On Valentine’s Day, Monday February 14, 2011 at 11:00 a.m., Mothers of Lost Children will hold a press conference in front of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Ave SW, Washington DC.
They are protesting the enormous expenditure of tax dollars to help ex-prisoners and known abusers connect with their children, and the heartbreak for mothers and children when this funding is misused and misapplied. A vigil and speakout by mothers and child victims will be held at the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW on Sunday February 13 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
During the past two decades, mothers have been losing custody of their children (even nursing infants) in increasing numbers to fathers who are convicted or identified batterers, child molesters, drug addicts, gang-bangers and felons. Family courts force children into the custody of abusive fathers at alarming rates, allowing these men to continue controlling and abusing their victims.
Research shows that 70% of batterers who ask for custody get it. Safe mothers who left the abusers in order to protect their children are frequently labeled “unfriendly” and are inappropriately ordered to supervised visitation or denied all contact with their children.
“The reason, in part,” says Karen Anderson, Executive Director of California Protective Parents Association, “lies in a misguided and dangerous objective of the Fatherhood Initiative to give fathers access to their children regardless of the risk they pose.” ‘The goal is to have former prisoners paying child support and reconnecting with their children as soon as possible,’ (Washington Post June 21, 2010.)
“It’s crazy to believe that allowing violent men to care for children is a good idea. Vulnerable children should not be used as guinea pigs to try to rehabilitate criminals,” says Anderson.
The National Fatherhood Initiative website states in 15 years it has “ensured that two million more children are living with their fathers”. The Leadership Council research indicates 58,000 children are placed with abusers every year. These statistics may be connected.
“Thousands of former prisoners and identified abusers have also discovered that if they get custody, they can receive child support instead of paying it.” says Ms. Anderson. “It’s a batterers’ and molesters’ paradise. Federally-funded supervised visitation centers are meant to protect children during visits with potentially dangerous fathers.
Instead, family courts order safe mothers to see their children under supervision, which means the children aren’t able to tell their mothers about abuse by their fathers. That way the Fatherhood Initiative goals are met to access even more federal funds.”
During this time of deep fiscal crisis, when children are hungry and parents are penniless, $500,000,000.00 dollars designated to increase marriage and promote ex-prisoners to reconnect with and often harm children is doubly offensive.
Mothers of Lost Children call for a Congressional investigation into the failure of family courts to protect children and potential fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars.