A National Scandal: American Mothers March to Defend Motherhood and Children’s Human Rights

Mothers of Lost Children march from the U.S. Capitol to the White House in Washington DC to protest children being taken from safe mothers and given to battering or sexually abusive fathers through family courts.  This governmental cover up is similar to Penn State and the Catholic Church cover-ups. Mothers will protest at the Department of Justice and Demand Equal Rights for Women and Protection in Courts across America for whistle blowers who have the right to Defend Childhood.  Mothers are bringing attention to child trafficking in the Courts, and  States Judges who fail to Protect.  Help us send a mother from each state to represent the rights of mothers and abused children.

 Mothers March on Washington DC to end Child trafficking through the courts

October 1 – 2, 2014  Mothers of Lost Children demonstration and Lobby Day in Washington D.C.

California – Napa, Historical “Broken” Courthouse 12 pm

OCTOBER IS VIOLENCE IN THE FAMILY AWARENESS MONTH, Mothers of Lost Children (Mothers who have lost custody after reporting abuse)- bring attention to children of Domestic Violence.  October 1st is recognized as the National Safe Child Day.  Throughout the month communities across America will be participating in a campaign to bring attention to this National Scandal – Child Trafficking. We invite Mothers and Supporters from across the nation to join us in making the Safety of Our Children a National Priority.

To commemorate the National Safe Child Day- Mothers across the Nation will Protest  at Courthouses, State Capitals and the White house.  Delivering the message A Nurtured Childhood is Endangered, Declaring that we must make Safety the first Priority in US child custody Policies.

Vote like a mother-Mothers of Lost ChildrenHeal Mothers FlyerBring back our Girls and Boys

Vote like a mother-Mothers of Lost Children




Let John David see His Mom

Mothers Protest at the White house to let John David see his mother

Mothers of Lost Children protest at the Whitehouse 2013

Mothers of Lost Children supports Protective Mom Andrea in sending the message,

“Let John David See His Mom!”

Mothers protest at the Whitehouse  and Congress the separation of mothers and children after Divorce. Mothers took our message to the Victims Rights Caucus and Congressman Ted Poe bringing attention to Domestic Violence Divorces, the need for equal protection under the law and the need to address Custody issues in these High Risk Cases, were the non-offending mother is separated from the child victim.

The Coalition of Mothers sends the message that children taken from primary attached mothers causes life long trauma.  Under the Constitution of the United States, Women have the right to Equal Justice under the law and require help to protect these rights; to parent and protect their children.  Routinely, Children are taken from safe mothers in Separation and Divorce in Family Courts and require the Federal Government to address the violations of law in State Courts, funded by federal grants.

Mothers of Lost Children at the Victims Rights Caucus

Mothers of Lost Children Vigil Lobbying Congress to let John David see his mom

Federal Oversight Now on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in America

MOST contested custody cases are actually domestic abuse or child abuse cases in which abusers have been allowed to use the courts to regain control over their victims, and bankrupt the safe, non-offending, primary care-giving, protective mother. These innocent children lose contact with their mothers and experience irreparable harm.  With perverse financial incentives children are taken from loving mothers and placed with dangerous fathers. In doing so they insure the contentious litigation that family courts are famous for. Additional federal funding is fueling the war on women and children and its time to stop the madness. Judges are failing to protect our children and our Due Process. Mr. President Protect our rights under the Constitution and provide protection for Women and Children of Domestic Violence Divorces…Mothers Justice Movement for Equal Rights in the Courts

Stop New Jersey Judges from forcing defenseless children to be harmed by ABUSERS!



Let John David See his mom at Lincoln memorial

Let John David see his mom

Reposted from Safe Kids international social media campaign -

Poem by Protective Mom Andrea for Son Taken Away
Like So Many Who Have Fought to Keep and Protect

I breathe you in dreams…I breathe you awake….
I breathe you in every breath that I take….

I breathe to your birth…was there for your creation…
Then the ensuing devastating hellation…

Why are some people born, I wonder…
To live such lives asunder….

I think of the way I thought life would be….
At least I saw your sweet smile…for a little while….
I miss you and hope you’re doing fine
Love, me

*You can leave comments of support here for Andrea.

There is no reason for judges to take children away from good mothers, yet there are hundreds of thousands (millions?) around the world who have had their children taken away completely or placed on supervised visitation indefinitely by family court judges.

Even when fathers are violent and/or sexually assault their children (or other children), they virtually never get their children taken away completely or placed on supervised visitation for long. There is almost always an immediate goal of reunifying with fathers, no matter what violence they have perpetrated on the children or their mother.

Not so with mothers. Many good mothers lose all contact with their children for long periods of time, often until they are 18. And by 18, the children are sometimes so Stockholmed and brainwashed that they do not want to see their mother anymore.

This ingrained systemic bias against women MUST STOP. The single most important social issue facing our society today is this oppression and devastation of women and children by the legal and “justice” system.

When thousands unite and protest whenever a judge takes a child away from a good mother, we will be a force to be reckoned with! Stay active on Safe Kids FB to support Protective Moms and join the International Organization for Women and Children:


Stop Abuse Campaign


Children's Justice Campaignhttp://www.childrensjusticecampaign.org/


Divorce in Connecticut

My Photo

Susan Skipp is just one of hundreds of thousands of Primary Bonded Moms who’ve had their children taken away without due process. It is an epidemic in family courts around the world. Courts granting custody to the ‘Father’ to control the children and their women.  In the fine art of Husbandry, control and punishment is given to the father through the marital status. Husbands are rewarded in Family Courts by Judges who violate women’s Due process of law to continue this ‘Rule of the Father’ and provide continued access to the children.  This continued access is supported by federal funding and archaic policy practices through Health and Human Services mandates.  In Domestic Violence Divorces, this is the ultimate reward for these men.  To forgo Child Support by stealing the children from the primary attached mother.  Punishing her for leaving and breaking the code of Silence.  Such events are documented in Keith Harmon Snows “Screw the Bitch” expose-

Jun 21, 2012
May 03, 2012
Jan 06, 2013
In a recent article entitled, “A Life Sentence” independent journalist Keith Harmon Snow spoke about how Family Court systems across America are taking children away from fit mothers and handing them over to abusive …
Jul 03, 2012
But so has a post defending the women by Investigative Reporter Keith Harmon Snow been deleted and Facebook has informed Mr. Snow that HE is under investigation for his post. There is also additional abuse online …

Repost from Safe Kids International-

Primary Mom Discusses Court Licensed Abuse in Video:
Hasn’t Seen Son, 11 or Daughter, 13, for Almost 2 Years

“[Family court officials have] decimated my children. They’ve abused my children. What they’ve… done is destabilize my children just as much as they have destabilized me. I don’t know if they’ll ever recover from this. One year separation from a parent is life-long damage and we’re going on two years.

