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May 6, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

There’s an old saying among attorneys that “bad facts make bad law.” The same is true of journalism. All too often, the press seizes on the latest scandal to demand dramatic changes in public policy without stopping to consider whether one bad case means the whole system must be scrapped.

Such is the case here (Lexington Herald Leader, 5/4/18). The article is about changes made recently to Kentucky law regarding foster care. Amazingly, the piece begins, not with a headline, but with what looks like a meme from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, i.e. the state’s child welfare agency. The meme says “There are 9034 Kentucky children in state care, up from 7,917 a year ago. They were removed from their homes for their own protection.”

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May 4, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Continued from yesterday. Here and here are source articles for this post (Coeur d’Alene Press, 4/30/18 and 5/1/18).

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare put a target on Doug Bressie’s back. When caseworker Stacy White allegedly abused his younger child, Oscar, who was then just eight, Bressie fought back, criticizing White’s behavior. Apparently, White didn’t like that. When his oldest child, Dusty, had to go to the hospital for a viral infection, amazingly, White showed up.

“I was horrified,” Bressie wrote in an affidavit. “White absolutely gloated when she walked into the room. I remember thinking … she must be enjoying herself.”

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May 3, 2018 by Will Mitchell, Chair, Executive Committee, National Parents Organization of Kansas

The state of Kansas’ new Child Support Evaders program functions as a “most wanted″ of those who are behind on their child support payments: the names and faces of parents deemed the worst offenders have their faces and names posted online, complete with the amount they owe, their last known location and contact information.

This is a solution for families, says Gov. Jeff Colyer. But look closer, and the opposite is true — this program hurts, not helps, Kansas families.

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May 3, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

I often comment on child protective agencies being underfunded and understaffed, resulting in poor casework. This is not one of those times. No, this story isn’t about a tragic lack of resources resulting in abused children (Coeur d’Alene Press, 5/1/18). It’s about the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare apparently having all the resources it needed and still abusing three children and their entirely fit father.

Did Doug Bressie make a mistake? He did. His mistake was in trying to get caseworkers to treat his youngest child, Oscar, respectfully. Doing so looks to have put a target on Bressie’s back. He spent the next four years learning the awesome power wielded by child welfare agencies. Theirs is the power to take children from parents, one that every parent dreads.

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May 2, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Here’s the final article in Terry Brennan’s excellent series on fatherlessness (Daily Caller, 4/30/18).  This one’s about the politics of fatherlessness.  Fatherlessness is, to a great extent a matter of public policy and, public policy being mostly a function of the political system, fatherlessness is a political phenomenon.

Brennan has some pretty pithy quotations to offer.

On fatherhood, Democrats pursue a laissez-faire policy that there are different types of families and citizens should marry who they want or not marry at all. When campaigning, both Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton called single mothers “heroines”. Secretary Clinton said:

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April 30, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Here, Naomi Schaefer Riley of the American Enterprise Institute, takes on the issue of child welfare agencies and how they disserve children, the very people they exist to benefit (AEI, 4/20/18). There can’t be too much criticism of those agencies. State CPS do, on balance, a pretty poor job of protecting or providing needed services to kids. But sadly, Riley’s take on her topic is extremely limited and one-dimensional.

It appears in her first sentence and doesn’t get much further.

Why do our courts make decisions about the fate of children on a timeline designed for adults?

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April 29, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The war among social scientists over shared parenting took on a new front recently with the publication of a special issue of the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage. Its topic is the latest research on a number of aspects of shared parenting. It was edited by Dr. Linda Nielsen and includes articles by such luminaries as Richard Warshak, Michael Lamb, Sanford Braver, William Fabricius, Malin Bergstrom and others.

It is a powerful salvo in the aforementioned war. The issue is another attempt to (a) describe the social science to date on shared parenting and, as any such attempt must also do, (b) clamp down on the disinformation coming from the few remaining anti-shared parenting advocates. Dr. Nielsen wrote a preface to the issue that describes in some detail examples of the non-scientific and in some cases non-ethical contributions to the debate on shared parenting made by those advocates.

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April 27, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

History was made yesterday.The National Parents Organization helped make it.Kentucky became the first political entity inthe history of the English-speaking world to establish a legal presumption ofequal parenting post-divorce.From nowon, all parents who divorce in the state will know that, absent unfitness, ahistory of abuse or domestic violence, they are entitled to equal parentingtime with their children.

Let me say it again:this is a first.It is a landmarkin the hard-fought history of family court reform.Ten years from now, 50 years from now, 100years from now, people will look back on April 26th as the day that turned thetide toward children’s well-being, greater equality, a less acrimonious legalsystem and a healthier society.

Kentucky Group

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April 27, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Professor Richard Warshak has a new and thoughtful post on his Facebook page in celebration of Parental Alienation Awareness Day. He does what so many have found the need to do – address the false claims of those who seek to convince others that parental alienation either doesn’t exist or is a sinister ruse by abusive fathers to deny to “protective” mothers the custody of their children.

