Custody for Cash: A plea for help, when there is no place else to turn

This is the first in what will be a series of reports by the Independent Gazette chronicling the judicial systems and child custody practices of Lackawanna, Luzerne, and surrounding counties. Through exclusive Lackawanna County interviews obtained by the Gazette, a picture will emerge of a legal — not justice — system run amok, fueled by greed, kept intact through intimidation, and veiled in secrecy, a complex web in which the abuse of power is rampant, and lawyers routinely close their eyes to misconduct for fear of being blackballed — and losing their homes and practices should they dare to speak out. This is a fear of being severed from the “money feeding tube,” as one court insider observed.

Within the culture of the court systems of Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties jurisprudence victims, court officers, police, lawyers, and civil employees will only come forward under anonymity out of concern of retribution from the powerful and well-connected. Reports are emerging of bizarre behavior unbecoming of judges, constituting clear violations of the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct and kept under wraps lest swift and damaging retaliation befall the whistleblower. These whistleblowers describe judges throwing objects from the bench in fits of rage and making decisions in street clothes before receiving any actual evidence or testimony. Theirs is a legal system run afoul, where justice is often based not on facts, but on “who you know,” and delivered only to the well-connected.

In the aftermath of the “Kids for Cash” scandal the courthouse climate seems to have remained similar in Lackawanna County to that which fostered the Luzerne County travesty. Behavioral patterns appear to coincide, given surfacing claims that individual lives and the families associated with them have been wrecked by an over-aggressive, power hungry, and greed-filled judiciary.

In this initial “Custody” installment the Gazette will begin to focus on the recent conviction of Attorney Danielle Ross, the admitted felon and at one time sole guardian ad litem (GAL) for the Lackawanna Family Court. We will also look at the Lackawanna Guardian Ad Litem Program Review.

In June 2012, the Lackawanna Guardian Ad Litem Program Review report was issued by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC). The office’s investigation was launched in response to a request made by Judge Thomas J. Munley, related on page 10:

In May 2011, President Judge Munley and County officials conducted an investigation of the GAL program based on allegations the program is a “Kids for Cash” scheme, and complaints about Ms. Ross’s billing practices. Mr. Browning was the main investigator.

The full report can be found at

The Review paints a glowing picture of Ross and her work, as well as Judge Chester T. Harhut, who on June 17, 2008, agreed to select Ross to be “the sole GAL appointed by the Court. . . . Several judges commented the GAL program was set up with the best intentions by Judge Harhut,” according to the report. Judge Munley noted, “This court deems the GAL’s work to be very favorable. . . . There was widespread agreement among the family court’s judges, staff and service providers, that Ms. Ross is extremely dedicated to her GAL work. . . . Her work is exemplary.” Commendations such as the following are found throughout the AOPC’s assessment: “[Attorney Ross] does a fabulous job.”

The characterizations found in the AOPC report clash decidedly with those being presented to the Gazette by its sources. One of the court insiders who contacted us asked to remain anonymous for various reasons, claiming the report was nothing more than a “dog and pony show. . . . You know it is not right. . . . We have the investigated investigating themselves.”

Page 9 of the report states that “twenty-nine in-person and telephone interviews were conducted with judges, masters, court and County personnel, family law attorneys, child custody litigants and GAL program family service providers. Nine follow-up interviews with court staff and judges were held in February and March 2012. While most of the interviews were selected by JPD [Judicial Programs Department] staff, several individuals contacted the AOPC to offer information.”

Custody_slideOne young woman very critical of the family court system as a result of her own interactions with it confided in the Gazette, observing, “It seems the only people interviewed were persons with involvement in the corrupt system, with the exception of litigants. Which litigants? The nine follow-up interviews were with the judges. Several individuals contacted mentioned in the AOPC report to offer information? Who are they?”

The report states the attorneys recommended by the Family Law Section, Lackawanna County Bar Association, asked to remain anonymous and that the JPD was “grateful for their candor.” Why would these professionals require anonymity if they had nothing but wonderful things to say about the Lackawanna County Family Court and its sole guardian ad litem? Were letters from child custody litigants reviewed? If so, where are these letters? Who sent them?

The Gazette investigated who specifically were interviewed — and how many — for the AOPC guardian ad litem review. We pressed Art Heinz, spokesperson for the AOPC report, but no specifics were available to him at that time, so he merely advised us to look at the Review to answer our questions. No other details were available to us at time of printing, but the Gazette will continue to pursue information concerning this important matter and will publish its findings in future installments of this ongoing story.

Bruce Levine, Kids Rights

Bruce Levine, Kids Rights

Longtime family court critic Bruce Levine, who was the first informant to approach the Gazette, is demanding transparent hearings. “We need open hearings. Let the people have a voice; let’s once and for all get this out in the open. These people are ruining lives and families.”

According to published reports Ross’s own attorney, David J. Solfanelli, stressed that her tax evasion plea “had to deal with reporting taxes, and had nothing to do with her job performance.”

According — once again — to Gazette sources, the plea had everything to do with Ross’s performance within the family court system. One despondent father recalled an incident during which Ross sent her secretary, Sue McIIwee, to perform a home inspection. Upon his questioning the qualifications of McIIwee, Ross allegedly responded, “If you ever wish to see your children again, shut up and pay $50.” The Gazette has listened to numerous similar charges of children being used as pawns for Ross’s gain. Custody for Cash.

Bruce Levine, at times during his experiences with Ross likewise despondent, said, “The damage was done, my boys’ mother was dead. We moved away for a year, to heal, for bereavement counseling. During this time I was urged to sue, sue for negligence. But this was not about money, this was criminal. I decided I must go to authorities, and tell them about Harhut, Ross, and others. I vowed to do whatever it takes so that this would never happen to a loving parent or child again.”

Levine continued, “I met with the DA, the FBI, and all they wanted to talk about was the money, exclusively, the money that Ross charged and extorted. They only cared about the money, [and were] not interested in the emotional and irreparable damage done to my boys caused by Danielle Ross and the court system. No, Mr. Solfanelli, this has everything to do with Ms. Ross’s job performance.”

Levine’s son Jordan, 19, was only 15 years old when he found his mother dying, and says of Ross, “She knew everything was going wrong, and did nothing. She let things go.”

Focusing again on the AOPC report, we find on page 10: “In May 2011, after numerous complaints were made, Mr. Pines is brought in for assistance. Mr. Pines had independently received complaints as well. After Judicial Programs Department JPD’s assessment began, it was learned that local and federal law enforcement was investigating the program and individuals connected with it.”

The JPD became aware that law enforcement was investigating the GAL, the GAL program, and others involved, yet did not act to remove Ross, who was allowed to remain the sole Lackawanna County guardian ad litem for two more years! Based on the JPD’s own figures, Ross was appointed to an average of 111 cases per year. In 2011, Ross claimed to have been appointed to 629 cases.

Judge Harhut states in the AOPC report that at least some of his reasoning when implementing the GAL system was that “PFAs were being filed in divorce cases and fathers were not seeing their children.” “Is there a reason Harhut didn’t research this phenomenon?” questioned another Gazette source. According to a 2006 report by the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence titled 10 Custody Myths and How to Counter Them, studies show that 25–50 percent of disputed custody cases involve domestic violence. Furthermore, the ABA report claims that child sexual abuse allegations in custody cases are rare (occurring in about 6 percent of the cases). “If the GAL had bothered to properly investigate, and if Judge Harhut himself had bothered to hear testimony, rather than stifle it, perhaps these facts would have been clear,” observed our informant.

An inside source from the scandal-shaken Luzerne County Family Court system had this to say about the Lackawanna County allegations: “A lot of people are making a lot of money off children.”

The Lackawanna AOPC report claims several judges were “adamant” that Judge Harhut’s vision and passion for the GAL program was what brought them to family court — that they bore a lot of respect for both him and Ross.

To that claim a Gazette source commented, “Isn’t it nice that these other judges were adamant? The sheer volume of adamant parents is astonishing. Their opinions of Harhut and Ross were not included in this report. The report claims the AOPC received phone calls and letters from litigants — I’m certain they could have published an excerpt from a letter. The role of the GAL is to come in as an advocate for the child. Then why, when children begged for her help, did she fail them?”

As an Editor’s Note to this story, let it be known that the sheer volume of complaints and allegations received by the Gazette since launching its investigation into the local family court system has been overwhelming. Assertions of parents with disabled children being targeted by the system in an effort to collect state grants and Social Security payments. Tales of abuses by lawyers, judges, and the system as a whole. The fear of being bullied for speaking out. Accusations that very often cases are pre-judged with little or no testimony heard.

The Gazette has been very careful in our initial story not to name names of those involved until a full investigation can be made into each and every allegation. As more details become available and more informants come forward our readers may be assured that information will be reported in full, regardless of what connected or influential individual, group, or organization might be implicated. Follow our progress each week online as we first dissect AOPC’s findings at, endeavoring to shed light and raise awareness on the local family court systems and the larger county judicial systems as a whole.

Could what began during the Clinton Administration with legislation widely viewed at the time as motivated by altruistic intentions — the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act — have become bastardized by a system that has come to care more about greed than the health and welfare of children?


  • Louis R. Jasikoff
  • Lou is the founder and producer of the WBIG family of publications. He's been active in politics most of his adult life, and is passionate in building the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Independent Gazette into an independent press organization that is respected for its independent journalism, educating the public on stories and issues often not discussed in today's biased and controlled media.

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  1. Great job Lou and Staff. It is about time the truth comes out. Harhut and crew have been getting away with this for years. Please everyone stand up and speak out this is the only way this evil machine can be stopped.

  2. Thank you for letting the truth come out!  Most do not know about Family Court’s corruption until it is too late.  We need to educate the public.  There is a war on mothers all across the country.  The party who can pay, is the party that wins custody (usually not the Stay at Home Mom, who has left an abusive marriage with nothing but the clothes on her back.)  The best interest of the children has become a cruel joke.  Custody is being given to narcissistic abusers without any regard to the damage being done to these kids.  Expose them for what they are!!

  3. Tattoomommie let us not forget the Mid-Valley Bar Association ( D.R. & D.R.) for their help in this.

  4. Trivia: Who never lost a case in family court?

  5. I believe there are many heart breaking stories.  I stand alongside the staff of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Independent Gazette.  Those who failed to provide legal representation and were paid must answer the tough questions.  I hope the next articles provide the public with the truth behind the scenes. Custody for Cash! Really? Why am I surprised? Help to expose this situation and do not be afraid.  Sincerely,  Kathy Dobash, Luzerne County Council Member

  6. Any legal representative who tells a parent they are “too poor” to win must answer to a higher authority.
    Threats and intimidation are tactics used to discourage individuals to fight for their rights.  This is brutal.

  7. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  8. I have been to hearings in Lackawanna Family Court for a member of my family and witnessed with my own eyes and ears a kangaroo court. with Ross, Harhut and Ricardo.   This has got to stop.    I  too, stand along side the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Independent Gazette and hope and pray they they put an end to this corruption and put my faith back in the judicial system.

  9. grandmaof6 You got it the Mid Valley Bar Association plus 1. I have also seen these people in action they are not what I would decent, moral people. Judge Munley please start an investigation!!!

  10. Thank you to this writer for having the guts to put this out there.  I look forward to more of these articles in this series.  It is disgusting what has been allowed to happen in this family court.  So many people who could have stepped in to at least try to put an end to it chose not to in order to cover their own backs.  Disgusting.

  11. What do you mean by the Mid Valley Bar Association?

  12. EnragedMom Riccardo and Ross

  13. Those of us who have experienced this injustice and watched our children suffer at the hands of these greed fueled animals could not be any more grateful to the Gazette! We wait with baited breath for the next article & the changes that this series could bring about in Family Court! Thank you Lou and Gazette staff, and thank you Kathy Dobash for standing by the victims of this atrocious INJUSTICE system! May each and every person involved find out what it feels like to be on the opposite side of that bench!

  14. Kathy Dobash Thank you from the bottom of my heart for having the courage to stand up with us!!!  GOD BLESS YOU!!!

  15. EostraStChinde Hi Doll

  16. jim_shoe52 how’s Karen?

  17. EostraStChinde Much better, just weak.. Thank you for asking.. How are you Hon

  18. I applaud you Lou, staff and this paper for exposing what many of us have endured in silence because of the threats to keep quiet.  I have a story to tell as do many many more.  Thank you for being our voice!

  19. I just  found this out.   did you know you can follow this on Custody For Cash on facebook.  Some really good information on there as well.

  20. Me thinks Gary M

  21. This is going on all across the state. We are in Allegheny County. My children and I entered the family court with a case of abuse that was criminally charged for crimes reported at the onset of the case. Five custody hearings later, the criminal division charged ten felonies. The family court retaliated financially and used their economic power to coerce a criminal plea for the abuser. We were left in poverty with various disabilities related to the abuse. The adult children filed a civil case and the family court judge came over to the civil division at the request of the criminally convicted abuser. The judge had herself assigned to the civil case and has now obstructed justice in this case. The family is being forced out of the family home on March 3. The saddest part of all of this is that there is not one federal or state official, agency or law enforcement that is willing to stop this large scale financial scam targeting families, stealing their assets, child support and healthcare and then spitting them out on the taxpayer’s tab when they run our of any resources. Who will stop this nightmare? It is ruining lives…

  22. wbgod no try again

  23. Val it is the same here, the judges feel they are above the law. They seem to forget the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We are blessed with a judge who is nothing more than a HALF PINT DICTATOR HE SHOULD RETIRE COMPLETELY!!!!!!

  24. People here is something to think about. There must be a ghost in the Lackawanna County Court House as court documents, court reporter records, court orders seem to disappear when requested by a family member or their lawyer. The dictator really has trouble hanging on to these documents. Wonder why? could they implicate a judge or lawyer ???

  25. chwatchbird1 uh oh beware the train is rolling down the track and all you decietful people are about to get ….choo choo tick tock tick tock

  26. Thank you Louis for exposing this broken system….family courts are corrupt and broken all over the country. We need to get the word out and articles like this are a step in the right direction!!

  27. I just contacted you.

    Let’s talk?

    – Steven Burda

  28. To:
    The Editor
    in Our Family Court Systems.
    There  have been many recent Emergent cases
    which were decided by the NJ Supreme Court  which stayed incarnations
    issued by the Lower Courts in matters dealing with payment of Alimony and
    or child support and the associated arrears. In each case Emergent motions
    to the Appellate Courts were denied, but subsequently overturned by the NJ
    Supreme Court.

    The Judiciary is skirting around our rights to
    due process by issuing Contempt of Court charges to individuals who do not have
    the ability to pay alimony awards.  The Superior Court Judges are using
    the ruse that the individual has the keys to his cell and has only pay his
    arrears to get out. There are many circumstances where this is impossible. These
    incarcerations amount to extortion much like the Mafia enforcers who threatened
    “you either pay up or I bash your knee with this baseball bat”. The Courts are
    trying to extort funds from victim’s friends and families.   

    The US Department of Health and Human Services
    Office of Child Support Services issued a Guidance Document dated June 18,
    2012, relative to the US Supreme Court Case of Turner v Rogers, to State Agencies Administering Child Support Enforcement Plans. In Turner v Rogers
    the US Supreme Court held that the State must provide a form that can be used
    to elicit relevant information and that there must be an “express finding of
    fact by the court based specifically upon the ability to pay.The US Supreme Court goes further and says
    that the States must ensure due process protection in Contempt of Court
    Practices. The Guidance document states that these Contempt Practices may
    not be fundamentally fair and that the state’s failure to adequately review an
    individuals present ability to pay. may result in the states inability to show
    willfulness on the part of an individual. This Guidance as well as the
    associated US Supreme Court ruling is being ignored by the Superior and
    Appellate Court Judges.

    In 2006 the New Jersey
    Supreme Court ruling Pasqua v Council the Court opined that “the right to
    counsel is among our most precious of constitutional rights because it is the
    necessary means of securing other fundamental rights. The Lower Court Judges in
    New Jersey are completely ignoring the Pasqual v Council ruling.

    The Lower Courts are taking a position that
    people who have lost their job or who otherwise do not have the ability to
    pay alimony or child support are willfully disobedient and incarcerating
    them for contempt of Court without proper legal counsel. TheJudges are completely ignoring current case
    law as well as our rights under the 14th amendment to due process. A full and
    complete investigation needs to be done to root out this cancer in the NJ
    Judiciary System. Governor Christie the people are demanding an Independent
    Special Prosecutor be appointed to investigate how the NJ Judiciary is handling
    hearings dealing with Family Court matters in the cases where an inability to
    pay alimony or child support is in question. 
    Alimony and Family Court Reform
    Crossing, PA

  29. John Waldorf What if they have the money?? what is your position then? here when they have money and do not pay the judge just lets it go wonder why???

  30. chwatchbird1John Waldorf Yes, what if they have the money and are thousands of dollars in arrears because they CHOOSE not to pay?  Children GO WITHOUT because spouse’s spite their exes by withholding NECESSARY support payments.  Mothers struggle financially to support children, give them a home, food, clothing, health care, dental care, medication, school supplies, extracurricular activities, holidays, birthdays etc etc etc.  Payors like to justify their actions by claiming they don’t want to give the Payee anything; however, the SAD bottom line is that they are punishing CHILDREN that they helped create and SHOULD be 50% responsible for!  The payor doesn’t have the “ability to pay.”  What if the Payee doesn’t have the ability to support the CHILD without the CHILD SUPPORT?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe we should be taking every dime a person has.  A child is the EQUAL financial responsibility of BOTH parents.  When one does not assist in supporting the child then the other is required to foot that bill ALONE.  How is that fair to parent OR child???

  31. Kathy Dobash Kathy I have been going up against this custody-for-cash in that corrupt Luzerne County Court house and Domestic Relations for eight years.   If you only knew the corruption how lawyers, masters and Judges work together and retaliate against people like me who have been trying to expose them for years.   They (including a present sitting judge in Luzerne County) have broken numerious federal and state laws.   These people all have connections all they way to Harrisburg including the PA State Police and PA Disciplinary Board.    They even have relatives on these boards.   I even had two of my lawyers disbarred trying to expose this.

  32. chwatchbird1John Waldorf  State statutes should be geared to the 99% who do comply with court orders and not the 1% who don’t. I am sympathetic to anyone that is due child support and is not getting it. I believe that you will find no alimony reformers are against supporting our children. The 99% should not be penalized which is the travesty which is occurring right now.  If they have the money a motion to enforce litigants rights can be filed with the Courts such that proof can be submitted. That being said I do not believe anyone should be incarcerated for arrears of child support or alimony, debtors prison were abolished in the 18th century.

  33. CustodyForCashVictimchwatchbird1John Waldorf Fathers also struggle financially tremendously when an unfair system requires that their children and previous spouse be kept living to the same standards during the marriage. This is not fair and equitable.  Frankly chwatchbird1 the children do not care whether they live in a large or small house they just want to be loved. I believe putting fathers, for what ever reason, in jail is counter productive to society and to the children emotionally, It fosters negative emotional feelings which are hard to erase. The system, as it currently exists, does pretty much take every dime. I was ordered to pay all of my salary to my ex wife for alimony and child support, is that fair??? What do I live off of???  I was put in jail for arrears. Over the last seven year I have paid my ex wife over $500,000 is that enough???  I have financially supported my son, but have not seen him in almost 4 years. I am labeled a “dead-beat” dad which is not true.  The laws need to be changed so that each party comes away feeling that equity was done and so that they can get on with their independent lives. chwatchbird1 the sad bottom line is that there are allot of women out there who take advantage of the system to the detriment of those who are truly in need.

  34. The Court and Guardian under scrutiny have counterparts throughout Pennsylvania.  The system is fed by a calcified coterie of corruption in PA’s Human Services spanning 20 years. 

    Networks of Human Services, Court, other County, and provider agency personnel have constantly switched jobs to prey on vulnerable Families.  They have learned to exploit Federal and State funding while forgetting about serving the people.
    Everything in the Editor’s Note is correct.  For instance, the apprehension of an adult with disabilities is worth $150,000/year to this abusive and malicious system.

    This article sheds must needed sanitizing light.  Let the light continue shining brightly.

    Ron Shegda, Northampton County

  35. Thank you to Bruce Levine.  🙂   570 815 7423  for EXPOSING LACKAWANNA COUNTY FAMILY COURT CORRUPTION.  He brought down admitted FELON and FORMER SOLE GAL.  THANK YOU BRUCE FOR ALL YOU DO!!!!!       Thank you Bruce Levine

  36. This is not something that is only happening in Pennsylvania. I am in North Carolina and they system here is the same. Nobody truly cares about these children that they are suppose to help. They claim reunification just so they can say you tried. My cousin was dragged along this route for three years. Complete everything they wanted, but that was still not good enough. They put the children in a foster home knowing that that foster parent only had a 2 bedroom place and she would be sharing a room with the girl.  These children have lived in three different homes with this lady. Her first move was March 2013 to another two bedroom. Well her second move happened just before court Jan. 2014. In less then a year she moved again. I have pictures of bruises on the girls back the judge didn’t care to see them and the social worker and the guardian also didn’t care. The judge did give this lady guardianship (over me their cousin) of these children even though it is clear that it is not a stable environment for these children. I did pass my Home study and am very capable of caring for them but yet the system want to place them with family. It is all a corrupt system.

  37. John Waldorf chwatchbird1 john we are talking child support. where do you get this one percent figure from. If these people really loved their children they would gladly pay their child support. They would rather spend the money on themselves. For example 2 new cars, trip to vegas, hunting trip, hours at the bar drinking and watching foot ball then they give the child support people the same  old line ” I ain’t got no money. nothing but bull!!! John  are you that naïve. Of course then they use the age old trick work for cash under the table and then complain they do not make enough money. Plus mom has the kids she feeds them, medical care, on duty 24 hrs. this gives dead beat dad more time to figure out how to beat the system.

  38. There are so so many of us working in the shadows to help expose this heinous travesty of a court system.  The tyrannical judges, evil attorneys and heartless system as whole are destroying our children from the inside out!  We are given the choice to either watch our children be abused and suffer and maintain your parent/child bond to SOME degree, or open your mouth and you WILL be taught a harsh lesson.  This lesson will not only destroy you, but it WILL suck your child(ren) into a dark circle of hell from which there is NO escape!  Not only have our lives and our childrens’ lives been totally demolished in the name of the almighty dollar, but our faith in the Justice system has been shaken to its core.  I highly doubt there is any hope for recovery.  I know that I will NEVER NEVER NEVER trust another Judge again as long as I live regardless of whether these particular Lackawanna County criminals are exposed!  I have lived for years as though I need to “watch my back” and I AM FED UP!  I have watched for YEARS as my children are shipped out the door to spend a lovely weekend sleeping with a sexual predator, and if I try to protect them I BECOME THE CRIMINAL and I Am in Contempt of court! My choice, like SO SO many others, is to keep my mouth shut and pray every single day that SOMETHING gives so my children can sleep through a night without nightmares, without prescription medication, without fear, guilt and shame!  What is the choice? Send them with a predator or go to jail?  Either way, MY BABIES LOSE! This is the sad story of almost EVERY parent and child that has been unfortunate enough to end up in Lackawanna County Family Court!  And THIS is why I have dedicated myself to doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to SAVE my children and EXPOSE THE TRUTH!  This is what we ALL need to do.  We need to stop letting our fear make life altering decisions, we need to SPEAK OUT and let our fear become COURAGE, our helplessness become STRENGTH and our hopelessness become DETERMINATION!!!  Visit Custody For Cash on Facebook and SHARE the Black Ribbon!  GET THE WORD OUT!  LET’S SAVE OUR FAMILIES!!!

  39. lot of listeners!! no talkers? why?

  40. Is This NJ Superior Court Judge Guilty of Political Bias?
    I have been incarcerated in the Hunterdon
    County Jail for eight weeks, as a result
    of a bench warrant issued by Judge Hany Mawla, Hunterdon County, New Jersey,
    for contempt of court.Judge Mawla
    issued a judgment of divorce last year which was impossible to comply
    with.Mawla ordered that I pay 100% of
    my salary to my ex-wife for alimony.He
    deemed that I was underemployed when I had lost my job due to a business
    restructuring and 10 months later obtained new employment at a salary of 30%
    less that I had been making.Judge Mawla
    chose to punish me with an alimony award of $8,000 a month for the rest of my
    life.I had only been married for 11
    years and my ex-wife is an attorney, perfectly capable of supporting herself
    despite her having Lupus.I am 60 years
    old and Mawla killed me financially for the rest of my life.Is this fair and equitable?I believe that most people would be outraged
    by this alimony award.Judge Mawla ‘s order did not take into account my
    income taxes, payment for my son’s and my health insurance or costs to keep a
    roof over my head and food in my stomach.This was an impossible order to comply with and wholly inequitable. He also ordered that if I missed two complete
    payments that an automatic bench warrant would be issued.I have tried to figure out why Mawla is
    biased and prejudiced against me and have determined the following.Judge Mawla was raised in the Muslim
    countries of Saudi Arabia and Egypt where women were not considered equal.Women do not have equal opportunity under Muslim
    law with regards to education and employment.In order to compensate for how his mother was treated, Mawla adheres to
    a political bias in favor of women and against men.This ideology would tend to balance the
    pendulum in a Muslim society, however in a western society, this negative
    prejudice against men results in inequities in our family courts.
    This is just one
    example of judicial discretion at it’s worst.Unfortunately, this type of bias
    is predominant in the family courts all over the country, although not
    necessarily with the same motivations as Mawla.Our antiquated laws do not reflect 21st century norms.
    I personally
    witnessed another example of Mawla’s negative bias against western men in his
    courtroom in 2011.Drew Foster was
    concluding his divorce trial before Judge Mawla when he interviewed Mr.
    Foster’s 15 year old daughter to determine who should be awarded custody of the
    child.Mr. Foster had testified that his
    daughter wanted to live with him because of emotional abuse by her mother.Typically, the court, when dealing with a
    child of this age, will let the child live with the parent that they prefer.Mawla once again exhibited political bias
    against Mr. Foster and awarded custody to the mother.After many more months of emotional abuse by
    the mother, as ordered by Mawla, Mr. Foster’s daughter purchased an airline
    ticket and escaped the abuse to go and live with her father in another state.This is truly another example of the complete
    systemic failure of our family court system.
    These systemic failures are causing undue pain to men and
    women and more importantly our children.The family courts in the United States are the people’s courts and we
    should not stand for any type of inequity.We should enact new laws which curtail Judicial discretion and align the
    court with the 21st century.

  41. I think these cases end up, across the board, in the most lucrative outcome for the unchecked family court system. We can all agree that families are not receiving the support money, healthcare or assets because the attorneys, judges, experts and GALs are taking everything a family may have had in order to move on. In my case, it was more lucrative to get straight fees from a surgeon who is living a good lifestyle while his children are and have been suffering, horribly. It makes more sense to get direct fees from him to attorneys and experts rather than use the DHHS bonus rewards since his income is off the chart. In other cases, they make more money collecting child support from men and women who have no income or they calculate and take more than half of their income, making it impossible for them to survive. I know of a case here in Allegheny County where a 21 year old making $20,000 a year at two minimum age jobs was paying the same child support as my ex husband, for one child, who makes over a half million a year. The worst part for the 21 year old is that he is behind $2000 on fake arrears for child care that was never used over the summer months. He is now in contempt and facing jail for the $2000 while my ex husband evaded paying hundreds of thousands in ordered child support that was “waived” in a fraudulent settlement agreement. Even when you can prove criminal fraud in these cases. law enforcement will not investigate or charge so what incentive is there to stop this fleecing of families? We can all agree that the only winners are the family court system and not families, at all.

  42. GloriaBurridge It’s all true.  Many  of the people running this system have been/are in abusive relationships.  They have SEVERELY dysfunctional families and histories.  Their glee and healing is watching someone else fall off their roof.  They hang on to their jobs by keeping the vulnerable like Your Little Cousins in their abusive system.  These “social workers” have immeasurable connection to the Judges, who support them.  Many Judges were once solicitors for these Agencies.

  43. Ron Shegda GloriaBurridge  Ron Shegda you are right. The social worker on this case, her husband was selling drugs. I know this because of all the cars that went into their driveway at all hours of the day and night. Plus he asked a neighbor of mine if she wanted to buy any. Oh I forgot to mention she was placed on this case even though she lived right across the street from me. Yes the my cousin and her kids lived with me at the time the case started.

  44. I am a mother of seven amazing children. An me An my kids suffer from this as well! This been going on for many years sence I was a child! Me an my kids now suffer me An some of my kids suffer from anxiety An depression over this! Also one with adhd.. it all started back when I was 17 an me An one of my children ware placed into foster home. Ware the corrupt foster parents got money from children an youth to buy me clothing. . The foster parent said I will get you smoke off I can use this to buy her own daughter clothing! A few days before my 18th b-day a false call from my foster parents ware made to children an youth an my school. That I had a knife in my purse I was called to office an was searched. Children an youth then called the school an said they ware in fear that I was not to return to the foster home. So children an youth kicked me onto the street when I was 17. I asked them if I can go get my son. They told me no he was moved to another foster home already. I then got visitation. . An had to meet 45 min away for my son. I am my mother sat in a parking lot weighting for my son. Children an youth called me up an told me to go pick my son up at the hospital an keep him until they can research other family members to take him. Because the foster parent threw my adorable son down the stairs at age 2 an broke his arm. Because he was excited an didn’t listen because he was just happy to go see me! I haven’t Hurd from them for a long time after. An they didn’t remove him from me! An replace him like they said! About 5 years down the road I had taken my two year old daughter to the hospital. Because I was potty training her an she cried when she had gotten onto the toilet an shaking. I took her to hospital. They pulled pee out of her. An treated her with yeron track infection. An off we went Her aunt took her that night. Because I was sick. I then got a phone call from the aunt an said my daughter has a bump on her back She noticed when she was giving her bath. I told her not to give my child her medicine because the hospital falsely treated her then. An asked her to take it to get it checked out. Hospital called me An asked me to come down! I got my other 2 children dressed an went down. I went in they asked me ware my other kids ware. I said in car with there dad. They asked me to tell them all to come in. Next thing I new I was surrounded by case workers an police. While they took all my children from me. An tried saying I must of severely beat my daughter that she has a broken tale bone. . I was hurting that they would say that. . Cops told me calm down or they would half to arrest me An they don’t want to do that. Watching them feed my son a bottle when I was suppose to be breast feeding him. Throwing up every ware me An dad because we ware so hurt! Off my kids went to foster home. A few days later they put my daughter in another hospital an let me go see her super vised.. while nurses gave me bad looks an fathers family put me down. I then left an received a phone call the next day. To come to hospital a.s.a.p that children n youth no I’m coming An they can’t talk to me over phone. I get there An they apologize to me An tell me it’s a cist an prepared me for Lucima. An asked to if to go to Danville with her in ambulance. We got to Danville they checked her an asked what was wrong with these Wilkes barre hospitals I said why they said did your daughter have even a little fall in the last two weeks. I thought about it An it clicked in.I took her to fair to enter her in contest. She tried to climb her brothers car seat stroller an I didn’t grab it quick enough An she scraped her elbow. The hospital said thats it. . It healed So quick an didn’t drain. An infection went up into her back. So they had to drain it. Children an youth called me An told me I can go pick up my other kids when I leave there. I couldn’t even breast feed. Then again a few years later they get a false report I let them check the report. Then told them to leave after they checked to see it was false. A few months later after they dug an dug to try to find something on me they came with a court order removing one of my children. Saying he had a tumer in his eye an I haven’t taken care of it. We went to court An court granted it. Now they new there self this was false. Because another case worker was with me when it was checked an told it was a birth mark. I left court they gave custody to my sister I was crying called eye place an they new I was in bad shape over this an told me An my sister to come right over. . Verified again on spot I took papers right down to children an youth. They said see told you it was a tumer there is that same word. I said you need to call doctor then. That word yous think means tumer yous need to look up Because it’s not what use think! They confirmed an still made me wait till court to return him an they tried stopping it. But wasn’t able to. Then now my ex boyfriend that I have kids with was released from jail to half way house. An took off came to my home an made us go with him I had no control over it. I had many pfa on him. Even put him in jail Because I tried leaving him an he had a gun an was trying to kill me An my phone was traced by police an they got him. So I had no choice he took my phone an made sure I couldn’t call any one on him. So I played that I loved him an wanted to be with him until I can come up with a plan to get him caught. I found away an was able to send picture to someone of a street sign in background. So we woke up next morning at camp site me An kids had to go to bathroom. Me an my son went in. An he always kept my keys in ignition just incase. Me an my son came out of restroom an I said ware did Daddy go. To look an see him on a high speed chase. With two cars that ware probation officer. I hid my 7 year old behind a big tree an ran out toward the street I ran up toward the probation officer car an screemed to them to please stop I have kids in the car. I guess a few minutes later they lost him an came back an asked me ware they can find him I said how can I no I’m here. An that I was contacting police. Because there putting my kids in harm’s way! Knowing there dad would smash before he would stop for them. So they said o Ya your losing your kids I’m contacting children an youth. They then asked me to report my truck stolen so other police can chase him I said not while my kids are in that truck. He then got my kids with family. I packed up an had family pick me up with my other son. Went home he got in contact with me An I went to my kids. In all plans to hope I can also find him an set him up. Children an youth called an asked ware we were. Came an took all my kids from me. Went to court probation lied in court An said I ran into street with my son An jumped in front of car. It was confirmed by my son that was false. An by other questions that ware brought up They didn’t half to stop swerve or any thing Else. The master then said I’m sorry Amanda I know you love your kids very much An they love you. An your a good mom but sometimes people make bad choices an boom. Foster care remained. I got call from probation asking me to please help them get him. If I do they will help me get my kids home. I

  45. amandalefort  Everytime there is a mass shooting in this country, my first thought is, “I wonder what role the family court or CYF had in this horrible situation?” I know every abuse victim of child and spousal abuse is thinking the same thing. The government is focused on mental health at the heart of this issue rather than what caused the mental health issue…

  46. YouStoleMyKid don’t forget the others that have supported with out them this will not work. also thank Lou for taking on this awesome task.

  47. chwatchbird1 John Waldorf  There is no legal requirement that child support payments be used to support the child.
    Cars, trips to Vegas, shopping trips, drug purchases, payments to lawyers – all this can be legally paid for with child support payments.
    So before you cite a deadbeat dad as not living up to his obligation, start arguing for legal enforcement of the payments he makes to be used for the child, not some shopping spree the mother cares to go on with those payments.
    There are far more mothers misusing child support payments, then there are dads not making them.

  48. Tattoomommie  Some war. Mothers get sole custody 93% of the time.
    I wish I could only be so oppressed.
    The war is on fathers, not mothers. The family courts are blatantly unabashedly gender prejudiced.
    They are so bad, they hide their statistics as much as they can. Just try to find statistics on custody awards after trial. It can’t be found.

  49. CranthomRoberts chwatchbird1John Waldorf Cranthom:  While I don’t disagree that perhaps there should be some sort of accountability for how child support payments are spent I still feel the need to argue the refusal to pay support at all.  As a single mother who DOES spend support on the CHILD I find it infuriating that ANY father would argue AGAINST paying 50% support for his own child.  I would sell a kidney to pay for my son’s necessities.  Why don’t fathers feel the same way?  To argue that you don’t mind paying support, but you don’t want to pay it to the mother is a little ridiculous.  I mean, who are you going to pay it to, the paper boy?  If Mom (or Dad for that matter) has primary custody then Dad (or Mom) should be paying support.  Period.  And the door swings both ways for sure.  There are mothers who for whatever reason do not have primary custody, and in this case then they are also responsible to help financially.  Either way, it’s not about Mom or Dad; it IS about the child that needs to eat every day, have a warm winter coat, school clothing, medications etc.  Should ANYONE be taking trips to Vegas and complaining they’re broke?  NO!  Whether you’re the payor or the payee, if you can’t afford school shoes you certainly have NO business gambling in Vegas or shopping at Vicky’s.  Having said that, I think we’re seriously off track here.  This particular article is about Family Court abuse concerning custody.  In Pennsylvania, custody/visitation and support are all kept separate.  They should be in this discussion as well. The focus should be on the KIDS.

  50. YouStoleMyKid What is Kids rights?? Is this a registered bona fide organization?? does it have a web site?? who is in charge?? what are their qualifications. Please keep in mind  I am asking these questions to be sure that anyone who contacts this site is protected. Why are you doing this where is Bruce??

  51. YouStoleMyKid This whole comment concerns me again. Even the title seems out of line. Your stole my kid. A parent would use son, daughter, child or wording more appropriate. Kid not good term for a young goat. People beware!!!

  52. The Cat is Out if the Bag. Rivers are flowing.

  53. Without Bruce and many others including Lou change for the better would not be happening. They stole my CHILDREN and that will never change.

  54. CranthomRoberts chwatchbird1 John Waldorf Seems like you all have it in for the mother so to get even you refuse to pay child support. What about the expenses not included, like insurance co pays, doctor trips, there are many more the fact is if it looks like duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it is a duck. same for dead beats

  55. You have it wrong, I do pay my child support and I also provide my. Sons healthe so suffers from parental alienation from the hands of his selfish and vendictove mother. Parental alienation is emotional child abuse. Women like you who stereotype men are part of the problem not the solution.

  56. chwatchbird1 John Waldorf Let me be clear I am a father and I am sorry about your daughter, however people like my ex wife make it tougher on people like your daughter.  I have not tried to get away with out paying for my son and do it with open arms. That being said my ex wife is an Attorney and perfectly capable of working and chooses to sit on her duff and use the system. My cause is where I choose to put it. I don’t really care if you buy my story, its a matter of public record. You clearly have some issues and have never encountered parental alienation. Have a good day.

  57. John Waldorf chwatchbird1 John I am not going to debate this any longer with you. Have a good day as well. end of thread

  58. Australia sheds light on Pennsylvania Human Services corruption.
    60 Families come forward in Mifflin County with their elected Representatives and detail Agency abuse and malice.

  59. chwatchbird1 akundraticJohn Waldorf Comments are a service provided by WBIG to allow our readers to engage
    in intellectual discourse, not for off topic rants, personal attacks or
    intimidation.  Comments that violate our policy will be removed, and
    repeat offenders will be blocked.  Thank you for your understanding, and
    enjoy your civil discussion.

  60. People go to the Scranton Times Site read about GAL Ross

  61. Kids for Cash, The Movie . . . Happening in a Courtroom, Human Service Office, and movie theatre near You.

  62. When people are the most vulnerable, the Family Courts failure to follow law and procedures creates an environment which can only cause further damage to the family.  The “Confidentiality of Information” is not done to protect the child (it’s clear the child is hurt by their actions) or to protect attorney client priviledge.  Confidentiality is done to protect the corrupt judges once they have been manipulated into misconduct by lawyers.  The system is designed to protect the juducuary.  
    Once an act of misconduct occurs in a court, the judge’s action causes a complete and absolute loss of constitutionally protected rights.  No one can help.  The litigants are left to be terrorized by issues which cannot be discussed.
    It is Rule 1.6 Confidentiality of Information which causes the problem.  No lawyer, prosecutor, district attorney or Attorney General may prosecute a sitting judge within the state.  It requires a Federal intervention.  Typically Federal intervention only happens at the request of the DA or the AG.  
    This is why Cash for Kids continued so long.  Even once the judge reported it to the FBI, SHE was disciplined for violating Rule 1.6 Confidentiality of Information.  They also alleged treason and sedition.  BUT she did the right thing.  She was not lawfully permitted to act because of Rule 1.6.
    Listen to Kathleen Kane.  She follows the Constitution, the PA Constitution and the Rules of Professional Conduct.  It is Rule 1.6 of the Rules of Professional Conduct which requires her to ignore judicial corruption.  YES, The PA AG cannot prosecute a corrupt judge.  Same LAW in every state.
    The Constitutional Challenge of Rule 1.6 is attempting to address this unconstitutional law.  It allowed Cash for Kids, It allowed the Foreclosure crisis nationwide.  It causes extreme injustice in the US Courts.
    The Challenge is in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.  JUSTICE IS COMING.

  63. TeranceHealy  Couldn’t say it any better.

  64. TeranceHealy Excellent information. May I ask what can we do in the meantime to protect ourselves and our children

  65. TeranceHealy  
    Could not agree more.

  66. I have a question. Are family court proceedings in Lackawanna County open to the public? If not why? If these proceedings are legitimate then open them to the public!!!

  67. Generally Familt Court hearings are open to the public except I rare cases dealing with juveniles .

  68. Aren’t almost all family court hearings with juveniles?  They are never open as far as I have experienced.  That is why they get away with the corruption.  If children weren’t juveniles there would be no need for family court.

  69. VickieCorrell Rick

  70. All Lackawanna Family Court hearings should be covered by the press and any or all family members should be allowed to attend no exceptions. Also the public should be welcome if all is above board as claimed.

  71. chwatchbird1 VickieCorrell Rick  My husband and I were kept out of the courtroom in a CYS case.  By law yes we were suppose to be in the courtroom by Schuylkill County corruption law they would not permit us in to witness and defend.

  72. VickieCorrell Rick chwatchbird1 Yes you are correct. This way they do as they please including not recording via the court reporter the entire proceeding.

  73. I brought my parents to several hearings with me.  Each time they were promptly “kicked out.”  GRANDPARENTS!  Very active Grandparents who are not only witnesses, but also a major piece of my childrens’ support system.  They were not asked politely to wait outside, they were rudely KICKED OUT as if they had NO business in the courtroom!  Is that right????

  74. ps: I am in Lackawanna County

  75. Val Clark  Kidnapping has always been lucrative.
    When it is court sanctioned and legal kidnapping, it is all the more lucrative.
    A loving parent will do anything to keep his child, and the family court system (and its minions) know this. And they extort money, assets, command arbitrary behavior, just about anything, under threat of taking away the child from the parent.
    All under the guise of ‘best interests of the child.’
    When only the priests get to tell us what god wants, then the priests have subsumed the power of the people’s connection to god.
    Likewise when only the courts get to determine what is the best interests for the child, they have subsumed the power of the parents connection to their children
    And in both cases anything goes – and that anything has nothing to do with the children or the parents, it is only for the best interests of the priests and courts..

  76. CustodyForCashVictim CranthomRoberts chwatchbird1 John Waldorf  I agree that 50% of the costs to raise a child should be borne by both parents.
    But that is not the law.
    The law says the custodial parent arbitrarily chooses what to spend on the child, and with no legal connection to the payments received for the child.
    There are public sources of how much it actually costs to raise a child, just google it. Anything above that is arbitrary or unilateral gifting to the child.
    I am not saying the child should get more spent on her than she needs, but anything more should not be extracted under penalty of imprisonment. That is no longer a gift but extortion.

  77. CustodyForCashVictim CranthomRoberts chwatchbird1 John Waldorf  

    There are public sources of how much it actually costs to raise a child, just google it. 

    Wikipedia: $4,020 is the basic cost of raising each child per year as estimated by the Department of Health and Human Services for 2013, whether there is one child or many children. Based on the 30 year average inflation rate of 3% increasing the annual cost every year, $72,360 {4020 avg x 18yrs} is the total basic cost of raising a child from birth in 2004 to age 18. $94,100 {5228 avg x 18yrs} is the total basic cost of raising a child from birth in 2013 to age 18.

  78. CranthomRoberts CustodyForCashVictim chwatchbird1 John Waldorf Can you buy your own food, clothes, medicine, shoes etc. on 4020.00 come on we both know it is not enough.

  79. We also have a very serious problem in Erie County.   Any hope in bringing some awareness to this area?

  80. Why does Lackawanna County continue to pay a Senior Judge we do not need. The county is in financial trouble yet they may be spending over 170 thousand dollars to keep a part time judge . They need to retire him today

  81. MarshaLynch Marsha, Please send me a PM on FB, if You are a Member.  We have a Coalition organized in PA against County abuse.  Ron Shegda

  82. My children and I are being victimized by Luzerne County Courts and the lawyers that LIE within this county. It is corrupt and heartless! I have vowed to my children that I will seek justice in bringing all of these MONSTERS to light…to save not only my children, but so many other families affected as well! IT MUST STOP! The children need to be heard and I hope one day soon this will happen! ~Time is our best friend ~

  83. custody4cashvictim  Do you have support?  Their are several from your county with issues.

  84. Val Clark  I just submitted (first) comment on March1st post.  
    <a href=””>Testimonials Flood In</a>.

    Great Summary here! — 

    ~ ~ ~
    “The saddest part of all of this is that there is not one federal or state official, agency or law enforcement that is willing to stop this large scale financial scam. It is targeting families by stealing their assets, child support and healthcare and then spitting them out on the taxpayer’s tab when they run out of resources. Who will stop this nightmare? It is ruining lives…”

    ~ ~ ~ 

    Many of these programs were setup in and around welfare reform years (1996) by people simply bypassed state legislatures and went right for the federal funds (HHS, DOJ, etc.).  In hindsight, we can see the pattern was to privatize federal wealth like you said, and stick the public with the tab. That’s actually the plan!
    You can read about who did what when, and how — but the bottom line is, if the faucet stays turned on (House continues appropriating to programs that divert funds FROM families, while the law is then expanded to include all families, not just low-income ones) — I don’t think it will stop.  

    How many women, or mothers owed child support do you know who would like it not just changed, but eliminated?  I’m one.  That’s the ticket to pulling other federal grants into the family court arena, and paying incentives to the state to alter more custody plans, artificially.  It would be better to have NO child support than through it to be put at risk until (at least) all children are 18 being put at risk of hauled into court, for any reason, and at any time, and from there, traumatized.

    ~ ~ ~

    I am active, networked, and familiar with disastrous situations in other states also (attorneys getting tossed in jail (Richard Fine, Los Angeles, 2009-2010 for 18 months!), attorneys getting handcuffed to a wheelchair, stripped of their books, glasses and shoes (Michelle McDonald, Minnesota ‘family innocence project”)  and incarcerated for DAYS during a hearing, without a booking or charges, people getting jailed for attempting to speak during a judicial confirmation (26 words = 180 days for Elizabeth? Sassower, see “Center for Judicial Accountability,” and what I called the “Courthouse Roundup” of February 2012? Lackawanna.  That’s AFTER the FBI raids. See Times-Tribune (March 2012 article), I commented as Lets Get Honest.

    <a href=” “>Federal Lawsuit Filed to Dismantle Lackawanna County’s GAL System</a>

    Attorney McDonald had just filed a civil rights case (changing the jurisdiction) for her client a mother of 5 who was put out on less than two hours notice and under threat of incarceration (!)…  The ex was in the trucking business, she is less than an indentured servant at this point, not allowed to own assets. I also knew for a while a homeless woman/mother in Indianapolis area who actually was working a full-time middle-income-level job — from living in her truck! (Figure out how winter works in that situation).  I met this woman, and many others.  

    Re: Stopping the nightmare — it wasn’t set up overnight and the corrupt elements can’t be cleaned out overnight.  I have been “through it” investigated a lot of it, stay networked and talk about tools to expose and communicate.  Most work goes into main blog, but here’s one I was asked to set up (2012 or so) specific to Lackawanna, if it helps:
    <a href=””>Lackawanna Family Court Forum</a>.  Dark-blue banner across the top has good links.  I’m only one blogger, and still dealing with the personal situation (i.e., long-term underemployed).   I know that how anyone talks about a problem is key to solving it.  The more specific and accurate, and the more elements of the system it takes into place, the better.  It is late in the day here; we can see what is the endgame of this system of courts — and it’s to take control of the justice system, centralize it, and from there, get rid of the middle class, apparently.

    Next question:  WHO would want to do that, and what can taxpayers do about it?

  85. Debfrank  
    Pls understand this long response isn’t personal, it’s to raise awareness, and probably you don’t know what’s below.  So this is as a watchdog — not an attack dog, OK? ( It’s bark, not intended as bite — at least to you!)

    i’ve been listening to this type of “expose broken system” commentary for years, often it uses the phrase “shine the light” instead of expose — and I think if we want the courts changed, at least corruption free we can’t do free PR for people who want to leave the corruption (federal grants fraud, dilution of justice itself) and show up as “fixers.”  I know from experience in the courts, and from about 5 years of reporting (investigating as I can) on them, how late in the day it is.  Similar systems have been set up here as were in Russia, and previously (at some levels) in Hitler’s Germany– ways to label and excommunicate dissidents as mentally ill.  Part of this is testing how to incorporate language change:  “Criminal” is old school, “behavioral health” is new.  (That was, in the 1970s, too….).  Criminal courts are still here, obviously but adding the family divisions (family court services and all this) has changed the chemistry, a lot, and diluted the meaning of “crime” when it’s just a crime against a family member (spouse or child).

    So, the word is out, but FYI, they’re not broken, they’re doing exactly what they were designed to do.  

    I know exactly (can name names and organizations) who has been spreading that phrase recently.  The courts are corrupt according to certain (basic human decency) standards — but they are not “broken.”  The people calling them broken — and I have blogged and can document this — are doing so because they know about the grants and money behind “technical assistance and training” programs, in part from rubbing shoulders (in conferences) with groups that are already on them.  Women’s rights (DV) agencies get this.  Father’s Rights/Marriage Promotion get these.  Children’s Rights too — why shouldn’t “Our Broken Family Courts” get in on the action too?   
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    This same crowd wants a piece of the pie and are nicely telling the world, they’re oh so sorry about <a href=””>the broken courts, but here’s OUR solution</a>, let us train the professionals to recognize abuse, violence, batterers (etc.).  It’s a crock!  Now there’s <a href=”″>an initiative</a>

    I’m staying on this situation (like “white on rice”), because it’s a key to understanding the courts, to understand they are the doorways to the entire nationalized mental health system(Archipelago) and turning what used to be criminal, into something for which we should dispense therapy (treatments).  From the mental health system, it’s a hop, skip, and a very short jump into prescribing antipsychotics and anti-depressents (etc.) for kids, and everywhere else.  I understand this is a recent, and local issue (wasn’t around for the story, heard about it,  though):  <a></a&gt;  [hopefully that html worked]

    Calling the courts “broken” is historically inaccurate — and misleading, and intentional by groups who talk about this on blogs, websites, and in conferences.  Then people who follow, or attend, pick up the same phrasing and just use it, without probably knowing how this is an assumption and takes other entire topics off the table.  The biggest of those topics is about federal funding’s influence on the family courts.  Feds can’t overstep into family courts (and know it) but they can influence from OUTSIDE those courts, and do so.

    Calling them “broken” won’t expose who created them.  When were they up and running — but not yet “broken,” and if that ever was so, then how’d they get broken?  Either we can find out, or we can speculate (guess, assume, etc.)  I wanted to find out, because when the law calls something a felony, but in family court, those perpetrating it are financially and otherwise rewarded for committing it, then (Houston, we have a problem!”).

    I found: the family courts were created, and really within the last half of the 1900s,  to mainstream (include, main-line) the mental health professions (especially psychologists, custody evaluators, etc.) into the courtHOUSES, as experts, consultants and group therapists, while spreading the judicial function OUTSIDE it where the judges can justify their rulings based on the evaluators, and the evaluators can claim quasi-immunity (or whatever).

    <a href=”,%20Meyer.pdf”>1992 interview of Meyer Elkin</a> (credited by “Association of Family and Conciliation” courts as one of their founders) who says he got the idea from observing AA classes in prisoners, and figured if group counseling worked for them, it should work for everyone.   He also mentions “missionary zeal” in communicating the concept to others.   We’re talking, half a century or more ago.      

    Right now, there are people in MN, PA (I hope still), AZ and TX at least, plus some on CT who are catching on to this; and that’s just a start.  The real trick is getting the ear of Congress when they vote more money into programs that harm the innocents.  All the courts function as, in that context, is traffic directors for that money, with children and families’ lives mixed in the fast-flowing streams of: information, decisions, and billings.

  86. chwatchbird1  There are legitimate safety issues involved with some of the family law hearings.  I know about this and to this day suffer extreme PTSD response (and was subject to one in court) even going near the courthouse when there’s not a hearing.  

    In an ideal world, all family members should be allowed to attend. Unfortunately in this world we have child abusers, molesters, and people who have threatened to kill others — who end up, being parents, also in these courts.  As an adult (and a fairly courageous one) I was one time in a court hearing with the entire (well most of it) “tribe” sitting across the aisle from me, and the cause of action was my attempt to restore a restraining order. It was extremely intimidating.  I had no attorney, my ex (thousands in arrears on child support) somehow had one.  When the time came, everyone else was again thrown out of the courtroom, the judge went “off the record” (I think) and we were ordered to go “work it out’ outside the courtroom.  No matter how diligent or brave someone may think they are in certain situations, I was not able to fully advocate for a “parenting plan” with the man who’d threatened to kill, threatened to kidnap (and later did) sitting across from me.   

    It does sound like this particular court has some major issues; maybe video is another solution.  I”m just speaking from my own perspective here, and don’t have a solution.  On the other hand, if how the courts work was better understood and some other issues addressed, probably half the cases wouldn’t even be in the courtrooms to start with. Like, show us a legitimate cause of action, for starters!

  87. YouStoleMyKid  Danielle Ross is out, but she was filling a function in the system; in fact it was others who brought the system in place.  It wouldn’t be a “System” if there wasn’t a design, and more than one element in place.