I’ve never been accused of neglect, abuse, never found unfit…For three hours [visitation] a month it would cost me $2350/month.”
Primary Bond Mom Susan

Susan is filing a Federal Lawsuit on behalf of her kids for violations of their Constitutional right to have a relationship with her. She is looking for an attorney to help her file the suit. Email safekidsintl@yahoo.com if you know of one.

Susan is just one of hundreds of thousands of Primary Bond Moms who’ve had their children taken away without due process. It is epidemic in family courts around the world.

Family Court is designed to empower fathers to take children away from primarily bonded mothers if they so choose. Unfortunately more and more fathers are choosing to do so, and, even more unfortunately, many who do are abusers and molesters. [There is no epidemic of primary bond fathers (or even secondarily attached fathers) having their children taken away from them. When they do lose children, it is rare and occurs for different reasons than mothers. And many fathers consider not getting equal time as "losing", when, in fact, they still have regular, frequent visitation.]

Many Primary and Protective Moms think their children are being taken away from them because of all the money being made by court officials in the process, but the core cause is an age-old agenda to keep power with the father as much as possible. Money fuels this discrimination, but is just the frosting on the cake.

In order to stop this Court Licensed Abuse, we must tackle this systemic oppression of women and children.
For more info: www.rightsforwomenandchildren.org

[Pictured: Susan being interviewed in daughter's bedroom; Susan with all four children (older two are adults now)]

Children of Abusive Men


children of domestic violence Wheel
What is Fair for Children of Abusive Men?
by Jack C. Straton, Ph.D.

This webpage is: http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/nomas.html

originally presented at
What About the Kids? Custody and Visitation Decisions in Families with a History of Violence
National Training Project of the Duluth Domestic Abuse Project – Thursday, October 8, 1992, Duluth, Minnesota

from the Journal of the Task Group on Child Custody Issues*
of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism
Volume 5, Number 1, Spring1993 (Fourth Edition, 2001)
c/o University Studies, Portland State University, Portland, OR, 97207-0751
503-725-5844, 503-725-5977 (FAX) , straton@pdx.edu


I want to express my deep gratitude to Ellen Pence, Madeline Dupre, Jim Soderberg and the others from the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project for giving me this opportunity to speak with you. The State of Minnesota should be proud that, quite literally, the world looks to this program for guidance on understanding and ending domestic violence. I also want to acknowledge how much I continually learn from Barbara Hart, of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

I will first critically examine the criterion at the base of all custody laws today, “What is in the best interests of the children?” I will the talk about children’s choice in these matters. Then I will examine the actual effects of wife-battering on children, and develop an alternative paradigm for custody based on those effects. From this I will examine the question, “Is it ever appropriate to ever give a batterer custody of a child?”

In the process, I am going to talk today about the effects of male power and control over children, not about parental power and control. I know that it is popular these days to de-gender family conflict, to talk about “spouse abuse” and “family violence” rather than “wife beating” and “rape.” I know that we want a society in which men nurture children to the same extent that women do.

I know that fathers and mothers should both be capable parents. But if you ask “What about the kids?” I want to give you a serious answer. I cannot seriously entertain the myth that our society really is gender neutral, so to consider “What about the kids?” while pretending such neutrality is to engage in denial and cognitive dissonance. I cannot hope to arrive at an answer that will positively affect reality if my underlying assumptions are based on fantasy.

So I am going to talk today about the effects of male power and control over children, not about parental power and control. As I cite examples, some of you may hear your internal voice saying, “But women do that, too.” As this happens I would ask you to be aware that such voices are often the voice of guilt that try to distract us from what we really know about men’s violence so that we need not take responsibility for this violence.

It is true, for example, that some women do batter men. But the number of severe cases of this type is so low when compared with the virtual war of men’s violence against women, that they cannot be seen above the statistical noise. This voice that says “But women do that, too” has as its purpose, not compassion for battered men or lesbians, but a distraction from the noble goal of ending battering of women.

So as you hear this voice today, become consciously aware of it. Let it into your conscious mind for a moment, and then let it drift on. It is just a tape recording that you can always come back to in an hour or two if there is a need. If you find that you just can’t contain this voice, that others must hear this tape recording, please do not hesitate to raise a hand or even to shout it out. We will pause to give it some space.


I want to begin by instilling in you a healthy skepticism about the “Best interests of the child” criterion that underlies custody laws today. It is important to acknowledge that the term “the best interests of the child” is so vague that some adult must state what constitutes “best interest.”

In practice courts rely on social and psychological professionals to make this determination. While such individuals are surely skilled and caring individuals, it must be admitted that they operate out of a set of professional norms that are never openly discussed, and are subject to professional fad.

to read more http://www.thelizlibrary.org/site-index/site-index-frame.html#soulhttp://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/nomas.html


It’s a sobering fact. At least one third of all female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by male intimate partners — husbands and ex-husbands, boyfriends and estranged lovers. While both men and women experience domestic violence, the graphics below should put to rest the myth that abuse occurs equally to both sexes.

“While both men and women experience domestic violence, the graphics below should put to rest the myth that abuse occurs equally to both sexes. Over 18,000 Women Were Killed By Men Since 2003.”


Why Good & Fit Mothers Have Lost Custody

“It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator.  All the
perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the
universal desire to see, hear and speak no evil.  The victim, on the
contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain.  The victim
demands action, engagement and remembering.”
–Judy Herman 

From:  Custody Preparation for Moms

Ludicrous Reasons Why Good & Fit Mothers Have Lost Custody

Because of the pervasiveness of family violence in our country and the astounding nationwide system failure of our family courts to protect women and child victims, much of this sites’ focus is on assisting and educating protective mothers.

“Studies show batterers are able to convince authorities that the victim is unfit or undeserving of sole custody in approximately 70% of challenged cases. ” (American Judges Association)

“Fathers who batter mothers are 2 times more likely to seek sole physical custody of their children than are non-violent fathers.” (APA1996, p. 40.)

For the abuser, the courtroom is the last tool in his toolbox to control and abuse his victims. It is our goal to reverse this trend for the benefit of our children and our nation’s future as a peaceful, non-violent society.

