CA: A New Kind of Jail for Moms with Young Kids

In California (and a few other states), the child of an incarcerated, nonviolent, mother need not be forced into foster care. Instead, the child may be able to head to jail with his or her mother.

Except that, recently, concerns have arisen about the quality of medical care delivered in these “mom’s prisons”. There have reportedly been one questionable death, and several injuries and illnesses not caught and treated as early as they probably should have been.

Most of the moms in these facilities are drug offenders. And they represent the fastest growing segment of the population of inmates in California.

Approximately seventy-five percent of these moms have custody of their children at the time they are sentenced.

The larger question is: should inmate mothers have their young children with them in confinement? Or should the children be temporarily placed with relatives or, if necessary, into foster care?

Read more in this provocative New York Times article: California Investigates a Mother-and-Child Prison Center.

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Divorcing Christ Impersonator Turned Antichrist

A Miami area media personality is divorcing a wealthy celebrity preacher going through an apparent identity crisis.

First, he reportedly announced in 2004 that he was Jesus Christ. Later, he reportedly announced that he was the Antichrist.

The preacher is under investigation over alleged financial improprieties with his church.

The woman believes that her divorce suit is like a wakeup call to her husband, which will ultimately benefit him. She still follows her husband’s religious teachings.

The couple lived an extravagant lifestyle, which she will be seeking to maintain.

If the case goes to trial, it should certainly be dramatic. The presiding judge will surely need to possess the wisdom of a King Solomon.

Read more in this Miami Herald article: Life with the Antichrist: Wife divorcing preacher.

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Standing of Parents in Deed But Not in Gene

I have blogged a number of times on grandparents’ rights with respect to visitation and custody of their grandchildren. In a nutshell, for better or worse, those rights have eroded over the last several years.

One of the terms that sometimes comes up in this context is de facto parent, someone who is not legally a parent but who in fact plays the role of parent.

Sometimes, this may be a grandparent. Sometimes it may be stepparent. Sometimes it may be the legal parent’s gay partner. Sometimes it is someone else.

As long as the legal parent is alive and the relationship with the de facto parent is intact, the de facto parent is for all intents and purposes, a parent.

But if the legal parent’s relationship with the de facto parent sours – or the legal parent dies – the de facto parent’s legal standing with respect to the child often is non-existent.

A recent article reveals the concerns of a grandmother who fulfills many of the duties of a mother – because her son has custody of his daughter. The grandmother believes the mother’s lifestyle is too unstable for a child – and worries what would happen to the child if something happened to her son.

Then there is the stepdad who treats his stepdaughter as his own. What if something were to happen to his wife?

Under current national trends, the law focuses on the parent’s constitutional rights.

These surrogate parents suggest that the biological or legal parents’ rights should be subordinated to the rights, needs and best interests of the child.

Just as it is when one biological or legal parent is pitted against the other biological or legal parent.

And some Utahns (and other Americans) are working for legislative reform in this area.

Read more in this Desert Morning News article: Custody laws put many in limbo.

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CT Offers Resources for Dads Who Are Primary Caregivers

Norwich, Connecticut is trying to help fathers be better at fathering. How?

The Madonna Place Fatherhood Initiative Program, a nonprofit organization launched in 1999.

The Madonna Place offers extended parenting classes geared toward fathers serving as primary caregivers – and co-parenting couples. Some attend under court order, some by choice.

Madonna Place also offers assistance with obtaining employment and legal resources.

And last, but certainly not least, Madonna Place offers moral support from the staff and mutual support of others in similar circumstances.

Read more in this Norwich Bulletin article: Dad learns what it takes.

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