You would never expect me to say freedom is a little thing, would you?
For many parents, children, grandparents and even for their advocates, freedom to speak and freedom to protect are rights that we can lose, even right here in the U.S.A. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, so we’re not prepared for it when this happens.
It’s not the best news to share that this is happening to us, no matter what we have going for us, no matter where we live or how innocent or good we are. We just don’t talk about it openly, and typically because we’re told not to… But when this silencing of parents and children happens…to avoid exposure and reporting of misconduct…what you see from the outside is a look of confusion, shock, depression or something you might say is off, but whatever it is, you want no part of it!
So I appreciate little things like being able to take rides on any open road, to open windows and to feel the cool air, and to enjoy kids waving their arms and singing loudly. They should always have this freedom to be kids and to be unencumbered with news of the challenges we adults face.
If you know how to make this easier for them…and have the means to support families in protecting these freedoms and the childhood pleasures most of us have taken for granted, please use your voice.
Help us keep the freedoms of childhood as they should be — building blocks for a healthy life.
Please connect with me here and off-line if you have ideas you’d like to share!
Merry Christmas to all my family, friends and to all of our supporters patiently and diligently working to improve safety and recovery for families and children.
I am so blessed to know you all!
I’m also overwhelmed with the gratitude expressed by families for the work we all do, for the sacrifices and for the milestones achieved.
What I am proposing here is a clean slate, or a fresh start to our conversations and in our approach to improving health, stability, and in dealing with the challenges we are facing as parents, grandparents, educators and advocates during high-stress times and through conflict.
We can do better now that we know more and have each other. We are inspired, motivated, resolved, and in great company!
“And the greatest of these is Love…”
There is an uplifting Christmas song that came to mind today…one you may have never heard on the radio or in church. My coach and counselor in high school sang it for us during Christmas at Florida Christian School in Miami. “Come on ring those bells…light the Christmas tree…Jesus, we remember this your birthday.” Please look up the full lyrics and listen to the song, no matter what you believe or what you’re going through. Thank you, Mrs. Martin, for your voice, for the words of wisdom shared, and for the example you and other teachers, coaches and school leaders set for us. That was Love…
Looking forward to sharing more with you all in the New Year, and engaging you in the solutions we are presenting as a team to our leadership in each state where we are involved.
If you would like to receive our newsletter and updates in January, please use this form for My Advocate Center and stay tuned for the launch of Pro Advocate Radio as well!
We often look for someone or something to be “perfect” before we focus on seeing inspiration or to follow someone’s lead.
This Dolphin Tale movie is one I’ve held dear since first seeing it, and the sequel was even better than the original movie. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!
First, get to know the true story…
In my world I see many people being held back by something physical or emotional, and learned that it helps me do better for myself as I take the time to figure out what children need, or what their parents need…and it always comes back ten-fold.
So this film validates how I feel, and that is that it is worth investing in others, and helping more people get the message. You won’t know the difference you can make for others, and for yourself, until you really let go, and DIVE in!
See what is possible, and go for it!
While you’re at it, follow and share the inspiration found here: @CMAHope @WinterDolphin @dolphintale @ CMAquarium
The last few years have been like playing hide and seek in getting to know the truth about what happens to parents and children when they have to go through our court system.
Too late, many parents caught in a Family Court matter realize the truth just doesn’t matter, and by then they are turned upside down wondering what happened, and how.
WHY was my evidence not used to protect me or my kids? WHY did they tell me we would be “just fine” because the truth was on our side?
The numbers of children who are NOT fine is staggering, whether they are remaining with abusive or addicted parents, cut off from healthy parents, or if they are watching parents lose their homes because the “divorce got really ugly.” The reality of the “ugly” is that legal fees are ratcheted up so high that parents too often cannot afford to keep homes, or cannot pay for college or medical/psychological treatment.
This is what it feels like to these children and parents: it is like being on the inside of a pinball machine, but you can’t get out and you have no control over what will happen next. This breeds uncertainty and makes decision-making nearly impossible. You react…really are just knocked around, until you can’t tell which way is up…or out. To those certain professionals managing these confused parents, they are looked at as pawns, and to some it seems this is entertainment, not just a way of earning an income. When parents are treated this way – intentionally – it is certainly not advocacy.
Most people can’t relate to what this family is experiencing, and the professionals tell their clients not to talk about what is happening, and then they seal reports so that the truth never comes out.
For so many mothers and fathers, and for children who are being hurt in the process in some way or another, it boils down to the fact that our judges and custody “experts” do NOT have to consider the evidence we present to help us get through conflict safely.
It’s unfortunate but true that for certainFamily Law professionals it is just too profitable for them when they keep evidence hidden — evidence that if used in Court might have otherwise put your case to rest and allowed you to get through it safely, and without losing your children and everything else you cherish.
The worst is when they cooperate – attorneys, custody experts and the judge – to suppress evidence of child abuse rather than using it to protect and uplift a child. The same thing applies when they put an innocent parent in jail, or cause them to lose their job in addition to their children and property.
In the process of suppressing evidence – to manipulate the outcomes of cases for their financial gain – they are severing relationships with nurturing parents who want to protect the child and end the fighting. The damages to children are staggering, and many of these children never recover. Parents who are blocked from caring for and protecting their own children…are also having a hard time managing and recovering. Some do not.
The opposite of what should happen – based on the available evidence – is what is occurring on far too many cases all over Georgia.
Please write your legislators and simply say that we want our Georgia statute to say that Judges and court appointed professionals “shall” consider evidence, rather than “may” consider evidence. This is just one point for reform, and it may take time but it’s important.
It is time to end this suffering and to address the cycles of abuse, addiction and dysfunction where it is possible for our Courts to use evidence to intervene properly. Where evidence and testimony are available to help put protections in place for children, and to support good parents, these should be secured on the record and used to protect.
Family Court practices that lead to ignoring evidence are worsening the situation. The professionals who work this way are worsening mental health, stability and productivity; they are increasing the cycles of abuse and addiction.
Where you are seeing certain professionals cooperate with each other to block, suppress or ignore evidence – evidence of real abuse, or evidence that would exonerate an innocent parent who is falsely accused – please visit MyAdvocateCenter.com to report this data.
In all situations where evidence is ignored and the truth does not count, this leads to more loss, stress and trauma for the children and parents involved. Please let us know how you can help address this, and how you can help involve our healthcare community so that these families can recover while we work on reforming bad practices.
If you see me around the Capitol, you know why I’m there. Get involved.
Are you paying attention to the news stories revealing how difficult it is for children to receive protection?
CBS Atlanta excerpt:
“Ruby Moore is the executive director of the Georgia Advocacy Group, a nonprofit organization that works with and for people with mental and/or physical disabilities. Moore said she is outraged that a Fulton County judge ruled Melanie Pickens cannot be prosecuted on child abuse charges.”
I spend a lot of time with professionals, especially in the healthcare community, looking at why so many children are struggling especially when the family has the resources and desire to avoid it.
You know how much I talk about the “needs of children” right? Well, I was almost beside myself when I saw that special needs children, who can’t speak for themselves to report abuse, were being disregarded as victims because the judge was more concerned with using an immunity rule for teachers.
So, yes, the professionals I work with are delving into that issue. If you have anything to contribute to this story and the application of the immunity rule, please let me know? You can connect with me on LinkedIn or email via My Advocate Center’s contact page.
I keep hearing from people that they had no idea what was going on, what was happening to “good families” all around them.
It’s because we’re told to not say anything, to keep the “drama” behind closed doors – meaning behind the doors of certain lawyer’s offices! Or behind the door of the custody evaluator who says things that make you think one moment that you and your kids will be fine, and then make you feel “crazy” the next. If you say anything to people who have never witnessed this, they look at you in a strange way…and wonder.
So I shared this through our audience at My Advocate Center:
For those of you in our community who are just now hearing about “problems” with how family conflict is being handled – or mishandled – we appreciate you stopping by.
Much of what is happening is just bizarre. This makes no sense…and you can’t fathom that these things would be going on.
If you read a report about “damages” and the location was shown to be some third-world country, you would believe it, right? But hearing that this is happening in your own backyard, where we have rules and laws that should apply…can make you want to shake the thought from your mind, and then move on.
* Please pause a moment. *
The parents in the cases we report on were like you, and not that long ago.
They never dreamed things like this could happen.
They would not have believed that they could be cut off from children, trapped in a legal process that appears to be never-ending, bankrupted or caused to lose homes – just because they realized they had to hire a lawyer and go to court to handle a situation.
If you want to learn more, and to find a way to help these good parents and their children, but without reading about the more stress-inducing situations, please let us know.
LEGISLATORS & State Capitol staff:
Thank you for taking the time.
Thank you for seeing past the “drama” you read about and can’t relate to.
Thank you for considering the needs of your constituents and our children…over what might be easy for your peers.
Please keep asking questions, and looking for answers. They are available.