Sadly, we must report that if you have a guardian ad litem (GAL), Minors Council or child custody evaluator assigned or appointed to your case that is unscrupulous, ill-trained, incompetent or biased either toward a father or a form of custody, there is virtually no way for a mother to truly “prepare” for a child custody evaluator. If you have been unfortunate enough to have this type of evaluator, be very prepared to find other documentation, evidence, witnesses, and experts with superior credentials to refute the report and offer alternate views to the court. You can not let these sorts of evaluations stand. Here are some of the more ludicrous documented reasons given by evaluators or judges in numerous cases where good and fit mothers lost custody:

  • Breastfeeding–the mothers either wanted to and it was determined an alienating behavior, or they did not choose to breastfeed and it was termed child neglect or indifference
  • Children got head lice during a period of mother’s care.
  • Too many people (all relatives) living in one home (i.e. mom had to return home to family to gain economic and emotional support)
  • Father remarried and married family deemed superior to single motherhood
  • Father’s job and education deemed superior–sometimes even though mom sacrificed her goals and dreams so father could obtain same.
  • Not desiring 50/50 custody or other joint custodial arrangements
  • Not desiring to give up the marital home
  • Leaving the marital home while fleeing from abuse, especially if she left the children behind.
  • Going to church
  • Going to church too often
  • Not going to church
  • Having a different religion than the father
  • Having a different religion than the children
  • Home schooling your children
  • Being poor or less well-off than the father and his extended family
  • Having unprotected sex although no longer living with or married to your former mate
  • Believing your children when they tell of abuse
  • Being depressed or sad
  • Having been diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) caused by the battery/abuse in your relationship with your child’s father and having that used to term the mother “unstable”
  • Crying in front of any court personnel
  • Being anxious or “hyper-vigilant”, even when abuse to self and children are an issue
  • Dating on occasion and leaving your child with a trusted sitter
  • Dating someone of another race
  • Not dating
  • Having a boyfriend
  • Not having a boyfriend
  • Living with a boyfriend
  • Refusing to marry your boyfriend
  • Having a social life–women have been penalized for taking occasional evening breaks away from the children for meetings, to meet friends, etc.
  • Not having a social life–women were penalized for being “wrapped up” in the kids and not having other interests.
  • Having a career
  • Not having a career
  • Working too much
  • Not working enough
  • Using daycare or before/after-school care so you can work to support your kids
  • Being non-white: a Native American, Black, Asian, etc.
  • Having your child learn your native language–mothers have been deemed more of a “flight risk” for teaching their child their heritage and language, or deemed to be alienating the child from the father by teaching the child a language the father does not know.
  • Being white-fathers ethnicity given greater accord because mother supposedly could not provide a racial/ethnic identity for the child.
  • Being involved in your children’s education/volunteering-deemed “over-involved” or enmeshed with her children
  • Having a close, loving relationship with your child – court personnel seem to love pathologizing mother/child bonds as “enmeshed”, “unhealthy”
  • Wishing to move
  • Being disorganized
  • Having a messy home
  • Being too neat & orderly
  • Being a lesbian
  • Being a good role model for your child–a female child in one case was noted by the judge as being “alienated” by the mother because the child looked up to her mother and wanted to follow in her same career path when she grew up.
  • Not liking your ex
  • Having been hospitalized for a physical ailment or injury
  • Thinking negative thoughts about your ex (doesn’t matter whether you verbalize them or not)
  • Being an “unconscious alienator”, termed as having the likelihood of alienating sometime in the future
  • Going back to school and using daycare
  • Not using daycare–mother deemed too “enmeshed” and “over-involved” with her preschool aged children because she worked at home and used her maternal relatives for occasional childcare and did not want to put her toddler into daycare/preschool.
  • Being disabled at the hands of your child’s father
  • Being blind or deaf, although adequately being the primary parent of your child for numerous years
  • Photographing injuries found on your child and identified by the child as having been caused by their father
  • The evaluator didn’t like the mother because she reminded her of someone–in one case, a woman was told she wasn’t liked because she reminded the evaluator of her mother
  • Being protective of your children
  • Taking your children to the doctor – termed “anxious” parenting, or pathologized further into Munchausen’s Syndrome By Proxy
  • Using your computer
  • Computer dating
  • Staying up too late at night to get work done
  • Sending the kids to summer camp – termed “farming them out”
  • Following doctors orders in administering prescribed medications
  • Taking your children to counseling
  • Children’s grades are not high enough
  • Children missed too much school due to illness
  • You’re not a father


Child Help reports that USA has worst records of Abuse



 More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator.  “The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2008 is $124 billion.” 

National Child Abuse Statistics

Statistics Graph Number of Child Deaths Per Day Due To Child Abuse and Neglect


Child Abuse in America

Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children (a report can include multiple children). The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect. 12

General Statistics:

  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds
  • More than four children die every day as a result of child abuse.1
  • It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. 3
  • Approximately 70% of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4. 1
  • More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way. 4
  • Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse. 5
  • In at least one study, about 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder. 13
  • The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2008 is $124 billion. 6\
  • 14% of all men in prison and 36% of women in prison in the USA were abused as children, about twice the frequency seen in the general population. 7
  • Children who experience child abuse & neglect are about 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity. 5
  • Top ↑


Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy. 5

  • Abused teens are more likely to engage in sexual risk taking, putting them at greater risk for STDs. 5
  • One-third to two-thirds of child maltreatment cases involve substance use to some degree. 11
  • In one study, children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs were three times more likely to be abused and more than four times more likely to be neglected than children from non-abusing families. 11
  • As many as two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused or neglected as children. 9
  • More than a third of adolescents with a report of abuse or neglect will have a substance use disorder before their 18th birthday, three times as likely as those without a report of abuse or neglect.12


Photo: "All Who Enter Will Find Love." </p><br />
<p>It’s always been our slogan above the door and we hope to continue welcoming children and families in a comforting environment. Please support our #BuildingDreamsAZ campaign and help us to continue providing this care for so many children in need.</p><br />

When Custody is Awarded to Abusive Parents

Damon’s Law will Protect Children of Abuse

in the California State Legislature

What happens if a Judge makes a mistake, and it happens more than you know, and gives custody to the dangerous parent? The unprotected child is left to be violated with impunity.  The non – offending parent is left to fight for years to bring attention to the abuse and the violations of law.   Over and over we are seeing stories of Judges awarding custody to Batterers and Molesters.

-WhistleBlower Judge Speaks Out About Family Court’s Failure to Protect Children Former Judge DeAnn Salcido says Family Court is a “circus” and so is the training

Judge Salcido Speaks Out to Fox News

  • We are experiencing Court Ordered Trafficking through Children’s Courts (Dependency, Juvenile and Family Courts).  For Mothers and their children the time has come for policy change and a recognition of Women’s right to equal access to Justice in the courts and Children’s right to be protected. This is a child’s Human Rights Issue who’s time has come.
  • If you are the victim of domestic violence and are trying to protect your children in a custody dispute you and your children face the failures of the courts to protect young victims.  It is reported that the abuser wins custody in these Domestic Violence Divorces 85% of the time.
  • Family Courts approach decisions with what is in the child’s best interests, and may disregard unproven fears and concerns on the part of a mother who was abused. Children’s Disclosures are denied in court, witnesses and  forensic evidence will be rejected by Dependency and Family Court Judges in an underlying policy to return children to the father regardless of safety.  This Best Interest standard, that fails to provide safety, is politically driven and supported by federal funding to the courts.  There is also some stigma still attached to domestic violence and many judges may feel that a mother is using it as a weapon against the father.  Judges will change custody from the primary attached parent to the most aggressive parent through these Domestic Violence Divorce proceedings.
  • With the failures of “family courts” who do not follow the rules of law or quality of criminal court proceedings; no Juries, lack of proper representation, or court reporters.  Litigants can no longer have the expectation of these courts to follow constitutional law and such issues of Due process are often violated.  With lack of accountability and transparency in these courts, such failures may also be as a result of the financial incentives to remove a child from a safe parent, therefore the responsible adult will continue to seek redress on behalf of the parents right to justice and child’s protection, while court professionals and vendors have pecuniary interest-benefit financially – they will fan the fire of vexatious litigation, placing safe mother on supervised visitation for reporting abuse, leaving the father to abuse with impunity.

Mothers have been bringing public awareness to the fact that children who report abuse, particularly incest, are regularly given into the custody or unsupervised visitation of their identified perpetrators. Mothers who strive to protect their children are commonly removed partially or completely from their children’s lives.  Some 58,000 Child victims a year are taken from safe mothers and placed with known perpetrators.http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/med/PR3.html 

Mothers of Lost Children Support the efforts to Protect Child Victims of Crime through new Legislation Proposed by “Damon’s Law” that Seeks to Protect Abused Children
reposted from Safekids International social media campaign-
Exposing the Epidemic of Court Licensed Abuse of Children and their Protective Mothers
“Since there is such a massive silent epidemic of child sexual abuse, a new law called Damon’s Law is being presented in the California state capital to prevent this tragedy.”
San Diego’s East County Magazine
http://eastcountymagazine.org/custody-awarded-alledgedly-abusive-parents“Shockingly, parents accused of molesting and abusing their children have been awarded custody – including some cases in San Diego and East County.
One case, regarding a 16 year old boy, Damon Moelter, was first heard at the El Cajon courthouse, where Damon accused his father, Eric Moelter of sexually abusing him since he was 6 years old. Although his father was never convicted, Damon’s experience has prompted legislation in Sacramento aimed at protecting other children in similar situations.  In a recent East County Magazine interview, Damon stated that his father used to ejaculate on Damon’s back. Damon said his father told him to “keep it their little secret.” The Moelters got divorced and afterwards, the case was transferred to the downtown San Diego court which awarded the father custody and he was never convicted of molestation.
Oddly enough, Damon Moelter also said that a family reunification therapist, Dr. [Breffni] Barrett approved his father’s custody. Damon later ran away, going into hiding to avoid being sent back to his father.
  • Fox News (http://www.savingdamon.com/) reported that Damon Moelter had to leave California and get married in Nevada when he turned 16 without his father’s consent, in order to get away from his father’s custody and become a legally emancipated adult. In the Fox News video on http:/www.savingdamon.com/.
His father, Eric Moelter denies the abuse.  Damon Moelter stated the teenage wedding was a marriage of convenience for both parties and he is now divorced, and living with his mother, Cindy Dumas. Dumas also said she knows of a few similar cases in East County where a father masturbated in front of his son and was still awarded custody, but the families don’t want to be identified.
Damon’s Law proposed in State LegislatureAccording to Wendy Murphy, J.D., [former sex crimes prosecutor, CNN/Fox legal analyst and law professor who helped draft this legislation,] summarizing, Damon’s Law states that: “ All reports of suspected child sexual assault by a parent as defined by Penal Code 11165.1 shall be immediately submitted to law enforcement for investigation by a multidisciplinary team. All collateral investigations shall be stayed pending final determination of the criminal matter. A no-contact order shall issue upon filing and shall forbid all contact between the child and the accused parent pending final determination of the criminal matter.”Under the proposed law, the fact-finder shall first determine if the charges have been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. If a determination is made that no charges have been so proved, there shall be no criminal conviction. If the charges are proved either beyond a reasonable doubt or by a preponderance of the evidence, a long-term no-contact order shall issue forbidding all contact between the child and the offending parent until the child reaches majority. A minimum condition for a plea deal is a no contact order issued until the age of majority.A national and worldwide crisisThis writer has received emails from parents around the world maintaining that abusers have been granted custody of their children. In the U.S., mothers across the nation have claimed that PAS was used against them in custody cases in favor of child abusers.

The problem is global—and it’s not new.

East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery covered the International Conference on Family Violence held in San Diego (ironically on September 11, 2001) for Women’s E-News. There Colorado attorney Alan Rosenfeld revealed, “For 15 years, mothers have been going into hiding in large scale due to failures of courts to protect children.

Rosenfeld was representing mothers in custody and criminal cases who were charged with kidnapping to protect their children. He claimed that in the prior 15 years, 1.5 million women had gone underground with their children and further, that a San Bernadino, California prosecutor had estimated that 100,000 mothers went into hiding each year because they believed their children were being abused.

“Those missing children on milk cartons? In my experience, 85 to 90 percent of them are mothers in hiding with their children. They do not wish to be found,” Rosenfeld added.

Geraldine Stahly, PhD at California State University in San Bernadino, noted that many women stay in abusive relationships for fear of losing their children.

Mary Lou French took her children into hiding in Costa Rica and later Panama because she feared they were being sexually abused. Tracked by fathers’ rights groups and the FBI, she was arrested, becoming the first to face stiff mandatory sentencing for international parental kidnapping, a federal crime. Facing up to 12 years in jail if she pleaded guilty, French risked even longer imprisonment if she exercised her right to a trial and lost.

“There I was in prison, and my children were with the perpetrator–and no one was listening,” she said in a trembling voice.

Another heart-wrenching case, Raftery recalled, involved a teen girl who came to the conference to speak out about her own ordeal in a Southern state. Despite evidence from a pediatrician documenting sexual abuse, a judge placed her back in the custody of her abusive father.

…Therapist, Dr. Rochelle Bastien has stated that this mostly happens through human error. She has said PAS is used as a gag order. She stated it is one of the first accusations leveled against a mother, even though there is within the American Psychological Association, no diagnostic code for PAS.

“These decisions made in family court will affect families for generations to come.”

…Custody awarded to abusers is a local and worldwide problem that plays no favorites.


Please SHARE this article to help get support for Damon’s Law which will be introduced next session.

To express gratitude for journalist Jordan Schaffner and editor Miriam Raftery for covering Court Licensed Abuse, email:

*Because judges can do whatever they want, and what they want is usually to blame the mother who reports sexual abuse as an alienator/liar/mentally ill, the only way to protect kids is to get these cases OUT of family court.

