Fact Sheet



PROBLEM: Custody is given to abusive fathers because fatherhood programs mandate increasing non- custodial parents (NCP) custody regardless of abuse. A hidden agenda of fatherhood initiatives legislation was the intentional overriding of State rebuttable presumption custody laws resulting in approximately 58,000 children living with sexual, physical and emotional abusers per year.

FACT: 58,000 children/year ordered to abusers. http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/med/PR3.html How Many Children Are Court-Ordered Ito Unsupervised Contact With an Abusive Parent After Divorce?, By Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, The Leadership Council, Press Release, Sept. 22, 2008.

FACT: Access Services Result in Increased Parenting Time with Children

“In FY 2008, 39,692 noncustodial parents (NCPs) increased parenting time with their children. This is a 19-percent increase over FY 2007 when 33,224 NCPs increased parenting time with their children (Chart J).” Source: U.S..Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Child Access and Visitation Grants: State/Jurisdiction Profiles for FY2008 (Washington DC, March 8,2010).

“In FY 2005, approximately 32,174 fathers received access and visitation services. In addition, 21,874 non-custodial parents (NCPs) were able to obtain increased parenting time with their children.” Source: ACF/OCSE/Child Access and Visitation Grants: State/Jurisdiction Profiles for FY 2005.

FACT: Fatherhood Initiative Programs do not consider sexual abuse of children, physical violence, psychological abuse, coercive control, alcoholism, drug addiction, criminal history, and other “negative” or “detrimental” behaviors/characteristics under the increased custody mandate. Source: Appendix, Legislative History, Fatherhood Initiatives: Connecting Fathers to their Children, Congressional Research Service, Carmen Solomon-Fears, Oct 22, 2013.

State Child Access Program Survey Guidance, page 4, Counselors.

FACT: AV Services occur as part of family court litigation. “While courts continue to be the primary source of parent referrals (35,552) to AV services, child support agencies made significant strides by increasing their number of parent referrals from 3,622 to FY 2004 to 15,377 in FY 2005.” Source: ACF/OCSE/Child Access and Visitation Grants: State/Jurisdiction Profiles for FY 2005.”

“Section 391 of P.L. 104-193) funded the following activities in FY2008: mediation, counseling, parental education (including co-parenting), development of parenting plans, visitation enforcement, monitored visitation, neutral drop-off and pickup, supervised visitation, and development of guidelines for visitation and custody” Source: ACF/OCSE/Child Access and Visitation Grants: State/Jurisdiction Profiles for FY 2008.”

FACT: States require assessment of abuse in custody determinations. Source: http://www.ncjfcj.org/our-work/state-laws Downloadable charts (3) Custody - Rebuttable Presumption; Domestic Violence as a Factor; Registered Sex Offender.

FACT: Fatherhood Programs have a custody component and custody is the most frequently used service. “Most fatherhood programs include parenting education; mediation services for both [authors note: mothers treated as a barrier to increasing fathers custody, abuse is ignored or termed “mutual”] ; providing an understanding of the CSE program [authors note: support and custody are intrinsically tied, support decreases with increases in custody]” Source: Fatherhood Initiatives: Connecting Fathers to Their Children” Carmen Solomon-Fears, Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report, 2013, Introduction “This report briefly examines the role of the CSE agency in fatherhood programs and discusses initiatives to promote and support father-child interaction outside the parents’ relationship.”

“Some of the recommendations for future programs include…providing fathers with legal services to help them gain visitation rights; and encouraging partnerships between CSE agencies and fatherhood programs.” Cynthia Miller and Virginia Knox, The Challenge of Helping Low-Income Fathers Support Their Children: Final Lessons from Parents’ Fair Share (New York: MDRC, November 2001), p. v., quoted from Fatherhood Initiatives.

“PACT participants also desire and value services and information related to custody and visitation, in the hope that such services will increase their legal access to their children.” “To further assist fathers with paternity, child support, custody, and parenting time agreements, some of the programs offer legal services. These legal services are typically in high demand” “Relationship workshops that were offered separately from other workshops had the lowest retention rates—just 2 to 15% participated in at least half of the relationship group sessions.” “Responsible Fatherhood Programs In The Parents And Children Together (Pact) Evaluation” M. Robin Dion, Heather Zaveri, and Pamela Holcomb, AFCC Newsletter, Family Court Review, April, 2015

Catalogue of Research: Programs for Low Income Fathers, Mathematica Policy Research, 2011. Note: Program Descriptions (custody is called mediation, access, visitation, reintegration, reunification), and Gender (100% male). Impact studies do not assess custody outcomes.

FACT: AV funding created a “custody culture” of preference for fathers, using assignment of court service providers, prolonged litigation, disregard of protection from abuse custody laws and negative, detrimental-to-children behaviors, history of primary caregiving, and due process protections.

“Convene commissions to implement AV program goals including Judges, court administrators, child support administrators, advocacy groups (e.g. fatherhood organizations) and service providers.” A Collaboration and Strategic Planning Guide: Child Access and Visitation Grant Programs, Oct. 2006.

Example of AV Litigation Plan: “Changing the Culture of Custody in Pennsylvania” 2007.
Note: Motherless America: Confronting Welfare’s Fatherhood Custody Program” by Doreen Ludwig, explains the failure to ensure due process, pages 242-244.

FACT: TANF funds Fatherhood - $305 million in 2009; $288 million in 2012

“The 63% reduction in the cash welfare caseload, together with the fixed block grant funding, means funds that otherwise would have been spent for cash assistance are now available for other purposes. These other purposes could include fatherhood initiatives, which are allowable uses of TANF and state MOE funds. Moreover, fatherhood initiatives are not subject to the requirements that apply to spending for ongoing cash assistance such as work requirements and time limits.” Fatherhood Initiatives: Connecting Fathers to their Children, Congressional Research Service, Carmen Solomon-Fears, Oct 22, 2013.

FACT: Abusive men use custody and litigation to continue their abuse.
Are "Good Enough" Parents Losing Custody To Abusive Ex-Partners? By Stephanie Dallam

FACT: Fathers who batter their children's mothers can be expected to use abusive power and control techniques to control the children too.
“Myths That Place Children At Risk During Custody Litigation” Dallam, S.J., & Silverg, J.L. (Jan/Feb. 2006). http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/cust_myths.html

FACT: Abuse and childhood trauma has long-term health and social consequences NOT fatherlessness.
http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/ http://www.acestudy.org/

World Health Organization, “Global status report on violence prevention 2014”

FACT: Fatherhood programs have not alleviated poverty, single parenting, and poor childhood outcomes.
“How Funding For Fatherhood Programs Harmed Children – A White Paper For Congress”

FACT: Family Courts have failed to correct inherent fraud created by the fatherhood custody mandate, including, but not limited to, allegations of Parental Alienation Syndrome. “Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: A Research Review” Joan S. Meier

Truth Commission Findings and Solutions, 4th Battered Mothers Custody Conference, January 13, 2007

Conclusion: Jurisdictional Profiles and State Child Access Program Survey Guidance reporting guidelines prove large numbers of abusers are purposely receiving increased custody regardless of their propensity for abuse and other behaviors detrimental to children’s welfare. The federal fatherhood custody mandate must immediately desist and custody must be determined solely based on fact and law.