Legal Abuse – Psychiatric Ploys of Child Custody by Dr. Jeanne King

Abuse is about control and so is litigation. And the perpetrator thrives in this arena. It’s no surprise that battered women going through this ordeal (family court) end up homeless, penniless and childless.” ~ Dr. Jeanne King

In a divorce or child custody proceeding, an abuse perpetrator will often seek sole custody of the child in order to gain power and control over the victim. Abusers also seek custody as a way to deflect abuse allegations, and to portray themselves in a more favorable light. Incredibly, abusers win custody of the children they have abused at high rates. According to studies, an abusive parent will win custody in 70-83% of cases. 

How does this happen? The “Legal Domestic Abuse” video by Dr. Jeanne King exposes common legal and psychiatric ploys used by an abuser to convince a court that they are the better parent. These ploys also work to deprive custody (and visitation) from the safe, protective parent.

Psychiatric ploys are used when an abuser accuses the other parent of being mentally ill, unfit or accuses them of Parental Alienation Syndrome (or any of its by products). If the parent passes a psychiatric evaluation, the abuser will find or create a craziness in the parent – or in the children. Dr. Jeanne King says, “If we can’t establish that the mother is crazy, we’ll establish the children are crazy or going crazy under her care…this is how children become casualties in the abuser’s use of the court in their effort to control and batter their victims.“Misuse and abuse of the mental health system is causing fit, loving parents to lose custody and children to be placed in unsafe situations.

This video describes the legal and psychiatric ploys, and how they are used.

Learn more from Dr. Jeanne King:



Additional Information: 

10 Custody Myths and How to Counter Them -ABA Commission on Domestic Violence

Myths That Place Children At Risk During Custody Litigation



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Minnesota GAL Reform Efforts: Changes Proposed to Guardian ad Litem Appointment & Responsibilities (HF3564)


The efforts of parents and supporters working to address systemic failures within the (family court) Guardian ad Litem Program have resulted in sweeping reforms taking place in several states, across the nation. Will Minnesota be next to publicly address GAL program failures, its devastating impact on families, and seek reform?

In Minnesota, efforts are underway to improve the Guardian ad Litem Program by changing the laws that define the responsibilities of a GAL, and their role in family court. In March 2016, a proposed in a bill, HF 3564 was presented to the legislature.

HF 3564 as introduced – 89th Legislature (2015 – 2016)

The proposed bill, HF 3564, was a result of the collaborative efforts of parents who had been involved in the family court system, and experienced significant problems existing in the GAL program. These parents are motivated to improve the GAL program in order to better protect children, and to improve the system for all families


The changes proposed in HF 3564, were drawn from a variety of sources, this is a collaborative effort, including: studies and research about the GAL program (including the 1995 audit), professional input from community sources and feedback from parents, from across Minnesota, who were involved with the GAL program. Other feedback used was drawn from a 1997 hearing before the Supreme Court, who was then considering adopting new rules to define the role and responsibility of a family court GAL. That hearing allowed the public to comment on the proposed changes and resulted in establishing the Rules of Guardian ad Litem Procedure. It is those Rules of Procedure that HF 3564 is now seeking to amend, as problems have continued to go unchecked within Minnesota’s GAL program for over 20 years.

An excerpt of a written statement submitted by advocates from Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center, Inc in March 1997 to the Minnesota Supreme Court, who were considering acting on recommendations from the GAL Task Force, struck a strong chord in explaining the issues that faced the GAL program then, and continue to be issues the program faces today: Although our experiences with the Guardian ad Litem vary to some degree, we all agree that the lack of structure, training, code of professional ethics, and accountability in the current use of Guardian ad Litem in Family Court have been detrimental to the mental and physical well-being of the children involved, the safety and security of their homes, and the performance of the Judicial System as to their best interests.”

Commonly raised complaints about the GAL program center around two main themes. First, Guardians hold too much power in family court, and routinely perform duties beyond their mandated responsibilities or otherwise abuse their power and position. Along with that is the complaint that judges overly rely on Guardians, and assign them to perform duties which are beyond their statutory duties, or which they are not qualified to do.