Damon’s Law, created by Damon Moelter and his mother.
Damon’s Law will get sexual abuse cases into criminal court where they belong. D.A.’s usually will not take sexual abuse cases claiming that the evidence does not reach the beyond a reasonable doubt burden. The new law provides for the jury being given the option of the lower burden–preponderance, so the D.A.’s will have to take most of the cases. If the lower burden is reached, the children will be protected from the abuser.Please email: safekidsintl@yahoo.com if you know of any organizations that will support Damon’s Law.



see Safe Kids international - https://www.facebook.com/SafeKidsInternational?hc_location=timeline
For the full proposed law:

[Pictured: Eric Moelter (left); Damon Moelter (right)]


From Hope to Resilience- trauma sensitive curriculum

Children’s Resilience Initiative in Walla Walla, WA, draws spotlight to trauma-sensitive school

-This community of 30,000 in eastern Washington State is well on its way to becoming a trauma-informed, resilience-building city.

Walla Walla is probably the only trauma-informed, resilience-building community that has its own song, an anthem to the healing power of community. It was written by Brown:

So, I was dealt a bad hand
But that ain’t gonna stop me
A fistful of ACEs I can rise above
I’ve people around me
They’ll lift me up – won’t drop me
They see me – help heal me
I know now I deserve love

Broken cups, broken dishes
Broken bones, family torn apart
I lost my childhood – my dreams and childish wishes
But I will never lose my heart

I’ve got the power to bounce back
I’ve got the heart to succeed
I’ve got the people around me
I’ve got the grit that I need

So if you come upon some kids
With their eyes hurt and staring
You could be a life raft, help them rise above
Put away your judgment, yes, and cover them with caring
In spite of their sad stories
They can bounce back, and they deserve love

In Walla Walla, Washington, the journey to implement ACEs research has been akin to a wild ride on a transformer roller coaster that arbitrarily changes its careening turns, mountainous ascents, and hair-raising plunges. And sometimes the ride just screeches to a frustrating halt.

The odyssey began in October 2007, when Teri Barila, Walla Walla County Community Network coordinator, heard Dr. Robert Anda, co-investigator of the CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study), speak at a Washington State Family Policy Council (FPC) event.

Without a doubt, he said, childhood trauma is the nation’s No. 1 public health problem. The ACE Study – the largest public health study you never heard of — shows that childhood trauma is very, very common. (ACE surveys in 22 states now echo the results.) And this childhood adversity causes violence, including family violence, as well as the adult onset of chronic disease and mental illness.

The Family Policy Council was the umbrella organization for 42 community networks across the state that were addressing local issues such as youth substance abuse, school drop-out rates and teen pregnancy. Anda implored the coordinators to “get something started” in their own communities because he was getting little traction on a national level.

Barila returned to Walla Walla fired up. The city, with a population of 32,000, has three colleges, a robust agricultural community, including a newly flourishing wine industry, and a revitalized downtown. But one out of four of its children live in poverty, 65% of its residents have not attended college, and gangs and drugs are common. Barila was determined to educate the community about the dire and costly consequences of ACEs and the “clear impact of stress on the developing brain of a child.” She organized a community meeting in early 2008 and brought Anda in for a two-and-a-half-hour seminar; 165 people showed up.

At the end of Anda’s presentation, a parent named Annett Ridenour walked to the front of the room, and, with tears streaming down her face, took the microphone out of Anda’s hand. “I have 10 ACEs,” she said, “and now I understand my life.”

“This made me believe in the liberating effects of ACEs,” writes Barila in the “Getting Started” chapter of the the Resilience Trumps ACEs Manual. It was also the unofficial start of the Children’s Resilience Initiative.

The first order of business was to find a partner. With her ten years as community network coordinator, Barila had plenty of experience mobilizing and developing capacity in communities. She needed someone with a background in mental health. She found that person in Mark Brown, the new executive director of Friends of Children of Walla Walla, a local mentoring program.

The second order of business was, as Barila and Brown write in the manual, to “plow the field.” In other words, identify critical community leaders and organizations, explain the research and the goal of creating “a community conversant in ACEs and resilience,” and answer their questions and concerns.

Brown and Barila compiled a list that included people from the school district, city government, mental health, social service

Teri Barila

agencies, the local offices of the state Department of Health and Human Services, law enforcement, juvenile justice, public health, local media, business leaders and parents. After more than 40 conversations with individuals and small groups of people, they were ready to hold the first team meeting.

 In 2009, a local foundation, the Donald & Virginia Sherwood Trust, provided $40,000 in start-up funds. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation heard about the project and offered a three-year, $130,000 grant. This was enough to support Barila’s work and 25% of Brown’s salary, to bring in expert speakers, to organize meetings, to do a city-wide ACEs survey and to launch ResilienceTrumpsACEs.org.
The Children’s Resilience Initiative gets underway

The Children’s Resilience Initiative (CRI) officially launched in February 2010. Its members developed a plan that helped identify the goals, vision and responsibilities of the 25-member team and its facilitators, Barila and Brown. The goals: to raise awareness of ACEs and brain development, foster resilience, and embed the principles in the community. Barila recalls that “a tremendous amount of effort” went into the document; it turned out to be an extremely useful navigation chart for the organization and its members, providing the “elevator speech” and the confidence to speak to CRI’s goals.

Brown also knew that, as the initiative matured, it was likely to develop other goals. One that emerged was the need for the members to integrate the principles of ACEs awareness and resilience into their own organizations. This raised the ante on members to report progress, or lack of it, at each meeting. It also expanded the leadership, notes Barila, as people developed their own approaches to working with others in the community.

A series of turning points began in April 2010, when the school district sent a group to the “From Hope to Resilience” conference in Spokane, whose education community  wasundergoing its own transition to learning about and integrating trauma-informed practices.

Jim Sporleder, principal of Lincoln High School, an “alternative” school attended by students who couldn’t make it at Walla Walla High School, was among that group. He heard Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, speak about ACEs and the effects of toxic stress on children’s developing brains. Sporleder realized that he’d been approaching discipline all wrong. He returned to Walla Walla determined to integrate trauma-informed practices in his school.

To read more…http://acestoohigh.com/2014/10/07/childrens-resilience-initiative-in-walla-walla-wa-draws-spotlight-to-trauma-sensitive-school/

Todays Parent’s need The truth about child abuse


The subject of child abuse is unsettling, and yet it’s shockingly common; one in three Canadians say they’ve suffered from it. To mark Child Abuse Prevention Month, we’re delving into this uncomfortable topic with the idea that knowledge is power. We went to the experts—folks who work with victims daily—to find out the common misconceptions about abuse, how to spot the telltale signs, and what to do if you suspect it’s happening. Plus, we’ve got tips to start age-appropriate conversations about it with your own kids.

The truth about child abuse:

Find out what’s considered child abuse, what to do if you witness abuse and need to make a report, and how to have an age-appropriate discussion about it with your kids.

