There are many things that any individual can do to effectively make progress in bringing about reform in the:
In Michigan, my home state, I can obtain a guide called "A CITIZEN'S GUIDE TO STATE GOVERNMENT." All I have to do is contact my State Representative, or Senator, and request a copy of "A CITIZEN'S GUIDE TO STATE GOVERNMENT." What this guide has:
The particulars of this matter is that the elected official is often extremely busy and that is why elected officials have these aides are for, to assist the elected person. These aides are hand picked and loyal staff who will have much more influence with the elected official than you will. So the better relationships you can develop with the staff, and even in some cases convince this aide about the worthwhile causes and issues, the closer you will get to having influence with the elected official.
All you really have to
out is who it is on the elected official's staff it is that assists the
elected with issues you want that elected official to consider.
I identify myself as a citizen who is very concerned about children's rights issues and the need for legislative changes.
Whenever another news story breaks out about a child abuse situation I call or write a letterm and discuss that story and how legislative changes may have prevented that child from being a victim. I send a copy of that news story to the elected official's office. Everytime I run across an article about children's rights issues I copy it and send it to my specific elected representatives and each member of the committee that deals with these issues. (Remember that the representative from your own district may not be on these committees, they may be on other committees, but they vote on these issues when the issue comes before the entire house as proposed legislation.) KEEP YOUR OWN REPRESENTATIVE INFORMED ABOUT CURRENT PENDING ISSUES BEFORE THESE COMMITTEES AND YOUR CONCERN FOR HIS VOTE WHEN THAT TIME COMES!
Read Letters to the Editor in every newspaper that you read. When you see a letter that was published on these issues try and contact that person who wrote the Letter to the Editor personally and share your concerns with that person and let that person know what you are doing to advocate these issues.
Save copies of these Letters to the Editor and use them by including them along with Letters to the Editor that you may decide to write. If you decide to write a Letter to the Editor it is a good idea to include with that letter:
A sample letter may state:
The judiciary has assured itself of almost total immunity for anything a judge does while wearing a black robe and the truth has come to be that any mistake a judge makes is going to be very expensive for those who must petition higher courts in order to have these errors corrected. In fact, the most ingenious system has been created and established by these judges that can best be described that a judge can truly say to the poor, the underprivileged and the child: "If I made an error, or a mistake, it is not my fault and you have to live with it, because you did not properly object when I made these mistakes.
The appeal process favors judicial convenience over the rights of children far too often.
If I could go through life blaming everyone else for the mistakes I made and also require others to have to pay for having my mistakes corrected I could not possibly better describe the current judicial system and appeal process. Not everyone who experiences the judicial processes are treated unfairly, but please remember children are not often capable of speaking out and do not understand much of what is happening to them anyway.
It cannot be stressed enough that when the courts are involved with any child's welfare these are not the rules to follow but as anyone can clearly see this is what the courts have found as proper as rules to apply even when it comes to the rights and welfare of our nation's children.
These judges know that many children who come before the courts are not having their best interests being considered but in fact are having their problems compounded because of the courts discretionary role in child welfare. These judges refusal to admit their own part they play in these many "child welfare" problems is also as outrageous as any other issues of misconduct you may hear about. These judges cannot be that naive not to know what they are doing. Removal of immunities for judges who knowingly participate in these legal abuses is a very important issue that needs addressing.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Your County Judge is an elected official so don't be afraid to write letters to a Judge and address your concerns about children's rights to an elected judge. Know the name of the Judge that hears Family Court Cases in your County. If you are active in church groups, encourage members of your church groups to do the same. I have wrote the judge of my county several times and have received written responses twice. You can ask the judge for:
Your County Prosecutor is an elected official and that elected official makes decisions to prosecute or not in the name of the people.
There are many things you can express to the prosecutor about your concerns for children's rights and local policies. I would like to add a personal story here:
I was in court and heard the testimony of a police officer who performed a video taped interview on a little girl where the allegation was that the father had taken the child to motel rooms, given her baths, and sexually molested her. The allegations were from a neighboring county Children's Protective Services Complaint but since the allegations occurred in the other county the investigation was done in that jurisdiction. The little girl tried to tell the police that her mother was lying and the interview was done on videotape and that evidence was preserved, but the tape quietly sat in an evidence room for three years because the mother, the Children's Protective Services, and the County that made the complaint wanted to cover up the entire incident where evidence that would have cleared the father was not what these people wanted to have made a matter of record so in one county it was a matter of record, but in the other county there was no reference to the incident ever recorded in future allegations against the same father by these same people.
Another complaint of abuse was made against the same father concerning the same counties but this time the investigation was performed entirely in the county that made the allegations of abuse. No video taped interview was ever preserved of the allegations alleged to have been made by the child. The child was young and she would not be allowed to testify in front of a judge, in open court, because these experts presented that it may be too traumatic for the child to do so. Of course these same people insisted that there was no previous indication that the child had ever been pressured to make false allegations against her father before.
To make a long story very short, it would be in the best interests of any child that the policy of recording the interview with the child be mandatory and the evidence preserved. One county had a policy of doing this and the other county had a policy of not doing this but relying on the credibility of the experts who came into court and testified as to what the child had said to them. This is a very serious issue and if you were on the receiving end of these allegations, or if your child was being involved, which policy would you prefer to have presented before the court?
Once again the prosecutor sets many polices and guidelines that are followed when deciding how to prosecute or decline to prosecute regarding children's rights.
Let your local prosecutor know that there are many concerns you have for children's rights issues taken before the court and follow the guidelines for presenting these issues made above on this page.
