On occasion the Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts has been faced with witheringly disappointing experiences in situations of parents who present notorious cases of child abuse where children are gravely at risk. They are accepted as clients of the Foundation and are fully aware of our parameters for engagement and for ongoing work. Their initial statements of enthusiasm and desire to work with us are clear and documented in their written acceptance in their applications to become clients.
In one case, a mother of several children who were subjects of reunification therapy with threats and demands on a level of abuse that has rarely been seen, stated that she was in lockstep with us and was prepared to confront the abuses of the program to which she referred. She is the disappointing epitome of a parent who quit trying to help her children when rescue was within reach. Powerful complaints and legal motions were prepared with superb documentation of the heinous abuse to which the children had been subject in the marriage and at the hands of the perpetrator and then also the spokesman for the perpetrator in the therapy. But at the last moment, motions that should have been filed that were expected to free the children from the perpetrator and the program were not filed. And they were not filed because the parent simply decided not to file them, without explanation or excuse. The consequences of her action were horrendous, and there was nothing we could do about it.
it is true that ultimately parents are the only ones who can rescue their children. However, they need help from those who understand the court system. They reach out to us and give us the authority to help them. But when they become competitive with us and forget that we have the legal and psychological and forensic expertise to facilitate a plan of action to rescue children, when they begin to compete with us, refusing to implement the plan that they paid for and hired us to create, they destroy the prospect for rescue of their children.
Some cases with very significant challenges can still be combatted through legal action, with legal documentation and a plan for confrontation. But if the parent refuses to file the motions, complaints, damages, and actions that are necessary to move the process along to free the children, then our hands are tied and there is nothing that we can do.
Sometimes a parent demands action that is contrary to action that needs to be taken; in fact, that action will compromise the necessary legal action. Sometimes the parent takes steps outside of the work of the Foundation, for example, releasing confidential information into the public arena that will damage the case and works contrary to the legal and forensic psychiatric team. This too is a road to disaster. The concept “I have to do it my way” is a function of a parental psyche that is enmeshed someplace between guilt and arrogance, toward the destruction of themselves and their children.
While we try to anticipate taking on such clients, over the years there have been a small number of unforgettable cases that inform the decisions we make moving forward, to avoid taking on clients who may destroy the work that we have done to rescue children and have in fact destroyed their own efforts, funding, and personal legacy.