Another common complaint about the Guardian ad Litem program, is mishandling of domestic violence and child abuse allegations. The failure of a Guardian to recognize abuse, and how the cycle of abuse continues after separation, and into the legal process often results in fit, loving parents being unjustly deprived of custody and/or visitation. The children are then placed into custody or visitation with allegedly abusive or unfit parents, at great risk to their safety and well-being.


HF3564 address these issues, some of the changes the proposed bill recommends include:

  • – Limiting the length a GAL can be appointed on a family court case to 180 days. Judges may ask for an extension to the appointment if supported by new findings or if there are ongoing incidents of domestic abuse, neglect or endangerment.
  • – When a GAL is appointed to a case, a judge must issue an appointment order defining the specific issues of concern. The GAL should only investigate and report on those specific issues of concern. If additional issues or concerns arise, all parties must be notified in writing. A hearing may be requested to expand the appointment of a GAL.
  • – A GAL must include supporting documents and records with their report. If a professional report is included, a GAL must submit that report in its entirety without interpretation.
  • – A GAL cannot offer a professional opinion or statement to an area they are not qualified in.
  • – A GAL is prohibited from making any medical or mental health diagnosis, prognosis or treatment. However, a GAL can recommend an evaluation.
  • – A GAL is prohibited from making formal recommendations or mandating a client to work with specific professionals, providers or named services.
  • – A family court GAL cannot participate in a Child Protective investigation or screening. A GAL can make a mandated report, as required by law.
  • – A family court GAL should not make placement arrangements or remove a child from the home

HF 3564 as introduced – 89th Legislature (2015 – 2016)

In March 2016, the proposed bill (HF3564) was read in the House but failed to gain traction needed to move forward to be passed into law. The need for GAL reform remains strong, with families across Minnesota experiencing the brunt of program failures. In states like Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine, Guardian ad Litem reform was passed but required time, effort and dedication on behalf of supporters. The first steps initiated by these brave parents are just part of the journey; hopefully the ideas and the need for them presented in HF 3564 will take hold, and others will pick up the mantle to push for GAL reform in Minnesota. Minnesota has some work to do… but be encouraged by the progress in other states that have enacted reform. It is now up to us to respond to a call to action, and work towards reforming the GAL program to address its failures, to ensure better outcomes for children and families.


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Family Law Expert Shares: What Makes a Good Family Court Judge

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Family law expert, Henry Gornbein, shares his thoughts on what makes a good family court judge: What Makes a Good Family Court Judge? by Henry Gornbein

Gornbein is a practicing attorney in Michigan for more than 40 years who also works as a public speaker and author. He offers valuable insight from inside the courtroom.

Gornbein says some family court judges exhibit “Black Robe Syndrome” where they are arrogant, forget about the law or the needs of the litigants before them, and have a “holier than thou” attitude. However, Gornbein believes most judges are fair, considerate and work hard to resolve the issues in a case.

Gornbein then shares what attributes, he feels, makes a good family court judge, including (for full list please visit link above):

  • Work towards resolution, and go to trial only as a last resort
  • Remember that you are human, and could face a divorce or a similar issue as a litigant in court… i.e. treat others how you would want to be treated
  • Listen, and show compassion
  • Maintain control over proceedings in the courtroom, do not let arguments go on endlessly
  • Be fair and unbiased

What do you think makes a good family court judge? Share your ideas in the comments section! 

On a personal note. I was the victim of a crime, and when the offender was apprehended, I went to criminal court to make a victim impact statement. While I was awaiting my turn, I had the opportunity to watch the judge attend to business on other cases.

What I liked about this judge:

  • I was very impressed with this judge, he had an ability to balance the need for punitive action but also made the effort to instill lessons, and offer opportunities for litigants to get needed help, resources or to take steps to improve their situation.
  • The judge explained his decisions clearly, and when speaking to the litigant, he looked them in the eye and spoke with a firm but neutral tone. There was no lecturing, shaming, yelling or speaking down to litigants.
  • The judge was willing to work with the prosecuting attorney, and other professionals involved in the case, to consider other remedies or solutions. Or to incorporate those ideas or solution within the remedy of the law.


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(April 2015) Augusta Guardian ad Litem Program Implements New Guidelines to Improve Oversight and Accountability

“Guardian ad litem programs nationwide are under scrutiny for these problems and others, including violating parents’ due process rights, overstepping their legal authority and failing to protect children from abusive parents.

