By Mark Sullivan
Legislators in New York have sponsored a bill to place a moratorium on custody evaluations based on a Blue Ribbon Commission report. I became aware of this through a Facebook posting by Dr. Craig Childress.
A bit about me. A special hearing was held, 18 months after the beginning of my case, where the court-appointed forensic psychologist testified. The director, a psychiatrist in his 60’s of the counseling center I was going to and who had done my intake interview testified also. He was the director of another counseling center as well. He had told me that if what the forensic psychologist had written were true I would be in an institution, and I could not function.
After cross-examining the forensic psychologist and the psychiatrist’s testimony, the mother’s lawyer jumped up and offered unsupervised visits. Years later when the judge made her written decision there was no mention of the “special” hearing and the appeals court denied my appeal pointing to the forensic report and ignoring prima facie evidence and my motions which preserved federal and constitutional law claims.
To date, my family has had no contact with my child since 2012. I last saw her in 2016. Recently there were court hearings, from April 2021 to Oct 2022, the last one held the day before she turned 18, I still have not seen her and still do not know where she is. Sad to say as we all know this is not the worse or the easiest of outcomes but one of many, too many families and their children harmed.
So let’s start here; “What is the NYS Blue Ribbon Commission on Forensic Custody Evaluations?” “Announced in the 2021 State of the State and convened in June 2021, the Governor’s Blue-Ribbon Commission on Forensic Custody Evaluations (“the Commission”) was charged with providing recommendations to the Governor regarding if and/or how forensic custody evaluations should be used by New York courts.”
Here is the press release and this is the actual report. I ask, I strongly suggest you, your family and your friends read both links, the press release, and the report. Also my posting to Dr. Craig Childress’s FB and his replies.
This amicus attorney role (suggested by an attorney in San Antonio) would be a specialized role in family law because they would be part of the treatment team with the treating family therapist.
We want and expect successful treatment. It’s time professional psychology began providing successful treatment. We’ll have outcome measures to ensure it’s successful. Successful treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis. If we treat cancer with insulin, the patient dies from the misdiagnosed cancer. If we treat cancer with chemotherapy, we have a successful treatment and everything is fixed.
The mental health professionals need to be accountable. Their treatment will also need support from the court surrounding the child abuse diagnosis. We need a written treatment plan based on the diagnosis that everyone can hold in their hands and look at. Everything needs to be explained – Goals – Interventions – Timeframes – Outcome Measures – based on the diagnosis.
To use a term bandied about by the media lately, this is our crossing the Rubicon. We have a problem defined by a well-respected panel. We have the problem presented to a person of authority, Governor Hochul and we have a solution (!) in the writings of Dr. Craig Childress. All of the elements are there, whether you are a resident of New York or another state.
Pilot Program Proposal for the Family Courts: The Key Solution
The Childress Institute is collaborating with Children 4 Tomorrow in Houston, Texas in developing a pilot program proposal to bring AB-PA training and Certification of mental health professionals a…
That’s from a booklet I wrote to support a pilot program for the family courts in Houston. It’s from a booklet available on Amazon.com.
Pilot Program for the Family Courts
The key is to create a team of an amicus attorney representing the interest of the court in the child’s successful treatment and the family therapist conducting the therapy. It creates a communication link back-and-forth from the family therapist to the court. The court has an obligation to the child – parens patriae – so the court has a legitimate interest in the successful treatment of the child. The amicus attorney role replaces the GAL and minor’s counsel’s role. Both of those roles focus in the wrong direction and over-empower the child. The proper role is representing the court’s interest in the successful treatment of the child.
Dr. Childress’s response to my FB question, about a team of amicus attorneys and therapists, etc speaks to a solution.
Quibbling over terms such as parental alienation is just stalling, is keeping the money train on the tracks, is ignoring our children, a solution, a family, a child’s full abundance of love of both parents.
So on Mar 03, 2023 | Senate, this bill was referred to Children and Families. Similar bills in the past have died in this committee and or in the Judiciary.
Senate Bill S5385
2023-2024 Legislative Session
(D, WF) 40TH SENATE DISTRICT
(D) 30TH SENATE DISTRICT
(D) 14TH SENATE DISTRICT
Jeremy A. Cooney
(D, WF) 56TH SENATE DISTRICT
(D, WF) 28TH SENATE DISTRICT
(R) 1ST SENATE DISTRICT
(D, WF) 13TH SENATE DISTRICT
The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-formNew York State Children and Families and Judiciary committees pages.
https://www.nysenate.gov/committees/judiciaryWhat you and your families and friends can do, think about it… how long will this take… how powerful your voice will be and when we have won, which we will, how sweet it will be!Is to write / fax to All sponsors of Senate Bill S5385 (their links are above) your thanks for this bill etc. Then write / fax to each and every children’s and families committee member a copy of your thanks to the sponsors and how you know they will pass this great movement forward for our children and families.Include Dr. Childress’s solution in both faxes to let them know the problems are diagnosable by clinical psychologists. They are treatable and there are expected outcomes. We would not ever leave our children or our families adrift without recourse should they pass this bill. In fact, we ask there be a companion bill based on Dr. Childress’s pilot program.
Fax all of this to all members of the Judiciary Committee and finish it up with a letter, fax to Governor Hochul noting that you have contacted all of the committee members and sponsors.
Is it a lot to do? No not really, once you have your draft letter you are just chain mailing
it so to speak, and letting everyone you fax know that you have faxed everyone else
including the governor.
This is “exposing” the pathogen as Dr. Childress would say. It is putting the legislator
on notice and awaiting their actions.
For those of us who are not residents of New York, contact your legislators to tell them
of the wonderful, progressive actions of New York. Share the Blue Ribbon Report as it
will no doubt apply to all states. Ask that they too draft bills.
And while you are at it why not fax the sponsors of this New York bill, and ask them to
work with your legislators in your state to craft a similar bill. This will amplify the effect
in that NY can say legislators from such and such states are interested in this bill and
your legislators can speak of how New York is winning the race to protect children and
families etc. or however they will best present it.
Finally, the time, effort, heartache, and pain we have all experienced to end up in this
sorrowful state are immense but not without reason.
Our reason is to end it.
As Dorcy Pruter (https://www.consciouscoparentinginstitute.com/ ) says,
“We are the chosen parents”
I am not a sponsor of Dr. Childress, or Dorcy Pruter or anyone. I am just a parent like
you who is seeking a solution and in my case re-establishing my relationship with my