Please Resurrect the Connecticut Parental Rights Bills That Died in Committee!
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Members of the Judiciary Committee,
An email sent to many of you on February 22nd, 2017 asking for assistance on this issue, remains unanswered.
On behalf of myself and hundreds of other parents in Connecticut, we are wondering what caused the languishing of nearly 15 parental rights related bills? We are not aware of public hearings related to any of our bills, yet many other child welfare related bills were afforded a hearing, such as An Act Concerning the Use of Recycled Tire Rubber at Municipal and Public School Playgrounds. If this Act made it to a public hearing, what about bills concerning fundamental parental rights? Why did they die in committee? Will any of them make it to a public hearing? We are very concerned.
Our families are fractured and are desperate for change. The legislative branch has become the only glimmer of hope many of us have left. We cannot get relief by going to court, no matter how many hoops we jump through at the direction of judges and court-appointed vendors. We are out of money, and we are out of time.
These bills are not solely designed as a benefit to the parents, but designed to benefit to our children and extended families of our children, whom many have been cut out of these young people’s lives by unconstitutional Family Court orders.
The now-dead bills are designed to promote the health of our society and our younger generation, who are still developing brain synapses and formative attachments. The absence of one fit parent is the one of the core risk factors in whether or not an adolescent child will develop a dependence on illegal substances, become suicidal, become a teenage parent, engage in delinquency, and fail to finish school. We already know all this, as the veracity of the evidence supporting this has been widely accepted for decades.
The current Connecticut statues, which allows a Family Court judge to create a “best interest” finding by selecting a winning parent and a losing parent, often relying on he said/she said "evidence" are unconstitutional. The seizure of fundamental rights requires far more than what is utilized by Family Court judges to justify the cutting out of one parent.
The bills would reform the problems parents face, thanks to the CT statues that only apply to divorcing parnets. The determination of “best interest” in an intact family would never be dictated by a state judge, as it lies solely within the intimate decisions of two fit parents. A Family Court judge does not remove a fit parent from an intact marriage, so therefore a Family Court judge does not have a claim on the rights on a fit, but divorcing parent.
A change in marital status is not a waiver of parents’ fundamental right to family integrity - nor is it a compelling state interest to relegate one parent to “visitor” status, overnight, without a fitness hearing. Yet, Family Court judges do this anyway.
Our fundamental rights deserve Equal Protection under the 14th Amendment, and should not evaporate simply because the other parent wants this to happen. Our statues allow for the other parent to force litigation when they disagree to equality. This is no different than people of color not being allowed to ride a certain bus, because white people were uncomfortable with the notion. Yet, Family Court judges endorse this unconstitutional "winner take all" model.
As was brilliantly stated by Representative Urban of Stonington today on NPR, the mental health resources for our young people are in crisis. One way to circumvent these issues from appearing in the first place is to honor the mother and father role in a child's life, rather than our statues allowing a Family Court judge to artificially strip one parent from the equation, because the parents "can't agree" on a parenting plan.
Allowing one parent to be the gatekeeper to the other parent's parental rights causes unnecessary and destructive litigation that often plagues the family for the duration of the child's formative years, which aggravates the mental state of the child as they approach adolescence. Please listen to "Where We Live" on NPR that was broadcasted this morning (February 27,2017).
Taxpayers do not want this problem in our young people. Our families have suffered far too long. Constituents and taxpayers do not want their future doctors, lawmakers, teachers and parents to come from broken homes and have residual mental health issues that prevent them from participating in society. It’s in society’s best interest to have happy and healthy children. It’s in the network of our collective value system as Americans.
On behalf of many devastated parents, who are rapidly running out of time to save their parent-child relationship, we need the Judiciary to amend the current statues and make them constitutional. We call on the Committee to resurrect the 2017 parental rights bills that have died. We can’t keep waiting, year after year, hoping that the legislature will help us.
Please let us know how and why these bills died in committee, and how they can be resurrected? We are not asking for funding, so the Appropriations Committee does not need to approve anything. The Children’s Committee surely would support children being raised by two fit parents, with all the fatherhood initiatives that the state receives in federal grants. Can the Children's Committee reintroduce them?
17 million non-custodial parents are suffering the same fate as many CT parents, and would like to know what led up to the bills being blocked. Is there anything the public can do to resurrect any of these bills?
Thank you in advance for your attention to this urgent matter.
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