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A Personal Message from Ned Holstein

National Parents Organization has launched a nationwide search for a new, full time, professional Executive Director! Having an experienced, accomplished, full time, well-paid Executive Director will vastly improve our strength and effectiveness. If you like NPO now, wait til you see 2018!

At considerable expense, we have contracted with a major national executive search firm in New York City that specializes in non-profits. Known as DRG, they have successfully placed high executives ranging from non-profits smaller than ours to behemoths. DRG has thousands of nationwide contacts they can tap to locate good candidates. And they are experienced in how to use social media for maximum effectiveness in recruiting.

We hope to have chosen a candidate and reached an agreement with her/him by the end of January, 2018. We are excited that the Search Consultant we will work with at DRG already understands the family law issues and does not need an education in these matters.

We will be offering a substantial salary, because NPO’s success will hinge on the quality of the Executive Director we are able to attract. Candidates will be able to stay where they currently live, if they so desire. Our key people are already distributed around the country, and we work from a “virtual office.” With growth, we may need to establish a central office, but that is for the future.

Since I work without compensation, this change will cause a substantial increase in our expenses. So we do need you to continue and to even increase the gifts you have made to support this organization.

Imagine: many more media appearances; much more social media action; many more interactions with thought leaders in the areas of family court, child development and justice; much more lobbying; many more online and in-person campaigns; many more state affiliates getting much more support from the national organization; many more meetings and rallies; in short, much more of everything!

That is, much more of everything if you support us, which you can do by clicking here.

If you are interested to learn about this position, click here to see the job posting that has already gone out through multiple platforms. If you are personally interested in the position, please note that you should reply to our Search Consultant, Sara Lundberg, not to me.

Which brings up a personal note. I have been running National Parents Organization off and on since 1998 --- with lots of help from many others. During these years, we have also had Dan Hogan, Glenn Sacks and Rita Fuerst Adams as Executive Directors for many of those years. Now we are taking a major step upwards towards more highly paid, experienced and professional non-profit leadership. The time is ripe for renewal, new blood, and change.

I will continue on the Board of Directors for at least one year, to ensure continuity and success with our new Executive Director. I will also lead a few specific projects, with the agreement of the new leader. So you can be sure there will be continuity, effectiveness and dynamism at the top.

We ain’t seen nothing yet!

Looking forward with excitement to the next chapter…

Together with you in the love of our children,

Ned Holstein

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

The Pew Research Center finds that today’s fathers want to spend more time with their children despite spending more time with them than did dads in the past (Pew Research Center, 1/8/18).

U.S. fathers today are spending more time caring for their children than they did a half-century ago. Still, most (63%) say they spend too little time with their kids and a much smaller share (36%) say they spend the right amount of time with them, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in August and September 2017.

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

Steve Fischer’s disgraceful screed in the Texas Tribune, about which I wrote yesterday, combines astonishing ignorance of his chosen subject – child support and those who owe arrears – with a snide attitude towards the poor. It’s a bad combination. It’s so bad in fact that I couldn’t deal with all its deficiencies in a single post.

Once he’s finished being entertained by parents under arrest for not paying child support, Fischer eventually gets down to the business at hand – congratulating the lawyers of the Texas Attorney General’s Office on the job they do collecting arrears.

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February 21, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The Texas Tribune is a publication with impeccable liberal credentials, but if this disgraceful article is any indication, liberalism has changed (Texas Tribune, 2/13/18). There was a time when liberals were the friends of the poor and downtrodden, the victims of pitiless judicial and criminal processes. If the linked-to article is any indication, and I hope it’s not, that’s no longer the case.

Steve Fischer is a Texas attorney. He took time out of his busy day to hang out in child support court and let us know his observations. They are neither informed nor in any way compassionate toward the parents hauled into those courts. Fischer, whether politically liberal or not, should be ashamed.

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

In 1995, Sundhe Moses, then 19, went to prison for a drive-by shooting that killed a four-year-old child and wounded others (New York Daily News, 2/12/18). Moses was innocent. His wrongful conviction appears to be the handiwork of now-retired New York Police Department detective Louis Scarcella. So far, a dozen people, originally imprisoned following Scarcella’s investigations, have been released from prison due to findings of actual innocence. As is so often the case, Moses was young, poor and not well educated, i.e. an easy target for a criminal justice system that often seems more intent on moving files than determining the truth.