If these programs are indeed designed to represent the “best interests” of children, then the courts have a legal, moral and ethical obligation to ensure they are acting prudently.” ~ Augusta Chronicle Staff, 4/16/2015: “Finally, guidelines for guardians”. 

Public Domain, E-Zara:

(Augusta, Georgia: May 2015) For years, the Augusta Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program has been plagued with serious problems. Including: lack of accountability, judges making their own rules, certain GALs being assigned to more cases than others, unfair billing practices and lack of consistency in program rules and expectations.

Parents reported that they felt abused by the GAL program, and that their families had suffered due to its failures.“Instead of being a calming influence in often contentious and highly personal cases, local guardians ad litem actually caused more trauma.” (Augusta Chronicle, 4/16/2015). Many parents complained that when they filed a complaint, their concerns were dismissed or ignored.

In May 2015, the August Judicial Circuit  initiated a systemic overhaul, based on a 13 page list of recommendations,  to address problems, and to improve the GAL program. The new guidelines were written by the executive committee of the Augusta Bar Association’s Family Law Section to increase accountability, improve billing procedures, improve training, and create professional-conduct policies.

Significant changes have also been made to the application process; which applies to both new GALs and current GALs, who must re-apply under the new rules to be place on an “approved Guardian list”. Under the new rules, the Bar Association is responsible for reviewing the applications of prospective Guardians. To apply, anyone who wants to become a GAL must pay a $300 application fee and be interviewed. Instead of a 40 hour training course, a new GAL must have 5 years of experience in a related field, two letters of recommendation and a certificate from an organized training seminar. A prospective GAL must also participate in mentoring with another guardian who has at least 3 years of experience in the program. If the prospective GAL meets the requirements and passes the application process, they will be placed on on approved list that judges use to select Guardians.  In addition, 12 hours of continuing education is required each year.

To address billing issues, the new guidelines limit GAL fees to $500 per case (unless authorized otherwise by a judge) and must include an invoices to give detailed descriptions of all charges. GALs are prohibited from charging interest, and unpaid charges must be addressed with the assigned judge.


In July 2015 the reform efforts hit a roadblock when the Judicial Circuit refused to acknowledge the approved Guardian list, and expressed that they will rely on “judicial discretion” rather than conform to the new guidelines. According to Chief Judge Carlisle Overstreet, “...circuit judges did not endorse the list as the one they will use to appoint guardians and (said) that the family law group’s recommendations were only ‘filed as information.‘” (Source: Judges retain ‘absolute discretion’ on guardian ad litem appointments) The lack of consistency in the GAL program, with judges making up their own rules has been cited as a contributing factor to problems in the GAL program.

Concerns about the new GAL guidelines should not deter needed and necessary reform efforts. Efforts to improve the program and it’s services should be made a priority because program provides a service to the public, and directly affects outcomes for children and families.

Read More: 

Augusta courts respond to complaints against guardians ad litem

Judges retain ‘absolute discretion’ on guardian ad litem appointments

Protesters turn out against “Guardian Ad Litem” system

The Augusta guardian ad litem program overhauled

A Comprehensive Approach to Serving as Juvenile Court GAL (Guardian ad Litem Juvenile Training Video, DeKalb County Georgia)


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Update from Sarah Collins: Falsely Accused of Parental Alienation by the GAL for Having Summer Parenting Time with Children

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Sarah Collins is a Minnesota mother of two young children who is involved in an ongoing custody case in Hennepin County. She is speaking out about how the family court system, and Guardian ad Litem program has abused its power, and discretion, and failed to protect her children from abuse. The children were exposed to pornography while in the care of their father, and there have been other allegations of abuse raised as well.

Sarah says she is being punished, and falsely accused of parental alienation, by Guardian ad Litem Susan Olson, who has failed to investigate the facts of the case and failed to contact collateral witnesses and professionals involved with the family. Instead of gathering facts and documentation, Olson relies on what she “thinks”. One example of this is that Sarah was falsely accused of parental alienation by Olson because she does not approve of her summer visitation schedule with the children. Sarah and children have historically spent the entire summer months together, which has never been questioned until Olson was appointed as Guardian ad Litem.

It should be noted that in Minnesota, a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) does not have the statutory authority to make any mental health or medical diagnosis or recommend treatment for either a parent or a child. It also violates APA ethical standards for a mental health practitioner to engage in “dual roles” (also known as multiple relationships). Any form of medical treatment should only be handled by a licensed professional, and in cases of domestic abuse, the professional should have knowledge and experience in dealing with abuse, trauma and related issues.

Sarah has filed a complaint against Susan Olson with the Guardian ad Litem Program, and feels that State Program Administrator Suzanne Alliegro, and the GAL program as a whole, is dismissing her concerns without proper investigation. Instead of protecting children, Sarah feels the GAL Program is working to protect its own.

Sarah claims that Olson has retaliated against her for filing complaints, and is in fear that she will permanently lose custody of her children.

Olson has denied any wrong doing. She has been a Guardian ad Litem with Hennepin County for over 10 years.

The City Pages previously published an article on Sarah Collins that can be read here: What to do when you can’t trust the guardian of your kids? by Susan Du (City Pages)

Sarah says:

Here is the statement from the Judge in our case regarding Susan Olson’s claims of Parental Alienation against me. Keeping in mind that her basis for these allegations were a complete refusal to speak with me for 9 months of the year she was on the case, refusal to speak to the children’s therapists, refusal to look into the facts in the case regarding transitions.

Basically, because the children have spent every summer for their whole lives with their brothers and sister in my home, that very same aspect of the life they have always known is what she has used to accuse me of Parental Alienation. So, if you are a devoted parent who built your life and work schedule around your children, you too are guilty of Parental Alienation by the standard set by the MN G.A.L. program led by Suzanne Alliegro. This has knowingly been done by letting Susan Olson make these Parental Alienation claims.

The Guardian also expressed concern that it might increase the danger of alienation of the children from Petitioner Burns. She expressed the opinion that there were numerous reasons not to give Respondent Collins more than 50% of the time and to take away Petitioner Burns’ ability to enroll the children in activities during his parenting time. She testified as follows: “Well, I think that taking away father’s ability to decide for the children during his time things such as enrichment camps doesn’t benefit the children. . . .The level of contempt that I observed early on in this case, in my view, disqualifies them as parents who would–parents who have children who would benefit from right of first refusal. . . .” (Olson Transcript, pp. 25-26.)

She further testified that it might lead to alienation: “. . . I think that it can lead to alignment to the children. I think if the court orders right of first refusal, particularly during just someone’s work hours, I think that it sets the children up to be aligned against their father.” (Olson Transcript, p. 27.)

Our family now knows how Susan Olson follows through on her threats.

After refusing to speak to our children’s therapists, despite the ongoing harm the children continue to report to their therapists, Susan Olson followed through on her threat to punish our family for questioning her on her lies and manipulations. The punishment was to set our abuser up to continue to seek full custody. How? By her allegations of Parental Alienation.

We have confirmed that at least one other case of Olson’s experienced this allegation as well in the month of May 2016. Susan Alliegro is responsible for this toxic woman’s harm of the victims of abusers and her own pride and ego are responsible for continuing Susan Olson’s wrath against victims and children.”

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(Repost) GAL Coordinator Laura Miles – Going the Extra Mile for Fatherhood Organization

Can a family court Guardian ad Litem (GAL) advocate for the best interest of a child, while also advocating, and promoting, their own special interests?

Guardian ad Litem Coordinator, Laura Mile’s work with a prominent fatherhood organization provides yet another example of the need for increased accountability, and oversight, in Minnesota’s troubled GAL program.

Read the full article on Red Herring Alert (below)

Laura Miles. GAL Program Coordinator   mn

Red Herring Alert

The need for justice grows out of the conflict of human interests...” ~ Thomas Nixon Carver

Can a family court Guardian ad Litem (GAL)  advocate for the best interest of a child, while also advocating, and promoting, their own special interests? One Guardian ad Litem Coordinator’s work with a fatherhood organization provides yet another example of the need for increased accountability, and oversight, in Minnesota’s troubled GAL program. 

