Teen Videos Show Human Toll of Scathing California Audit Report

Thursday’s Report Slams Family Courts for Unqualified, Untrained Professionals

child abuse

Image by Southworth Sailor via Flickr

SACRAMENTO – Compelling video and written testimony from California teenagers about uncaring family court professionals ruining their lives and forcing them into contact with abusive parents shows the tragic human impacts of an official report released Thursday by the California Bureau of State Audits.  “These video clips show the tragic impacts of a broken family court system, said Kathleen Russell, Executive Director for the Marin County-based Center for Judicial Excellence. “The American people will be stunned that this is going on. These untrained court staff and appointees yield tremendous power over the physical and sexual safety of children of divorcing parents, and their mistakes result in thousands of kids being held hostage and kept away from loving family members,” she said. The teen videos detail family court problems in California counties that were not audited, as well as one of the two counties that was.

The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence estimates that 58,000 children per year in America are being court-ordered into full  custody or unsupervised visits with parents that the children claim are physically and sexually abusing them. The California report indicates that numerous mediators working in the audited counties lacked proof that they had completed even the basic required training in domestic violence. The report validates ongoing complaints that have been filed for years by attorneys, litigants, child advocates and domestic violence groups that the family court culture is marked by a severe lack of accountability and even lawlessness. These claims have been repeatedly raised – and routinely ignored by courts nationwide– for more than a decade. Courts have routinely dismissed legitimate reports of due process violations as the handiwork of “a few disgruntled litigants.”

Visit www.bsa.ca.gov to download the audit report; and www.centerforjudicialexcellence.orgca3cacaca.blogspot.com, and www.protectiveparents.com/cases.html for more information on the national family court crisis that is placing thousands of kids in harm’s way.

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