• Issue

    Family Court Review: Volume 61, Issue 2

    April 2023


Free Access

Issue Information

  • Pages: 219-222
  • First Published: 06 April 2023


April 2023

  • Pages: 223-224
  • First Published: 08 March 2023


Why abolition

  • Pages: 229-241
  • First Published: 23 March 2023
Key points for the family court community

  • The child welfare system cannot be reformed because it is designed to oppress the most marginalized communities in the nation and is built on an ideological foundation that was set centuries ago to support white supremacy and settler colonialism.
  • The trauma that children experience from being torn from their parents, siblings, and friends is compounded by conditions in foster care that continue to disrupt every aspect of their lives.
  • Far from abandoning children, abolitionists aim to build ways of supporting families that will keep children safer than family policing does.
  • Entangling social services with child protective services thwarts the potential for service-providing professionals and facilities to be caring resources for families.
  • While it intrudes on too many families, failing to provide them true safety or support, the child welfare system also overlooks the damaging impact of poverty, racism, and patriarchal culture on even more children.
  • Instead of implementing more reforms to fix the child welfare system, we need to implement a radical shift in the state's relationship to families—a complete end to family policing by dismantling the current child welfare system and purging its punitive logic.

“Sendwòm Gran Sè”: The older sister syndrome

  • Pages: 242-245
  • First Published: 27 March 2023
Key points for the family court community

  • Toxic parents can negatively affect children throughout their lifespan, and the children must heal themselves.
  • A contrast on how unfit mothers can be compared to the worldwide “nurturing” and “caring” mother narrative.
  • You can be traumatized from both generational trauma and the New York City foster care system.
  • Without the right support, traumatized children cannot thrive as young adults.
  • Parents do not deserve grace simply because they are parents. They deserve to educate themselves on how to be the best parents they can be this is a choice they made.

The ties that bind us: An empirical, clinical, and constitutional argument against terminating parental rights

  • Pages: 246-264
  • First Published: 23 March 2023
Key points for the family court community

  • Terminating a child's relationship with their parent can inflict significant harm on the entire family.
  • States vary on how often and how quickly they terminate parental rights.
  • Unnecessarily terminating a parent's rights can needlessly delay legal permanency for children can drain scarce systemic resources.
  • Terminating a parent's rights, where other less intrusive alternatives exist, raises serious constitutional concerns.

How judges can use their discretion to combat anti-black racism in the United States family policing system

  • Pages: 265-286
  • First Published: 23 March 2023
Key Points for the Family Court Community

  • Child protection court judges can promote due process, accountability, and justice for Black children and families through conscious and deliberative exercise of discretion in decision-making.
  • In exercising discretion in child protection cases, judges should work to mitigate the harms to Black children and families from the operation of bias and discrimination inherent in the legal and practice framework characterized by indeterminancy and subjectivity.
  • Child protection judges should ensure that Black children and parents have the opportunity to be heard and that their input about their families' needs and desires are listened to and acted upon.

Navigating a flawed system: An investigation of the strategies employed by legal teams in family court

  • Pages: 287-303
  • First Published: 23 March 2023
Key points for the family court community

The challenges of the family court system have been widely documented but less is known about how attorneys, social workers, and parent advocates operate in the family court setting and how they seek to work cooperatively with their clients.

  • This study features the voices of these professionals as they articulate the challenges of operating within the family court system and the strategies that they have adopted to guide their clients through it.
  • Qualitative interviews were conducted with 32 participants employed by public defender organizations in a large Northeastern city: 14 attorneys, 11 social workers and 7 parent advocates.
  • Thematic analysis was used to identify three distinct themes: (1) Keeping the Lines of Communication Open (the importance of regular communication between parents and attorneys); (2) Strategic Use of Parent Voice (the intentionality behind when and how parents should speak directly to the judge); and (3) Parents as Chameleons (the grooming of parents to meet certain judicial ideals of parenthood).
  • Theme-specific strategies are offered to support legal professionals in the empowerment of their clients.

Still, we rise: Lessons learned from lived experiences in the family policing system

  • Pages: 304-314
  • First Published: 23 March 2023
Key points for the family court community

  • Racism within child welfare was the overarching theme of this special issue and was reflected throughout mothers' accounts of their experiences.
  • However, mothers' nuanced insignts, included intersectional discussions on race, mental health, intimate partner violence, education and the child welfare system.
  • The feeling of belongingness and community among mothers, like what they described at Rise, is a powerful reparative force in their lives, serving as a place of “family”, as well as a training ground for parents to become child welfare change agents.

The Adoption and Safe Families Act is not worth saving: The case for repeal

  • Pages: 315-340
  • First Published: 23 March 2023
Key points for the family court community

  • The Adoption and Safe Families Act is built on a foundation of inherently prejudicial policies.
  • ASFA's structure also undermines efforts to keep families together.
  • A growing community of impacted people, activists, advocates and scholars believe that ASFA should be repealed becuase of its destructive impact on low-income parents and communities of color.
  • Other efforts at reform have only increased the abilty of the state to surveil and punish.
  • Laws have expressive value and many believe that repealing a harmful law is crucial to healing communities that have been harmed.
  • To truly begin to atone for the harms of the past, we must envision a path forward that shifts power, invests in the community and is completely transforms our approach to “child welfare.”
  • Impacted parents must lead the effort towards change and allies and advocates should listen, learn, act with humility and support.

