The 9th Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference Happening Now: Be There or Be Here :)

Or you can watch the conference on USTREAM and join us in the chat room 🙂

THE NINTH BATTERED MOTHERS CUSTODY CONFERENCE BMCC IX: IS WHAT WE’RE DOING WORKING?

FRIDAY EVENING, JANUARY 6TH, 2012

Registration beginning at 4:00 p.m.

6:00 Angela Shelton: Humorous Healing: You Could Use a Laugh Right Now! Angela shares funny stories along the healing path to inspire us all to laugh as we continue our fight for freedom and justice.

7:30 Lundy Bancroft: WHERE DO WE FIND STRENGTH TO FIGHT BACK? How does the human spirit keep itself alive? How do people who have suffered tragedies — or atrocities — get back up on their feet and move forward again? Lundy is going to look at what makes it possible for some people to rise up out circumstances where their defeat seems total, and fight their way back to thriving. These are the individuals who become the greatest thorns in the side of the powerful and the oppressive. He will suggest a road map for how all of us can become those Phoenixes.

Saturday Morning, January 7th 8:30 – 9:30

Plenary 1: Wendy Murphy: Rethinking Reform: New ideas and strategies for when the rules don’t work

9:30 – 10:30 Panel: Barry Goldstein, Moderator; Joan Zorza, Kathleen Russell, Rita Smith, Connie Valentine, Karen Anderson, Gabby Davis, & Eileen King: News from the Protective Mothers Movement You May Not Have Heard

Many exciting events have taken place in the last year which we hope will make a difference in changing the broken system. A panel of activists who have been involved in these events will discuss this news. It includes a roundtable discussion for OVW at the Justice Department, training in custody issues for the National DV Hotline, a new consortium that is in the process of forming to support our goals, marches and meetings in DC, new publications coming out and other events. The discussion should give our movement hope and opportunity.

10:30 – 10:45 Break

10:45 – 11:45 Plenary 2: Dr. Phyllis Chesler: Mothers STILL on Trial

Saturday Afternoon, January 7th 11:45 – 1:45 Working Lunch: BMCC Premier of Garland Waller’s New Documentary No Way Out But One This feature length (1 hr and 35 minutes) documentary looks at family court injustice by telling the story of Holly Collins, the first American woman to get asylum from the Dutch government on grounds of domestic violence. In 1994, Holly Collins became an international fugitive wanted by the FBI for kidnapping her own children. Ordered by a family court to turn her two children over to live with the father who had been abusing them all, Holly felt she had no way out but one. Only by kidnapping her children and running was Holly able to protect her children.

1:45– 2:00 Break

2:00 – 2:30 Gabby Davis and Loretta Frederick: Developing and Implementing a Conceptual Framework for Identifying, Understanding and Accounting for the Implications of Intimate Partner Abuse in Contested Child Custody Cases. Ample research, local practice, and lived experience collectively inform us that the safety and wellbeing of battered mothers and their children are not adequately accounted for in contested child custody cases where domestic violence is alleged. Very little systematic attention is paid to whether there is a history of abuse, whether the abuse is ongoing, who is abusing whom, what the abuse looks like, and how the abuse impacts the children, the abused parent, and the parenting capacities of both the abusive and the abused parent. Consequently, from an institutional standpoint, the family court system is often poorly organized to accurately identify and describe what is actually happening in people’s everyday lives so that it can respond in ways that are helpful, or at least not harmful, to the safety and wellbeing of battered mothers and their children. This presentation describes a collaborative effort by the Battered Women’s Justice Project, Praxis International, and a local jurisdiction in NW Ohio to develop and implement a concrete framework to help family court professionals better identify, understand and account for the context and implications of domestic violence in contested child custody cases.

2:30 – 3:00 Connie Valentine and Karen Anderson: Good News from the California Protective Parent Association As a growing coalition of 99% protective mothers groups, we are moving forward toward the common goal of keeping abused children safe when their parents separate and divorce. This workshop will review the movement’s accomplishments during the past year. Accurate definition is important: this is a civil and human rights movement. Come to the workshop, hear how far we have come, and share your accomplishments.

