Transform Family Law
My 2017 article on The 95% Failure Rate of Foster Care in America began: “The broken-hearted stood up to give witness in Clinton, Iowa on October 8, 2016.” This is where my education began. At a Family Reunification Town Hall Meeting, parents and grandparents described the abuses and trauma inflicted by state agencies and courts that take children from loving families and make obscenely wrong-headed decisions about child custody.
How could this be? Follow the money!
Start with federal laws that pump $50 billion per year into for-profit foster care -- federal money that is only paid when the state takes children and places them in a stranger’s house. No profit to the states for family support services or placements with grandparents or other family members. With billions of dollars driving local agency decisions, children are taken by state governments often for lifestyle choices. And worse, criminals have more rights than families.
The systemic failures of foster care literally meet up at the courthouse with reform efforts taking aim at custody decisions.
The Million Parent March in Washington, D.C. on September 18, 2017 aimed to raise awareness about the abuses and failures of foster care and family courts. The event brought together parents and grandparents of taken children, father’s rights groups battling bias in divorce court, parents “erased” and alienated from their children’s lives by non-custodial parents, activists seeking shared custody after divorces, mothers and fathers of children kidnapped by custodial or non-custodial parents, children who have aged out of foster care, children of divorce, and advocates pushing for America to dramatically and deeply re-think foster care and family court.
For me, this event brought into view the conflicts of interest and lack of accountability in family court and the outdated legalities of family law which together do great damage to millions of our children.
As I meet advocates and activists fighting for change – and many fighting while struggling with the pain of lost children – I remain in awe of the courage and grace of so many parents and grandparents. Still I believe a coalition for change is building and true justice for children and families is ahead.
The 95% Failure Rate of Foster Care in America
Solutions: Foster Care and Family Court