Commodified inequality: Racialized harm to children and families in the injustice enterprise

  • Pages: 341-358
  • First Published: 23 March 2023
Key points for the family court community

  • How juvenile courts abdicate ethics to enter unconstitutional contracts to generate revenue when adjudicating children as delinquent and removing the children from their homes. As one juvenile court judge admitted, “the more kids that are placed out of their homes, the more money the court gets…”
  • How family courts, prosecutors, and sheriffs routinely contract for financial incentives to generate millions from harm to impoverished families, and from diverting child support into revenue.
  • How, in some jurisdictions, prosecutors can increase contractual revenue when more poor children are removed from their homes and more parents' rights are permanently terminated.
  • How probation departments also form a factory division to routinely profit from child removals, from pursuing fines and fees, and from using probationers as forced labor while charging them more fees to work for free.
  • How police and sheriffs are financially incentivized in carrying out arrests and acting as bounty hunters, generating commissions and revenue from evictions, utility shut-offs, car repossessions, seizing property, and more.
  • How countless forms of detention, and “treatment” centers profit by maximizing occupancy while vulnerable children and adults suffer from poor care, abuse, or worse.
  • How this injustice enterprise is fueled from historic and current racialized harm.


Open Access

The family law detection of overall risk screen (FL-DOORS): Utility as a repeated measure for assessing change in family violence risk over time

  • Pages: 359-371
  • First Published: 02 March 2023
Key points for the family court community

  • The Family Law Detection of Overall Risk Screen (FL-DOORS) is a validated, standardized screening framework to assist identification of and response to family safety risks in separating families.
  • Using pilot data from a community mediation context, we examine the utility of the FL-DOORS as a repeated measure for detecting change in family safety and wellbeing over time.
  • In this study, a pilot cohort of parents completed the FL-DOORS at service intake and approximately 8 weeks later.
  • We found that the FL-DOORS appears to have psychometric capacity for use as a repeated measure in risk monitoring.
  • The FL-DOORS may be useful for family law services to monitor changes in risk type and magnitude over time.

The use of parental alienation constructs by family justice system professionals: A survey of belief systems and practice implications

  • Pages: 372-394
  • First Published: 10 March 2023
Key points for the family court community

  • Parental alienation (PA) controversy continues about the legitimacy of PA vs. the extent to which it serves as a legal defense strategy in parenting plan disputes.
  • This largest survey to date found stratification across items as to high, majority or substantial minority consensus.
  • Respondents believe that PA is a valid, multifactor construct that manifests across family structures, is distinct from parental undermining, and is highly destructive within the family.
  • There was less clarity about definitions of related constructs, the quality of social science evidence, and preferred intervention options.

A survey of mothers' experiences of shared parenting and domestic violence

  • Pages: 395-412
  • First Published: 02 March 2023
Key points for the family court community

  • While shared parenting is being routinely ordered in Canadian family courts in contested custody and access situations, domestic violence is not being screened for and mothers and children are subjected to current and ongoing acts of violence and coercive controlling behaviors.
  • With legislation changes to the Canadian Divorce Act will come policies that require attention to coercive control and practices for ensuring the safety of mothers and young children.
  • Greater attention to screening for coercively controlling behaviors for legal and social service actors will be as important as screening for physically violence behaviors.
  • The correlation presented here between the HITS scores and the COPAFS scores imply some of the ways in which the CoPAFS may be used in practice as a means to support (or not) decisions for shared parenting.
  • This study begins to paint a picture of the impacts of domestic violence beyond physical violence in shared parenting arrangements that is not currently being considered in Canadian family courts.


Insuring reproductive assistance: The need for a federal mandate requiring insurance companies to pay for fertility treatments

  • Pages: 413-427
  • First Published: 06 March 2023
Key points for the family court community

  • Fertility problems are extremely common, making affordable options critical for everyone wanting to conceive.
  • The insurance coverage programs currently in place disproportionately affect low-income and minority women.
  • In addition to state mandates that require insurance companies to cover infertility care, a federal mandate is necessary for uniformity and to regulate insurance plans that the state cannot govern.
  • Other federal mandates have been implemented and survived Supreme Court review, indicating the constitutionality of a mandate.
  • Current state statutes contain concepts and language that need to be combined and applied by the federal government in order to reach individuals whose company insurance plans do not need to comply with state mandates.

Out with the old and in with the new: Preventing child opioid addiction through over-the-counter medications

  • Pages: 428-442
  • First Published: 02 March 2023
Key Points for the Family Law Community

  • Pediatric medical practices have been largely derived from adult practices.
  • Dentists are the second-highest prescribers of opioids in the medical profession.
  • 20% of American children take at least one prescription medication for pain management.
  • 6% of people who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.
  • A 2017 study revealed a 33% drop in opioid prescriptions by oncologists.

Twenty years after Andrea: Postpartum psychosis and the insanity defense

  • Pages: 443-457
  • First Published: 01 March 2023
Key points for the family court community

  • As many as 50%–75% of new mothers experience a change in their emotions called the “baby blues” after delivery.
  • Approximately two dozen countries have “infanticide laws” that are designed to allow for more lenient penalties in cases where a court determines the postpartum mother suffers from mental illness.
  • Postpartum psychosis is much less common than other postpartum mood disorders—occurring in just 1 or 2 out of every 1000 births—about 3.8 million births were recorded in the United States in 2018.
  • Medical researchers estimate that untreated postpartum psychosis leads to an estimated 4% risk of infanticide, and a 5% risk of suicide.
  • Historically, states have used one of the following tests to determine whether a defendant was legally insane during the commission of a crime: the M'Naughten (Common Law) test, the “irresistible impulse” test, the Durham or “product” test, and the model penal code test.