to instability, they may naturally reject the parent who they have less contact with because it hurts the child to continually grieve the loss of that parent. Children may also reject a parent when they lose contact and the bond they once shared begins to erode. This happens when Court orders frequently change. Or if a Court refuses to protect a victim of violence, and she is unable to visit the child because she fears for her life. Or if a Court refuses to enforce a visitation order, and the other parent constantly breaks it or causes disruptions.

This is why Family Court reform is so important–to protect parents from the harm caused by corrupt, biased and unjust courts. Some say that the best way to help families is to offer services and support so that they avoid court all together.  But for those families where the attempts at resolution failed, or violence is present, there may be no other alternative than Court. For those families, there needs to be serious change and systematic reform to protect parents and children from judicial abuse, and other failures that put the lives of children at risk, and destroy families.

Why Judges Struggle with Parental Alienation

According to Judge Lowrance, parental alienation cases are difficult for judges to handle because it is difficult to tell which parent is telling the truth when parents are combative. Targeted parents may also come across as being emotional, angry, and frustrated as they may not make a good impression in court. “Each time your visitation is interfered with, it has a cumulative affect. This can make you hyper sensitive, which easily magnifies your emotional response”.  Children will often take the side of the Alienator, and refuse therapy or intervention. And judges believe they are doing what is best and get angry or frustrated when their decisions don’t work (or when parents keep coming back to Court with problems).

My thoughts: Other contributing factors to why Judges struggle with parental alienation, and seem unable to protect victimized parents and children, may include: Bias. A Judge has a social or personal relationship with an attorney, guardian ad litem, or other court official that is affecting their rulings. Courts are influenced by, and working with, a select network of providers (therapists, mediators, educators, etc).

Judges and court officers may not be properly trained to recognize or deal with domestic violence or child abuse. Or simply do not believe abuse is occurring and ignore evidence or complaints of abuse.

Judges don’t like to admit they make mistakes. Or avoid admitting they make mistakes to avoid punishment, which leads to punishing a parent to scapegoat them.

An angry or frustrated judge can make irrational decisions.

Any more ideas..please post them below!

Action You may consider taking in court

Judge Lowrance offers several tips on what possible legal recourse you may have to defend against parental alienation.

Tips include organizing information to clearly show the judge alienation is occurring. Get a court order for parenting therapy. Know how to effectively communicate to the judge. And push to get a parenting plan. Learn how to cope with and manage your emotions. For more detailed information, please visit her article: http://www.divorcemag.com/articles/Parental-Alienation-Syndrome/parental_alienation.html

Words of Wisdom 

Judge Lowrance offers this advise for “targeted parents”,“Don’t let someone else provoke, influence, and therefore control how you behave. You run the risk of actually becoming as miserable and dysfunctional of a person as they’re trying to portray you to your children… In the same spirit, when you lose a child to alienation, you need to live as if he or she is watching you. Your long term goal is to become the person your child wants to come home to.”

About Judge Michele Lowrance: Judge Michele Lowrance believes the pain of divorce is universal, felt in all cultures and socio-economic backgrounds–the damage cause by divorce is often passed on through the generations of a family. She has also been a child of divorce, who was raised by her grandparents. As an adult, her marriage ended in divorce. Judge Lowrance has devoted her professional life to helping families cope with divorce and custody issues; including parental alienation. Judge Lowrance has been a domestic-relations judge in the Circuit Court of Illinois since 1995.  Judge Lowrance is also the author of “The Good Karma Divorce”, a book designed to help minimize the impact of divorce.    http://thegoodkarmadivorce.com/

Title: “Parental Alienation – A Corrosive Legacy”

Author: Judge Michele Lowrance

Source: Divorce Magazine. com

Link: http://www.divorcemag.com/articles/Parental-Alienation-Syndrome/parental_alienation.html

 

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Child Reports: “Dad Tackled Me” (Abuse Allegations After Abuser Wins Custody)

Background: I reported numerous times to the Guardian ad Litem “JM”, the custody evaluator and included in my affidavits the long history of physical and emotional abuse Mr. X perpetrated on my son. No one listened, or I got in trouble for reporting… here is just one of many examples of how the abuse of my children continued AFTER Hennepin County family court awarded custody to the alleged abuser.

My son DJ received most of the physical abuse because he fought back against his father, he also has behavioral and emotional issues that put him at a higher risk for abuse. The GAL, “JM”, told me that I need to stop reporting abuse because “I am just making Mr. X look bad.” Mr. X has a very close relationship with JM, he has her cell phone number programmed into his phone. Once he got mad at me, and I witnessed Mr. X push a button on his phone, dialing JM, to complain to–and this was outside of normal business hours. When we go to court- ALWAYS–JM sits in the private room with Mr. X and his allegedly sleazy attorney Peter Banning (like the attorney from the movie “Hook” with that name).

Peter Banning – “Hook”

Last summer, JM was dismissed as GAL from our case, and when Mr. X got arrested for his 3 open warrants, JM personally made an effort to help him, even though she had no legal justification to do so. JM refuses to return my phone calls (even when it is an urgent matter), will not talk to witnesses with important information, and finds every ridiculous, even delusional excuse, to sabotage my relationship with my children by unfairly denying my parenting time and custodial rights. It is obvious she has a bias towards Mr. X, and is totally incapable of representing my children’s “best interests”.

March 2010: I picked my children up for a visit, and my son DJ was tearful and very sensitive–he got upset easily. DJ said his dad was “crabby” the night before, and when he was doing homework, they got into a verbal argument with some shouting involved. At bedtime, the fighting escalated, and Mr. X pushed DJ onto the bed. In the morning, Mr. X still was crabby. DJ was afraid and hid in the corner (of the bed), Mr. X. got angry and pulled him by the legs off the bed. No words to describe what it is like to be a parent forced to return your child to an abusive or unsafe situation-and then, with the forced separation, your children begin to slip away and identify with the abuser…horrific beyond comprehension.

Later that night, DJ went to his children’s support group for kids dealing with divorce, and told his counselor about the incident. The counselor spoke to a supervisor, who then called CPS. CPS decided not to take action.

When I put DJ to bed, he showed me his legs, which had several bruises up an down his legs. And told me “Dad tackled me”. I believed what DJ said because it is consistent with behavior I had seen previously. I was concerned so I took photographs of both legs, there were bruises up and down each leg.

Bruises on my child’s legs

I reported the incident to the school counselor, because my son feels comfortable talking with her, and I thought because of the contentious history in family court, and my sensitivity to the abuse we suffered, it would be good to get a second opinion on the issue from someone who is unbiased, and has experience and knowledge working with kids. The school counselor talked to my son, saw the bruises then called the police. I was called at work by the police, and asked to come into the station for an interview–which I did.

Excerpt police report – identifying information removed

The police also interviewed my daughter, JJ, who said:

- Her brother and father got into an argument two nights ago

-(At the time of the argument) Her brother was lying by her, and being nice to her, and her dad yelled at him

-She did not know what her brother did wrong

-They were supposed to go to bed and then her dad pushed her brother down

-He pushed her brother onto the bed, DJ did not seem hurt

-She went to bed and did not see anything else

My son also was interviewed, he was reported as being “calm and collected and playing with Legos”. The officer probably was not aware of DJ’s psychological issues, that DJ is reported to become dissociated at times. Therapists also report that DJ has an ability to completely suppress his thoughts and feelings, he can mimic what he feels an adult expects of him, and hide his true thoughts and feelings. Since DJ was a toddler, Mr. X would not allow him to show his true feelings or emotions, he was yelled at, hit, called names, pinned to the floor, hogtied and more…DJ learned to hide his emotions at a young age, holding things in until he explodes. That DJ appeared calm does not mean he is calm.

DJ said this, in a separate interview where his sister was not present:

-He was lying on the bed petting his sister’s hair

-They were getting along and playing nice

-His dad came in and started yelling at him

-He does not remember what was said (common when DJ dissociates, usually out of fear)

-His dad “tackled” him onto the bed

-He was not hurt

-He does not know why his dad tackled him

-In the morning he got out of bed and ate breakfast

-His dad yelled at him

-He did not remember what his dad said

-His dad grabbed him by the leg and pulled him out of bed

-He does not know why his dad did that

During the conversation, DJ did not show any emotion and continued to play with his Legos. The officer looked at the bruises, determined they are light in color and not consistent with being grabbed on the legs. The officer thought DJ injured himself while playing.

Mr. X was also interviewed by police and reports the following:

-Mr. X had the children up later than usual (at the time he was supposedly in college, fulfilling a lifelong dream and taking classes to be a radio deejay; why a man in his late 40’s who does not even listen to popular music, and has two children to support, wants to be a deejay is beyond me…must be a manifestation of his personality disorder, diagnosed by the court psych eval)

-Mr. X allowed the children some playtime before bed then sent them both to their beds

-Mr. X heard some giggling and saw that JJ was in DJ’s room

-He told the kids in a stern voice that it was bedtime

-DJ would not let JJ go (this directly contradicts what both children reported to two separate adults, at two different times. DJ repeated his story a total of 3 times, all with no variation)

-He had to put his hand on DJ’s chest and said,”Let JJ go now”. (Does that make sense? Allegedly, my son is holding onto his sister, and will not let go. How does my son position his body, while holding onto his sister, in such a way that Mr. X can put his hand on his chest? And why would you push on his chest and not try to separate the children in any other way–such as giving a warning or using a distraction method? Pushing on DJ’s chest or using force could also potentially hurt my daughter, especially if she were being held onto like Mr. X reports; doesn’t make sense. Kids play around, they get silly–what made Mr. X rise to the level of pushing on DJ’s chest?)

-DJ fell back on the bed and was screaming and crying in a usual tantrum way (If Mr. X did not threaten or hurt DJ why is he screaming and crying, and showing distress?)

-He did not strike DJ in the chest or tackle him (BOTH kids are liars. Such good liars their story does not change, even when interviewed separately so one child does not know what the other is saying!?! My son DJ made the report the night prior, talking to me privately then to his counselor. My daughter JJ made her report the following day…what a remarkable coincidence that both children’s stories match each other, but somehow don’t add up with what their father is reporting!)

-He was trying to hold DJ back to get him to let go of his sister (Again, contradicts what the children report and does not make sense. If Mr. X pushed DJ on the chest, and DJ did not let go, his sister would also be pushed onto the bed. And why would you push a child in the chest to tell him to let go of his sister? Why not offer a bedtime story instead? Or bedtime music, which is known to soothe my son. Why not use distraction–like first person to stop playing around can chose the bedtime story, or sleep in an extra 5 minutes in the morning? Why not give a warning first, with a consequence? Why not just laugh, and say something like ‘Ok kids, time for bed.’ Why this extreme response? It does not make sense.)

-He did not have any problems getting DJ ready that morning

-There were some issues the previous morning

-He did not remember an incident where he grabbed DJ by the legs and dragged him out of bed

-He generally punishes the children with time out or loss of privileges (Mr. X recently admitted he thinks it’s okay to use force on DJ, even to cause physical injury, in order to gain control of him.)

-He is working on getting further help and treatment for DJ (Mr. X terminated DJ’s psychiatric care, and abruptly stopped all medications. When an assessment was recommended for Aspberger’s, Mr. X also refused that. He also refused to get DJ a psychological assessment for over 2 years until finally the school stepped in to intervened.)

-Mr. X thinks DJ has Aspberger’s (Then why did you terminate his psychiatric care and stop his medications? Why do you refuse to allow the therapist conducting the assessment to have full access to all of DJ’s medical records? Why do you lie about DJ’s behaviors? Why do you lie to therapists and make false allegations about me? Why do you refuse to allow me to talk to the therapists or participate in the assessment process? How is this “helping” DJ?)

I also find it strange that since this incident happened, Mr. X began to sleep in the bed with both children–these children are around 8 and 10 years old. I don’t know what happened but my son, who was at one time sleeping successfully in his own bed, but became scared to sleep in his own bed. Suddenly, and without warning, my son developed such strong nighttime fears, and attachment to his father, that he could no longer cope staying over night at my house. Mr. X then went to Court and used this to justify taking away my parenting time. I gave both children an air mattress, sleeping bags, a portable mattress, soft blankets and stuffed animals to encourage them to sleep in their own beds. Most of the stuff I gave them wound up in a garbage pile in the garage or went missing.