 Lisa van de Geyn


Social workers, police officers and other child-care professionals operate under set, shared guidelines. Child abuse is an umbrella term that includes five types of maltreatment—physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional harm, neglect and exposure to family violence. Jessica Allen*, a registered social worker in British Columbia who spoke on the condition of anonymity (her employer has a strict media policy), explains that child abuse is defined as behaviour or actions that cause some kind of physical, sexual or emotional harm—threatening a child’s safety, survival, development, self-esteem or ability to thrive. “What wouldn’t be considered child abuse or neglect is parenting in poverty—this is not, automatically, neglect, although it can be a contributing factor,” she says. “Neither is losing your temper once and yelling at your child in an isolated incident.”


Although studies say it can cause long-term developmental damage, under Canadian law, parents are allowed to spank their children, and it only applies to tots older than two and tweens younger than 12. (Section 43 of the Criminal Code says parents can use “reasonable” force to physically discipline kids—so you can’t use a belt, or swat a kid in the head, for example.)


235,842 child maltreatment investigations are conducted across Canada in a year (2008 is the last year for which numbers have been tabulated).

75% of all cases were children younger than 11, and most cases involved exposure to family violence or neglect.

Abuse is a cycle: An abused child is more likely to end up in violent or abusive relationships when he or she grows up.

1 in 3 adult Canadians have suffered from at least one form of child abuse.

69% of reported physical abuse cases result from inappropriate discipline.

60% of reported physical abuse cases involve boys.

69% of reported sexual abuse cases involve girls.


PHYSICAL ABUSE is deliberate physical force, including severe punishments that unintentionally injure a child: hitting, shaking, punching, kicking, biting, pushing, choking, grabbing, slapping, burning.

• Physical signs: bruises; fractures; bite marks; welts; cuts; injuries in various stages of healing; injuries inconsistent with a child’s developmental stage.

• Behavioural signs: child can’t remember or explain injuries; aggressive and withdrawn; compliant; nervous around adults; flinches if touched; afraid to go home.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE is ongoing, psychologically damaging behaviour including humiliation, name-calling, threatening, emotional neglect, rejecting, criticizing, isolating, insulting and exposure to domestic violence.

• Physical signs: psychosomatic complaints like stomach ache, headache, nausea; bedwetting.

• Behavioural signs: depression; acting withdrawn; aggression; biting, sucking or rocking; trouble sleeping; phobias; obsessive-compulsive disorders; developmental delays; overly compliant;speech disorders.

SEXUAL ABUSE is any form of sexual conduct or exploitation directed at a child by someone who has power (older, stronger, etc.), including forced touching, exposing genitals, fondling, intercourse, oral sex, allowing a child to watch or participate in pornography, or sexual exploitation online.

• Physical signs: stained underwear; injuries or itching in genital/anal areas; pain urinating; genital discharge; UTIs; excessive masturbation; STDs.

• Behavioural signs: unusually advanced sexual knowledge; age-inappropriate or sexually explicit drawings, play with toys, or sexual acts; sleeping disorders; running away; poor relationships with peers.

NEGLECT is the inability or unwillingness to provide the basics: food, clothing, shelter, supervision, feeling of safety; medical attention.

• Physical signs: pale; malnourished or underweight; tired; poor hygiene; inappropriate clothing for weather; inappropriate school lunches.

• Behavioural signs: frequent absences; listlessness; hunger; begging for food; stealing; mentioning lack of supervision at home.


Maybe it was a kid being berated by a parent in the mall; or a toddler slapped upside the head for not listening to Mom; or a father threatening his kid with the belt when his kid misbehaved at the park. But what is a bystander’s responsibility? Should you intervene? Call 9-1-1? And how do you know whether you’ve witnessed a one-time lapse in judgment—that parent’s worst parenting moment—or a clear indication of a larger and ongoing problem?

That’s tricky, Allen says. “There’s a lot of stress on parents these days. Many reports I hear of public abuse are of parents yelling, maybe even hitting their child,” she says. “If, for example, a child is alone in a car and you cannot find a parent or the adult responsible for the child, call 9-1-1. If you locate the adult and she appears grateful that someone was concerned and she acknowledges her lack of planning or good decision-making, it may not need to be followed up with a report.” Allen says a bystander gently intervening and offering to help can be positive. If you spot a parent shouting at her child in a supermarket parking lot, you might try diffusing the situation by saying, “It’s tough shopping with kids. Need a hand getting your groceries in your trunk?”

However, if the parent is upset that you’re getting involved, doesn’t feel she’s done anything wrong, or you get the sense she doesn’t care about her actions, following up with the local child-protection agency is a good idea, says Allen. Get the licence plate number or as much information as you can.

If you’re worried about meddling in another parent’s business, don’t be. It’s our job to pick up the phone and report what we’ve seen, then leave it to social workers to decide what happens next. “These incidents should be reported so social workers can follow up and assess if the incident is an indicator of a pattern of abuse or neglect, or simply a lack of parenting skills, a result of exceptional stress or some other explanation,” Allen says. The same goes for making a report about someone you know, like a neighbour or your kid’s friend’s parents. It’s tough to know when to intervene in these situations, but the same duty applies: Report what you’ve witnessed and let the pros take it from there.

“It’s not your job to be sure of—or to investigate—the abuse, but it is your job to make that call,” says Karyn Kennedy, the executive director of Boost Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention, an advocacy and awareness organization in Toronto. “If you make the call and you’re wrong, that’s the best-case scenario. If you don’t make the call but there is abuse, the results could be devastating.”

If you witness the abuse when you’re with your own kids, experts say it’s best to offer an explanation. It can be very confusing for a child to see a parent behaving badly and breaking rules that children are expected to follow (like “no hitting”).

“Start by telling your child that what the parent did is wrong, and that children don’t deserve to be hit—no one has the right to hit anyone else,” says Kennedy.

Kylee Goldman, a child and family therapist at Blue Hills Child and Family Centre, a children’smental health agency in Aurora, Ont., adds that children also need to be reassured that they’re safe. “Often kids who see abuse worry that they could be harmed, too.” She advises saying something like this: “Sometimes we have really happy feelings and we smile or laugh, and sometimes we have really angry feelings, too. Sometimes when people are angry, they say things that aren’t nice and hurt our feelings. And sometimes they forget to use their nice words and hurt other people with their hands or feet. It is never OK for anyone to hurt someone else. If you see someone getting hurt, find an adult like your parents or teacher. They will make sure the child is safe and that the adult learns better ways to show their feelings.”


Reporting is confidential, and you can ask to remain anonymous. Even though the process differs in every province, there are lots of similarities callers can expect. You will be asked some basic information about the child (name, age, whereabouts and why you’re worried for his safety). “The child-protection worker will then determine whether there is a child-welfare issue and, if there is, they’ll investigate,” Goldman says. Reports are generally responded to within 24 hours to five days. Follow-ups can include interviews with the children and parents, and a home visit.

