Mothers Demand Changes In Family Courts
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Peggy Fox 3 hrs ago
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- They call themselves "Mothers of Lost Children." They say family courts awarded custody of their children to the very people the children said hurt them. But the courts didn't believe them.
"Children very rarely lie about these things. And the reports are coming from the children. Even when they're switched over to the custody of the batterers and the molesters, continue to report abuse. And they're ignored," said Connie Valentine with the Protective Parents Coalition.
"The courts are sending children to live with abusers at a terrifying rate," says Barry Goldstein who helped compile research from the scientific non-profit Council for Justice for a book he co-edited.
The Leadership Council found more than 58,000 children every year are ordered into unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents following a divorce.
"Seventy-five children were murdered by fathers involved in contested custody cases last year by battered in a nine month period that ended in April," said Goldstein.
Three of those children were siblings killed by their father Mark Castillo who downed them last year in a Baltimore hotel room. Earlier, Amy Castillo had asked a judge to keep her children away from her estranged husband , because he had threatened to kill them. The judge denied her request.
The group started their march at the Department of Justice. They want the DOJ to launch an investigation into when they call family court corruption.
The group alleges custody decisions are made based on which parent has more money instead of safety.
"We want to see the child put first. We want to see the 'best interest of the child' mean the safety, protection, love and nurture of the child. That should be the priority in the courts," said Eileen King with Justice for Children.
Written by Peggy Fox
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com
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A federal investigation into the family court crisis is the only way to expose what's truly going on behind closed doors - thank you Mothers of Lost Children for calling attention to the plight of so many and taking the initiative towards achieving this end. As a Domestic Violence Survivor Advocate in Hawaii, I see mothers everyday who have fled violent and abusive relationships and homes, only to lose custody of their children for fleeing their abusers. Where's the sense in that? Isn't that what we instruct victims to do?: "If you're being abused, take your children and leave"?. Judges and court-related officers should not have immunity for the literal life-and-death decisions they make and oversight is a must. "I'm sorry" doesn't cut it when you're looking at a murdered child. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month - let's make this month the beginning of the end to the revictimization of children and domestic violence survivors in the family court system!
10/1/2010 8:31 PM EDT on WUSA9.com
10/1/2010 8:02 PM EDT on WUSA9.com
This is a national epidemic that is created, in part, as an unintended consequence of federal funding incentives to local courts that must be corrected immediately. In addition, it is time for the US to join the rest of the world and ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child so children cannot be treated as property, and their rights to health, access to their parents, etc, cannot be impinged by any local court. http://www.ariana-leilanichildrensfoundation.org. Finally a criminal investigation should be instituted to uncover the "organized crime" that is taking place in these family court settings, where many lawyers and custody evaluations are colluding to feed off of the parents of children-- placing those lawyer's and custody evaluator's profitering over the protection of the children. Unfortunately, many local courts are co-consprirators in this symbionic exploitation. Shame on them. Children's rights and protections must be codified at the national level so that no state court can ignore them. God bless these parents seek to protect their children from abuse at all costs and give them the strength to succeed.
10/1/2010 7:59 PM EDT on WUSA9.com
Only thing I can say about this is the Judge that let that man take his children and kill them, should not be on the bench anymore and maybe they should look into this mans life as well. I agree this has to change, what kind of message are we giving to the children? And you wonder why some grow up to be on the bad side of the law. Its is the laws that are hurting out children
10/1/2010 7:47 PM EDT on WUSA9.com