3:00 – 4:00 Karin Huffer: Is What We Are Doing Working? Yes…But Not Fast Enough –An Overlooked Powerful Focus for 2012 This presentation will discuss how mothers can learn to re-image themselves and their cases in a positive light. Women and children can take control of “impression management,” thus wiping out damage caused by their opponents. Effective but often unused laws and tools exist in the standard legal setting. Due to the wrong impression being sold to the court, mothers are beaten down, traumatized, marginalized by the batterer. However, through combining the ADA law with trauma treatment and political savvy, mothers are winning their cases.

4:00 – 4:15 Break

SATURDAY AFTERNOON BREAKOUT SESSIONS

4:15 – 5:15 Workshop Session 1

LEGAL ISSUES TRACK 1. Renee Beeker & Joshua Pampreen: Findings from the National Family Court Watch: Prelude to Publishing. We are so excited to be sharing with the BMCC our latest news and some inside information on the project. We also will provide copies of our abbreviated form for use for supportive court watch and will teach participants how to use it in conducting court watches.

2. Linda Marie Sacks: Strength in Numbers One day Linda Marie Sacks heard a mother being interviewed on television about the court taking away her children. It was a familiar tale and Sacks knew immediately that she too was a “Dr. Deborah O. Day Mom”. Now, Sacks works with “Day mothers” all over Florida. Combining forces with other mothers who have lost their children due to same court professionals is an important step. Teaming up to write complaints, comparing experiences and the emotional support offered by these partnerships are invaluable but finding these other parents can be difficult. RecordChronicle.com is seeking to identify these clusters.

PERSONAL HEALING TRACK

1. Michele Jeker: MST, PTSD and Domestic Violence in military life and after discharge Military Domestic Violence/Military Sexual Trauma This workshop will address the negative impacts of military life on the family, including the extreme pervasiveness of DV regardless of assignment, and the magnitude of the problems facing the military family. The military’s response to DV and the lack of judicial relief are among other topics we will be covering.

2. Raquel Singh: Healing Within and Without: How community and political activism are an essential part of the healing process This workshop examines how community-organizing benefits the healing process of survivors of domestic violence both individually and collectively. It will explore questions such as: • How does internalized oppression impact how a survivor interprets her abuse and others who have similar experiences? • Does this create a false separation between women who have been abused and those who experience sexism in other ways? • Does simply replacing the term “victim” with “survivor” really empower women to reclaim their lives? • How can we skillfully craft and integrate our personal stories into a wider social-political context as part of our organizing?

3. Maralee Mclean: Prosecuted But Not Silenced

 5:15 – 6:15 Workshop Session 2

LEGAL ISSUES TRACK

1. Wendy Murphy

2. Holly, Jennifer, & Zachary Collins: A Life on the Run In 1994 Holly Collins was determined to protect her children from a life of abuse. So she grabbed her own children and went on the run. She became an international fugitive, hunted by the FBI. Eventually, she and the kids became first American citizens to be granted asylum by the government of Netherlands. 17 years later, all charges have been dropped and Holly and her children have returned to the United States.

3. Sandy Bromley, DV-LEAP: Improving Outcomes for Battered Women and their Children: DV LEAP’s Custody & Abuse Project DV LEAP has recently entered in to a cooperative agreement with the federal Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), an agency of the US Department of Justice. Through specialized training and technical assistance, DV LEAP works to reduce the number of battered women losing custody of their children or being required by courts to turn over their children for unsafe visitation with an abusive parent. This presentation will review the goals and strategies of this cooperative agreement and allow participants an opportunity to provide feedback and ideas to the project manager. PERSONAL HEALING TRACK

4. Karin Huffer, Justin Huffer, & Crystal Huffer: Your Looking Glass Self: Making Sense of Court Rulings and Correcting Defeating Perceptions to Unlock Protective Mothers Justice in Your Case From being a nationally know expert and DV/ADA Advocate in court with battered mothers, I observe a common disastrous pattern that is rectifiable. • Lies damage mother dominating the case; • A correctable fundamental attribution error fills the record with false negatives toward mother making her a target; • Court appointees are influenced by coercive controlling, abusive mechanisms; • Mothers suffer diagnosable traumatic stress. Participants will learn to: • Re-image from fear to using properly postured emotion to achieve systems power; • Correct the court record with authority; • Counter lies without lying; • Engage legal help without going broke; • Influence the legal process.