Warshak lists the five most common claims of PA deniers.

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April 26, 2018

Thanks to Kentucky legislators and Gov. Bevin, Kentucky now leads the nation in protecting children’s best interests when parents divorce or separate. The historic moment arrived on Thursday, April 26, when Gov. Matt Bevin signed HB528, a bill stating equal parenting time is best for children.

“April 26 goes down in history as the day Kentucky became the first true shared parenting state in the United States. Kentucky, more than any other state, can now say it does everything it can to give children two loving parents after divorce – just as our children deserve,” said Matt Hale, Chair of National Parents Organization in Kentucky, who led the reform effort for five years. “Research overwhelmingly shows children want and need both parents after separation. Our state lawmakers responded by aligning state laws with the research. This represents a common sense yet unprecedented move. Our lawmakers and primary sponsors Jason Petrie and Kevin Bratcher should be commended.”

The law passed the Kentucky House and Senate before Gov. Bevin signed it – the law takes effect later today.”

Read Press Release...

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“Keep your eye on Missouri shared parenting HB1667! National Parents Organization’s MO Affiliate Chair, Linda Reutzel, and her members spearheaded the effort to introduce this issue to Rep. Kathy Swan back in 2014, and continued their campaign to educate the public and legislatures about the need for shared parenting and the need to pass this important bill.  We applaud Rep. Swan for her support of HB 1667. NPO will continue to watch as this moves up to the Governor’s Office for final signature.”
https://themissouritimes.com/50574/shared-parenting-bill-moving-through-legislature/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Alisha Shurr

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. — A bill establishing the presumption that equal parenting time in custody arrangements is in the best interest of the child is moving through the Missouri legislature.

HB 1667, sponsored by Rep. Kathryn Swan, was heard in the Senate Committee on Seniors, Families and Children on Wednesday morning. The House approved the bill 137-7 at the beginning of April.

The legislation is a follow-up to an “equal parenting bill,” HB 1550, that become law in 2016 that supporters say is not being properly enforced in some courts.

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April 26, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

And who better than Warren Farrell to explain why fatherlessness is so important (Daily Caller, 4/24/18)?  Farrell of course is the man who’s been sounding the alarm about that very topic for longer than anyone else on the planet. Farrell's piece comes within the context of Terry Brennan's DC series on fatherlessness. 

It just so happens that Farrell’s just published a book entitled The Boy Crisis, so his information is nothing if not up to date.

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April 25, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Today is Parental Alienation Awareness Day. As such, it’s with great pleasure that I read this article by two New Jersey family lawyers about PA (New Jersey Law Journal, 4/23/18). The two grasp the fact and nature of parental alienation, understand that it constitutes a virulent form of child abuse and urge their colleagues and judges to take action to stop it when they first see it happening. Well done, Stephen P. Haller and Jennie L. Osborne.

From their position as family law practitioners, Haller and Osborne have seen how pervasive efforts to alienate children have become.

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April 24, 2018 By Ned Holstein, M.D. and Robert Franklin, J.D., National Parents Organization Board members

The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) claims that we should adopt even more draconian policies to collect child support than we already do by passing the Farm Bill currently before Congress. The National Parents Organization strongly believes that parents should responsibly support their children. But “cracking down” on parents who are poor has a long history of hurting children more than helping them.

Child support policy among the poor does not work for several long-known reasons.

First, state courts are incentivized by federal payments to the states to set child support orders at levels the poor cannot pay. For instance, in many states, a minimum child support payment of $1,200 to $1,800 per year is required no matter how little the payer earns; this is uncollectible from someone earning, say, $8000 per year. As a result, studies in both California and by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) have shown that about 70 percent of all unpaid child support dollars are owed by parents who earn less than $10,000 per year. The federal OCSE has explicitly recognized since at least 2006 that these child support amounts involve the very poor are largely uncollectible, but we’ve seen little change in state court orders.

Read OP-ED...

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April 23, 2018

Congratulations to Christian Paasch, Chair of the Virginia National Parents Organization Chapter, on his recent interview in Stand Magazine about his work in advancing the goal of shared parenting post separation or divorce.

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April 23, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Apparently uncomfortable with his absurd take on the case of C vs. P & Others in the previous week’s blog, John Bolch revisits the matter here (Marilyn Stowe Blog, 4/19/18). As I said yesterday, Bolch managed to find that a family court judge was acting in the best interests of two children when she left them in the care of their mother who had denied all contact with the father and behaved abusively toward them. He did so because, in the nine months following those findings, Mom had improved her behavior. What didn’t occur to either the judge or Bolch was that the judge had no reason to believe the mother would change her ways, so, at the time, the judge was leaving the kids in the care of an abuser. That’s hardly acting in their best interests.

Now Bolch has been moved to address the comment to his previous post by Paul Apreda who’s a trustee of the organization Families Need Fathers (FNF). Much as I did, Apreda pointed out that Justice Russell not only allowed parental alienation to begin, she allowed it to continue.

