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Protective Parents' Act

This act can be modified for any state.  We recommend that you read it and cut and paste it into a word doc and than make whatever changes you feel is needed for your particular state. 
 
We also suggest that you go to the state you are most concerned about and check out the information about child abuse listed which has happened there in the past 2 years. 
With this information and any personal information you have, should be forwarded to representatives in Congress of the state you wish to have this Protective Parents' Act passed.
 
It is best to check out the representatives to see who are child friendly. 
 
The Protective Parent Act is the Creation of reknown attorney Richard Ducote.  He has given permission for it's use.  For that we are very thankful.
 
Please send us an email if you are planning on trying to use this for your state.  If you would like additional help constructing your request for Congress please email us with your state.

The Protective Parent Reform Act.

NOTE: If you are an activist or a protective parent interested in presenting the PPRA to a legislator, lawmaker or to a group of activists, Talia Carner has prepared a Power Point presentation version. It is FREE. Please write to AuthorTalia@aol.com.

HISTORY OF THE ACT:

With the growing interest in PUPPET CHILD, author Talia Carner was asked by a Congressman to brief him on the ills of family courts across the nation. She did, while also suggesting Federal legislative remedies. The Congressman introduced her to some of his fellow representatives. Encouraged by their shocked interest, Carner asked Richard Ducote, a New Orleans-based attorney, who had tried custody cases in over 40 states, to draft the proposed legislation to help parents who try to protect their children from being sexually abused by the other parent.
Mr. Ducote conceived the PPR Act as a supplement to the Child Abuse Protection and Treatment Act (CAPTA). 

 

PROPOSED FEDERAL LEGISLATION (modify for your state)

Conceived and Drafted by:
Richard Ducote, Esq.
731 Fern Street
New Orleans,LA 70118
504.314.8400
Ducotelaw@aol.com

42 United States Code 5105a. Protective Parent Reform Act

This Act shall be known as the "Protective Parent Reform Act." The purpose of this Act is to correct the trend in child custody and visitation cases wherein abused children, and children in homes where domestic violence exists, are placed by courts in the custody of the abusive or violent parent with the protective parent's custody, visitation, and contact with the child limited.

For any State or public agency to receive any assistance under the provisions of 5106, 5106a, 5106(c), or 5116, for fiscal year 2005 and any year thereafter, the State or the State in which the public agency applicant is situated must demonstrate that effective June 1, 2005, the following safeguards have been effected and implemented either by statutory enactment or court rule promulgated by the highest court in the State, with such enactment or court rule applicable statewide in every court having jurisdiction over child custody, parental visitation, parenting time, parenting plans, conservatorship of children, or any other issue involving the residence of a child and the contact between the child and his or her parents, incidental to or following separation or divorce, or in connection with a paternity case where the parents have were not married, to ensure that a parent who reasonably believes that his or her child is threatened by child abuse or domestic violence, perpetrated or allowed by the other parent is not punished by the court, or otherwise penalized by loss or limitation of custody, contact, or visitation with his or her child, or the child denied the custody and contact with that parent, for that parent's having such reasonable belief and for acting lawfully in accordance with such belief:

(1) The prohibition against ex parte contacts with the judge hearing a child custody or child visitation case, as defined and controlled by state law, shall be specifically made applicable to child custody and child visitation cases, and shall, in addition to the general applicability of the prohibition, specifically include contacts between judges and guardians ad litem, minor’s counsel, custody evaluators, mental health professionals, mediators, screeners, and other such persons traditionally participating in child custody and visitation cases.

(2) The roles of guardians ad litem, minors' counsel, and children's attorneys shall be limited to advocating for the wishes of the child at issue, and to participating in the court proceedings by presentation of evidence and argument in the same manner as a parent's attorney. Such persons shall be prohibited from substituting their own opinions and judgments for the wishes of the child, submitting evidence which would be excluded under the applicable evidence law if tendered by any other party, and in no case shall such person be deemed a quasi-judicial officer or be granted any fact-finding role. This provision shall not require a State to mandate an attorney to represent any child in custody or visitation cases, but shall only be interpreted to the limit the role of such person when provided.

