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jeudi 6 novembre 2003

Program produces motherless kids

par Liz Richards

Écrits d'Élaine Audet

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I have been organizing litigating mothers since 1995, when certain Northern Virginia fathers’ rights leaders told me they were using a federal custody program for scorched-earth retaliation against mothers.

My databank of more than 850 "intake" callers includes 80 Northern Virginia case complaints, many of whom have been affected by the fathers’ rights agenda. While they talk "oint custody" and "co-parenting," what they really produce is legal harassment and motherless children.

People assume courts are biased in favor of mothers, but there is a deep hostility toward mothers who complain. Counterintuitive sympathy toward men as underdogs frequently results in backlash attacks.

Men use this phenomena to win custody and reduced support obligations - even instigating altercations to provoke complaints. Men have learned they can lie in court and blame their own misconduct on the woman. Few challenge them, while mothers are told to shut up - even by their own family and attorneys.

The men who are organized as fathers’ advocates are actually a branch of a secretive, California-based judicial organization, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, which set them up for the purpose of instigating litigation. The Children’s Rights Council and the American Coalition for Fathers and Children are Virginia-based groups prominent in this movement.

The CRC is heavily cross-affiliated with, and get members’ cases steered to, AFCC judges and court professionals. This conflict of interest is never disclosed by the AFCC professionals.

CRC is also affiliated with pro-pedophilia psychologists Richard Gardner and Ralph Underwager, who devised highly discredited pro-abuser/pedophilia court methodologies for covering up abuse and awarding custody to fathers.

The AFCC and CRC set up a federal "model custody" program based on Gardner’s methodologies, even though he is condemned as a pedophile advocate by many legal professionals.

Family Law Quarterly, the California National Organization for Women and Wellesley University have published reports confirming the widespread practice of courts awarding sole custody to abusive men, while restricting the victimized mother to limited visitation.

The fathers’ custody programs are funded through the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Support Enforcement office, which has been controlled by fathers’ rights allies for 10 years.

Both former OCSE Commissioner David Gray Ross and current Assistant HHS Secretary Wade Horn have turned the department into a father custody agency through "Access/Visitation Enforcement" and "Responsible Fatherhood" programs incorporating the Gardner methodologies.

While publicly touted as encouraging "responsible fathering," official federal documents say the purpose is to provide noncustodial fathers with free attorneys to litigate for custody.

These state-run programs are so pro-abuser that the Tacoma, Wash., project paid for the attorney who handled accused Beltway sniper John Allen Muhammad’s custody case - and sent him east to search for his ex-wife.

The Virginia Department of Health runs several of these programs, giving the CRC a grant for visitation centers.

But a whistle-blower has identified these centers as engaging in dishonest practices, such as padding enrollee counts to justify funding and concealing a violent father’s conduct in court testimony to get him custody.

Horn started the Virginia Fatherhood Campaign, and his former organization (National Fatherhood Initiative) is paid substantial annual consulting fees. After I identified major inconsistencies from interviewing most VFC grantees, a state audit report confirmed that Horn’s wife works for NFI and that the program refers men to fathers’ groups for "help" with their support and custody problems.

The Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement runs another program that collaborates with the VFC program in providing special "help" to the fathers. In doing so, this state agency is violating legal ethics by providing legal assistance to the adversaries of their congressionally mandated custodial-parent clients.

The DCSE mission is to enforce the child support laws, not to provide "secret" tips to the other side on how to evade the support laws. If the lawmakers and Health Department officials think men need a little extra help so they won’t lose in court, then they should set up a bureau for men’s advocacy, and not hide behind names such as "responsible fatherhood" and other misleading claims of encouraging fathers to pay support.

The fatherhood programs are producing great harm to children and their mothers. They should be stopped immediately - and investigated.

Authorized reproduction.
Email LIZGOAL@aol.com

Northern Virginia, Opinion Section 14-Jan-03

Mis en ligne sur Sisyphe, le 6 novembre 2003

 Read : "The other side of fathers’ rights..." by Liz Richards, The Washington Times, 4/23/06

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Liz Richards

Liz Richards is director of the Annandale-based National Alliance for Family Court Justice.

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