    Danielle Ross was a member of NACC (which has a goal of getting more GALs into all custody disputes, and has been an HHS grantee, and some membership in high places — like California AOC/attorney Christopher Wu (largest court system in the country, and Wu is also staff attorney to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Foster Care — for California.  Turns out that was recommended by the Pew Commission(I’m still looking at that, so can’t say much more).

    Harhut is as I recall AFCC, which pre-dates NACC.  I said in 2011-2012, you’re not going after the big fish here, with the maximum publicity, how about Termini — working without a contract since when? (Brenda Kobal, Donald J. Frederickson), GAL protocol. 

     I heard that Ms. Kobal was the one (the infamous 5-step automatic GAL appointee ATM machine/that’s a 2012 post from another blog).  However the association NACC has established protocol for getting more GALs appointed wherever there is a child custody conflict. It’s right on their site see Policy Agenda and scroll down to“CLOP”) Guidebook — look at who’s on the Executive Committees and their positions, nationally.  One may be on the AOC of a state (Christopher Wu).  Another may be a law professor (Richard Fellmeth, who’s on Child Advocacy Institute San Diego– but ALSO on ‘” (see board of directors; Peter Samuelson hails from the film industry, Sherry Quirk (D.C. area) Energy law firm, and THIS group was now fiscal agent — if anyone’s heard of the individual Eileen King formerly? of Justice for Children, now it’s–Inc–.html?soid=1102797829361&aid=DVZsJkfpxgk. ).  Others, like from Pennsylvania (, Support Center for Child Advocates (Phillie), etc.  (In fact, Robert Schwartz founder of the (involved in the actual Luzerne County KidsForCash, right?)seems to have some NACC connections; click on his name) 

    It’s NEVER just about an individual, or a very large “bad apple,” but who’s supporting whom.  The links above, some of them are some linked into some very powerful money:  Private, through philanthropists (and for many of these anything “Children” is such great PR of a cause), and Public, when that board member is also a judge, or other civil servant.

    Policies are strategized (and funding to set them sometimes obtained) through nonprofits like these — and then implemented state by state.    Often foundations are pushing for one policy or another.   So like I said (constantly, while it was still up and running) on Scranton Political Times [where I learned some of the above] and will continue to say here — there are identifiable organizations and associations, and what they do as patterns, is also identifiable and can be talked about in those terms.

  88. YouStoleMyKid  (continuation of comment below, re: the nonprofit trade associations).  Responding to major relief that Danielle Ross is no more in the system….

    I’m still of the opinion that, however devastating it must have been to have Danielle Ross as a GAL, she’s not the big fish, and going after her was exposure — but not of the system itself.  I’ve read some of her write-ups on-line, some of them sound barely literate.  But so what, when an AFCC judge with connections at the Supreme Court level, and the backup of cronies from some of these associations, are involved?  Is the tax evasion or overbilling going to now stop suddenly?  Have the pipelines to power been exposed?  Not if we are talking only individual names.   
    Ms. King is known (among protective parents crowd) for presenting and being fronted, often, by the NY based “” (see link, click on “Justice for Children.”) In Dec. 2012, for some reason, she switched ‘carriers’ to working as a project under “First Star” (above), when I caught it and mentioned this on a Washington Post 5/10/2013 “shine the light on the plight” article at the time, she attempted to evade, the change the topic, and the (followers) jumped on my commenting tail and accused me of being “fathers’ rights.”   (:  I posted the evidence, what can you say?  Nothing was said, and comments closed down shortly after.   ….. For a decade (2003-2013), “BMCC” leadership has been changing the topic when the federal grants issue was raised, in part because some are in on it.    It may take a while to see, but once some of the rules of the game are at least seen, and what types of players are in place, like a very large board game (maybe, “Monopoly”?), played at least nationally, at least parents can get in the game.  ….  I’ve been through this previously (in fairly good humor I think) with Bruce Levine and others, and am still posting over at FamilyCourtMatters as in previous years, which is more effective than one person trying to keep up with comments boards or forums all over.   Can we at least start naming some of the main players (membership associations involved in the courts?).  
    – – – – – – – – 
    Most people know about a bar association, or the APA, but what’s powerful about the AFCC model is that its membership bridges at least three professions, several of which are already fairly flush professionally, and seek to get into position and then become activist.     Example:
    Philadelphia Bar Association (1997 or so?) adopting resolution for a statewide “ ”
    ADOPTED: March 27, 1997

    In 1996, welfare reform included grants to the states, which would support mediation for parents (access/visitation).  The attorneys and judges and justices (not to mention state governors) were definitely “in the loop” on this one.  The public was NOT, really which is how this works.
    Where do we think the ideas for which model came from to start with? (Mediation was on of the FIRST programs pushed through by AFCC long ago; after the system was done, others got easier with time:  parenting coordination; same deal — more GALs on the job; same deal.  Unified Family Courts — same deal.  It looks like it’s just a natural, needs-responsive setup, but it’s strategized in those conferences and trade associations).  
    It’s like watching plants grow.  Fast.  You can see it in hindsight and in the present tense, and it’s also predictable.  I think it’s fairly safe to say it’s about the money, and access to young, vulnerable kids (i.e. trafficking).  I wouldn’t recommend preaching morality, and given the huge effort it took to dislodge Danielle, if there’s any momentum left (now that EVERYONE, it seems, is referencing “kids for cash” to present wanted reforms), maybe it’s time to name the nonprofit trade associations, and how they operate, and go after the other ones involved in tax evasion, or operating without registering as a corporation in the state.  (See blog for more)Thanks for patience with long comments.

  89. Eagle On Tree, Link — of Advokid:

    People on one well-known nonprofit are often on task forces, commissions, or in other situations which might affect legislation.  Here, 1998 link, is Mr. Cervone in a conference held by the ABA (funding initially however by a major pharmaceutical corporation (Johnson & Johnson’s) philanthropy (Robt Wood Johnson Foundation) — pushing the theme of “Unified Family Courts” — as in Lackawanna.    


    From November 1996 through June 1999, the American Bar Association (ABA) developed six Unified Family Court (UFC) systems in three U.S. states and one territory and created a network of national groups to help educate the public about Unified Family Courts.
    UFCs combine the functions of family and juvenile courts to provide a comprehensive approach to treating and educating young drug offenders and their families.

    “The American Bar Association Summit on Unified Family Courts: Exploring Solutions for Families, Women and Children in Crisis,” May 14–16, 1998, Philadelphia, Pa. Attended by 200 individuals from 30 states representing teams of judges, lawyers, social service providers, and administrators”

    “Family Courts: Judicial Training,” a statewide seminar on judicial training for family courts, Baltimore, Md., May 11, 1998. Attended by judges from the 6 largest circuit courts in Maryland who had been mandated to develop a family court plan.”

    “Unified Family Courts: Exploring Solutions for Families, Women, and Children in Crisis,” Catherine J. Ross, Co-Chair, ABA Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of children and Associate Professor, George Washington University Law School (Washington, D.C.); Jerome J. Shestack (moderator), President and Partner, Wolf Block Schorr Solis-Cohen (Philadelphia, Pa.); Barbara J. Hart, Legal Director, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (Harrisburg, Pa.); Hon. Katherine S. Hayden, U.S. District Court Judge, District of New Jersey (Newark, N.J.): Jeffrey Kuhn, Assistant Director, Family Division, Administrative Office of the Courts (Trenton, N.J.); and Hon. Alastair Nicholson, Chief Judge, Family Court or Australia and President, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia).

    [What’s an Australian judge doing on an ABA conference?  Probably it was the “AFCC” membership that got him invited..]]  “Unified Family Courts: A Day in the Life,” R. William Ide, Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Substance Abuse, former ABA President and Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Monsanto Company (St. Louis, Mo.); Noel Brennen (moderator), Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.); Elizabeth Bennett (Philadelphia, Pa.); Jean Biesecker (Philadelphia, Pa.) Frank Cervone, Co-Chair, ABA Section of Litigation Task Force on Children and Executive Director, Support Center for Child Advocates (Philadelphia, Pa.); Judge Nicholas Cipriani, Former Administrative Judge, Family Court of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Pa.); Robert Hacker, Executive Director, Women in Transition (Philadelphia, Pa.); Lee M. Hymerling, Partner, Archer & Greiner PC (Haddonfield, N.J.); Vivian Alford Kaeppel, Staff Attorney, Women Against Abuse Legal Center (Philadelphia, Pa.); Mimi Rose, Chief Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit, District Attorney’s Office of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Pa.); and Laval Wilson (role players) Staff Attorney, Juvenile Law Center (Philadelphia, Pa.)  [[KIDS FOR CASH PEOPLE, RIGHT?]]; Hon. Cindy S. Lederman, Judge, Florida Circuit Court, 11th Judicial Circuit, and Hon. Vincent J. Poppiti Chief Judge, Delaware Family Court (Wilmington, Del.) (commentators).

