Original posting follows – Since this was originally posted the states Supreme Court has decided based on the recommendation and contributions of opinions by the public to not adopt the rules as presented by MEGALI. For the official ruling: ORDER ON PROPOSED MAINE RULES FOR PARENTING COORDINATORS We want to thank everyone who helped. Thank you for your efforts.
On January 10, 2013 the Supreme Judicial Court gave the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed rules for Parenting Coordinators. The deadline for those comments were on of before January 25, 2013. At the time that this is being written none of those comments were posted and it is not know whether or not any will be posted.
We feel that it is in the public’s best interest to know what is happening and why. That the rules, as they were presented to the court, were drafted by the special interest group – Maine Guardian ad Litem Institute (the trade organization for Guardians ad litem). That Terry Hayes (a Maine Guardian ad Litem Institute member) has drafted legislation for Parental Coordinator to retain the position. There are many people in the state that have been hurt by these unregulated officers of the court – much the same as with Guardians ad litem – which both Terry Hayes, Tobi Schneider and Toby Hollander (Maine Guardian ad Litem Institute President) are aware of. What the rules and proposed legislation appear to ask for are the same qualities that Guardians ad litem enjoy – thus ensuring what is in the best interest of the Parental Coordinator for a case and not what is in the child’s best interest.
Common Sense, a job description, protection for divorcing families from financial ruin and looking at child endangerment are issues that are not addressed with the proposed rules and legislation. The state cannot afford a carbon copy of what it has with the mess involving Guardians ad litem. The rules and legislation appear as nothing more than serving the self interest of those who call or would like to call Parental Coordinator their ‘profession’.
The fifth in this series of letters is posted today. The previous four are presented after with links to pdf documents. Any names and personal information have been redacted:
It has come to my attention that there will be another hearing regarding Guardians ad Litum this week.
As I stated in my last email, I am a social worker and have worked on teams helping families who are going through difficult times. My team works primarily with children at risk of removal from their home. Many times, the underlying issue is the stress caused by the parents whether they are living as a family or have separated. There are always mental health issues, not only for the child being treated, but with the parents as well.
When parents who fought while they lived together separate, the issues become even larger. Often times parents use their children as a tool against the other parent (so they will WIN) and horrific allegations are made. Teasing through the truth is not simple or easy and certainly, attorneys or others who do not have training/education in mental health treatment are not qualified to make these assessments. The GAL might refer the parents, or sometimes, just one parent, for assessments but these assessments are not enough to see the issues clearly. Attorneys and judges are not qualified to interpret assessments or to dig a little deeper to find the real truths.
At the very least, GALs should be required to have supervision with a qualified mental health practioner. Otherwise, an inexperienced person with no mental health background can interpret information incorrectly. Often times, a GAL’s personal biases will determine their final decisions. I have seen this happen too often.
It should not take months and months for a GAL to make a determination. Again, with the proper training and supervision, the truth will reveal itself. Dragging these decisions out only adds to the stress and and increases the cost of GAL services, often placing one parent in financial distress. . AND in the end, the decisions do not always benefit the child,
I am not an advocate of anger management therapies as these therapies address only one parent’s issues. There are two parents involved and it takes two to fight. There should be a thorough assessment done on both parents to reveal the truths. Please take the time to obtain a Diagnostic Statistic Manual IV (DSM IV) and read the information on personality disorders. You will find the information enlightening.
Forcing just one parent into assessments, and having the information, right or wrong, included in GAL reports which are being read by people with no education in mental health assessment, is also a violation of one’s civil rights.
I recently supported a friend through a hearing and when the GAL included new information about the mother, the judge did not listen to the GAL and ignored concerns about the mother that were presented. In this case, the mother has a serious personality disorder which affects how she is raising their child. The woman presents well, but a trained professional is able to uncover the underlying issues. The child has been “brainwashed” into believing his father will hurt him and the result is depression and anxiety. This benefits the mother as she can say the child’s diagnoses support her concerns for his well being, and extends the separation of child and father.
The matter at hand is the welfare of the child/ren and it is certainly worth your time to educate yourselves. Problems in childhood carry on through adulthood and the circle of violence often becomes generational.
Thank you for your time,
Name Redacted LSW BHP MHRT/c
To read letters that have already been posted:
Letter to Supreme Judicial Court 001 2013-01-28
Letter to Supreme Judicial Court 002 2013-01-29
Letter to Supreme Judicial Court 003 2013-01-30
Letter to Supreme Judicial Court 004 2013-01-31
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