Moses was paroled in 2013 after more than 18 years inside. He spent the next four years trying to prove his innocence. This past January, he succeeded. But that wasn’t the end of Moses’ problems, not by a long chalk. Indeed, it looks like the State of New York wants to incarcerate him again. Why? Moses has a child, Shaquille, who was just eight months old when he went to prison. He’s now in his early 20s and serving in the U.S. Army. And of course, Moses owes child support – to the tune of almost $40,000 for all the time he was in prison. About $10,000 is owed to the state to reimburse it for welfare benefits paid to Shaquille’s mother, Kawana Harper.

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

Nebraska’s lawyers, including the state’s judges, continue to resist letting Nebraskans know what family courts are doing (Omaha World-Herald, 2/2/18). That actually overstates the matter somewhat. They’re actually uncomfortable with an informed public only in a couple of very specific areas. And how informative those two areas are!

Readers of this blog will remember the fight family court reform advocate Dr. Les Veskrna was put through by the Administrator for State Courts when he tried to find out how family court judges are trained regarding child custody and parenting time. Never mind that Nebraska’s law on public records is about as broad as it can be and clearly encompasses such non-controversial documents as the ones Veskrna sought. The Administrator fought his losing battle all the way to the state Supreme Court where he was unceremoniously “poured out.”

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February 16, 2018 by Don Hubin, PhD, Chair, Executive Committee, National Parents Organization of Ohio

How many times have we heard this in response to our efforts to establish a presumption of equal parenting when parents separate as misguided: “Every case is different; you can’t use a cookie-cutter approach”?

In my more than 25 years of working to promote shared parenting, I’ve heard judges, attorneys, and legislators say this more times than I can remember. Most recently, in two settings. When I presented National Parents Organization’s proposed legislation for a presumption of equal parenting during temporary orders, representatives from the Ohio Bar Association challenged the proposal because … “every case is different” and “you can’t use a cookie-cutter approach.” A couple of weeks later, when I met with two leaders of the Ohio Domestic Relations Judges Association to discuss this proposed legislation, I was told, again … “every case is different” and “you can’t use a cookie-cutter approach.”

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

The case of Kaylene Bowen, Ryan Crawford and their son Christopher raises the issue of medical child abuse (Fort Worth Star Telegram, 12/8/17). Medical child abuse is rarely or never the wrongdoing of a single person. It is a systemic problem. Crawford, having seen his son undergo 323 doctor visits and 13 major surgeries in his first seven years of life and himself sidelined by a family court judge and child protective services when he tried to sound the alarm, gets that all too well.

 “It’s horrible for my son, or any kid because obviously my son is not the only one that has had to go through this type of torture,” Crawford said. “The system has to be exposed — all the weaknesses that are in the system — because the kids don’t deserve that.”

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February 14, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

A small but persistent movement insists that, against all the evidence, family courts routinely take children from fit, loving mothers and hand them to fathers who abuse them. The movement usually cites cases in which the only abuse is that imagined by the mother, but, since its adherents take all allegations as true, they’re able to claim that 58,000 times per year, family courts take children from “protective” mothers and give custody to abusive fathers.

A good many red flags fly over those claims. First is the fact that only about 18% of custodial parents are fathers, so judges rarely order paternal custody at all. How likely is it that so many of those fathers are abusive? Indeed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, only about 2.3 million fathers have primary or sole custody of their children. Given that the question of custody usually ends when the child turns 18, that would mean that, on average, about 130,000 fathers per year are given custody. How likely is it that 58,000 of those fathers (about 45%) are abusive?

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February 12, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Perhaps in an effort to slow the sharp decline of its readership, The Guardian newspaper has actually run an article that’s only a little contemptuous of fathers and their efforts to maintain meaningful relationships with their children following divorce (The Guardian, 2/6/18). The paper’s circulation has plummeted an astonishing 48.2% in just seven years, so the editors may be feeling desperate.

Whatever the case, its review of social worker and family therapist Gill Gorell Barnes’ recent book, although it traffics in the usual Guardian tropes, makes important points about the failings of the current family law system in the U.K. For example,

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February 11, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

After years of fighting to convince state legislatures to alter their child custody and parenting time laws to be more equal and serve kids better, we now know that judges can just do that themselves. The judges of Tuscarawas County, Ohio have taken a huge step toward equal parenting. They’ve issued a new Standard Parenting Order with which all “parents must comply.”

And what do you know? For kids over the age of three, parenting time is split almost exactly evenly. If my math is correct, each month Parent 1 gets 16 days and Parent 2 gets the rest. That’s about as even as it gets. From now on in Tuscarawas County, unless two parents come up with their own plan or one is deemed unfit, violent, abusive, etc., they’ll have equal time with their kids. This is no legal presumption, it’s an order. The parents must comply, and so must the courts.

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February 9, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The Missouri Legislature is currently considering an outstandingly bad bill regarding the fathers of children who’ve been taken into foster care by the state (Columbia Missourian, 2/5/18).

House Bill 2027 would excuse the children’s division of Missouri’s Department of Social Services from a search for a child’s biological parent or parents after the child has been in the system for 60 days if certain conditions are met.

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February 8, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Warshak’s recent article deals with issues relating to parental conflict and parenting time. Professor Linda Nielsen has exhaustively analyzed the science on that and I’ve reported on her findings. So I won’t reprise that now.

Warshak’s piece lays waste the efforts of McIntosh, et al and Tornello, et al to cast doubt on the wisdom of overnights for very young children with their fathers. His consensus analysis of the science on that, endorsed by 110 scientists worldwide, makes the following recommendations for policy-makers and family courts:

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February 7, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The Warshak Consensus Report observed that none of the four significant outcomes reported by McIntosh et al. were derived from measures that met basic scientific standards, a point also noted by Linda Nielsen in greater detail.

You’d think that would be about as bad as a supposedly scientific paper could be, but I’m not so sure. The effort turned in by Samantha Tornello give’s McIntosh’s a run for its money.

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February 5, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The Warshak consensus report on overnights for very young children, based on 45 years of science on that issue and endorsed by 110 eminent scientists worldwide should have entirely put to rest the notion that those kids should spend all their time with their mothers. But the anti-dad crowd isn’t one to be daunted by empirical evidence scrupulously assembled and vetted. They have two studies, one by McIntosh, et al and one by Samantha Tornello with which to attempt to refute those 45 years of research and convince experts testifying in court that overnights for kids constitute a detriment to their well-being.

The Warshak Consensus Report identified significant problems and limitations in both studies that should affect the admissibility and weight of testimony that relies on these studies. As the U.S. Supreme Court in General Electric Co. v. Joiner noted: “[C]onclusions and methodology are not entirely distinct from one another. . . . A court may conclude that there is simply too great an analytical gap between the data and the opinion proffered.”

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

With the unexpected and intellectually bizarre attack by McIntosh in 2011 on the scientific consensus regarding the value of maintaining meaningful relationships between children under the age of four and both of their parents came the response reasserting that consensus.  Dr. Richard Warshak led that effort.

Warshak spent two years reviewing and analyzing 45 years of scientific inquiry into the parenting of children under the age of four when the parents don’t live together.

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

By 2011, the science on overnights for Dad with his very young child seemed pretty well, if not decided, then generally agreed on. The consensus was that children’s psychological development is assisted by maintaining supportive, nurturing relationships with both parents. The undeniable fact that a child in sole maternal custody is routinely cared for by others – grandparents, other relatives, babysitters, boyfriends, etc. – made the argument against overnights with Dad, to the extent there was one, even harder to make.

That makes subsequent events hard to explain. Dr. Richard Warshak describes what happened.

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February 1, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Hard on the heels of Professor Linda Nielsen’s latest analysis of the research on shared parenting vs. sole/primary parenting comes Dr. Richard Warshak’s new paper on whether children under the age of four should have overnight stays with their fathers. As readers of this blog will remember, Warshak authored a paper on that very subject that was endorsed by 110 eminent scientists worldwide. The unambiguous conclusion was that there is no evidence to suggest that children suffer by spending time, including overnights, with both parents. Indeed, those who have overnights with Dad seem to do better than those who don’t.

Warshak’s latest effort aims to find out if, subsequent to his consensus report, new research has come to light that would cast doubt on – or support - its conclusions. The answer remains the same as it was almost four years ago when the consensus report was first published. The scientific literature supports overnights for kids.

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A Personal Message from Ned Holstein

National Parents Organization has launched a nationwide search for a new, full time, professional Executive Director! Having an experienced, accomplished, full time, well-paid Executive Director will vastly improve our strength and effectiveness. If you like NPO now, wait til you see 2018!

At considerable expense, we have contracted with a major national executive search firm in New York City that specializes in non-profits. Known as DRG, they have successfully placed high executives ranging from non-profits smaller than ours to behemoths. DRG has thousands of nationwide contacts they can tap to locate good candidates. And they are experienced in how to use social media for maximum effectiveness in recruiting.

We hope to have chosen a candidate and reached an agreement with her/him by the end of January, 2018. We are excited that the Search Consultant we will work with at DRG already understands the family law issues and does not need an education in these matters.

We will be offering a substantial salary, because NPO’s success will hinge on the quality of the Executive Director we are able to attract. Candidates will be able to stay where they currently live, if they so desire. Our key people are already distributed around the country, and we work from a “virtual office.” With growth, we may need to establish a central office, but that is for the future.

Since I work without compensation, this change will cause a substantial increase in our expenses. So we do need you to continue and to even increase the gifts you have made to support this organization.

Imagine: many more media appearances; much more social media action; many more interactions with thought leaders in the areas of family court, child development and justice; much more lobbying; many more online and in-person campaigns; many more state affiliates getting much more support from the national organization; many more meetings and rallies; in short, much more of everything!

That is, much more of everything if you support us, which you can do by clicking here.

If you are interested to learn about this position, click here to see the job posting that has already gone out through multiple platforms. If you are personally interested in the position, please note that you should reply to our Search Consultant, Sara Lundberg, not to me.

Which brings up a personal note. I have been running National Parents Organization off and on since 1998 --- with lots of help from many others. During these years, we have also had Dan Hogan, Glenn Sacks and Rita Fuerst Adams as Executive Directors for many of those years. Now we are taking a major step upwards towards more highly paid, experienced and professional non-profit leadership. The time is ripe for renewal, new blood, and change.

I will continue on the Board of Directors for at least one year, to ensure continuity and success with our new Executive Director. I will also lead a few specific projects, with the agreement of the new leader. So you can be sure there will be continuity, effectiveness and dynamism at the top.

We ain’t seen nothing yet!

Looking forward with excitement to the next chapter…

Together with you in the love of our children,

Ned Holstein

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January 31, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This continues my thoughts on Professor Linda Nielsen’s most recent analysis of all 60 studies extant that compare children’s outcomes in sole parental custody (SPC) with those in joint parental custody (JPC).  (SPC refers to either sole or primary custody while JPC refers to arrangements in which each parent has the children at least 35% of the time.)

Interestingly, Nielsen points out that rates of JPC seem to be increasing in a number of jurisdictions. She cites studies of case outcomes in Wisconsin, Washington State, Arizona and internationally in Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, two provinces of Canada, and Spain’s Catalan region. 

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

Professor Linda Nielsen has just published an up-to-date summary of studies of children’s outcomes in shared parenting vs. sole parenting arrangements. She’s done this before, but, since her last effort, more studies have been completed, so she’s updating her previous findings. Her article appears in the Journal of Child Custody and analyzes 60 studies. Here is the abstract of the article.

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January 28, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Many times we’ve stared aghast at the astonishing fees accumulated by lawyers in child custody cases. Just two weeks ago I reported on an Australian judge who excoriated lawyers for making custody and parenting time cases an excuse to protract litigation and increase fees beyond anything remotely necessary.  He cited one case that saw a litigant pay $860,000 Australian.

The reason lawyers can get away with such outrageous behavior is that child custody cases are winner-take-all enterprises.  One parent wins; one loses.  They both know the situation going into the case and, egged on by lawyers who understand perfectly how well inter­-spousal conflict can pay, fight tooth and nail to avoid being the one dubbed “visitor.”

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

I can think of nothing that better illustrates the attitude of child protective service agencies toward parents than what this article reports on (New York Daily Record, 1/19/18).The position taken by the agency is beyond the pale.

Back last March, the New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services issued a request for proposals.Stated another way, ILS had money to grant and wanted applications.They received one from the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office. It was seeking funds to provide attorneys for indigent parents accused in juvenile court of abuse or neglect of their children.ILS approved a grant of $2.6 million for that purpose, no small sum for a county public defender’s office.

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

The timing of this story couldn’t be better. Just yesterday I wrote about the well-meaning but largely uninformed Mava Enoka who cheerfully instructed readers that fathers are fully capable of caring for children, New Zealand culture should encourage them to do so and, if it did, mothers would benefit by being freed to work and earn more. All true, but her sole idea for accomplishing those ends was to give fathers more parental leave after the birth of a child. She ignored family courts altogether and their sidelining of fathers.

So it’s entirely right that this article should come out the very next day (Stuff, 1/24/18).

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