2018 U.S. Congressional Agenda Success
H. CON. RES. 72 ~ Child Safety in Family Courts~ Passes The House!
After years of collaborative national work to bring this to fruition, and because of the dogged persistence of CJE and our close allies at the California Protective Parents Association and DV LEAP, our Child Safety Resolution in the United States Congress passed the U.S. House of Representatives by unaimous consent with 86 bipartisan co-sponsors. Check out the initial press release about H. Con. Res. 72, our Child Safety Resolution from Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). CJE’s child murder data was a huge driver in generating bipartisan support for this resolution.
Watch the video on CSPAN:
2018 California Legislative Agenda- More Success!
CJE had a successful year in the California State Capitol on our child-safety legislation and our push for judicial accountability in the Budget Process. Here is the list of bills we supported that passed:
HR 113, or Piqui’s Resolution– Asm. Blanca Rubio states: 1) that all court-related professionals should be trauma-informed and trained in recognizing, evaluating, and understanding evidence and the impacts of domestic violence and child abuse; 2) that a court reporter should record all hearings in domestic violence and contested custody cases, and all litigants should have access to the court records; and 3) that when a child witnesses domestic violence or is injured or abused, family courts should ensure that the safety of the child has priority over all other considerations in any custody or visitation decision;
AB 2044– Asm. Mark Stone clarifies that child safety must remain a top priority in family law determinations of a child’s “best interest.”
AB 2354– Asm. Blanca Rubio mandates free court reporters in all family law and domestic violence cases, to ensure equal access to justice for all litigants, regardless of their income. This bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee and awaits action in the Appropriations Committee.
California Senate Bill 594: Child Custody (Senator Bob Wieckowski, 2015, Signed Into Law!)
Senator Bob Wieckowski’s child custody bill, SB 594, was signed into law on July 16, 2015 by Governor Jerry Brown. SB 594 improves child safety and court efficiency by eliminating faulty and incomplete child custody evaluations and requiring uniform and complete investigations that meet mandatory minimum standards of practice. CJE and our ally CPPA led the advocacy efforts to pass this important piece of legislation. Read the press release.
2010 White House Briefing
We organized and facilitated the first White House briefing on the family court crisis in May of 2010. Executive Director Kathleen Russell participated on a panel of national experts who briefed the U.S. Department of Justice about the family court crisis in March of 2011.
AB 1050 – Granting CA Children the Right to Testify in Family Court
From 2008 – 2010, we worked with Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-SF) to pass historic, first-in-the-nation legislation (AB 1050) that grants California children the right to testify in family court (Family Code Section 3042). In most states, kids of divorce are still treated as property to be divided, with no voice in their future or in their ongoing personal safety. This law went into effect in January 2012.
Family Court Audit- Marin & Sacramento Counties Not in Compliance
We also worked closely with State Senator Mark Leno (D-SF) and the California Protective Parents Association to secure an audit of the Marin and Sacramento County Family Courts. The California State Auditor issued an alarming report in January 2011 about the significant lack of training or accountability for court appointees in these counties.
Click here to view the full report from the California State Auditor (PDF)
Click here to read the audit summary
Click here to read the audit fact sheet
Click here to read The AOC’s Report on the Marin Court’s Document Purge During the Audit. This report is a classic example of how the family courts attempt to justify their bad behavior. This report claims that the massive document destruction or “shredding party” that the Marin Superior Court conducted before allowing the State Auditor to start its official audit of their files was somehow legitimate or allowable. What many people don’t realize is that the mediators’ “working notes and files” that were destroyed by the Marin Court actually contained the most detailed information about the mediator’s research (when conducted at all) of any child abuse and domestic violence allegations in a given case. Court mediators routinely relied on these working notes and files to refresh their memories about their work on a case when they were cross-examined by attorneys about the “recommending reports” that they submit to the judge. These official mediator recommendations quite frequently determine the fate of children in divorces, since judges so frequently rubber stamp them. By destroying this evidence before the audit, the Court protected itself from revealing any incriminating details that would clearly show when mediators had ignored or failed to mention legitimate domestic violence and child abuse claims in their official “recommending reports” to the Court. Hardly an insignificant move by the Marin Superior Court, in our opinion, when the futures of so many children are determined by these powerful recommending reports.
October 2, 2012 – Joint Presentation on Family Court Crisis to Domestic Violence Practice & Procedure Task Force of the California Administrative Office of the Courts
Congressional Briefings About Child Safety
Victims Caucus – Stopping the Cycle of Abuse and Violence
(Hosted by the Stop Abuse Campaign & NPEIV) – May 07, 2012
Andrew Willis Stop Abuse Campaign Congressional Briefing
Includes statements from:
Dr Geffner PhD – cochair of NPEIV
Outcomes for Children of Abuse Briefing
(Hosted by the National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges) – March 01, 2012
Outcomes For Children of Abuse Briefing
U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Subcommittee on Children and Families Hearing – December 13, 2011
Breaking the Silence on Child Abuse: Protection, Prevention, Intervention, and Deterrence
Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
(Hosted by Makers of Memories & NCADV, including statements from Congressman John Conyers, Jennifer Collins & Anne Hoyer) – October 12, 2011
Preventing domestic violence must begin with the children
Members of Congress Acknowledge Unique Impact of Childhood Exposure to Domestic Violence, Encourage Legislative Action
Johnson Products: Fighting for Gentle Treatment
Mental Health Effects of Trauma on Children
(Hosted by the Coalition Addressing Trauma, with Witness Justice in cooperation with the Congressional Victim’s Rights Caucus and the Congressional Addiction Treatment & Recovery Caucus) – October 11, 2011
Addressing the Mental Health Impact of Violence and Trauma on Children
Commissioner Bryan Samuels Remarks
Director A. Kathryn Power Remarks
Elizabeth Hudson Remarks