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December 13, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) continues from yesterday.
The colloquial term “deadbeat dads” is a common stereotype and colors all aspects of men’s involvement in the adoption process. A Canadian study on attitudes of triad members toward releasing identifying information on adoptees to birthparents found that respondents were much more willing to grant access rights to mothers than to fathers (Sachdev, 1991). The author concludes that members of the adoption community share the prevailing stereotypical views of the birthfather as a “Don Juan” or “phantom father” – that is, little more than a sperm donor.

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

In my response to the Washington Post’s article on the parental rights of incarcerated parents, I had occasion to skewer claims by two “experts” that taking children from their parents is OK because they can simply be adopted and therefore have a “forever home.”  As I pointed out, the arithmetic regarding adoption definitively refutes that notion.

That encouraged me to consult the best source of information regarding adoption in the U.S., the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI).  Alas, its website says that DAI has been shuttered since the beginning of this year, but fortunately, its work product is still there.  That means I have the best data available on adoption.

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December 10, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

I return now to the Washington Post article I wrote about last Friday (Washington Post, 12/3/18).

The article’s a pretty long one and it covers an important issue – that of the parental rights of prison inmates.  Put simply, it reports on a Marshall Project finding that many parents lose their children solely because they’ve gone to prison.  That is, there’s been no finding of abuse or neglect, but only that the parent is in prison, regardless of the length of the sentence. 

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

Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act will be considered by Congress in 2019. The reauthorization bill, H.B. 6545, is dangerously flawed and must be substantially amended. It contains a definition of domestic violence that is almost certainly unconstitutional, makes behavior actionable that non-violent couples routinely engage in and that can be part of healthy adult relationships. It likely would worsen domestic violence by overburdening police and courts with non-serious claims while increasing state intervention into family life.

Here is the definition proposed by H.B. 6545:

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

As Washington Post articles go, this isn’t bad (Washington Post, 12/3/18).  It raises a real issue – the parental rights of incarcerated parents – and provides readers valuable information.  But of course, this being the Post, it also ignores vast swaths of the issue in order to maintain intact its preconceived notions about parents and those of much of its readership.

Its gist is that state child welfare officials too readily take children into foster care and move to terminate their parents’ rights based solely on the fact that the latter have committed a crime and been imprisoned.

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The following by long-time friend of NPO and staunch advocate for family law reform Paulette MacDonald.

Dear Santa,

My name is Paulette MacDonald and I am a Family Law Reform Advocate in Canada and that came to be once I witnessed firsthand the devastation that occurs in the hands of our Family Law System. - And all I want for Christmas is a presumption of equal parenting at the onset of divorce or separation in the absence of abuse, neglect or violence. Tall order, I know but I’m confident together we can do it.

While I am extremely proud to be Canadian; I’m ashamed of our governments Family Law System, one that is profoundly broken and has been for decades - A System that was put in place to help families when they are most vulnerable going through divorce or separation and instead of helping them, it destroys them with its bias “winner-take-all” approach. According to Ontario’s former Chief Justice Warren Winkler, “family law is in a state of crisis. We see a system in disarray – one that is beyond tinkering and that needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up using new concepts and fresh ideas. In short, we see a need for fundamental change.”

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December 5, 2018 by Don Hubin, PhD, Member, National Board of Directors and Chair, National Parents Organization of Ohio

I like Saturday Night Live, even though I’m at an age when it would be more appropriate to call it “Saturday Night DVRed”. Sure, lots of sketches don’t work; some are complete flops; and some make you wonder how the writers ever thought they would be funny in the first place.

But, as they say, “if you’re serving all aces, you’re not serving hard enough”. Good comedy experiments and pushes boundaries; failure is part of the creative process. And, when the writers and comedians of SNL get it right, they can really nail it.

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December 3, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

What looks like an excellent non-profit organization in Vermont has issued a report on the state’s child welfare system.  Predictably, the picture it paints isn’t pretty.  This is the first I’ve heard of the Vermont Parent Representation Center, but if its report is any indication, it’s a professionally-run group that produces quality work.

I’ll have more to say about the report later, but for now this article hits the high points (Vermont Digger, 11/26/18).  Writer Lola Duffort is to be commended on a thorough, fair and balanced piece.

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

When shared parenting bills come before state legislatures, members are usually faced with opposition from two groups – family lawyers and gender feminist groups.  As I’ve written many times, their arguments don’t make sense.  They recycle old, worn-out tropes, all of which have been debunked countless times.  The simple truth is that equal parenting is best for kids and good for both mothers and fathers as well.  Large amounts of social science demonstrate the fact and, faced with that, opponents arrive at the legislative battlefield unarmed.  Briefly, they have no argument on the merits to make.

