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?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

How Government Agencies Perpetuate the Incest Problem

The Atlantic has published an important article, "America Has an Incest Problem," by Mia Fontaine: 
Last year offered plenty of moments to have a sustained national conversation about child sexual abuse: the Jerry Sandusky verdict, the BBC's Jimmy Savile, Horace Mann's faculty members, and a slew of slightly less publicized incidents. President Obama missed the opportunity to put this issue on his second-term agenda in his inaugural speech. 
Child sexual abuse impacts more Americans annually than cancer, AIDS, gun violence, LGBT inequality, and the mortgage crisis combined—subjects that Obama did cover. 
Had he mentioned this issue, he would have been the first president to acknowledge the abuse that occurs in the institution that predates all others: the family. Incest was the first form of institutional abuse, and it remains by far the most widespread.*

In Rhode Island, the Parenting Project has been researching the systemic ways in which DCYF and Family Court allow and sometimes encourage this abuse to continue by refusing to believe children who protest sex abuse in the home and even giving these children to the sole custody of parents who have been indicated as perpetrators. 

We are focusing specifically on the ways defense lawyers, guardians ad litem, and judges have enabled a small pool of clinicians to produce biased "evaluations" that vilify good parents and assign custody to parents who litigate aggressively, some of whom have been indicated as abusers. This occurred in the case of "Molly" and "Sara" at http://LittleHostages.blogspot.com, where significant evidence was never considered, including the sisters' graphic drawings of erect and ejaculating penises, scores of letters from neighbors, teachers and others attesting to the mother's excellent parenting, and official reports riddled with bias. 

These are some of the areas that we are investigating in Rhode Island's practice of assigning unqualified clinicians to evaluate child custody cases (whether or not there are allegations of child sex abuse) and the methods these clinicians employ: 
1. What are the clinical presenting symptoms and how are these documented?
2. What is the diagnosis and the science behind that diagnosis?
3. What is the prescribed treatment and the science behind that treatment?
4. Who have been primary providers apart from the court's involvement? Have court-ordered clinicians consulted with them?
5. Do court-ordered clinicians have relevant training in trauma, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, etc.?
6. How is the court-ordered treatment paid for, and does this deplete insurance coverage for more appropriate treatment by primary providers?
7. What new symptoms appear during and after court-ordered treatment and how are these documented?
8. What kinds of coercion and penalties have been imposed related to the involvement of court-ordered clinicians? 
Those who wish to share relevant information may write confidentially to the Parenting Project coordinator, Anne Grant, at parenting project@ verizon.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: