Rhode Island taxpayers have contributed an enormous sum to wage a war that most of us know nothing about. The systems our state established to protect children have instead subjected many to danger and trauma that will profoundly shape the rest of their lives. Who will help to build public awareness and political consensus to protect children from those who prey on them or who profit from their abuse? How should government respond in ways that are transparent and accountable?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

1,096 Days & Nights

Today marks the third year, since police accompanied a DCYF social worker to "Molly's" daycare center and "Sara's" school on Friday, April 7, 2006, to take them into state custody at the behest of a Family Court attorney paid by their father and serving as guardian ad litem.

They have not seen their home since then.

Inside their home, boxes of photographs spanning nine years testify to the joy they found in each other and in their mother. Separated from each other at taxpayer expense, these sisters illustrate why the Rhode Island General Assembly must provide oversight to protect children from an unregulated industry.

To that end, we have worked with legislators to introduce bills that would help Sara, Molly, and children like them.

If the legislative branch fails to oversee and regulate the lucrative industry that thrives in this hidden world, children suffer. Good legislators, like good parents, know their task is not easy, but they work diligently at it, gaining new insights, and growing ever more responsible in their protective role.

One bill now before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees would make DCYF more transparent and accountable in protecting children (S 0363, H 5667). Another would enable judges to heed the concerns of protective parents (S 0690, H 5484). If we want justice, we must change the laws.

UPDATE: Since the bills above were drafted, we have been developing substitute bills with others who share these concerns. The SubA for S 0690 and H 5667 would begin a process to accredit DCYF through the Council on Accreditation. For more information, visit their website:

Thanks to Rishwanth Jayapaul for his photos of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, March 17, 2009.


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About the Author & Purpose

Parenting Project is a volunteer community service provided since 1996 by Mathewson Street United Methodist Church, Providence, RI, to focus on the needs of children at risk in Family Court custody cases. The coordinator, Anne Grant, is a retired United Methodist minister and former executive director of Rhode Island's largest shelter and service agency for battered women and their children. We research and write about official actions that endanger children and the parents who are trying to protect them. Our goal is to reform this area of government and to establish an effective, transparent and accountable child protective system.

We first reported on this case at http://custodyscam.blogspot.com/

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Comments and corrections may be sent in an email with no attachments to parenting project @ verizon.net

About "Parental Alienation"

If you are not familiar with Richard Gardner's theory of "parental alienation" and how it is being used in custody courts, scroll down to the earliest posting, "Junk Science in Custody Courts." For more scholarly research, visit  http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/pas/1.html

For more on the scandal in custody courts, see: