Connie Valentine, Co-Founder of California Protective Parents Association and a founding mother of the group known today as Mothers of Lost Children.
Each year Connie returns to DC to bring this Message to Congress,
To Whom It May Concern:
Children are being taken from safe nurturing mothers and given to identified or adjudicated batterers and molesters by divorce courts. Safe mothers are often placed on supervised visitation or lose contact with their children entirely. These human rights violations occur to an estimated 58,000 children nationally every year, according to Leadership Council.www.leadershipcouncil.org. There are a variety of reasons for these outcomes, including gender bias and resource inequality between victims and offenders.
However, federal policies and funding streams contribute significantly to this egregious problem. It has been difficult to tease out the strands, but at this point we believe there are at least four major funding areas that elevate fathers over mothers, with only lip service to child safety.
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families provides about $300 million for marriage/fatherhood/two parent families. There is no data showing this funding leads to better outcomes for children. In fact, the exact opposite is happening.
- Claims Resolution Act of 2010 HR 4783 provides $150 million in grants for marriage and fatherhood. Grants go to father’s rights groups, visitation centers, courts, mediation centers. Fathers receive help in divorce court.
- Social Security Block Grants Title IV-B designated for children and youth programs fund family centers which encourage released prisoner fathers to return to families. Children do not benefit from having convicted batterers, drug lords, or gang bangers in their homes, and should not be asked to help socialize these men.
- Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) Social Security Title IV-D offices run access to visitation programs which pay professionals to be involved in families and litigation.http://www.ppcforchange.com/access-visitation-grants-texas/Additionally, draconian measures used to collect child support lead to abusers, especially ex prisoners who have trouble getting jobs, receiving enormous financial incentives to get custody and child support, instead of getting jobs and paying child support. One attorney called children “little walking bags of money” because attorneys make such a handsome living on custody litigation, fueled by taxpayer dollars.
When domestic violence shelters emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, women could escape violence. Children were not so lucky. The batterers’ 1991 manifesto, inelegantly titled Screw the Bitch by Dick Hart, laid out their intended scorched earth policy. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. In the past 20 years in the United States, over a million children were taken from safe mothers and placed with fathers they accused of violating them. The historical precedents of taking children for political reasons in Spain (300,000) and Germany (400,000) pale in comparison. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_children_of_Francoism,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kidnapping_of_children_by_Nazi_Germany
A child is a human being with the basic human right to be raised in safety by a safe nurturing primary attachment figure. This natural right is violated whenever the child is taken from a mother and placed with an abuser. The result is physical, psychological, and behavioral catastrophe. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/.
The Inter American Commission on Human Rights found in 2011 that the United States is failing in its legal obligation to protect women and children from domestic violence in the Jessica Lenahan Gonzales case. Federal programs leading to human rights violations must be modified or eliminated, so such unthinkable outcomes do not occur.
Please send this letter to your U.S Congress member to ask Congress to replace disastrous gender-biased fatherhood programs with positive parenting programs that teach both parents to raise children effectively without using punishment, and to hold Congressional Oversight Hearings to right these wrongs. Thank you for helping save children.
We have stood by Connie’s side each year, Praying that the ears and hearts of our nations representatives will open to the atrocities committed in ‘Family Courts’ and our homes across America. Thank you for all you do on behalf of Mothers and Children. We stand with you Connie!
Protect Children’s Human Right to Physical and Sexual Safety in our Courts
“The events in my life do not make me who I am. But my accomplishments, in spite of them, are what truly define me.” Benjamin Lee 6/20/15