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April 22, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Here’s another gem from John Bolch (Marilyn Stowe Blog, 4/12/18). Truly, the man is so in thrall to courts and judges that critical thought unduly taxes him. Fortunately for all of us, he seems to be doing less and less of that, mostly allowing the judges to speak for themselves. Even so, he gets it wrong.

The case he refers to is called P vs. C & Others. In it we have two children who were 13 and 11 last year when the case was initially tried. Ms. Justice Russell presided and found that the mother (C) had engaged in much detrimental behavior.

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April 20, 2018 The following post was contributed by a friend of NPO.

The US Supreme Court recently decided an immigration case titled Sessions v. Dimaya that has received extensive press attention because Justice Gorsuch cast the deciding vote against the Trump administration. The opinion is available here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/15-1498_1b8e.pdf.

Justice Gorsuch’s concurring opinion is also noteworthy because it has significant implications for family law. Justice Gorsuch held the statute in question violated the Due Process Clause of the US Constitution because it did not give parties fair notice of what the law required and was, therefore, void for vagueness. As Justice Gorsuch said:

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April 19, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

In Texas, girls in foster care are over five times as likely to become pregnant as are other girls (Texas Tribune, 4/16/18). To anyone with a clue about teen pregnancy, that’s news, but no surprise. Girls in foster care have probably been abused or neglected at home and traumatized by the process of being taken from their parents and placed in foster care. Those multiple traumas are associated with a range of dysfunctional behavior by both sexes, so it’s no surprise that teen pregnancy is among them.

Predictably, the Tribune hasn’t a clue. It’s a sure sign that a writer doesn’t know her subject when she asserts a particular claim and then backs it up with a quotation that, well, doesn’t back it up. So the Tribune writer Sydney Greene, asserts

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April 18, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Terry Brennan’s fifth article in his series on fatherlessness takes on communications media depictions of Dad, both now and around mid-century (Daily Caller, 4/17/18). That of course seems always to be an issue. Have movies, television programs, advertising and the like improved over the last, say, 20 years? They have. Nowadays, fathers are often shown to be loving, caring and competent. If we weren’t paying attention, we might think that the issue of denigrating fathers in popular culture was dead. As Brennan shows, it’s alive and kicking.

For example, there’s a recent McDonald’s TV spot.

How does McDonald’s feel about fatherhood?

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Dear Members and Supporters

Shared parenting and parental alienation advocates are gaining a foothold in PA. National Parents Organization of PA is hosting Parent Alienation Awareness Day on April 25th. Now is the time to give children what they most want: time with both parents! To learn more about the event, go to the National Parents Organization Press Release.

Tittle of Event: Parental Alienation Awareness Day
Date: April 25th
Time: 11:00am to noon
Location: Harrisburg, PA State Capital Rotunda
Opportunity to tell your story: Affected family members are invited to prepare a 3-minute testimony and bring empty shoes representing alienated children.

What you can do?
1. Show up to the event and bring a pair of shoes and a 3 minute testimony.
2. Complete the following GoogleForm to consider becoming a County Level Representative.

We at National Parents Organization look forward to seeing you at Parent Alienation Awareness Day and encourage you to invite those benefiting from shared parenting as well as those in need of support.

If we show there are Pennsylvanians who care, we win! If we let up, we lose!

Call me with questions!

Warm Regards,

Stephen Meehan
Chairman, National Parents Organization, Pennsylvania Affiliate
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 301-992-0963

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April 16, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

As we’ve seen from California to Arizona to Texas to Mississippi and South Carolina, the serious business of protecting children from abusive and neglectful adults isn’t taken very, well, seriously by states. Now we know the same is true in Erie County, New York (Buffalo News, 4/15/19).

It’s the same litany of problems. Low pay means too few caseworkers who are then overworked. That leads to high turnover rates that mean inexperienced caseworkers handle most of the load, or try to. Predictably, that all means children who need help don’t always get it and those who don’t need it often get state intervention into their families.

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April 15, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Prime Minister Theresa May isn’t very popular in the U.K. She’s made a number of missteps and misstatements on a range of subjects that have enriched ophthalmologists forced to treat legions of Brits for terminally-rolled eyeballs. Her speech to Parliament, reported on here, won’t improve matters (Evening Standard, 4/8/18). But, cockeyed optimist that I am, I perceive what I think to be a silver lining to the cloud.

How is it possible to be so wrong so often in such little space? May doesn’t know the most basic facts about her chosen topic. Don’t they have search engines over there?

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April 13, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This is a well-meant, heartfelt article about some of the problems facing boys and the men they become (Medium, 4/5/18). But author Benjamin Sledge’s own assumptions about men and masculinity undermine his message. Far worse, he never imagines what the sources of the problem he discusses might be.

His title is “Today’s Problem With Masculinity Isn’t What You Think: Welcome to a generation of emotionally vacant men without role models or fathers.” You might think from that headline that Sledge would have a good word to say about fathers. Amazingly, he doesn’t. He begins by describing parents visiting sons at college.

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