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 6, 2010

Can you believe it?

Four years ago tonight, their mother took these pictures:

"Sara," 9, did her homework. "Molly," 5, planted flower seeds in orange peels.

None of them knew it would be the children's last night at home.

The appalling performance of DCYF in this case and in countless others led to public pressure demanding that this powerful, wasteful, and secretive agency must get accredited. It is long overdue for DCYF to be held to professional standards and public accountability.

Eli H. Newberger, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, is a pediatrician with 39 years' experience in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of child abuse and neglect. He organized the first child protection team at Children's Hospital Boston, in 1970. He has written:

...the poor performance of some supervisory level staff at the [Rhode Island] Department of Children, Youth and Families is a cause for great concern. In specific cases, I have observed the agency's rigid posture, its ignorance of the standards of professional practice in responding to allegations of child sexual abuse, and its punitive, rather than protective, stance. These rise to a level of intransigence and incompetence unparalleled in all my years of experience in this field . . . .

High, exacting, professional standards do exist in this field. They are attainable by any state that seeks them.

Learn more about the Council on Accreditation at www.coanet.org . Urge your legislators’ support and follow the progress of this important legislation (H 7133, S 2346) at www.rilin.state.ri.us .

As always, you may send your family's DCYF experiences to me confidentially at parenting project@ veerizon.net


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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/

To read the blog more easily, please reduce the width of your column. Some of the pictures can be enlarged by clicking once on them.

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: