Coalition Against Fasle Parental Alienation Claims
 
lana@cafpac.com | cell: 602.770.1252 | www.cafpac.com
 
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In February, 2014, Child Protective Services (CPS) in Arizona took my daughter from school one day and placed her with a 'placement' family. My daughter was fourteen years old then. She's an Honors student - and a wonderful kid. She had complained to me that her father (my former husband) had been abusing her, and that she was afraid of him. When I went through the Arizona court system to try to 'give her a voice,' I was accused by my former husband of coaching her to say these things about him. The 'pop-psych' term for this is Parental Alienation.

I am a 25-year flight attendant for a major airline, and a single mom trying to raise a quiet, well-behaved daughter. Her father and I have been divorced for over thirteen years. After a year of family court hearings and status conferences, the judge inexplicably ruled that - due to my 'parental alienation' -  I was not 'fit' to be the primary custodial parent. Despite my daughter's persistent complaints to the contrary, the judge elected to ignore her pleas. For the first time in her life, my daughter began to run away. On the days that she was scheduled to spend at her Dad's home, she would disappear immediately after school. Because of this, Arizona Child Protective Services became involved. Due to the judge's ruling that accused me of Parental Alienation, CPS would not simply send her back to me - despite my daughter repeatedly stating her desire to 'just come home.'

Here is where the story takes a strange and dangerous turn. Looking for answers, I went to a local non-profit child advocacy group called 'Defenders of Children.' They listened to my story, and immediately took my case. Since I was mostly unaware of what Parental Alienation actually was, I didn't fully comprehend what I was being accused of until they explained it to me. It was first introduced by Dr. Richard Gardner in the 1980's. In it, he explains that in most abuse cases, the abusive parent is 'set up' by the other parent in the form of coaching the child to make false accusations. Despite the fact that Parental Alienation is not accepted by the American Medical Association as a condition, in the court system it has become an industry unto itself. Many lawyers, judges, court-appointed advisors, etc. have bought into this bogus 'syndrome.' It has become a way for parents who are accused of abuse by their children to blame the other parent, thus removing the spotlight from themselves and shining it on the other unsuspecting parent.       

In one article by Gardner, he states:

"Older children may be helped to appreciate that sexual encounters between an adult and a child are not universally considered to be a reprehensible act," he said. "The child might be told about other societies in which such behavior was and is considered normal . . . . In such discussions the child has to be helped to appreciate that we have in our society an exaggeratedly punitive and moralistic attitude about adult-child sexual encounters." (This quote appeared in a 1992 article that Gardner wrote for 'Creative Therapeutics Magazine' under the title 'True and False Accusations of Sex Abuse.')

It continues: "If the mother has reacted to the (sexual) abuse in a hysterical fashion, or used it as an excuse for a campaign of denigration of the father, then the therapist does well to try and 'sober her up' . . . . Her hysterics . . . . will contribute to the child's feeling that a heinous crime has been committed and thereby lessen the likelihood of any kind of rapprochement with the father." Worse, in the same article he states that pedophilia 'should not be excluded from the list of 'so-called' natural forms of human sexual behavior."

Gardner's confidant and publisher, Ralph Underwager (co-founder of the FMS Foundation) said this in an interview with 'Paidika: The Journal of Paedophilia' - "Pedophiles need to become more positive and make the claim that pedophilia is an acceptable expression of God's will for love and unity among human beings."

I'm not making this up. These are the authors and enablers of a knee-jerk legal defense for abusive parents - AND IT'S WORKING! A large number of families have been affected by this unproven 'syndrome.' It's been around long enough that many of the kids whose lives were ruined by it are older now and finally aware of the damage inflicted by Dr. Gardner's book. They call themselves the 'Courageous Kids Network' and have their own website. In 2005, it was noted on their website that Dr. Gardner killed himself by slitting his own throat.

My life has been tragically affected by this bogus theory, as has my daughter's. All we want is justice from our court system - and this is what we get? There are countless other families who have been hurt by this, and the shame often prevents them from coming forward.

I started this website to shed light on this issue. It might seem surreal, but it's happening in courtrooms all across America. As a parent, if you don't defend others who have unlawfully had their children removed from their homes by the courts or by the state, who will defend you when your child is taken?

 
lana@cafpac.com | cell: 602.770.1252 | www.cafpac.com