Laura Miles, Guardian ad Litem Coordinator for Dakota and Goodhue counties, served as a board member in a well-known fatherhood organization in 2014 and 2015 (board terms for this organization last a period of 3 years). The stated mission of this fatherhood org is to “change the way government agencies interact with fathers and children”. That the GAL program is a government agency raises serious questions about Miles involvement, especially since her work involves supervising and training other Guardians, who may become indoctrinated if…

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U.S. Court of Appeals Rules Sex Trafficking Can Never Satisfy the Definition of a Crime of Violence

August 2015, United States District Court for the District of Maryland (Baltimore) –  In an outrageous ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, dismissed a pimp’s fire arm conviction for “possession and use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence” because it has determined that sex trafficking is NOT a crime of violence and “because sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion can never satisfy § 924(c)(3)’s definition of a crime of violence..”Appellate Ruling No. 13-4755


Sex Trafficking IS a crime of violence and involves receiving a profit from the sexual exploitation of human beings, including children. The response of the Fourth Circuit Appeals Court places victims of sex trafficking and other violent crimes at greater risk by refusing to acknowledge the brutality of these crimes; and thereby giving perpetrators a lighter sentence than they deserve.

The ruling was made despite evidence and testimony that the pimps Kevin Fuertes and German de Jesus Ventura ran a brothel in a Hispanic neighborhood in Annapolis, Maryland. Competitors were threatened with violence. The men are suspects in the 2008 murder of a competitor, and in the brutal beating of another competitor.

My thoughts after reading the ruling is that the Fourth Circuit Court did not view this case as “sex trafficking” but rather assumed the victim willingly entered into prostitution, which was also referred to in the ruling as the “sex trade”. The word “trade” implies the sexual act is not only done with consent but is a “trade” made among equals.

According to the Fourth Circuit ruling, “..we conclude that the conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) for possession and use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence was erroneous because, we hold, sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a), is not categorically a crime of violence…”

SO if sex trafficking is not a crime of violence, what is it?

Section 924 (c)(3) defines a “crime of violence” as “an offense that is a felony and—(A) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or (B) that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.” ALL of these elements are involved in sex trafficking.

A victim’s efforts to escape sex trafficking are often challenged by further acts of violence and intimidation, and a countless number of are murdered. The efforts of these victims to escape, and to file criminal charges is heroic. 

Very few victims of sex trafficking actually make reports, and this ruling may deter other victims from coming forward because the Fourth Circuit Appeals Court has failed to recognize the brutality behind sex trafficking and instead has implied the victim gave consent to be trafficked, or is somehow at fault for the violence inflicted on her (victim blaming).  

The ruling was also made despite testimony from a woman who described being brutally beaten, forced to have sex, and held against her will by German de Jesus Ventura, one of the pimps. During the trial, a physician who examined the woman and did a forensic medical examination, reports, “Dr. — testified that — (the victim’s) explanations as to how she received certain injuries were generally consistent with her own observations during the examination.” The woman also stated that on one occasion the pimps fired a gun in order to intimidate her.

The pimps were also charged with transporting a woman out of state while engaging in the sex trafficking.

The Fourth Circuit Court also found, “..substantial evidence that Fuertes and Ventura forced (the victim)—a young woman illegally present in the country with no English skills and a third-grade education—into prostitution..

However, according to the Fourth Circuit Court” The evidence of threats and acts of violence was no more “sensational or disturbing” than the sex trafficking crimes with which Fuertes and Ventura were charged...”

How the Fourth Circuit can overlook the violence perpetrated on this victim, and others, due to trafficking is beyond comprehension – and is personally, to me, a concern to the safety and well-being of our community, and society, is at risk by judges who hold positions of power, and are not held accountable when their actions and rulings pose a danger to individuals, and the greater society as a whole. 

Let’s be clear – Sex trafficking is not consensual – it is slavery, and involves torture, abuse and intimidation in order to get victims to comply. 

In a 2012 speech delivered to the UN General Assembly Interactive Dialouge, Michelle Bachelet, UN Women Director & Former President of Chile says, “It is difficult to think of a crime more hideous and shocking than human trafficking. Yet it is one of the fastest growing and lucrative crimes. And an estimated 80 percent of those trafficked are used and abused as sexual slaves.This human rights violation is driven by the demand for sexual services and the profit they generate; the commodification of human beings as sexual objects..