(3) Parents shall be provided full and timely access to all custody and mental health evaluations and reports which are to be considered in any custody or visitation proceeding, including all underlying data for such evaluations and reports, and shall be afforded the opportunity to depose prior to the trial and to cross examine at trial any and all mental health or custody evaluators who will testify in a custody or visitation proceeding.

(4) No expert opinion or expert evidence attempting to discredit a parent's motivation for asserting that his or her child is abused or at risk of the effects of domestic violence committed by the other parent, or attempting to discredit a child's report of such abuse or violence, shall be allowed in a custody or visitation case unless that opinion or evidence is based on concepts and theories generally accepted by the scientific community and supported by credible and admissible evidence of facts which can be established independently of that expert's opinion.

(5) Due process shall be afforded all parents in such custody and visitation cases, and such custody and visitation decisions removing custody, visitation, or contact from a parent who believes or asserts that his or her child is the victim of abuse or the effects of domestic violence perpetrated by the other parent shall not be made on the basis of written declarations or affidavits, or without adequate written advance notice and the opportunity to be heard as defined by state and federal constitutional law, even on a purportedly emergency basis, simply because that parent holds that belief. Furthermore, no such parent shall lose custody, visitation, or contact with a child based only on the opinion of a mental health professional that such parent is at risk of unlawfully fleeing with the child, unless credible and admissible evidence independent of the professional's opinion establishes that parent's plan or intent to flee.

(6) Court sponsored mediation, conciliation, and intake screening programs shall not make recommendations or fact-finding reports to the judge regarding child custody, visitation, or contact unless all parties freely agree in advance of the transmittal of such report, and any parent shall have the right to contest the report.

(7) No findings by any child protection agency shall be considered res judicata or collateral estoppel, and shall not be considered by the court unless all parents are afforded the opportunity to challenge any such determination.

(8) Whenever child abuse or domestic violence is an issue in a child custody or visitation case, no mental health professional or child custody evaluator who lacks specialized training and experience in child abuse or domestic violence relevant to the specific allegations shall be appointed by the court to conduct any evaluation in the case.

(9) Admissible evidence of child abuse or domestic violence shall be considered in any child custody or visitation case.

(10) No parent shall be deprived of custody, visitation, or contact with his or her child, nor restricted in such custody, visitation, or contact, nor shall such a child be placed in foster care, simply because that parent reasonably believes that his or her child is the victim of child abuse or the effects of domestic violence, and acts lawfully in response to such reasonable belief to protect the child or to obtain treatment for the child.

(11) No valid final order of protection or domestic violence restraining order rendered pursuant to the State's domestic violence or family violence protection statutes and filed with the State's protective order registry shall be violated by the award of custody or visitation to the perpetrator of domestic violence where such is prohibited by the domestic violence order of protection then in effect.

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Statement of Purpose:

This Act shall be known as the "Protective Parent Reform Act." The purpose of this Act is to correct the trend in child custody and visitation cases wherein abused children, and children in homes where domestic violence exists, are placed by courts in the custody of the abusive or violent parent with the protective parent's custody, visitation, and contact with the child limited.

With such enactment or court rule applicable statewide in every court having jurisdiction over child custody, parental visitation, parenting time, parenting plans, conservatorship of children, or any other issue involving the residence of a child and the contact between the child and his or her parents, incidental to or following separation or divorce, or in connection with a paternity case where the parents have were not married, to ensure that a parent who reasonably believes that his or her child is threatened by child abuse or domestic violence, perpetrated or allowed by the other parent is not punished by the court, or otherwise penalized by loss or limitation of custody, contact, or visitation with his or her child, or the child denied the custody and contact with that parent, for that parent's having such reasonable belief and for acting lawfully in accordance with such belief:



 

Other States who have enacted a version of the Protective Parent Act

Tennessee: HB 2848 and SB 2966, filed at the State Congress of Tennessee on 1/26/04 amends Tennessee Code, relative to the Protective Parent Reform Act, which addresses custody of abused children.

Alaska: HB 385 passed with a unanimous vote in both the Alaska House and Senate on 5/11/04. To summarize, this bill: Elevates the weighting of domestic violence in the best interest of the child factor. Makes consideration of domestic violence a factor in temporary custody decisions, and not based just soley on equal and frequent contact.

Disallows the "friendly parent" provision where there is domestic violence/child abuse (its difficult for a victim or protective parent to really be "friendly" with someone that abuses you or your children) institutes a rebuttable presumption that batterers will not get custody of children.

Wisconsin: ACT 130, filed at the State senate and assembly of Wisconsin on 4/18/03 enacted in Feb. 04. a rebuttable presumption against awarding a parent joint or sole legal custody if the court finds that the parent has engaged in a pattern or serious incident of abuse, requiring a guardian ad litem and a mediator to have training related to domestic violence, and requiring a guardian ad litem to investigate and a mediator to inquire whether a party in an action affecting the family engaged in domestic violence.

Arizona: Assembly Bill HB2348 passed the Arizona Senate on 5/26/04. This bill allows disposition of community property, calculation of spousal maintenance and determination of child support to occur with consideration of criminal conviction for acts against the spouse or child. It also included the following:

1) No custody or unsupervised visitation to sex offenders or murderers.

2) Courts shall consider financial ability when ordering services, evaluations, etc.

3) Evaluator will swear and affirm on EACH evaluation that he/she is up to date with the training.

4) 6 hours initial training on child abuse.

5) 6 hours initial training on domestic violence.

6) 4 hours every other year on child abuse and domestic violence.

7) Minimum standards for training created by Domestic Relations Committee.

8) 2 more senators and 2 more House members on Domestic Relations Committee.

Illinois: HB 360 amends the section of the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act dealing with child-custody proceedings. (Effective date: 1/1/06) Specifically, it eliminates the role of a child representative. The amendment is the result of a November ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court dealing with Norma Perez' child-custody case. Justices ruled her rights were violated because her attorney was not allowed to cross-examine the child representative assigned to her case. A DuPage County judge granted Perez's ex-husband, R. Edward Bates, sole custody of their daughter based, in part, on the representative's report. While the ruling did not directly affect her custody situation, it helped change the law. She lost custody in 2002 after a dispute in which Bates and court-appointed psychologists accused her of parental alienation syndrome. The syndrome is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association or other medical associations.The use of PAS against mothers in child-custody cases continues to be worrisome to Perez, and she hopes to make changes regarding the use of PAS in court. But, she said she feels the bill is a major step toward making reforms in family law.

Hawaii: HB 1980-SD1, filed at the State House of Representatives of Hawaii on 4/07/04 eliminates closed hearings in Family Court Child Protective Services (CPS) matters, allows parents involved in CPS matters to bring a non-lawyer advocate to hearings, requires the Supreme Court to review Family Court judges and requires Family Court judges to enforce perjury statutes.


Protective Parent Reform Act Is Major Victory For Children
posted May 11, 2004

The Tennessee General Assembly took a major step in child protection this session in passing the Protective Parent Reform Act. The Act provides guidelines for any attorney who is appointed to represent a child in a hearing for custody. It also prohibits the custody courts from granting a change in custody of a child based on a parent filing a good faith allegation of child abuse if the Department of Children's Services fails to fully substantiate or even investigate the allegation, which happens too frequently.

The most far reaching part of the Act is in making certain that the best interest of the child is the center of a custody dispute by stating that child abuse is to be considered on a preponderance of the evidence instead of the more onerous clear and convincing evidence or beyond reasonable doubt. The Act also prohibits the courts from placing a child in the custody of or in an uncontrolled visitation arrangement with a parent who presents a substantial risk of harm to the child. Previous law allowed a custody court the discretion to place the child in harm's way if the court felt the child needed regular time with both parents more than protection from abuse.

Our legislature has cleared up the confusion over whether the child's right to a safe environment or a parent's right to equal access reigns supreme in cases of so-called minor child abuse or sexual abuse which is very difficult to prove in the absence of semen. This is a major victory for the children of Tennessee.