5. Tammy Gagnon: No Longer Silent: From the Scars of Survival, We Reclaim Our Lives Those who have never experienced an abusive or violent relationship often believe that upon finding a way out, victim difficulties are solved: their life is good, they are safe, and recovery will be swift. However, survivors know that leaving is not the end of the nightmare — it is the beginning of an often difficult and challenging journey toward healing and happiness. They need practical guidance, emotional reassurance, and psychological awareness that survivors of relationship abuse and domestic violence need to heal and reclaim their lives after leaving their abusers.

SATURDAY EVENING, JANUARY 7TH

6:15 – 7:30 p.m. (Optional) Dinner at a special rate will be available in the hotel restaurant, so feel free to carry it out to attend the Organizing Session with Connie Valentine, Karen Anderson, & Kathleen Russell

7:30 – ? Welcome Home Party for Jennifer, Holly, & Zach Collins

SPECIAL SAT. EVENING WORKSHOP

8:00 – 9: 15 p.m. Nancy Erickson, J.D.: Filing an Ethical Complaint Against a Custody Evaluator: Do It Yourself Many battered women have lost custody of their children because a “custody evaluator” (sometimes called a “forensic”) has recommended that custody be given to the abusive father. Yet, in many cases, the custody evaluator was incompetent, unprofessional, or unethical – perhaps even taking bribes from the other side. A common example is a custody evaluator who believes all mothers try to alienate the children from the fathers. This will be a do-it-yourself workshop where participants will be guided through the process of filing licensing board complaints against these evaluators. If successful, it could have an effect on your case, and it might lead toward another valuable result — that the evaluator would never ruin the lives of more protective parents and their children.

SUNDAY MORNING, JANUARY 8TH

9:00 – 10:00 Plenary 3: Toby Kleinman

10:00 – 10:45 Barry Goldstein: From Poughkeepsie to Quincy: How to Save Thousands of Lives, Trillions of Dollars and Reform the Custody System. Barry Goldstein has written a new chapter based upon studying responses to domestic violence. He looked at the failure in Poughkeepsie that has resulted in ten deaths in a year and the success of the Quincy Model that led to no domestic violence homicide for many years. His investigation plus current research establishes that practices that could eliminate most domestic violence crime, a lot of other crime and save at least $500 Billion every year. In order to obtain these benefits the custody system will have to be reformed. He believes the huge financial savings and other benefits can be the incentive to create a different discussion about domestic violence custody issues.

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 12:00 Workshop Session 3

LEGAL ISSUES TRACK

1. Michael Bassett, J.D. and Carol Pennington: Turning Around The Titanic Without Hitting an Iceberg: Battered Moms and Turnaround Cases Much like turning around a ship, turning around a custody case can be time-consuming, dangerous and draining. This presentation will discuss strategies that have been successful in past cases. Other topics that will be discussed include working with your attorney, changing attitudes through practicing law, the use of psychological experts, and the use of evidence of acts that may seem like it occurred “too far in the past.”

2. Liora Farkovitz: The Electronic Advantage: Understanding Technological Evidence This workshop is a companion to a technology guide, “Understanding Technological Evidence for the Legal Professional: 101 the Basics” which highlights the murder/suicide case of Katie Tagle of San Bernardino County, California in 2009/2010. Highlighting how the judiciary often ignores electronic evidence in domestic violence cases, the last 2/3 of the guide provides a step by step “basic” guide of current technology.

3. Dara Carlin, M.S.: Coloring Outside The Lines: Potential Solutions When The Ones In Place Aren’t Working If you have found your way to the BMCC, chances are the system that was designed to protect you and your children has failed you. Despite “coloring within the lines” (having followed all of the instructions and all the professional directions) you’re in a bad place and stuck with nowhere else to turn – NOT SO! This workshop will illustrate and explore some of the more creative things survivors and their allies have done when all solutions were exhausted and “acceptance” became the only one left.

