Posts in "Legal Advocacy" category / Page 2

Your Take-Aways

What am I about?

We may have met through friends, at the radio studio, by introduction on LinkedIn, or you may have found my name in a search about resolving conflict or addressing ethics issues that are causing harm to children and families.

What I do is not just for the sake of building a blog or about making noise; what I write and say on Pro Advocate Radio is meant to encourage transparency, debate, and the development and funding of SOLUTIONS. Ethical solutions that leave our families, children, businesses, schools and our state in a better place than where we found them.

Moral principles highlighted in green under the heading Ethics.
I’m a Peace-Keeper and Problem-Solver.  Marketing and promoting are secondary, a means to an end.  I’m after quality of life, solid mental and physical health, productivity and enjoyment. For all of us and especially for our children.

Children and our Community. If it is good for kids, then it is good for me and for you as parents, as educators and coaches, as financial, legal, healthcare professionals…and as leaders.

Here is where we may differ: I chose to take some risk by challenging bad practices and explaining how damages are being caused – avoidable damages – and daring good people to do something about it. Sometimes that means I’m not popular or politically correct in certain circles, and I take that as a compliment.

Also, there is a notion in some areas of “leadership” and governance, including governing boards of companies and agencies, that “Doing the Right Thing” by children, families and the public has to be difficult and expensive. Some have said, that’s just too big of a problem, that’s just how it is and has been for decades…so there’s nothing we can DO about it; but others are asking, how can WE make a difference?

I’m asking you to help create more voices who will ask that last question, to see how it is possible – not just IDEAL – to do the right thing as you pursue a career, a better quality of life, more influence and opportunity for yourself.

Many seem to think those don’t go together, that they are mutually exclusive. They are not.

Would you like to see the How and Why?  Yes…I can show you.

I am so grateful to be in a position to build profit and show returns on investments, while lifting others up. We can and should do more to protect and uplift people who need it, and we can be profitable and efficient while being effective. We can enjoy this work and even have fun doing it. I hope you agree!

Profit is not a bad word, so I would peacefully challenge anyone who speaks as if being an entrepreneur, investing for a return, or working like a capitalist is a negative thing, and ask them to look at our work, to look at the results and to see what scaling this work can mean for many more. This is why I use the #IDareYou hashtag on some of my posts. Why not take a hard look at how we can do better?

To those who are uncertain about supporting Social Enterprise, is there a way to meet in the middle? I believe so and also ask that you not label me or ask me to color inside the lines. It’s time for new attitudes and something different…both are needed to disrupt the status quo.

If you can relate to terms such Social Enterprise, Civic Venture, and can relate to being conservatively compassionate or a compassionate conservative, then you might already understand why I work and write the way I do.  If you saw the news coverage that included my work with My Advocate Center, then even better!  You are one step ahead in understanding the urgency of this work, and in knowing why I and others on our team ask for support.

The bottom line I ask everyone to focus on:

Where and how are you making a difference, and for whom? What does your power and influence or status do for others?  Specifically how are you using what you have and can do for children and families fighting for stability, health and to protect their relationships?

If you talk about the healthcare industry, the burden on our healthcare system, or on schools, law enforcement, the housing industry, etc., but you are only looking at it from the perspective of your insurance costs or shareholder value, then I’ll challenge you to rethink this a bit.

…Because the Damages to Children are having an impact on your bottom line. This has a lot to do with trauma, and addressing how we can prevent more injury and help victims recover faster. We have been covering this on Pro Advocate Radio, and I will address this topic in more detail in the white paper being produced for My Advocate Center and community leaders.

When you’re ready, let’s open up this conversation and see if I can help you learn what you need to know to make a difference in your own way!

What else should you know about me?
Well…I’m certain and confident in this work, in the advocate I’ve become and in the team we’ve built.  I am patient but impatient at the same time because of what I see daily. When blazing trails and taking on tough subjects, you also have to be bold, creative, persistent. Being inclusive is the only way we can really drive lasting change, so please join us!

Thank you for reading, for listening to Pro Advocate Radio and, as always, I’d love to have your feedback and your support in this mission,

Deb Beacham

Response to AJC: Great continued Coverage on Kristofak Case

It has been a while since I first posted about the tragic murder of a woman who was a great mother, beloved church member, neighbor, daughter and friend to many.

My hope is that ultimately we will know that she didn’t die in vain, but for that to happen we are going to need to see our court system do a much better job of acknowledging danger – imminent danger and violent threats – and following through to prevent such losses as in this case.

What happened to this mother could have been avoided, and this man could have and should have been kept in jail for the sentence handed down to him, based on the facts, the evidence and the record which showed the judge knew he had been hospitalized because he was mentally unstable.

The lack of care and concern here is typical, unfortunately, in many cases where there is clear intent and opportunity to cause harm to vulnerable citizens, and especially to children. It’s just not something that is taken seriously by many judges and other court professionals. But hopefully that will change and improve in our lifetime.

Thank you to these contributors, to Men Stopping Violence and the AJC for highlighting what really needs to be changed in how we look at and respond to conflict:

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-forward/2013/01/10/when-protective-orders-fail/

This is one of the best pieces written yet on this story, so thank you to all the contributors and to the AJC for ongoing coverage.

As Director of My Advocate Center, Atlanta, GA, I am especially appreciative of Judge Hobie Jones’ comment above. It’s time to call it like we see it. …Based on the facts and patterns around this and other cases, and not as a “Monday morning quarterback” (which I agree with you on).

And it is true that this is not just a women’s issue – violence and false allegations of domestic violence affect everyone. Our focus is on the damages to children that stem from all of it. If you hurt or threaten a good parent, you are harming her (or his) children.

False allegations, as well as NOT heeding and responding to REAL violence…and NOT using the evidence or following protocols that we have in place…all put us in a downward spiral.

Family court pretends violence & abuse do not exist, except to profit from them in a way that leads to more abuse.
Family court pretends violence & abuse do not exist, except to profit from them in a way that leads to more abuse.

I knew Donna and John, but not recently, and because I didn’t cross paths again with her in time…I am both distraught and determined that we not let this discussion end without seeing the needed changes in how we respond to these situations.

There ARE pending local cases that mirror this tragedy in too many ways, so we would appreciate continued coverage and investigation. Please email for case and location details for hearings and transcripts.

RIP Donna Kristofak, Beautiful Mother

It is beautiful but cold outside here. Hopefully warm & beautiful in your home and in your heart.

My heart is sad today as it is Donna Kristofak’s funeral…

My only thought today is to share what a teacher put in my son’s school folder:

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Believe in God or in the Bible as the Word of God or not, but regardless, please heed these words and ACT on them.

(Proverbs 31:38-9)

Leaders in law enforcement, policy, community, business, healthcare:

I ask you to join along with family court professionals and press in asking the right questions around this tragedy. This did not have to turn out this way, but the foreshadowing of this is what led to the creation of My Advocate Center. There are currently other cases heading down this same path, and we need your help in intervening…for the sake of the children involved.
Thank you in advance. If you are not sure what YOU can do, please email and ask.

This IS personal for me, as I knew Donna and John – as neighbors and parents and members of the same church. I saw in Donna’s face and eyes how she felt, and now it is too late for her, but not for others. Today is a HARD day. But tomorrow is a new day and the work begins. This “story” is far from over.

If you know someone like John, or think someone you know is like Donna, and are reacting to a gut level alarm going off, now is the time to reach out for help on what to do. Just do something. Either way, you can help THIS family – their sons – by donating to the fund set up by friends of the family.

This is my Tough Love message for now to those of you around me in East Cobb, Marietta, Atlanta, Georgia… More to follow.

Slaughter of Children

Few words are needed.   Dismay, shock, horror…those about cover it.  Unnecessary loss for so many. I wish I didn’t feel the need to write in response to school shootings or to reference other situations in which children are damaging themselves or others.

As a parent and human being your heart and mind reach out to the parents who lost their precious young children, the ones who deserved no harm and who deserved to be able to grow up and live out their lives.

This tragedy appears to be bringing many together, as well as firing up debate over causes and preventions.

It is making me even more determined to help a few understand how their decisions, or a lack of appropriate decision-making around how “high conflict” personalities are managed, are affecting children.

Much of what I write is geared toward a few —  some who want ideas, support, tools & resources with which to help awaken and drive change – and to others who are curious but haven’t yet accepted that they are a part of the problem…and that I am asking of all:  please become a part of the Solution.