Michelle Bachelet says that human rights and justice for victims must be put first in efforts to end trafficking, and to protect victims. The law should work to penalize the traffickers and their clients – not the victims. Fighting Human Trafficking: Partnership and Innovation to End Violence against Women

The Fourth Circuit ruling also contradicts a 2001 study done by the U.S. Department of Justice found that physical violence “was an intrinsic part” of sex trafficking.

A jury did convict Appellants Kevin Garcia Fuertes and German de Jesus Ventura  of a number of sex trafficking and related offenses. The firearm conviction would have brought an additional 5 years to the sentence, if not overturned in appellate court.


For More Information on This Ruling and It’s Impact Please Read: U.S. Judge Rules Sexual Trafficking Is Not a Violent Crime (Andrew Mark Bennett, The Daily Beast)

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Family Court Reform Shares: Tips for Grassroots Advocacy in Family Court, GAL Program

The advocacy group Family Court Reform shares tips on how to make changes, and initiate reform, in the family court system and Guardian ad Liem program through grassroots advocacy efforts: A Basic Tool Kit for Grass Roots Family Court Reform

Family Court Reform says about their reform efforts, “We grew our program, Family Court Reform by stages and degrees, learning by trial and error as we grew. 

We quickly set two fixed goals: (1)education of the public about the need for reform of family courts and Guardians ad litem, and (2) legislation to produce change. 

We feel that you can’t have legislated change for these dysfunctional systems without an enlightened, aware public that will support and push for change.  Legislation also requires that we  educate legislators about the family court and Guardian ad litem problems, and also that we help voters connect with legislators and- as constituents/voters – express their views and their wishes.”

The tips offered are broken down in easy to read suggestions, and are based on the experiences of advocates already working towards reform.

One suggestion not included in this list that I would add is to research the pertinent issues involved, and be willing to talk to or network with a broad base of people/professionals who have experience and/or knowledge on the issues.

What I appreciate about the FCR tips is that they are realistic. – Taking into account the complexity of the system problems in the family court and GAL program, reform is a challenging task that will require hard work, dedication and perseverance (it’s a long term project, progress may not happen right away but is a result of continued effort).  I also liked the positive tone of the article.

What did you think about the FCR tips for grassroots reform? Any ideas or suggestions of your own? Please post your thoughts in the comments below!

Source: I like this picture because it reminds me of the different forces (legal system, family law professionals, family dynamic, community etc) that commonly impact a family involved in a family law dispute.

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Kids for Cash Special Investigation by Democracy Now!

“And we stood there, and in 30 seconds he was cuffed and shackled and taken away. And, I mean, that was the worst feeling, seeing him turn and look at me like, you know, “What’s going on?” And there was nothing I can do. That’s frozen into my psyche for the rest of my life, that look that was on his face.” – Sandy Fonzo, mother of Ed Kenzakoski. Ed was sentenced to 30 days in a juvenile boot camp by former Judge Mark Ciavarella on a minor charge of having drug paraphernalia. The experience deeply traumatized Ed, who later committed suicide.

(Luzerne County, PA) – Democracy Now!, an independent news program, did a special investigation the “Kids for Cash” scandal and interviewed two victims and their families. 

Kids For Cash: Inside One of the Nation’s Most Shocking Juvenile Justice Scandals


The Kids for Cash scandal involved two former judges Judge Mark Ciavarella and Senior Judge Michael Conahan, who accepted money (“kickbacks”) from a builder of two private, for-profit youth centers for the detention of juveniles. In return the former Judges imposed harsh sentences on the juvenile brought before their courts to incarcerate them in the detention facilities, and increase the number of residents. The children were not given legal counsel when appearing in court and were quickly found guilty then sentenced to out-of-home placement in juvenile detention facilities, even for minor offenses that usually did not require incarceration.

From 2003 to 2008, the Kids for Cash scheme involved more than 2500 children and involved more than 6000 cases.  The United States Attorney alleged that the former judges received $2.6 million in kickbacks. 

Ciavarella was convicted in 2011 of racketeering and other charges, and sentenced to 28 years in prison. Conahan, pleaded guilty to racketeering and was sentenced to more than 17 years behind bars.

In 2009, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated the adjudications of all youth who appeared before Ciavarella between 2003-2008, dismissed their cases with prejudice and ordered all of their records expunged.

The victims and their families have also won millions in judgments from the owners of the juvenile detention facilities.



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