CJI Featured: How Claims Of Abuse And Alienation Affect Who Gets Child Custody

In Blog by Child Justice, Inc.

Child Justice's Legal Director, Paul Griffin, was recently featured on The Kojo Nnamdi Show talking about how claims of abuse and alienations impact custody cases and who ultimately wins.

"A first-of-its-kind study is shedding light on the perils of family court. We take a deep dive into questions of parental alienation and abuse -- and how these claims play out behind closed doors."

Listen to the full show and hear what Paul had to say on the matter here.
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CJI Legal Director Interviewed: Fathers Are Favored In Child Custody Battles, Even When Abuse Is Alleged

In Blog by Child Justice, Inc.

Child Justice Inc.'s Legal Director, Paul Griffin, was recently featured in an article for American University Radio discussing why fathers are typically favored in child custody battles, despite allegations of abuse.

“That’s not a fantasy scenario. That’s something we see play out too often,” said Paul Griffin, the legal director at Child Justice, a legal aid society dedicated to protecting victims of child abuse and domestic violence.

Griffin says these outcomes happen because of a long-held belief among judges, attorneys, psychologists and others in the field that parental alienation is pervasive. When Griffin started representing mothers and children in the family courts in 2001, he says he was shocked by the amount of hearsay evidence in child custody cases that was allowed by judges.

Read the full article here. Image taken from article.
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CJI Legal Director On New Workgroup to Study Child Custody Court Proceedings Involving Child Abuse or Domestic Violence Allegations

In Blog by Child Justice, Inc.

Child Justice Inc. is proud to now be more involved in the Maryland court system, protecting victims of domestic violence and their families! Our very own Legal Director, Paul Griffin, is a member of the newly established workgroup created to specifically study court proceedings involving child abuse or domestic violence allegations.

Created by Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan, the workgroup is "uniquely focused on utilizing evidence-based, trauma-informed practices, to consider how child custody court proceedings involving child abuse or domestic violence allegations are affecting Maryland children."

Learn more by reading Gov. Hogan's Press Release on establishing the Child Custody Workgroup here.
View videos from the workgroup in action by clicking here
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Child Justice Board Member Recognized By RBC Wealth Management

In Blog by Child Justice, Inc.

Child Justice's very own Board Member, Daniel Campos, was recently recognized by RBC Wealth Management on their website for his dedication to volunteerism and advocacy for children in cases of domestic violence and abuse. “Not being an attorney, there is only so much you can do,” Campos says.

“But when you hear about some of the difficult cases we have worked with, and having had the opportunity to meet some of the children who have benefitted from our services, it’s pretty amazing. Seeing that is just really neat, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

We continue to applaud Campos for his strong work ethic and ability to seamlessly network on behalf of the organization. Without his help, we would have been unable to accomplish many of our organization's goals in the last few years. A big "THANK YOU" to you, Dan!

You can read the full article here.
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Child Justice Supports Round House Theatre’s “How I Learned To Drive”

In Blog, Events by Child Justice, Inc.

There is little we love more at Child Justice, Inc. than getting involved with members of our community, particularly those who are advancing social justice or change for the betterment of all. We're excited to be supporting and attending Round House Theatre's production of "How I Learned To Drive," opening to the public on October 10, 2018. “A lovely, harrowing guide to the crippling persistence of one woman’s memories,” according to the New York Times, this play is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of the season and we can't wait to see you there!

To purchase your tickets to the show, please click here. Enjoy special discounted pricing and take 20% off your tickets by entering the code "FRIENDS20" upon check out. For more detailed information about the show, please read below for a description from the organizer's website.