I hope my kids, who are nearly teenagers, are sleeping in their own beds now. The kids report their new house has a master bedroom for Mr. X with his own bath. Mr. X will not use his bathroom and insists on going down the hall, and using the children’s bathroom. The kids are grossed out, and state he leaves the bathroom a mess. My children are pre-teens, they deserve their privacy!

Mr. X denies that DJ has any problems in his home, and says instead that all of DJ’s psychological problems are caused by visiting me, which cannot be true because now I only get 1 visit a month. I just received a school report noting that DJ is having severe problems in school….and I wonder how bad it really is in Mr. X’s home. Since the Guardian JM refuses to investigate, and refuses to interview witnesses or collect documentation, I doubt I will ever know the full truth. I just know this is not normal, and I fear for the safety and well-being of my children.

– Emily Court, August 2014

 

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A Small Collection from PMA INTL’s “Love Letters to our Children” Campaign

Emily Court:

Beautiful letters that Protective Mothers have written to the children they are estranged from. Thank you Protective Mothers Alliance International for your support, and by allowing us Moms to give voice to what is most important to us. Sending love to all the Moms <3 God Bless!

fb/joyofmom

 

Originally posted on Protective Mothers' Alliance International:

baby-photo-cool-black-and-white-photo-of-baby-sleeping-in-the-mother-embrace-inspirations-cute-baby-photo-ideas-poses

Below is a sample collection of original Protective Mother poems, and poems about motherhood from published authors.
Please join our Love Letters to our children event on facebook and our PMA International word press blog. We value your participation.

Protective Mothers Alliance International Facebook Event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/597929206912196/760200060685109/?notif_t=like

Protective Mothers Alliance International Web site/ blog – Word Press:

http://protectivemothersalliance.wordpress.com/love-letters-to-our-children/

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 8.21.58 PM
Mother

Your Mother is always with you.
She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street.
She’s the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick and
perfume that she wore.
She’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not feeling well.
She’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day.
She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a
rainbow. She is Christmas morning.
Your Mother lives inside your laughter.
She’s crystallized in every teardrop.
A…

View original 828 more words

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Judge Keehan’s Secret Court: Social Workers Take Newborn Just Hours After Birth

Judge Keehan is again at the center of another shocking family court ruling… after imposing a gag order that has lasted for over a month, the truth is finally being revealed about how he has destroyed yet another family.  High Court Judge Michael Joseph Keehan (Photoshot)

 

May 1, 2014: After a secret court hearing, social workers descended on a new mother and stole her newborn baby daughter from her arms just hours after she gave birth. Mother and child were then separated, and allowed only brief supervised visits until the mother was discharged from the hospital on May 2nd.  You can only imagine the horror–there was no warning. The may have been cradling her baby daughter in her arms, taking in her warmth as the child nursed or slept peacefully cuddled against her heart. Perhaps the mother counted the child’s small toes, whispered a prayer in her ear.. dreamed of their life together. The horrific scene of the social workers swarming into the hospital room, the cries of the mother–begging for them to stop, begging for help, don’t take my baby…and those who were supposed to protect were working together in this monstrous conspiracy. You can imagine the tears. The pain, wondering about her precious baby. All the clothes and toys she had bought, the crib remains empty.. The name she picked out for her daughter will not be on the birth certificate; due to the child’s legal status she cannot be named.

 

The mother’s “crime”? The Court felt she was so “mentally ill” that she cannot possibly raise her own child. The mother’s symptoms cannot be managed or treated. The mother doesn’t deserve an opportunity to parent or try to seek help. And maternal relatives also are not qualified to care for the infant. Judge Keehan’s secret court decided ALL of this without allowing the Mother to get legal help, without allowing an evidenciary hearing where medical experts could be called, and with absolutely secrecy due to the gag order the Court imposed.   High Court Judge Michael Joseph Keehan admitted the ruling was “highly exceptional”.

 

Judge Keehan ruled that North Somerset Council wasn’t required to inform the 24 year old heavily pregnant mom that it would move to take away her baby at birth because they felt because she is schizophrenic, and has an IQ of 63, there was a risk the mom could hurt herself or her baby if she knew of the state’s plans. According to Judge Keehan, “The order sought in this case by the local authority is at the extremity of what is permissible under the European Convention (on Human Rights). It is only in an extreme case that such a draconian and highly exceptional course of conduct will be permitted.   I am satisfied that if the mother were to learn of the plan to remove her child at birth there is a very real risk she would harm herself and a very, very real risk that she would cause physical harm to her baby.” Translation: This mom has a disability so the Court felt it could do whatever it wanted and she could not defend herself, nor would she have support to challenge their ruling. In fact, if this mom were to get upset or emotional, her reaction may just reinforce their false accusations that she is unfit!

