Judges and Legislators Say Family Courts Need Reform


SF Weekly has spoken with two state officials who have been at the forefront of family court reform. They agreed that the problems need to be addressed, but had different ideas about where to start.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Jerilyn Borack says the key to improving court assessments of potential child abuse is devoting more resources in the form of money or personnel to the system. That could allow more time to look into abuse accusations when they arise, just as significant time is spent appraising the value of property divided in a divorce settlement. “I don’t know why there is any more reticence to deal with an allegation of sexual abuse as to deal with, ‘The house is worth $2 million; no, it’s worth $200,000,'” she says.

State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) thinks the courts need strict monitoring to ensure that officials properly review abuse accusations. “There needs to be some response if courts are not abiding by the law,” he says.

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