PERSONAL HEALING TRACK

1. Louise Monroe: “WHEW”: Women Helping Empower Women This is the story of one family’s five year journey through that black hole known as “family court.” The evolution of this journey through the support and caring of others also traveling through this blackness and how all the negative in their lives was used is such a positive way that the journey has ended and the sun is shining brightly.

2. Chrys Ballerano: Nurturing Rhythms for Self Care- Experiencing the Healing Power of the Drum This is primarily an experiential workshop and interactive experience. An atmosphere of gentle safety will be maintained and modeled as Chrys provides participants with an opportunity to connect with themselves and their own innate sense of play. Therapeutic benefits of rhythmic drumming will briefly be discussed. Participants are welcome to bring their own percussive instrument. Sufficient instruments (enough for 40- 50 people) will be provided. This isn’t a workshop about “beating” drums but about connecting with our own heartbeat, and our own abilities to play in community and find ways to respond to the natural world. Come enjoy a circle of rhythm that is fun for all- no experience necessary!

12 Noon: Sunday Lunch with Jennifer Collins and Carly Singer: Abused Children to Children’s Advocates

2:00 p.m. Close

California Protective Parents Association Newsletter

CA Protective Parents Association
Dear Friends,

We are thankful for new attention on the family court crisis.
 

Occupy Wall Street, focused on changing the economic status quo, met opposition. We who are focused on changing the family court status quo see a glimmer of light.

Last month two excellent Congressional briefings were held in Washington DC.

  • The first was on October 11 on the mental health impact of violence and trauma on children, organized by WitnessJustice http://www.witnessjustice.org/.
  • The second was on October 12 on the effects of domestic violence on children, organized by NCADV http://ncadv.org/ and Makers of Memories http://www.makersofmemories.org/.
  • Several Congressmembers, including John Conyers from Michigan and Bob Casey from Pennsylvania are calling for oversight hearings on the systemic failure to protect children.

The Penn State scandal shows that respectable married men commit heinous sexual acts against children. The belief system that men own children, can injure them with impunity, and be covered up by officials is being exposed.

Please join us, under a pseudonym if needed, to expose the family court collusion with abusers.

1. If you are a mother who has been fighting the family courts without success, contact Jane at Abuse Freedom jane@abusefreedom.com She has a reporter from CNN who wants your stories of children who were molested and then the molester ends up with child.

2. Sign a petition to save four year old Mila from ongoing abuse and possible trafficking.http://www.change.org/petitions/the-president-of-the-united-states-save-mila?utm_medium=tw itter&utm_source=share_petition

3. Demonstrations are starting at Sacramento Family Court. Please contact Mary atsurvivefcsbrutality@gmail.com for more information, especially if Stephanie Stilley MSW from Sacramento was/is on your case.

4. Come to the Battered Mothers Custody Conference on January 7-9, 2012 in Albany NY.www.batteredmotherscustodyconference.org

We will be presenting on the ongoing www.mothers-of-lost-children.com demonstrations and hope to organize a Washington DC demonstration right after the conference. As Mothers on Trial author Phyllis Chessler (who will be speaking at the conference) said in admiration of the mothers, “Barefoot and weaponless, they fight on.”

5. Grade your court officials at www.DistinctionInFamilyCourts.com and complete a survey atwww.mothers-of-lost-children.com, especially if PAS or alienation was used in your case.

6. We have been encouraged by Congressional staff members to send as many emails and letters as possible to Congress and the White House. The more emails that are sent on a subject, the more attention it gets. Personal letters make even more of an impact. This petiton method makes emailing easy.

  • Consider signing a petition to Congress for oversight hearings for family court crisishttp://www.petition2congress.com/5607/family-court-crisis/

Feel free to use/edit this letter, or create your own

LETTER TO ELECTED U.S. OFFICIALS

We are calling for oversight hearings into a growing public health crisis: 58,000 children are placed with batterers and molesters by U.S. family courts every year. www.leadershipcouncil.org.