 

It is unclear what the status of the baby’s father is, but clearly he has rights to his child. 

 

And Judge Keehan issued a gag order on the court proceedings, so that no one could publicly speak about the case or publicly report on the case until AFTER the baby was taken into custody. Which means the first reports were coming out in June 2014. 

 

The unnamed baby is now in foster care. The mom was so distraught about being separated from her daughter that she has required crisis intervention… can you blame her?!?! One imagine I think of when hearing this case… is what it would be like to nurse your baby only a few hours. To have just a few moments of that precious and necessary skin to skin contact, the bonding, the nutritional value of mother’s milk. Imagine what it would feel like to have your milk come in but no baby to feed. Your whole body would cry out for that baby–not only emotionally but physically, the body’s every instinct is to nurture and protect that newborn. And there is no baby. Just an empty crib. The pain in her heart. The pain of not being able to nurse. Pumping milk for a baby who would never drink. The pain of having a stranger care for your baby, a stranger to feed and diaper, a stranger to answer her cries.. when it should be you. And you have not been given a chance to speak or defend yourself. And you don’t know if you will ever see your baby again…

 

The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services has public objected to the ruling, its President Jean Robinson says, “The secret hearing does not give the mother any opportunity to instruct solicitors to prevent it, or even approach solicitors or even her own family member to create an alternative. There may well have been no alternative, but the problem is that was never explored. The fact that the mother only found out the moment she had given birth, it’s terrible.”

 

NOTE: I have experience working with single mothers in crisis situations and working with people who are mentally ill and disabled. I can honestly say that with proper treatment, and proper support, it is possible to raise a child while dealing with a disability. Sometimes a relative or foster family is called in to offer support, or to provide a home. There are alternatives to try before custody should be taken.

The Court should protect and try to maintain the relationship a child has with it’s birth parents, and explore every option to keep this family intact. Judge Keehan and the Secret Courts will continue to hurt families, and make rulings that destroy families unless we raise a public outcry against this abuse of power. Judges, social workers, and other court officials need to be held accountable when their rulings and actions violate the law or hurt families/children. Our silence protects them, our voices draw attention to the problems and demand change. 

 

For More Info: “Baby girl taken from her mother by a secret court: Family knew nothing of judge’s decision to back social workers” by Sam Marsden, Mail Online, 6/6/2014: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2650787/Social-workers-snatched-mothers-baby-minutes-birth-no-warning-secret-court-ruling.html#ixzz37zn7sRnK 

 

“The Cinderella Law: Government Regulation of Parental Love”, blogged by Family Court Injustice, 06/30/2014. Includes another case from Judge Keehan, who decided a father’s love “is not enough”. Judge Keehan not only took this man’s daughter from him, but ordered the child is to be adopted by maternal relatives and sent to live in America: http://familycourtinjustice.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/cinderella-law/

This Celtic symbol is derived from the ancient book of Kells, and symbolizes a mothers love for her child. The design depicts the developing heart of the unborn child inside the large protective heart of the mother

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‘The Journey’ by Mary Oliver (Poetry, Inspirational Writing)

Emily Court:

“The Journey” is so powerful… had to share… In so many ways you may feel powerless or victimized, remember in every choice is a chance to reclaim our voice, and to take back what was stolen. Some of the most difficult battles begin in ourselves, battling lies, false allegations, negative messages imprinted on our psyche, betrayal.. The power of CHOICE is that you direct your will and your energy to make a change. Or to move your life into a new direction. You don’t have to carry those negative or hurtful messages with you. When you work on healing yourself, you become more authentic, more in touch with your own purpose. By extension, you become more effective in the world, a force to contend with!

Mary Oliver (b. 1935) is an American poet who has won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize.

Originally posted on A poem for every day:

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice – – –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations – – –
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could…

View original 274 more words

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