1. Evidence of child abuse allegations can be preserved by video recording when any complaint is investigated. This policy should be made mandatory as a matter of law passed by our legislature.
2. Therapy and Counseling for any child must be based on the entire historical background of the child and not on the issues presented by one party. The "expert witness" must make known, as a permanent part of the record, what is understood about the historical background and of the environment of the child.
3. A parent may not take these issues to one therapist and then keep shopping for other therapists, doctors, or other experts until the goal of negative assessments are made and presented against the other parent.
4. It should be against the law for a counselor, therapist, or psychological evaluator to commence therapy, counseling, or evaluation, until it is determined, ON RECORD, that the following facts are known by the provider of these services:
6. That documented evidence and tangible facts cannot be negated by an expert witnesses opinion and testimony if it is contrary to these established known facts, records, and issues when presented in court as evidence.
7. In Family Court matters every judge must clearly state findings of fact on each factor considered by that judge.
8. Remove the laws allowing a judge to use discretion in Family Court matters. That the issues must be resolved on the facts, evidence, and whole record and the judge must clearly state what those findings of facts are.
9. Court appointed attorneys for children must have rigid, specific minimum procedures to follow and make specific inquiries into the investigation for that child that is to be performed by the court appointed attorney for the child and be presented to the court, and each of the other parties, as a report and that report must be based on each and every point of law considered as statutory definitions of "The Best Interests of the Child." The "Best Interests of the Child" means a sum total of the following factors to be considered, evaluated, and determined by the court. (With some suggested minor changes by this author) These are:
11. Administrative agencies must know and stay within the limitations of their agency published rules and guidelines and only a court order may be requested for any deviation from these policies and procedures not the permission of an Administrative Agency Supervisor.
12. Prosecutor's who file child protective petitions or actions in any court must include a discovery disclosure of relevant information that the petition or action is based upon at the time of filing and serving, and provide copies of the investigative discovery information to all parties at the time of notice of these actions.
I highly recommend that any policy or procedure that is adopted by any court, prosecutor, agency, or investigative agency that is inquiring into the welfare of a child who is alleged to be in need of protection, be required to comply with the request of either parent of the child, to preserve any and all evidence related to that investigation, or inquiry. That either parent , as well as the child, has the right to have interviews, investigations, and inquiries preserved on video tape as evidence. Failure to comply with these rules will make the investigations and testimony of these agencies, experts, or others inadmissible in court as evidence. The only exception to this would be if the child has been reported by a hospital emergency room, the child's regular doctor, or a child's school teacher, any subsequent investigation must be preserved after the initial report from these individuals or organizations.
I must, of course, make my comments about attorneys. It is my firm belief that the very core of the problems with our current legal system rests in the laps of attorneys. Attorneys are responsible for asserting the rights of their clients and also being officers of the court who must promote fair and effective measures to provide that due process is respected.
Attorneys, in all fairness to them, are subject to unwritten court rules that some, not all, judges have ways of demanding that attorneys respect and follow them. What this means is that when you actually go to court you are not subject to the law as much as you may be possibly subject to certain understandings the court imposes on attorneys that attorneys, to preserve their career, will obey.
When attorneys fail to abide by these secret, unwritten, rules and procedures that some judges impose the result is having to preserve more issues on appeal that then takes more time to resolve the case and attorneys like to spend as little time on their cases as possible.
My suggestions for beginning to resolve this problem is to pass a law that requires attorneys to make their recommendations known to their clients in writing. Unless this law is ever passed attorneys will continue to be allowed to avoid responsibility for what they actually advise their clients. When attorneys are held accountable, the cases where a judge is imposing unwritten rules and policies on an attorney, will make itself rear its ugly head.
Attorneys must not be allowed to present out of court settlements to their clients on the day of a hearing. This is a common practice and the law encourages attorneys to provide their clients with alternatives to court litigation. How this law is interpreted is that many attorneys wait until the absolute last minute to present these offers of out of court settlements, called stipulated agreements, to their clients. What this does is gives the client very little time to consider the offers and conditions of making an out of court settlement and the client is often coerced or pressured to make these out of court settlements that are presented at the last minute. The out of court, stipulation agreement is binding and the right to appeal that agreement is waived once the judge signs the order.
Many attorneys are guilty of playing these dirty tricks on their clients:
Things attorneys and judges prefer you don't know
Some advice passed on to me
1. Involve the policymakers in your efforts to effect change. When key figures are continually involved in the adjustments and procedural changes of the policy, they are more likely to feel "ownership" towards the issue. This ensures continued support for the policy.
2. Make sure your reasons for change are sound. Often, policymakers attempt to enlist support from other policymakers. Information that has both persuasive potential and can be appropriately generalized to the population of interest is most helpful.
3. The information you provide should be timely and appropriate based on the current stages of policy development. These stages, which are fairly consistent across federal, state, or local levels, are as follows:
Policy Enactment: This includes steps that take place from policy formulation through a point at which the policy is actually finalized.
Policy Oversight: Once a policy is enacted, policymakers must often review it to make sure the intended effects are being met. How the policy is affecting those concerned, what needs are not being met or are developing, and the benefits of the policy are all concerns that should be addressed.
4. Present your information in the most effective way possible. You need to understand the policymaker and then tailor your "presentation" in a way that will increase the chances of him/her accepting your proposal. The following are three tips to a successful presentation:
HOW TO SEND E-MAIL TO ALL LEGISLATORS (ALL AT ONCE)
TO THE MAIN PAGE
ON HOW TO FIGHT BACK
TO FILE A CHILDREN'S PROTECTIVE SERVICES COMPLAINT
TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS
ESSAY ON CHILD ABUSE