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Summer Wrap-up from the Center

It's been a hot, beautiful summer. We got some time off in lovely places, and hope you did too. While state legislatures were largely quiet, local advocates were not, and we were here to support them and those lawmakers preparing bills for the new session. Joan's key publications are finally out (previously shared in past issues which you can find here), and new ones are beginning to sprout. Read on for more about our presentations this summer and the Center's new projects in progress.
Joan provided a requested presentation (minute 58:20) in July at the 10th International Festival of Public Health - Special Plenary.
In August, Joan presented at the National Safe Parents Organization (NSPO), on rebutting the "alienationists" i.e., those who tout the importance of parental alienation to lawmakers and courts while denigrating the importance of abuse concerns and abuse experts' critiques of the misuses of alienation.

The next NSPO virtual event will be on September 8th at 6:30 pm ET. You can register to attend here.
Joan was interviewed and her research was cited in two compelling pieces on the need for judicial accountability, in the Philadelphia Inquirer for the article Judges who fail to do their due diligence in abuse cases are complicit in murderhighlighting our work on state and federal Kayden’s Law, and in San Francisco Public Press for Expanding View of Domestic Violence Gives Survivors New Tool, but Unsympathetic Judges Remain an Obstacle
Kayden’s Annual Event, held in Pennsylvania on Aug 1st, was extra special this year thanks to the adoption of federal VAWA Kayden’s Law, on which NFVLC worked in close collaboration with the family and Pennsylvania lawmakers over several years to accomplish. Kayden’s mom and family, Pennsylvania lawmakers, supporters, survivor moms including Greyson’s mom Ali Kessler, were in attendance and gave presentations. Left: In Pennsylvania Kathy Sherlock, Kayden’s mom, talks about passing federal VAWA Kayden’s Law in collaboration with NFVLC and meeting the U.S. President earlier this year. 
Left: Danielle and Kathy, Kayden’s mom, partnered in advancing Kayden’s Law since Kayden’s murder in 2018. Right: Ali Kessler, Greyson’s mom, and Danielle - collaborating on Florida custody reforms since Greyson’s murder in 2021. At Kayden’s Pennsylvania event, both Kathy and Ali spoke powerfully. You can see presentations and more about the event here.
UK Review affirms the value of Challenging Parental Alienation book and Meier's nuanced position on alienation. While numerous professionals from the alienation industry have tried to characterize Meier's positions as extreme, we were delighted to see a Family Law Barrister from the UK recognize the opposite.  
In her review of the superb book, Challenging Parental Alienation, put together by editors Jean Mercer and Margaret Drew, a barrister with no particular ideology on the issues, expresses appreciation for the thoughtfulness and incisiveness of the book:  

"I think it’s a bloody good book whether you are a parental alienation sceptic or someone who subscribes to the doctrine, or someone who is just not that keen on labels and prefers to look at things on a case-by-case basis."

She goes on to note that "it would be easy to discount this book as a partisan attempt by the feminist / domestic abuse lobby to discredit PA and its proponents... but each chapter is a careful and detailed analysis of evidence, not a press release or a campaign document. In mapping the evidence and the gaps in the evidence base about causation and efficacy of treatment the book presents a challenge and a useful starting point."

We were particularly gratified that Reed chose to highlight and quote extensively from Meier's chapter on the scientific (in)validity of the alienation concept, to demonstrate the nuanced, balanced quality of the book. She highlights Meier's text which explains the difference between a common sense concern about one parent undermining the other and a claim of scientific knowledge about the harmfulness of such behavior and the ability to "diagnose" it correctly.
There is also an extensive review of the book by Julie Saffren in the July issue of the Domestic Violence Report. 

We are thrilled to have hired two terrific new consultants and partners to the Center:
Attorney Suzanne Chester is helping to spearhead a new project called "Enhancing Children's Voices" which will be surveying states' practices in the representation of children, and piloting the model for direct representation and advocacy used by Suzanne and her colleagues  at the North Carolina Legal Aid project, "The Child's Advocate." Suzanne's article describing the project can be found here.   
The project is being funded by a generous donor to the Center who passionately supports elevating children's voices in these cases. 
We are also deeply excited to have brought on board Pualani Enos, of Kaulia Creates, LLC to help us launch an outreach project on bringing diverse voices to our policy work on reform of family courts. Pualani provides organizational, networking and professional development services specializing in turning theory into practice to increase equity and inclusion for marginalized groups.
She has over 27 years of experience, working across sectors, and in public, private and academic roles working to improve systems, services and policy to end violence and intergenerational poverty through increasing access and improving legal services, public assistance, safe housing, food security, health care, mental health services, and education.
NFVLC Coercive Control Data Collection: Please Submit a Summary of Your Coercive Control Case to Help Inform Our Policymaking. To help inform our work at NFVLC, we are currently collecting data on how coercive control cases are playing out in the states where coercive control laws have already been enacted, including Hawaii, California, Connecticut, and Washington.
If you have such a case, please submit your case synopsis here, including information on whether coercive control was found and credited by the court, and whether the coercive control law helped gain protections for yourself and/or your child - and if so how precisely (protection orders, child custody outcomes, etc). We also want to hear about cases where the coercive control law may have been ineffective or used against your client/you if you are a family violence survivor. 
All information will remain confidential. Thank you for taking action to inform and improve policy! 

The Center is currently looking for an Instructional Design Consultant  who will work with content experts in the development of educational tools to facilitate effective training and interactive virtual learning for judges and other family court professionals pursuant to statutory requirements and discretionary invitations. Key functions include the analysis, design, evaluation, packaging, and marketing of curricula that align with adult learning principles and organizational strategy. The position is remote and paid by the hour. Learn more here
We hope your summer was relaxing and yet fruitful. We deeply appreciate your support to help continue our work.

Joan S. Meier, Esq., NFVLC Director and NFVLC Professor of Clinical Law 
Danielle Pollack, NFVLC Policy Manager
George Washington University Law School
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