The Act was sponsored by Representative Kathryn Bowers (D-Memphis) and Senator John Ford (D-Memphis). It passed the House of Representatives on a 94-0 vote and the Senate by a margin of 29-0 and will become law upon signature of Governor Bredesen.

Beth Marriner-Adams
Justice, Inc.

Proposed in CT.

  AN ACT ADOPTING A PROTECTIVE PARENT REFORM ACT.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2005) (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Protective Parent Reform Act".

(b) In any proceeding under chapter 815j of the general statutes involving child custody and visitation:

(1) If a parent makes a good faith allegation, based on a reasonable belief supported by facts, that his or her child is the victim of abuse, neglect or family violence perpetrated or allowed by the other parent, and if the parent making such allegation acts lawfully and in good faith in accordance with such belief to protect the child or seek treatment for the child, such parent shall not be deprived of custody of or visitation or contact with the child based solely on such belief or the reasonable actions taken in accordance with such belief.

(2) If an allegation that a child is the victim of abuse, neglect or family violence perpetrated or allowed by a parent is supported by a preponderance of the evidence, the court shall consider such evidence in determining custody and visitation that is in the best interests of the child and shall not award custody of the child to the parent who presents a substantial risk of harm to the child.

(c) In any proceeding under chapter 815j of the general statutes involving child custody and visitation:

(1) No ex parte communications shall be made between the court and any guardian ad litem for the child, counsel for the child, custody evaluator, mental health professional, conciliator, mediator, screener or other professional participating in the proceeding.

(2) The role of any guardian ad litem or counsel for the child shall be limited to advocating for the wishes of the child and participating in the proceeding by presenting evidence and argument in the same manner as counsel for the parent. The guardian ad litem or counsel for the child may not substitute his or her own opinion and judgment for the wishes of the child or offer any evidence which would be excluded under applicable law if offered by any other party. In no case shall the guardian ad litem or counsel for the child be deemed a quasi-judicial officer or be granted any fact-finding role. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to require the appointment of a guardian ad litem or counsel for the child in a proceeding involving child custody and visitation.

(3) The parents shall be provided full and timely access to all custody and mental health evaluations and reports that are to be considered in the proceeding, including all underlying data for such evaluations and reports, and shall be afforded the opportunity to depose prior to trial and to cross examine at trial each mental health professional or custody evaluator who will testify in the proceeding.

(4) No expert opinion or evidence attempting to discredit a parent's motivation for asserting that his or her child is the victim of abuse, neglect or family violence perpetrated or allowed by the other parent, or attempting to discredit a child's report of such abuse, neglect or family violence, shall be admissible, unless such expert opinion or evidence is based on concepts and theories generally accepted by the scientific community and supported by credible and admissible evidence of facts which can be established independently of such expert opinion or evidence.

(5) A parent shall not be deprived of custody of or visitation or contact with his or her child based on the opinion of a mental health professional that such parent is at risk of unlawfully fleeing with the child, unless credible and admissible evidence independent of such mental health professional's opinion establishes that such parent's plan or intent is to flee.

(6) No court-sponsored conciliation, mediation, intake screening or parenting education program may make any recommendation or report to the court regarding custody of or visitation or contact with the child unless all parties agree to the making of such recommendation or report. Both parents of the child shall have the right to contest such recommendation or report.

(7) Whenever abuse, neglect or family violence is an issue in the proceeding, no mental health professional or custody evaluator who lacks specialized training and experience in the type of abuse, neglect or family violence that is relevant to the specific allegations made may be appointed by the court to conduct any evaluation in the proceeding.

(8) Admissible evidence of abuse, neglect or family violence shall be considered by the court.

(9) No valid protective or restraining order issued pursuant to section 46b-15, 46b-15a or 46b-38c and entered in the automated registry of protective orders maintained pursuant to section 51-5c of the general statutes may be violated by the award of custody of or visitation or contact with the child to a parent who is the perpetrator of family violence.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2005

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To adopt a Protective Parent Reform Act in order to prevent courts in child custody and visitation cases from placing a child who is abused or neglected, or who lives in a home in which family violence exists, in the custody of the abusive, neglectful or violent parent and from limiting the protective parent's custody, visitation and contact rights.

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