Such adverse childhood experiences destroy childhoods and result in an increase in adult substance abuse, obesity, sexual promiscuity, depression, suicidality, heart disease, cancer, pulmonary diseases, and problems with intimate relationships and work. www.acestudy.org. When abused children are provided safety, they can become healthy adults. Instead, children are being court-ordered to violent, dangerous homes.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has called our country to task for human rights violations in Gonzalez v United States of America case, stating that the U.S. has an obligation to investigate systemic failures to prevent their repetition in the future.(p. 52) and implement precautionary measures to protect women and children in the context of domestic violence. (p. 63) http://www.law.miami.edu/hrc/hrc_gonzalez_usa.php

1. FAMILY COURT. Family court does not focus on keeping children safe. There are many reasons for this failure. The often surreal court process includes a cottage industry of private professionals. Litigants with money may be ordered to an evaluation at their own expense.  The mental health professionals charge whatever the market will bear. In this cozy relationship, courts rely on the professionals to provide reports that conform to their belief systems; the professionals rely on the court for on-going lucrative appointments and provide reports pleasing to the court. These professionals often do not comply with the laws and rules of court that govern them. They minimize or ignore child abuse and domestic violence and produce dangerously flawed reports.

Judicial decisions affecting children’s lives are based on opinion and bias, not facts and evidence.

Court employees are likewise compromised: they must provide reports that conform to judicial expectations. They sometimes boast to their colleagues of gifts received from wealthy parents. Litigants with money may also be ordered to pay for an attorney for the child. The attorney rarely represents the child’s wishes, instead advocating for the parent with the most resources. Judges have been prosecuted for receiving cash for kids and cash to throw cases.

If Child Protective Services does not substantiate child abuse, the court may incorrectly assume that abuse did not occur. CPS defers to the family court instead of intervening to remove children from unsafe court placements. District Attorneys rarely prosecute incest or child abuse cases when custody is in dispute.

The wealthier parent (usually the father) hires an aggressive attorney and the parent with less money (usually the battered mother) becomes self-represented after resources are depleted. This inequality of power yields predictable results, despite a California law requiring the court to ensure both parties have attorneys when one does.

Not surprisingly, 70% of batterers who seek custody obtain it.http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/pas/dv.html.

Wide judicial discretion leads to tragic, sometimes fatal, mistakes. There are no standardized protocols, often no court reporters or transcripts, no ability to appeal, and no oversight of these “star chamber proceedings”.   The system fails children, but succeeds well for batterers and molesters.

2. FOSTER CARE. Children are being raped, physically abused and killed while in government placements. CPS guidelines are not always followed, often children are taken without due process, and safe relative placement may not be utilized as required. There are financial incentives for adoption that result in removal of adoptable children from their homes. Juvenile dependency hearings are secret, protecting perpetrators rather than victims. Children in foster care are medicated for symptoms of trauma instead of talking about their grief. CPS fails to remove children who are court-ordered to abusive parents.

3. FUNDING. The imbalance of funding is creating corruption which has filtered through all manner of government and related agencies. One example is that $500 million in taxpayer dollars (in this time of grave deficit and poverty), is designated for the fatherhood initiative through the US Department of Health and Human Services. “The goal is to have former prisoners paying child support and reconnecting with their children as soon as possible.” (Washington Post June 21, 2010.) Nothing is designated for a motherhood initiative. This gender-biased funding must be eliminated, or turned into a parenting initiative. There is no study that shows these funds are improving children’s lives; however, there is ample evidence that it is ruining them. Fatherhood organizations funded by HHS are known to advise previously incarcerated criminal fathers how to get custody and child support, instead of how to get a job and pay child support.

We urge you to hold oversight hearings on the systemic failure of family court and CPS to protect children as recommended by Congressman John Conyers at the October 12, 2011 Congressional briefing on the effects of domestic violence on children.

Live on USTREAM: The 8th Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference

 

The 8th Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference

 

CONFERENCE AGENDA

 

 Click here to watch the conference LIVE on USTREAM!

 

Friday, January 7th, 2011

 

4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Special pre-conference workshop: Karen Winner, Esq. How to Think Like a Lawyer on Legal Billing Issues
 

 • Registration begins at 4:00 p.m.
• Exhibitors, book sales, and Silent (Chinese) Auction beginning at 5 p.m.

