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Most scams, such as sub-prime mortgages and email scams, victimize adults. But custody scams victimize children. When government fails to protect children it throws open the doors to private contractors—lawyers and clinicians—who enrich themselves at the expense of children. (More about this child and the mother who tried to protect her appears below.)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Family Court Therapist Janelle Burrill Charged with Misconduct by CA Attorney General's Office

This story appears at
http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2011/04/janelle_burrill_family_court.php

By Peter Jamison
published: Thu., Apr. 7 2011 @ 2:19PM

​The California Board of Behavioral Science and California Attorney General's office have filed formal accusations of misconduct against a Sacramento family-court therapist.

The therapist, Janelle Burrill, is a clinical social worker who works with children and parents as ordered by family courts in Sacramento and elsewhere. Burrill has been the subject of multiple complaints by families unhappy with her work.

Documents filed against her by the Behavioral Sciences board and the office of Attorney General Kamala Harris allege that Burrill "committed acts that fall sufficiently below the standard of conduct of the profession as to constitute acts of gross negligence."

The documents assert that Burrill lied to both the American Board of Examiners for Clinical Social Workers and to a Placer County judge, claiming in both cases that no formal complaints had been filed against her by clients when she knew otherwise. If the accusations are upheld, her social-worker license could be suspended or revoked.

Burrill has been a lightning rod for criticism in Sacramento, and is only one of numerous family-court officials who have come under scrutiny for faulty and potentially dangerous practices in child-custody proceedings. Last month, SF Weekly published a story detailing multiple instances in which family courts had delivered children into the custody of parents with convictions for child molestation or spousal battery.

Kathleen Russell of the Center for Judicial Excellence, a family-court reform group, said Burrill should be removed from cases in which parents or children have concerns while the case against her proceeds.

"It seems prudent for the Courts to remove her from any case in which she is involved, at the request of either parent or child, to ensure the safety and well-being of the families and children they serve," Russell said in a statement. "And major policy reforms are needed to ensure a more timely resolution of these complaints."

About the mother and child pictured at the top

On February 21, 1992, Rhode Island Family Court's Chief Judge Jeremiah Jeremiah gave this two-year-old to the sole custody and possession of her father despite his history of domestic violence and failure to pay child support. The father, a police officer, brought false charges against his ex-wife, first saying she was a drug addict. (Twenty-two random tests proved she was not.) Then he had her arrested for bank fraud, then for filing a false report, then for sexual abuse, then for kidnapping. None of his charges stuck.

The child remained with her father and stepmother until 2003, when, at 14, she finally realized that her mother had not been a drug addict. The teenager persuaded Judge Stephen Capineri to let her return to her mother. There she began working on the painful issues of lifelong coercion and deception--a tangled knot of guilt and rage. Most painful has been her father’s continuing refusal to let her visit two dearly loved half-sisters, whom she has not seen since 2003.

She is one of countless children in Rhode Island subjected to severe emotional and physical trauma by Family Court when it helps abusive parents to maintain control over their families after divorce. When she turned 18 in 2007, she gave the Parenting Project permission to publish her picture on behalf of all children who have been held hostage by Rhode Island custody scams.

We are using this blog to provide links to stories that will help concerned people, including government officials, become aware of this form of child abuse and legal abuse. We must work together to improve the courts' ability to recognize the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in victims of domestic abuse who are trying to protect their children.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are looking for the story of the removal of "Molly and Sara," please visit http://LittleHostages.blogspot.com


About the Author and the Cause

Parenting Project is a volunteer community service begun in 1996 at Mathewson Street United Methodist Church, Providence, RI, to focus on the needs of children at risk in Family Court custody cases. Our goal is to make Rhode Island's child protective system more effective, transparent, and accountable.

The Parenting Project coordinator, Anne Grant, a retired minister and former executive director of Rhode Island's largest shelter for battered women and their children, researches and writes about official actions that endanger children and the parents who try to protect them. She wrote a chapter on Rhode Island in Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Child Custody: Legal Strategies and Policy Issues, ed. Mo Therese Hannah, PhD, and Barry Goldstein, JD (Civic Research Institute, 2010).

Comments and corrections on anything written here may be sent in an email with no attachments to parentingproject@verizon.net

Find out more about the crisis in custody courts here:

www.centerforjudicialexcellence.org/PhotoExhibit.htm
www.child-justice.org
www.leadershipcouncil.org
www.evawintl.org provides forensic resources to end violence against women

about domestic violence in hague custody cases:
www.haguedv.org

more about domestic violence in law enforcement:
http://behindthebluewall.blogspot.com/



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