But, since the issue before any given legislator is whether to vote for or against a shared parenting bill, there’s always another consideration – how will it affect him/her at the polls?  Now, we all know that elected officials would prefer to do the right thing in any given situation, not just about shared parenting.  But in the mental struggle between doing the right thing and getting re-elected, often enough, the latter prevails. 

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Please join us tonight on our Facebook page at 6 pm EST for an important shared parenting development! We can't say anymore right now but remember to set your alarm for 6 pm EST tonight, November 30!

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

The Washington Post is at it again (Washington Post, 11/26/18).  In a bid to further erode the institution of the family, the WaPo offers an article entitled “UN Finds Deadliest Place for Women is Their Home.”  The only problem with that headline is that the UN did no such thing.  Indeed, the intellectual distance between the headline and the UN study on which it pretends to report tends to produce vertigo in the reader.  It’s a complete misrepresentation.

What the UN study actually reports on is the number of women and girls killed each year in domestic violence incidents worldwide.  That number is about 50,000.  This being the UN, the number of men killed in DV incidents goes unmentioned.

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

new study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science finds bias in judges’ rulings in child custody cases (Science Daily, 4/3/18).  Now, it’s worthwhile to note that this is a study, not of judicial behavior in the courtroom in actual cases, but in hypothetical ones.  Still, the methodology of the case suggests the pro-mother/anti-father bias we’ve come to know all too well.

The study was conducted by Andrea Miller, who’s an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  Miller accomplished one amazing thing; she got 500 state court judges to take part in the study.  They did so anonymously due to the fact that the results could be embarrassing for the state and the judiciary thereof.  So we don’t even know which state the study took place in.  Miller also received the participation of 500 lay people.

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

Canada is not poised to make meaningful change to its divorce and custody laws.  As I mentioned here, it’s poised only to make trivial changes to the wording of existing statutes.  And Barbara Kay isn’t happy about it (Post Millennial, 11/23/18).

Kay of course has for many years been a redoubtable champion of equal parenting, so, when the Canadian Parliament once again simply punts the issue, she’s right to complain.  So is everyone else in the country.  After all, as Kay points out, it’s now been 20 years since the task force specifically appointed to make recommendations for reform did so.  And in those 20 years, essentially nothing has been done.

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November 24, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization 

Two days after the fact, I thought I’d take time to mention a few of the things for which we have to be thankful.  By “we” of course I mean the movement for family court reform.  ‘Tis the season, after all, and, since we have so much for which to be thankful, it would seem to be inappropriate to let it go by without a low bow and a sweeping doff of our plumed hats.

First can only be the fact that so many people have gotten our message.  That children need both parents throughout their childhoods and even after is such an obvious truth that so many people know, if not consciously at least intuitively, has finally gained critical mass.  Does anyone even argue otherwise?  If they do, I certainly don’t see it.  Yes, there are a few organizations fighting a rearguard action against equal parenting, but they invariably need to disguise the fact.  So the DV establishment opposes shared parenting in the guise of opposing domestic violence and radical feminists do so in the guise of an imaginary “war on women.”  Family lawyers claim that the system works just fine.  More threadbare and patently untrue claims would be hard to imagine.

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All of us at National Parents Organization wish you and your family a joyous Thanksgiving holiday!

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Linda Valdez is on to something (Arizona Republic, 11/19/18).  Arizona’s child protective agency, the Department of Child Safety seems to be hoping no one will notice a particular bit of information.  More specifically, it hopes We the People won’t notice that an important bit of information is missing from the reams of data DCS routinely maintains.

The state’s legislature requires that DCS go to court and get a judge’s order before it removes a child from its parents.  That of course is standard procedure throughout the country.  What’s also standard procedure is that states give their CPS authorities an out.  If the child is in imminent danger, then the state can request an emergency hearing based on “exigent circumstances.”

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

This continues my response to the National Review article on adoption that I began yesterday (National Review, 11/17/18).  November is National Adoption Month, hence the NR piece.

As I said yesterday, all 14 contributors to the article enthusiastically promote adoption and for the best of reasons.  Many, many children worldwide don’t have parents or close relatives to care for them.  They desperately need good, loving homes and only adoption can provide them.  Adoptive parents are usually motivated to meet that desperate need.  Good for them.

But, however well-intentioned the writers of the NR piece are, there’s a lot they don’t know about the laws on adoption and its practice.  They see the bright side of adoption, but not the dark.  And it’s that dark side that tends strongly to thwart their own good intentions and the good that adoption can do.