    Frank Cervone, here, and Bernadette Dohrn (Chicago/Northwestern) got together and found other areas to join in for a (Scroll down here, bottom half of post, I blogged it).  What would he have in comment with this famous person?  But these two, added six other sites (differing states and formed a network.  They are systems change agents.  So, we need to look at the nonprofit and other boards the judges, or here, attorneys are working on which affect their outlook:

    Initially our lead funder[**] approved the Network’s leadership of co-directors Frank Cervone (Support Center for Child Advocates in Philadelphia PA) and Bernadine Dohrn (Children and Family Justice Center, Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago IL). Mr. Cervone and Ms. Dohrn identified a slate of candidate organizations, and selected a total of eight(“Partners”) including their own organizations, which were identified as the “Managing Organizations”<. We hired a Project Coordinator to provide staffing support. We created the Participation Agreement (attached) to define Partner Requirements including eligibility, record-keeping, data collection, and commitment to participate in meetings. All 8 Partners continue to participate fully…….
    [**”our lead funder” is essentially, here, “mystery money.” We are not told who.]]
    Learning to use the public media to advance our advocacy goals was another challenge.

  90. Grand county, Utah is just like it.  Is it worthwhile to write my story even though I am not in that county or state?

  91. Every where we are facing this corruption that’s affecting our families and children. Even some of use parents who can not be together anymore but wish to share equal custody are fighting against attorney and judges in our States (I’m in Portland Oregon) to try and force parents into bitter fights rather than mural understanding is all you can find within the family court system. None of this is in the family or children’s best interest (not mine for sure) the only ones benifiting from all this is the courts and their cohorts.

  92. reneegloPlease contact through the contact form:

  93. reneeglo It is worthwhile to share your story.  There are people meeting with Congress on April 10th to change the way these agencies and family court operate.  If you need further assistance contact me.

  94. reneeglo It is worthwhile to share your story.  There are people meeting with Congress on April 10th to change the way these agencies and family court operate.  If you need further assistance contact me.

  95. MadAngel1 Look for groups forming in your area and state.  If there are none start a facebook page and start getting people onboard to help make change.  We are all in this together.

  96. Important please view the link. Contact Bruce Levine for assistance and support. (570) 877-2319 – – Follow on Twitter @BruceLevine                                                         

  97. In Pennsylvania? Join this group started by Bruce Levine. Thank you                       

  98. chwatchbird1 LOCAL MEDIA SUCKS – –

  99. TeranceHealy  
    I’ve been looking at this Rule 1.6 also.  Sounds like a built-in conflict of interest.  
    However we still need to look at the funding (federal grants/contracts) influence.  But we already know that the judiciary is writing law through the administrative sector.

    I’ve learned some things in the last few days alone (like about a week) on connections between some mediation centers (staffed/run by family lawyers doing business with the state) and what another whistleblower called (incorporating law firm, in the 1980s) an FBI/CIA front firm.  See (I’m blogging).  Trying to fix the legal system from within the legal system just won’t work.  

    I say it has to do with the public’s will to look at who’s paying whom.  Unfortunately, that’s a self-education task most aren’t going to bother with; but IF you get enough of the basics, which become part of your understanding — then your value just got multiplied — 

    I also feel that Kids4Cash (referring to Luzerne County) could’ve been avoided if more of us were tracking all the diversionary programming through the courts, knew about such things as “ModelsForChange” (MacArthur Foundation) of which the PA group that filed for the parents, was a participant.  Operations, Analysis, History of the family courts (from client — not provider — point of view).

  100. the courts are corrupt  it’s the same in Northampton County as well.  In fact, it’s the same for the whole country, every aspect of the defacto court is designed to make money off of you and your kid.

  101. This is happening in Minnesota Le Sueur County Just kicked the crap out of a ptsd mom. The County Attorneys childless family members placed an order to keep the mothers kids.  judge approved all   county requests and was negligent to rule on the mothers requests. There were no state and federal laws that supported removal but the county worker broke into the home and removed them illegally. The ptsd parent started having physical reactions of terror while in court houses

  102. AnitaBracken This is terrible!  Courts do not consider the psychological damage their actions/decision cause and/or exacerbate!  Children suffer PTSD as well as a trauma response to having been abused for example.  The courts do not seem to care enough to review professional/medical testimony outside of their own contracted evaluators.  SO many things NEED to changed within the courts.  It is time to shed light on all of this and demanding a REAL change!

  103. CustodyForCashVictim AnitaBracken  I am studying human services I know they abused this poor mom to take away her kids the county violated state and federal laws. Then judge was in on it. The guardian ad litem and the caseworker. If any one is in minnesota I will help if I can. In the meantime i will fight and expose this corrupt inhumane abuse

  104. Don’t stop!!!! Keep corrupt officials and abusers in the public eye!!!  Thank you

  105. My case has been going on 9 years and we are attending our 74th Court appearance since 2008. There is documented proof that the father is physically and mentally abusing the children, who are diagnosed with anxiety and depression at ages 9 and 12 (1st diagnosis was in 2007). The father’s mental health records were Ordered by 2 Judges, then myteriously “forgot about”. The former GAL, John Bellino never had credentials to act as a GAL, demanded cash or he threated to remove my visitation (witness listened while the phone was on speaker) on a “here say seizure disorder”-a child can ONLY be removed is there is drugs,/alcohol abuse, criminal behavior or abuse.  Ironically, the father has documented mental health issues, an alcohol problem and proven abuse BUT has custody. We were Ordered to see a psychologist (John Bellino’s personal friend) who has been introuble with the state on 2 occassions, his lisence is currently on probation for “gross incompetence in the field of psychology, failure to disclose vital documents in child custody cases, etc and ONLY takes cash. Ironically, he gets in trouble with the state for the 2nd time right when he generated a report full of lies and met with me for 20 minutes, the children for 10 minutes and the father isn’t interviewed.  Ironic. Then my Neurologist report that’s in my favor gets “lost lost” in the Judge’s chambers.  Now the PA Judiciary Board is investigating.  The Judge dismissed 5 major Contempts’ of Court and is ironically friends with my Attorney, who stated, “This will be 1 Hearing because Freemont’s report in inadmissable and will cost $2500.” $6500 later, dismissed another Contempt WITHOUT my consent and charged me $750 for him to file a Contempt is ironically dismissed.  The father has no exhibits and I present all emails, phone records, text messages and witnesses but the Contempt is dismissed.  Now he recused and we are going back to the Master, who has made unethical/illegal decisions in the past, is friends with the former GAL and fired Master Tom Collini and now the June Hearing won’t be on record. There is so much more to this case in Luzerne County and it’s the children that suffer! They ignore the PA Custody LAW that was passed in 2010 and signed by Ed Rendel. The FBI contacted me in 2008 when the former Judge Conahan was hearing the case and the father’s former attorney states on record, “I have inside connections in Wilkes Barre.”, I sat down face to face with an agent and I still have contact with them.  There is factualy someone behind this case as a Court system would NEVER give primary custody to a father with documented mental health issues, an alcohol problem, proven abuse towards the children, filings on a here say medical issue that doesn’t exist (physician reports with testing) and an unstable environment for the children. Luzerne County needs advocates as every office doesn’t know where to direct you, however, they receive calls EVERY day in Harrisburg and the Courthouse.

  106. DistraughtParent Please contact me @ (570) 877-2319

  107. A couple of weeks ago I was in a dark period in my life, the man I love to bits had gone off with someone else, that was when I was told about this Esango Priest. Well he told me he could see that we would get back together that gave me hope, and he was right, because this week we have moved in with each other and we are so happy. A big thank you to Esango Priest. If you are in need of an angel please get in touch with my Esango Priest via

  108. Northeast Pennsylvania Cesspool of FAMILY COURT wrongdoings and abuses.  Join the MOVEMENT FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE AND REFORM today. KIDSRIGHTS@LIVE.COM

  109. wake up=Pa. is about too join ….now…

  110. nancyalfred0089 Blessing my sister…Love to you all

  111. Moral Obligation we all most expose the true,of the injustice of our county…and state

  112. AnitaBracken horrible…

  113. CustodyForCashVictim AnitaBracken The deal is any Judge,Magistrate,etc.none of them read the case against both parties,He or she( The Judges etc,.) come in the courtroom 30 to 38 mins late at every trial,hearing that I witnessed=of friends and families that had their rights stepped over=true…

  114. I’m in Lackawanna county. My children have been in cys custody for almost a year, about ten months. I’m in total compliance with the plan cys has put in place for reunification with my kids. I was not involved with the situation that led to the kids being placed in foster care. What can I do to get my kids home.

  115. losingfaith  Dear Faith, Let not Your heart be troubled.  Are You on Facebook?  Somehow get in touch with me–including through Lou or the Independent Gazette.  Be careful.  There are both good people and charlatans on the internet who have different purposes concerning these atrocities.  Sincerely, Ron Shegda

  116. No I don’t have facebook sorry. I will try to get in touch tho. Thanks for the out reach. It helps that atleast someone else can see the issues with these ppl.

  117. losingfaith Meeting on Thursday 1/29/15 in Scranton.

  118. losingfaith or 570 877 2319

  119. losingfaith I am founder of Facebook group Voices and co organizer of the Community Outreach Meetings. You are not alone. 🙂

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