HAPPY THANKSGIVING! We give thanks for our generous supporters, the remarkable determination and strength of protective parents and their allies, and the growing understanding of state and federal lawmakers - the "village" is growing!
LEGISLATIVE CLEARINGHOUSE ACTIVITY . . . and two more murdered children
Last week in Pennsylvania, Danielle provided testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on SB 78 “Kayden’s Law” which would strengthen protections for children in contested custody cases, while opponents of child safety reform, including the Bar Association, argued that Kayden, a 7-year old Pennsylvania child murdered by her abusive father during a court-ordered unsupervised visit, was a “one-off” error and not a system-wide or statutory problem. SB 78 passed in the Senate in a 46-4 vote and is now being considered in the House.
TRAGEDY AND TESTIMONY
Days after the House hearing, two more Pennsylvania children, Aaminah and Giana Vicosa, were abducted and brutally murdered by their abusive father who had been litigating custody with their protective mother in York County, Pennsylvania. In response, advocates at Custody Peace circulated a quote from Danielle’s legislative testimony which reached thousands and many agreed in the comments this is their experience in the courts. Complete testimony from the House hearing can be seen here.
Image from the vigil for Aaminah and Giana Vicosa, ages 6 and 7, who were abducted and killed by their abusive father who had been litigating custody with their protective mother beginning in August 2021.
Quote from Pennsylvania House testimony on SB 78 “Kayden’s Law”
A recent spate of international requests has resulted in online speaking engagements for Joan with Russian DV advocates (Nov 29), with Croatian service providers (Nov 30) and with Israeli-based Haruv-USA at the University of Oklahoma, about domestic violence advocacy, the misuse of parental alienation to deny abuse, and “High Conflict” Child Custody Litigation Involving Abuse and Alienation Allegations, respectively.
Joan presented her study data and had a lively discussion with brilliant Australian journalist and academic Grant Wyeth about some of the entrenched problems in our custody courts in the US and internationally. Danielle led a protective parents panel, where several U.S. protective moms whose children had been murdered by the father despite raising safety concerns to the court, spoke of their first-hand experiences and of some of the system changes they hope to see in family courts in the coming years. To access replays of the event reach out to CPPA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just published and available for pre-order here: "Challenging Parental Alienation: New Directions for Professionals and Parents". See Joan's Chapter 21, Questioning the Scientific Validity of the Parental Alienation Label in Custody Cases Involving Abuse.
GROWING AWARENESS . . . November Family Court Awareness Month Reaches over 200 Locations
At least seven states and hundreds of cities and towns across the U.S. have signed proclamations as part of an annual awareness campaign launched by Tina Swithin of One Mom’s Battle. The mission of the effort is to make the public and policymakers more widely aware of the systemic problems in our family courts and the inadequate protections for children in court decision-making. See more.
Danielle, along with Tina Swithin and Ali Kessler, protective mom of Greyson who was murdered earlier this year by his father in Florida, was interviewed about the campaign in national TV news coverage.
and GROWING NEEDS
As you may know, the more we do, the more we see that we need to do. We appreciate every contribution and hope you will consider the NFVLC in your year-end giving. The Legislative Clearinghouse still needs to be fully funded - we also have two new endeavors both of which urgently need staffing and funding:
Diversity: We are eager to retain a part-time diversity consultant to support the expansion of our networks and the inclusion of diverse populations and advocates who can inform and shape our policy advocacy and research. After an inaugural roundtable, the Center’s diversity council will help us develop ongoing outreach and policy perspectives across diverse communities and interests. We know the perfect person for the job; all we need is the funding. This position can be filled with an initial expenditure of at least $30,000.
Training: We also need a half-time Communications and Educational Design Consultant to help us launch a series of online curricula which will be available to professionals from multiple disciplines and in multiple states. We have the expertise, the knowledge, and the networks to provide cutting-edge trainings – beginning with our current Colorado custody evaluator training which followed the adoption of “Julie’s Law." But what we don't have is the technical expertise to scale up and deliver these trainings widely and for years into the future. We project that this position will require $50,000 for the first year.
We wish you all some warmth, love, family and friends during this season.
Joan S. Meier, Esq., Professor of Clinical Law and Director
Danielle Pollack, Policy Manager
National Family Violence Law Center
George Washington University Law School
You can give using the "Give Now" button above, or if you prefer, by mailing a check made out to George Washington University Law School, with National Family Violence Law Center at GW in the memo line, to:
George Washington University
PO Box 98131
Washington, DC 20077-9756