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

The National Review has this article on adoption (National Review, 11/17/18).  Actually, it’s less of an article than a compendium of short pieces by people with various connections to and thoughts on adoption, foster care, etc.  Adoptive parents and adults who were adopted as kids chime in with religious leaders, law professors and the like.  It’s often moving, partly because kids needing adoption are in such precarious positions and those who adopt often do so out of such a strong sense of love and generosity.

And yet, out of the 14 people who contributed to the article, not one knows the dark underbelly of the adoption system in this country.  Each person enthusiastically endorses adoption for all the obvious reasons.  Their statements should be read and internalized.  These are human beings who want to do good for children in need.  Many of them already have and their stories are important.

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November 16, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The U.K. finds itself in the same pickle as we do in the U.S (The Independent, 11/9/18).

That pickle is the one in which authorities charged with protecting children have far too little money with which to do the job.  There are too many cases and too few caseworkers to handle them.  And the number of cases is increasing, pointing to a potential crisis in the years to come.

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

The fight for shared parenting in Michigan will be heating up again  in the coming months and this article by NPO’s Linda Wright reprinted in a blog is the opening salvo (KiddieMom, 11/13/18).  Actually, that may have come on Tuesday, November 6, i.e. Election Day, when Jim Runestad won his bid for a state senate seat.  Runestad of course was the force responsible for SB 4691 that would establish a presumption of equal parenting following divorce or separation.

Needless to say, Wright’s piece is, shall we say, right on.

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

It’s hard to know how to feel about this CNN piece on fathers and the family court system (CNN, 11/7/18).  On one hand, the writer seems to be sincere about advising men, so he consults family court experts – a lawyer, a judge and a mental health expert – for their tips.  On the other hand, it’s a piece that could have been written 40 years ago, entirely lacking in the long-established realities fathers face.  It’s like writer Thom Patterson is a latter-day Rip Van Winkle, newly awakened from a long, long sleep.

So he seems to want us to believe that fathers haven’t been complaining about their treatment in family courts for those four decades.

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

Usually, advice columnist Carolyn Hax is the very soul of good sense.  She rarely misinforms, misleads or misadvises a letter writer.  This, however, is an exception (Seattle Times, 11/7/18).  Hax’s inquirer signs herself “Wannabe Mom, Not Wannabe Wife,” a label that, strangely enough, is only tangentially related to her, her situation and her question.

WMNWW’s question – whether she should, without a partner, adopt a child - could be right out of the 1990s.  That was a time when the “Single Mothers by Choice” movement was in flower.  The women of that movement were intentionally giving birth to or adopting children without the involvement of a man.  It was all portrayed as terribly “courageous” on their part and few people raised their voices to challenge them.  One of course was Vice President Dan Quayle who famously questioned whether TV character Murphy Brown (Candace Bergen) should have been depicted as having a child without a father.  Quayle pointed out that doing so shouldn’t be considered “just another lifestyle choice.”

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

Houston Juvenile Court Judge Michael Schneider has once again unsheathed his judicial sword (Houston Chronicle, 11/9/18).  And once again, Child Protective Services must yield. 

I’ve written before about Schneider.  He shows every indication of being a judge who’s bent on educating CPS caseworkers and their supervisors about how to do their jobs within the confines of statutory and constitutional law.  Several years ago, when caseworkers demanded an emergency hearing because, according to them, a child was in such danger that regular notice couldn’t be given to its parents, Schneider acquiesced.  But, on learning that no such emergency had occurred, he took the unusual step of ordering the pair to write essays demonstrating that they understood parents’ constitutional rights.

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

In my post yesterday, I dealt with yet another strange and badly researched article that seeks to cast aspersions on the Family Bridges program.  Family Bridges is a four-day workshop that attempts to reverse the process of parental alienation, usually in kids with the most severe form of alienation.  It’s been around for 20 years and logged an astonishing record of success.  That success is both anecdotal, as I’ve reported before, and scientific.  Dr. Richard Warshak has conducted two studies of its efficacy and found the program highly successful at reintegrating children with their targeted parents.  No such program could hope to be 100% successful and Family Bridges doesn’t hit that mark, but, all things considered, it seems to work well.  That’s why countless judges, custody evaluators and others have referred/recommended alienated children and their targeted parents to the program over the years.

But that success doesn’t keep incurious, mendacious and virulently anti-dad “journalists” from attacking FB anyway.  Such a piece was the NBC Bay Area one I discussed yesterday.

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