6:00 Opening greetings by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and other BMCC co-sponsors

song by Tynia Canada

6:30 – 8:00 Lundy Bancroft

8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Meet and Greet with Coffee, Tea, and Cookies

9:00 – Special Friday Night Workshop: Meditation with Rev. Anne Curtin

 

Saturday, January 8th, Morning Session
 

8:30 Plenary I: Attorney and Author Wendy Murphy, J.D. : Landmark Massachusetts ruling: Ensuring the Rights of Disabled Victims in Judicial Proceedings.

9:15 – 10:15 Introductions by Barry Nolan Plenary II: Protective Mother Holly Collins and her son Zachary Collins with Attorney Alan Rosenfeld, J.D.

10:15 – 10:30 Break

10:30 – 11:30 Barry Goldstein, J.D., Joan Zorza, J.D. and Nancy Erickson, J.D. Panel on the book: Domestic Violence, Child Custody, and Abuse: Legal Practices and Policy Issues

11:30 – 12:15 Psychologist and Expert Joy Silberg, Ph.D.: Perspective of a Psychologist on the Front Lines

12:15 – 12:30 Break

 

Saturday, January 8th, Afternoon Session
 

12: 30 – 1:30 Saturday Working Luncheon: Professor and Producer Garland Waller: Screening and Discussion of No Way Out But One (working title): An Independent Documentary on Holly Collins – The First Woman to Be Granted Political Asylum on Grounds of Domestic Violence

1:45 – 3:30 Panel: Karin Huffer, Ph.D., Renee Beeker, Wendy Murphy, J.D., & Robin Yeamans, J.D.: Groundbreakers Present A New Trajectory: Managing Family Court Cases

3:45 – 4:45 Concurrent Workshop Session I

1. Renee Beeker & Paul Holdorf: The National Family Court Watch Project

The National Family Court Watch Project believes that large-scale data will reveal national trends and ignite a call for change in the family court system. The project is a conversation springboard and uses the technique of “quiet observer” to get a sense of what’s happening inside family courts. We report those findings publicly through a new conduit and work with judges and the public to find solutions. We will be sharing latest data update as well as information about the increasing involvement from professionals and educators as we expand this effort around the country.

2. Joy Silberg: Using Expert Witness Testimony in Family Court Child Abuse Cases

This presentation will review some of the effective ways to use expert witness testimony in family court child abuse cases. The roles for an expert in these cases can include criticizing existing custody evaluations, reviewing symptoms and disclosures of the child, or being court appointed to do a child protection evaluation. The presenter will emphasize how to avoid pitfalls and what points to emphasize when helping a judge look at the information from a new perspective.

 

Saturday, January 8th, Afternoon Session

 

Concurrent Workshop Session I (cont.)

3. Massachusetts Protective Mothers for Custodial Justice, Inc. RESPECT FOR ADVOCACY– PART II of “The Basics” RESPECT FOR ADVOCACY (PART II of “The Basics”)

I. Advocacy Basics

Working with Battered Mothers: Active Listening, Getting to the Matter, Getting to the HELP!
Supporting Battered Mothers: Resources, Abilities
Using Systems that Support Battered Women, Using Supports for Battered Mothers: What They Offer, What They Can’t & Why We All Need Each Other

II. Advocacy as Activism

– When to Resist, When To Comply & Whose Call That Is 
– Unity: Defining our “Same Page”
– Eliminating the Extraneous
– Defending What We Fought For In the New War for our Children

4. Karin Huffer, Crystal Morgan-Huffer, & Jason Huffer: Silenced No More – Self Protection in the High Tech Age: You are Not Paranoid–Just Hypervigilant and Smart

Thirty self-protective actions you must take to ensure your safety and self protection in this high tech age. Domestic Violence victims suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and if they are stalked, intruded upon, and left unprotected they suffer legal abuse syndrome. Learn to safeguard yourself in and out of court proceedings. Privacy protection, the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act, and Violence Against Women Act provide more protection than you may think.

5. Barry Goldstein, J.D.: How to Use the Book “Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, and Custody.”

Earlier in the day, Joan Zorza, Nancy Erickson and Barry Goldstein will discuss how to use the research in the book to help your case. The workshop will be a more interactive session in which protective mothers can ask questions about how to use the book in their individual cases.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Concurrent Workshop Session 2

1. Erica Olsen: Violence Against Women in the Digital Age

Do you know how easy it is for some abusers to track their victim’s every move, to monitor everything they do on a computer, in their cars, or on certain phones? Like many criminals, perpetrators of stalking and domestic violence are often ahead of the curve on the use of technology. Through the Internet, high-tech global positioning systems (GPS), cell-phones and handheld computers, abusers use technology to further harm and control their victims. Understanding technology misuse is crucial to both supporting victims and holding offenders accountable. Drawing from survivor experiences and through videos and demonstrations, this training will illustrate the safety risks of phone, GPS, camera, Internet, and computer technologies.

2. Karen Borders: High Risk vs. High Conflict Family Law Matters, Identifying the Differences

This workshop will discuss Family Violence Risk Assessments which address high-conflict risk cases, which get labeled as high conflict cases and rarely get the proper assessment, leaving the risk to children and to abuse victims. While the goal remains to serve the best interest of the children, it is critical to prove or disprove any allegations before determining best interest of the children. This new risk based approach is well rooted in evidence-based practices and truly addresses the best interest of the children while keeping safety as the priority. Courts throughout the United States are recognizing this multi-disciplinary team approach and methods of assessment in handling these volatile matters.

3. Nancy S. Erickson, J.D., LL.M., M.A. (Forensic Psychology): On Custody Evaluations

We will address as many of the following questions as time permits: Why are Custody Evaluations (CEs) ordered by courts? Have custody courts always used evaluators? Are they helpful to courts? Which mental health professionals (MHPs) are authorized to conduct them? How can I tell which MHPs are good evaluators? What rules, if any, are they bound to follow? What are the financial and other costs of CEs? How can I avoid an order for a CE? How can I prepare for one if necessary? How can I fight a bad one — including one that uses against protective parents junk science like Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)? What other psychological theories should I watch out for? What psychological “tests” are often used? Are they valid and reliable? How can I fight a bad CE in court? How can I report an incompetent or biased evaluator?

4. Dara Carlin & Dr. Joyce Braak: Advocacy with an Open Case

Professional advocacy is one thing but when you’re a mom with an open family court case, you’re dealing with an entirely different ball of wax; a mistake for you doesn’t mean a disciplinary reprimand – it could cost you your kids. This workshop will identify factors to bear in mind as you fight for your children (and your life!) with consideration for strategies that have worked (and failed). More than simply giving a presentation, I hope to encourage an exchange of experiences that will generate a list of ideas that we can disseminate to all conference participants. Mom Bloggers, especially – please come! 

 

Saturday, January 8th, Evening Session

 

6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Screening of the documentary Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America in the main conference ballroom (take-out dinner available on site at hotel restaurant)

7:30 pm Ben Atherton Zeman: Voices of Men Redux [Warning note: Includes graphic images of violence.]

9:00 Special Saturday Night After-Hours Session: Strength in Numbers: Sharing stories, sharing strategies, and organizing at the local level. Organized by Nancy Erickson, J.D., Janice Levenson (Protective Mothers Alliance), Renee Beeker (National Family Court Watch), and Paul Holdorf, J.D.

We are calling all protective mothers to meet and organize at their local levels. We will discuss general objectives and report on progress made in 2010 for protective moms (PMs). We will then break up into small groups based on residence (or location of the court involved, whichever is more important): county, part of the state, state, or other geographic area. In the small groups, facilitated by PMs, we will find out what are the worst problems for protective moms in that geographic area, what are the resources for PMs, and what we think can be done to help PMs. Each group will report back to the larger group, and we will plan our strategies for 2011.

 

Sunday, January 9th Morning Session

 

8:30 Plenary 2: Attorney Toby Kleinman: Our children are at risk, and their health is endangered: How can we hold the court accountable to protect them?

9:30 Plenary 3: Attorney Michael Lesher: Facing family court dangers: CPS, law guardians, experts — Oh, my!