The mental state of the shooter of these young children reminds me of another disturbed young adult – really a child in so many ways – and the process during which his mental and emotional state declined to where he is now.   Where he is now is sad.   Angry at the world, lacking in self-worth, and lacking in regard for how his behavior and addictions affect others.   Coping skills learned when support and nurturing and accountability and structure were removed from his life.  (Of course that is the consolidated explanation.)

This young adult who started out as a sweet child caught in a very high-stress conflict, is now a raging addict with an arrest record that would make you cringe.   There isn’t much hope for him to turn it around, but I hope I’m wrong.  I believe it could have been prevented – if proper legal and psychological counsel had been provided.

Legal counsel is invaluable where it recognizes the Needs of Children and works accordingly, upholding laws, rules as well as Fiduciary Duty.   When those things are lacking, more children are left unsupported and exposed – left to their own devices in the wake of a crisis, and that doesn’t always work out so well.

If you are uncertain and want to know more about a real life example of how poor case management, and withholding proper counseling and support can all play out for a child caught between dysfunctional parents, please email via My Advocate Center.   Connecting the dots for you is simple.

My point in expressing grief and anger is to explain what I know, and that is that certain professionals are aware that how they are treating families is leading to more dysfunction, addiction and abuse in teens and young adults.  We just have to decide that it’s not “fine” and to face the issues like we would face faulty wiring or plumbing that could lead to worse trouble and expense.

Since I wrote this post originally more lives have been lost, including that of the boy described above. Other teens have gone missing, and some are being held in lockdown facilities – not because they need to be there for treatment, but because that is how they can be silenced, and because it is profitable for certain court professionals to send them there.

This is real, it IS close to Home; and there IS something YOU can do about it.   Just ask.

 

So you want to be a lawyer?

I hear the term good lawyering occasionally, but it isn’t usually explained. It’s assumed that good means ethical, effective, and that value is added for the client.

My first real encounter taught me to look into the meaning of words used when people make referrals to lawyers, because I experienced none of the above unfortunately. But I set out to find proof that good lawyers do exist and to show that the less-than-good are the exception, rather than the rule.

Create the description you believe is true of your talent and professional conduct, what you want projected when your name is shared…but first, be that good lawyer.

Stand up and explain the difference, in detail.

Better yet, demonstrate it by your actions and in the outcomes you achieve for your clients. When you advocate the way you would want someone to do for your own son or daughter, you send a message that becoming a lawyer is actually a noble endeavor.

Lead by example_My Advocate Center

 

Are All Judges, or Relationships with Judges created Equal?

Let’s put all our cards on the table:

Have you seen or experienced something “off” in a court room?  Or heard a story of someone getting a “raw deal” that just didn’t make any sense?

Well, here is just a part of the explanation, but be forewarned, that this is just one sliver of the answer…or the tip of that mysterious iceberg.

The result of some intelligent persistence by a reporter and parents and some others who believe that we, as citizens of the United States which provides for Equal Access and Due Process, deserve something better:

CBS Atlanta and Jeff Chirico follow parents through stories revealing that Court outcomes sometimes have more behind the curtain than you think.

Just imagine if you had no way of learning that something like this was influencing the outcome of a case where your life and your children depended on the truth counting?

Simple question:  should you be in the know about things like this that are in play in your case before the Court?

Email answers, more questions or news about your case to My Advocate Center, or just follow @MyAdvocateCentr on Twitter to learn more as we peel back the layers hiding the facts and figures driving these stories.

Not Just Another Squeaky Wheel

Why just make noise when you can take action, fix a problem, give back, set an example?  Start out by making noise & asking others to help you find answers.  But don’t forget to get your own wheel fixed first!  It’s often much easier to point out issues or solutions to others while ignoring our own…so take care of yourself, and then look around to see who needs the oil can next. But by all means don’t just keep rollin’ along!

Imagine being a pioneer in the early years of taming the West: broken wheels didn’t get you very far, did they? It’s amazing what can happen when you can admit you’re broken and connect with those who have solutions, good resources, and peace of mind you can draw from.

What about faith? Mine is in God and for sure not in myself. A wise man recently shared that I was trying too hard, and said, “We are supposed to be living FROM God, and not just FOR God.” Hmm, you mean draw our strength & confidence from that source as we forge ahead? Well, I’ll try it. No guarantees that is how it will look to you, my observers, critics, supporters, or my children. Let’s see how this goes. Join me?

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