If the call is serious and the child-protection agency feels there’s impending danger, a child-protection worker and police officer would be sent out together (to the school, daycare centre, etc.) with recording equipment to talk to the child. “They assess whether the child can go home safely or if she needs to be removed immediately,” Kennedy explains. The child may be taken for a medical or mental health exam. The child’s family is often offered support from a social worker or therapist, and is referred to community services like parenting or anger-management courses. If the case warrants what’s called an “apprehension” (taking the child out of his home), social workers may take him into their care and report to the court within five days. “The judge makes further decisions with the parents present. Every effort is made to support the parents to care for their child,” says Goldman. Overall, the goal is to keep families intact. “In more than 90 percent of calls, we try to work with the family to address safety concerns and keep the child safe.”


If you have a little one in elementary school, you might have already had this safety discussion—some schools (depending on the province) start abuse-prevention programs as early as grade two, and the Red Cross has a program for five- to nine-year-olds.

“It’s all about teaching kids to trust and listen to their ‘Uh-oh feeling,’ and making sure they have healthy self-esteem,” Kennedy says. “Kids who don’t feel good about themselves are more likely to be controlled and manipulated, and can become targets of abuse and bullying.”

Letting your kids know they can come to you with any problem, being as present as possible when you’re with your family, and really listening to kids when they’re speaking are all important. (Not checking your phone or keeping one eye on the news while they’re telling you about their day is a skill most of us could work on.)

As your kids start having playdates outside of your house, meet their friends, their friends’ parents and anyone else who they’ll be with. Reiterate that adults are responsible for protecting them, not hurting them. “Remind children to trust their instincts, and if they have a worry, they can tell you about it,” says Kennedy. She adds that the warnings kids of the ’80s and ’90s might have grown up hearing are not recommended today. “It’s not enough to say ‘if someone touches you under your bathing suit, you should run,’” she says. Kids should know that all touching can and should be talked about, and if an adult suggests keeping any touch a secret, they should tell Mom or Dad.

“Consider your child’s developmental stage, and keep the message simple,” says Goldman. “Don’t put adult issues on children, as some children may take on a sense of responsibility, or experience feelings of guilt (why not me?), fear (it could happen to me) and worry (what will happen to those kids?).”

1–3 years old

“At this stage it is more about providing safety for the child, since toddlers don’t have the cognitive ability to keep themselves safe,” Goldman says. It’s a good time to start teaching body awareness by identifying the body parts that are private, and those that aren’t.

3–5 years old

Teach preschoolers the difference between good and bad secrets. (A “good secret” is a surprise Mother’s Day card made at school with the teacher, for example. A “bad secret” is anything she’s told not to ever repeat to Mom and Dad.) You can also start talking about community helpers: people they can go to if they need help, like their teacher, a policewoman or a fireman. You can also teach about “inside hurts” and “outside hurts,” says Goldman. An “inside hurt” is something that hurts feelings, like when Dad calls Mom mean names all the time, or when there’s a lot of scary yelling going on. “Outside hurts” are things that hurt our body on the outside, like being hit really hard or touched in a private place. “The Hands Are Not for Hitting book series help kids this age understand what actions are and are not OK to do with their bodies,” says Goldman.

6+ years old

At this age, go ahead and teach kids it’s OK to say “no” if a person or situation makes them feel uncomfortable. Parents can also offer kids healthy ways to express their feelings and teach them to avoid the unhealthy ways to express emotion (like hitting, kicking, and name-calling). Keep using play-based or scenario-style techniques. When you think your school-ager is ready, have him help you create a safety plan, including community helpers he can speak to and a phone list with emergency numbers, that will help if someone’s hurting him.


1. Common myth: Abusers are often strangers.

Fact: The RCMP says that one-third of child abuse cases involve family members. Parents commit more than half of all physical assaults and sexual offences against kids.

2. Common myth: When child-protection agencies get involved, kids are usually taken away from Mom and Dad.

Fact: “All child-welfare agencies have the goal of supporting the parent and child to stay together,” says Allen. “When that’s not possible, using family or friends to care for the child is preferable.” Kids are only sent to foster care if there’s no other option (but those cases are the minority).

3. Common myth: Children lie about sexual abuse.

Fact: Very rarely would a kid be lying or mistaken about being touched inappropriately or sexually assaulted, Kennedy says. Untruths can be detected very quickly by the social workers and police officers interviewing the child.


Yukon: 1-867-667-3002

Northwest Territories: 1-867-873-7276

Nunavut: 1-867-979-5650

British Columbia: 310-1234

Alberta: 1-800-387-5437

Saskatchewan: 1-306-787-7010

Manitoba: 1-888-834-9767

Ontario: 1-866-821-7770

Quebec: 1-866-532-2822

Newfoundland & Labrador: 1-855-729-2044

Nova Scotia: 1-877-424-1177

New Brunswick: 1-800-992-2873

Prince Edward Island: 1-800-341-6868


Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868

Boost Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention: boostforkids.org

Child Welfare League of Canada: cwlc.ca

* Name has been changed.

A version of this article originally appeared in the October 2014 print issue with the headline “The truth about child abuse,” pp. 95-98.


Trauma informed Safe Baby Courts


Safe Babies Court Team: A Proven Solution

Evaluation is a critical component of the ZERO TO THREE Safe Babies Court Teams. Thus far the Safe Babies Court Teams has undergone two evaluations. The first, completed by James Bell Associates, looked at evidence of system change, knowledge among Court Teams stakeholders regarding the impact of maltreatment on early development, and short-term outcomes for infants and toddlers monitored by the Safe Babies Court Teams.

The second, completed by Kimberly McCombs-Thornton, PhD, looked at the effect of Safe Babies Court Teams on time to permanency and how children exit the foster care system. It also examined how program components or client characteristics affected time to permanency.

Both evaluations used data from the oldest four Safe Babies Court Team sites: Des Moines, Iowa; New Orleans, Louisiana; Fort Bend County, Texas; and Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  Results from both evaluations were overwhelmingly positive.  Key findings from the evaluations include:

  • 99.05% of the 186 infant and toddler cases examined were protected from further maltreatment while under court supervision. (JBA, 2009)
  • 97% of the 186 children received needed services. (JBA, 2009)
  • Children monitored by the Safe Babies Court Teams Project reached permanency 2.67 times faster than the national comparison group (p=.000). (McCombs-Thornton, 2011)

The full publications for both of these evaluations http://www.zerotothree.org/maltreatment/safe-babies-court-team/safe-babies-court-team-proven-solution.html

A Brief History of The Safe Babies

 Court Teams Project

Origins of the Project

The Dependency Court Intervention Program for Family Violence (DCIPFV) project began as a conversation between two people—the first a judge and former ZERO TO THREE (ZTT) fellow and the second a psychology professor and former ZTT Board President, about the number of very young children involved in domestic violence cases. Understanding the developmental needs of infants and toddlers, particularly those exposed to trauma, the psychology professor worked with the judge to develop a project that used targeted case management to address family domestic violence and the relationship between mother and child.