10:30 – 10:45 Break

10:45 – 12:30 Panel: Join Up! Leaders of the protective mothers’ movement share what they’ve been doing—and ask you to join them…

– Janice Levinson/Lundy Bancroft, Protective Mothers Alliance
– Kathleen Russell, Center for Judicial Excellence
– Holly Collins
– Dara Carlin
– Ayanna Najuma, Inspirational Spirit of the Phoenix
– American Mothers Political Party
– Nancy Carroll: http://www.RightsForMothers.com
– Claudine Dombrowski: http://www.angelfury.com
– Lorraine Tipton: http://www.mamaliberty.wordpress.com
– Melanie Smith: Australian Shared Parenting Law Debate
– Randi James- http://www.RandiJames.com
– Kathy Lee Scholp & Jay Sutter: H.eroes O.n L.ine DE.fense N.etwork

12:45 – 2:00 Sunday luncheon– Q & A and Community Dialogue

2:00 Close

For more information, please visit: www.batteredmotherscustodyconference.org.

We will be live streaming some – if not all – of the weekend’s events, and we’ll also make the video available online after the conference.

For further information, you can also contact mhannah413@aol.com with the subject line “BMCC.”

 

The Eighth Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference January 7-9, 2011

 

Battered Women, Abused Children,

and Child Custody, 

A National Crisis VIII:

 

The Unity Conference – – Join Up!

 

 Submit a proposal to present at the

The Eighth Annual Battered Mothers

                              Custody Conference                               

   January 7th, 8th, & 9th, 2011

 (Friday evening, 6 p.m. – Sunday afternoon)

 

A major focus this year is to connect battered mothers with organizations working locally, nationally, and internationally to combat unjust family court practices that harm to battered mothers and their children.

 

CONFERENCE HOTEL

 Holiday Inn Turf

205 Wolf Road, Albany, NY

( five minutes away from Albany International Airport)

 Call: 1-800-HOLIDAY or 518-458-7250 

 Special BMCC rate:  $99/night

Ask for Battered Mothers Custody Conference block

Reserve early!

  

 Please disseminate this announcement to your organizations, list serves, colleagues, and friends!   

Dr. Mo Therese Hannah
Professor of Psychology, Siena College
Chair, BMCC
mhannah413@aol.com
518-210-2487

Panera Bread and Paul Simon

  

 

Here’s mainstream media coverage about Panera Bread’s new Community Cafe’ restaurant in Clayton, Missouri. 

This past winter, the Panera Bread restaurant and a local grocery store in Albany, New York generously donated muffins, pastries and cookies for the 2010 Battered Mothers Custody Conference. Seeing the delicious arrangements of delectable treats waiting for us each morning was comforting, yet more comforting than that was knowing that a mainstream business like Panera Bread would offer their help. The family courts don’t help. The mainstream media hasn’t helped. Panera Bread did help and what’s more comforting than pastries and hot coffee on a cold winter morning in Albany? It might seem like a small gesture, but to battered mothers who have lost their children to the family court nightmare, just knowing that a well-established “mainstream” restaurant cared for us was enough to help us put one foot in front of the other. The same probably goes for those who’ve lost their jobs and their homes in Missouri.

We hope and pray that the Panera Bread’s community cafe’ concept flourishes. We hope more community restaurants will spring up in other states soon. May the folks in Clayton, Missouri feel as cared for as we felt this past winter in Albany, New York.

If anyone reading this knows of anyone who might like to offer donations ie. food or financial assistance to the 2011 Battered Mothers Custody Conference, please make a few phone calls and send a few emails. Here’s Dr. Maureen Hannah’s email:  HANNAH@siena.edu . Her telephone number at Siena College is:  (518)-786-5067 .

Food and financial contributions always help, however, an educated public would help the most. As E.M. Forster once said, “Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.”  So, if the federal investigation isn’t enough to compel ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN to cover a scandal that’s lasted 30 years, how about a really famous entertainer to entertain at the conference next winter? (Hint: We’re thinking someone other than Alec Baldwin.) 

The mainstream media would then have to tell the public at least a little bit about the  family court crisis if a famous entertainer would get involved, right?

Does anybody happen to know Paul Simon by any chance? Does he still live in New York? He once sang a song about the mother and child reunion being just a motion away…

 

 

Bread and hope – that’s what it’s all about…