|CAMPAIGN ROUND 2: Ask DSM to Include Parental Alienation--We've Made Progress, but Need Your Participation Again
Fathers & Families wants to ensure that the DSM-5 Task Force is aware of the scope and severity of Parental Alienation. To this end, in December we asked our supporters to write the Task Force to urge them to consider including Parental Alienation Disorder in DSM-5.
As usual, your response was overwhelming. It also helped lead to progress--while as expected the newly-released draft version does not specifically include Parental Alienation Disorder, the DSM-5 Task Force has now listed Parental Alienation Disorder among the "Conditions Proposed by Outside Sources...that are still under consideration by the work groups."
The Task Force says it "welcome[s] your comments on whether available evidence indicates that the following [disorders] should be included in DSM-5." Fathers & Families is asking its supporters to write to the Task Force and again emphasize that Parental Alienation Disorder is a large-scale problem--to do so, please click here.
As in Round 1, Fathers & Families will print out your letter and send it by regular US mail to the three relevant figures in DSM-V: David J. Kupfer, M.D., the chair of the DSM-V Task Force; Darrel A. Regier, M.D., vice-chair of the DSM-V Task Force; and Daniel S. Pine, M.D., chair of the DSM-V Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence Work Group.
Many observers have noted that hundreds of mental health professionals, doctors, educators, family law professionals and prominent citizens endorsed our campaign. If you belong to one of these groups and would like to be publicly listed as an endorser, please see our endorsement statement in the right-hand column of the campaign page and submit your name, title, city and state to us at GlennSacks@FathersandFamilies.org.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article Mental health professionals getting update on definitions (2/15/10) details the DSM-V process:
[There are] many questions that scores of mental health professionals wrestled with for nearly a decade, as they conducted their periodic update of the neuroses of an evolving society.
Again, write to the DSM-5 Task Force by clicking here.
The result of their work was unveiled by the American Psychiatric Association last week, as a draft version of the new "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."
Known as the DSM-5, because it represents the fifth edition of this exhaustive bible for psychiatrists, psychologists and others, it attempts to catalog [disorders]...
The first update since 1994 also includes descriptions of depression, sleep disorders, alcohol abuse and other common maladies, but everything gets a fresh look because of the volume of new research and science affecting how they're all regarded, said David Kupfer, the University of Pittsburgh psychiatry professor who chaired the DSM-5 task force.
The final product will go into the offices of all sorts of health professionals -- from psychiatrists to family practitioners -- while also influencing treatment payments by insurance companies, drug development by the pharmaceutical industry and future research by government and academia.
Dr. Kupfer, the longtime head of Pitt's psychiatry department before stepping down in October, said the manual remains a work in progress, with revisions based on public and professional reaction before final publication in 2013.
"We weren't out to make major changes, but so much has happened that we needed to address, that some may accuse us of being overambitious," he said...Dr. Kupfer...said there is intense discussion during every update about what problems merit entering the manual for the first time...
"The door to get in [the manual] is pretty hard," Dr. Kupfer said. "Once you're in the club, it's then hard to get out. All of us are a little tight about admitting people in the club."
Together with you in the love of our children,
Glenn Sacks, MA
Executive Director, Fathers & Families
Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers & Families
CA Judge: 'Fathers Should Be Involved in the Child Protection Process'
"So extreme is the antipathy of courts, laws and court personnel for fathers that judge Edwards says that juvenile courts are simply referred to as 'Mothers' Courts.'"
Retired California judge Leonard Edwards takes on the child welfare system's neglect and discounting of fathers in his recent article "Engaging Fathers in the Child Custody Process" in The Bench, the official publication of the California Judges Association. His remarks are telling.
For example, he says that "Non-custodial fathers infrequently appear in child-protection proceedings." Now why would that be? "Some fathers cannot be found; others do not want to participate; some mothers do not want the father to know of the proceedings, and social workers sometimes are ambivalent about engaging the father." So extreme is the antipathy of courts, laws and court personnel for fathers that Edwards says that juvenile courts are simply referred to as "Mothers' Courts."
Still, Edwards says that "from a judicial perspective and from a child's perspective, fathers should be involved in the child protection process." He points out that fathers are not alone in what they offer children; they offer their extended families as well. Paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews all come as part of the paternal package. And that extended family can provide a child financial, social and emotional resources that a mother and her family may lack. He writes:
"If courts are truly going to serve the best interests of children, fathers and their families need to be identified and engaged early in the proceedings. Judges...can greatly influence whether a father will participate in child protection proceedings."
How judges can better involve fathers is the nut of what Edwards wants to say. He lists 16 things judges can do, including,
I. Identify all possible fathers;
II. Question the mother under oath about the father's identity; (Notice the "under oath" part. Edwards is telling judges not to accept easy answers or false ones.)
III. Locate the father.
V. Order the social worker to personally serve all potential fathers with notice of the proceedings.
VII. Insist that caseworkers use good faith efforts to identify, locate and support the father throughout the child protection process.
IX. When a potential father comes to court, let him know that the court is pleased that he has appeared because he is an important person in the child's life...
Fathers & Families in the News
|F & F's Glenn Sacks Quoted
NOW’s complaint over Tebow ad heard loud and clear in police departments
(Washington Times, 2/10/10)
"Take for example how the Department of Public Safety's Maine Criminal Justice Academy instructs their police officers on who to arrest in different domestic disputes...the examples are written in a biased fashion in favor of the woman's innocence...
"Glenn Sacks, National Executive Director at Fathers & Families, explains why Maine's primary aggressor doctrine and mandatory arrest laws will always play against men regardless of who is the attacker:
"The stakes here are high. Because Maine also has a mandatory arrest law in domestic violence cases, instituting the predominant aggressor doctrine will lead to the arrests of many innocent men. Since Maine family courts must consider evidence of domestic violence in determining child custody, an officer's decision on who to arrest can often determine who will get custody of the couple's children after the couple divorces or separates.
"Under the predominant aggressor doctrine, when police officers respond to a domestic disturbance call, they are instructed not to focus on who attacked whom and who inflicted the injuries, but instead consider different factors which will almost always weigh against men. These factors include: comparable size; comparable strength; the person allegedly least likely to be afraid; who has access to or control of family resources (i.e., who makes more money); and others. Given these factors, it is very difficult for officers to arrest female offenders."
F & F's Glenn Sacks Discusses Lesbian Custody Battle (Audio Available)
I discussed the Mullen-Hobbs lesbian custody battle on the Bill Cunningham Show on 700 WLW in Cincinnati (2/10/10)–to listen to the audio, click here.
To learn more about the case, see the Cincinnati Enquirer’s article here.