The Safe Babies Court Teams Project at ZERO TO THREE is based upon the DCIPFV Project. The project recognized from DCIPFV that juvenile and family court judges, who are responsible for the safety of the children in their courts, can be powerful agents of change, and the Safe Babies Court Teams adds to that power with community organizing and education, and additional services for babies and toddlers. The additions reflected in the project’s two main goals implemented across all Safe Babies Court Team sites are:

1)   to improve outcomes for maltreated infants and toddlers; and,

2)   to reduce the recurrence of substantiated reports of abuse/neglect of infants and toddlers in the courts’ jurisdictions.

This developmental approach for very young children in child welfare demonstrates to policymakers how babies-first policies can protect the development of infants and toddlers.

Project Timeline and Evaluation

In 2004, ZERO TO THREE secured short-term grants to implement Safe Babies Court Teams in Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Texas.  Work began in Iowa, Mississippi, and Texas in the fall of 2005, and Louisiana and Pennsylvania joined them in 2006.  California, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Nebraska joined the project in 2008, and in 2009 work began in Arkansas, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Two evaluations have been completed to assess the effectiveness of the project. One evaluation was completed by James Bell Associates  in 2009 and a second was completed by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a second was completed by Kimberly McCombs-Thornton, Ph.D. in 2011. Both evaluations yielded positive results and demonstrated that the work of the Safe Babies Court Teams Project is making significantly positive differences in the lives of infants, toddlers, and their families.

The Major Issues

Several issues have surfaced as local community members have received training, and become more familiar with the needs of very young children and their families. Disproportionality, or the problem of certain racial and ethnic groups being disproportionately represented in the child welfare system, has also been an issue in all of the current Safe Babies Court Teams sites. African-American, Native Hawaiian, and Native American communities, in particular, continue to be overrepresented in child welfare and the courts. Other issues are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), Domestic Violence, and Child Sexual Abuse, all of which adversely affect infant and toddler development.  Equally as devastating is the intergenerational component perpetuated as these problems pass from generation to generation. Not only do the current problems need addressing in infants and toddlers, the cycle of abuse also has to be addressed so that these problems do not continue. Understanding this cycle has led the project to begin examining the issue of Historical Trauma, or the collective and cumulative emotional wounding across generations. 1


Childhood Trauma and the NFL


Four Things the NFL Can Do to Stop Abuse and Keep Players on the Field

Founder, AcesTooHigh.com/ACEsConnection.com

Jane Stevens is a remarkable Journalist who has started a revolution.  She gets it, how do we create a peaceful world?  Like the quote by Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.  Rewarding bullies has taken a huge toll on our society.  The reaction to violence cannot continue to be; deny, reward or punish.   We must begin to address the underlying cause and heal the wound.  What if we could see these broken men acting out, as the children they were when they were traumatized? Could we care for them, ask them why, teach them, and hold us all accountable for their healing, for the sake of our well-being.

Skipping ahead to my favorite part-

So, what would a trauma-informed NFL look like? Really!!!!!

First, the NFL could recognize that childhood trauma is an epidemic, that it affects most people in the U.S. That it’s likely that the same percentage of NFL team members — and staff — have as many ACEs as the rest of the population.

And then, the NFL could implement approaches similar to other organizations that are trauma-informed…..

Many people are happy that the Minnesota Vikings kicked Adrian Peterson off the team and that Ray Rice can no longer play for the Baltimore Ravens. Their off-field violence has cascaded into harm and loss for everyone involved — spouses, children, team, league and fans — all because of the consequences of their childhood trauma. And the only way the NFL can stop further abuse, harm and loss is… well… to deal with its players’ childhood trauma.

The severe and toxic stresses in Peterson’s past — or what we in the trauma-informed community count on a scale from one to 10 as adverse childhood experiences or ACEs — aren’t minor. As a child, he lost his father to prison, suffered through his parents’ divorce, saw his brother killed by a drunk driver, and was beaten by his stepfather. Repeating the pattern, he whipped his own four-year-old son with a switch so harshly that he raised welts on the child’s body. And if Peterson is convicted and goes to prison, his son can add another ACE to his trauma-filled life.

Peterson and Rice are two of millions of child and spouse abusers who love their families and can learn from their mistakes, if provided with help early enough. The average child abuser or spouse abuser isn’t dirty, disheveled, reeking of alcohol or stoned on meth. Child and spouse abusers are corporate CEOs, ministers, priests, actors, business owners, teachers, truck drivers, physicians, nurses, basketball heroes, journalists, computer programmers, and your next-door neighbors.

They’re dads and moms who have a hard time controlling their emotions when they’re under stress because they themselves were abused. Nobody helped them when they were kids and nobody’s helping them as adults.

Plain and simple, childhood trauma is the nation’s No. 1 public health problem. TheCDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study) – the largest public health study you never heard of – shows that childhood trauma is very, very common. (ACE surveys in 22 states echo the results.) And this childhood adversity causes violence, including family violence, as well as the adult onset of chronic disease and mental illness.

By learning about the science of childhood adversity, and following the lead of many other organizations that are becoming trauma-informed, the NFL could have players whose families are happier and healthier, it could have better players (more focused, less stressed), and it might never have to deal with a Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson situation again.

The NFL has 1,696 players. Of those 1,696 players, probably two-thirds — 1,119 young men — have experienced one type of serious childhood trauma. And it’s likely that 22 percent — about 370 players — have suffered three or more types of adverse childhood experiences. And it’s causing some of them to beat their girlfriends, spouses and kids.

This is based on the ACE Study’s findings that about two-thirds of U.S. adults — that’s approximately 150 million people — have experienced at least one of the 10 types of childhood trauma that were measured. These include five personal types — physical, sexual and verbal abuse, and physical and emotional neglect. And five family dysfunctions: a family member in prison, depressed or mentally ill, or who abuses alcohol or other drugs; losing a parent to divorce or separation, and witnessing a mother being abused. Of course there are other types of childhood trauma, such as bullying, witnessing violence outside the home, and watching a sibling being abused, but the ACE Study measured only 10 types.

About 44 million adults in the U.S. have experienced at least three or more types. The higher the number, the higher the risk of disease and violence. Got an ACE score of 4? Your risk of heart disease increases 200 percent. Your risk of suicide increases 1200 percent.

The effects of ACEs on family violence are especially troubling. Men who experienced physical abuse when they were kids — that means a parent or other adult who often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or threw something at them, or ever hit them so hard that they had marks or were injured — are twice as likely to assault their spouses or girlfriends. (The ACE Study was done on 17,000 people, most of whom are white, middle- and upper-middle class, college educated, all with jobs and great health care.)