"Paula Vogel’s chronicle of one woman’s journey to break the cycle—and silence—of sexual abuse is a heartbreaking, sardonic, and uncomfortably funny exploration of the complicated relationships between victims, offenders, and enablers. Li’l Bit’s “education” at the hands of her Uncle Peck began when she was just 11 years old. As an adult survivor, she takes the stage to unravel the tangled roadmap of emotions and memories that paved the way for her to reclaim her narrative. Amber Paige McGinnis makes her Round House directorial debut with one of the most resonantly powerful plays in the modern American canon, with a message that is still all too relevant in this pivotal #MeToo moment in our history. Content Advisory: This production contains scenes depicting acts of sexual abuse, incest, and its aftermath."

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Event Recap: 2018 Heroes of Child Justice Celebration with Special Guest and Friend, Johnny Mathis

In Blog, Events by Child Justice, Inc.

Child Justice's 4th Annual Celebration was hosted at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center from 2:30 to 6:30 pm on Sunday, September 23, 2018.  The Staff and Board of Directors of Child Justice were delighted to welcome over 300 guests who came to support Child Justice's work for children and their protective parents, to honor our Heroes, and to enjoy Music Legend, Johnny Mathis!

Sue Ann Berlin, Board Chair, introduced the Board Members, Staff and Executive Director, Eileen King, who spoke about how she began her work as an advocate in 1995.

King emphasized that raising awareness, about the problems seen in family courts across the country, is vital.  Adverse childhood experiences have consequences that ripple out for the children, their families, their futures and our entire society.  Tragically, for many children, outcomes are often worse for the accuser than the abuser.  Child Justice is on the cutting edge of change for children and their protective parents! The invisible and often unrecognized Heroes of Child Justice are the parents who are doing everything in their power to protect their children in our family courts.

Anne H. Hoyer, Child Justice Board Member and Director of the Maryland Safe At Home Address Confidentiality Program, introduced the 2018 Heroes of Child Justice Awards to:

  • Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland
  • Yumi Hogan, First Lady of Maryland
  • John C. Wobensmith, Secretary of State of Maryland
  • V. Glenn Fueston, Jr., Director, the Maryland Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention
Paul Griffin, Child Justice Legal Director, introduced Scott A. Conwell, Esq. and presented him with the John A. Flyger Award for Excellence in Legal Advocacy.  John Flyger, with help from Child Justice, argued and won a precedent setting case in the Maryland Court of Appeals. Shortly after this success John passed away.  To honor John and in his memory, we will be awarding the John A. Flyger Excellence in Legal Advocacy to future Heroes of Child Justice who have distinguished themselves by their legal advocacy.

Leonard Weschler, our live Auctioneer, rallied a winning bidder for the Riviera Country Club Golfing Tour (with 2 hotel nights for two people) with Johnny Mathis and Tim Goodman. Congratulations, Gail Bassin! In addition, guests enjoyed bidding against each other for the high bid in our silent auction, walking off with great prizes - all for the benefit of Child Justice.

Congressman Steny H. Hoyer introduced Legendary singer, Johnny Mathis.  In his remarks, Congressman Hoyer emphasized the importance of the work that Child Justice does as well as the truly frightening statistics of child abuse in America. Johnny Mathis mesmerized the audience when he came on stage and sang many of his greatest and best-remembered songs. His voice and presence are still enchanting!  Tim Goodman, musician and guitarist (and Child Justice Board Member) joined Johnny for three wonderful songs and then led into Happy Birthday for his upcoming birthday on September 30.

Two long-time fans, Mary Dews (President of the DC Mathis Fan Club in 1957-58) and Robert Marinaro, presented Mr. Mathis with a long-stemmed red rose and a cake with candles while our Heroes and guests sang Happy Birthday.

The successful afternoon was brought to a close with thanks to all who make Child Justice's work possible:  YOU are Heroes of Child Justice, too! Click below to view all of the photos from this year's event and feel free to browse the multiple media mentions also recapping the affair for more details!

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Press Release: 4th Annual Heroes of Child Justice Event to Include Live Performance by Music Legend Johnny Mathis

In Blog, Events by Child Justice, Inc.

Washington, DC (August 8, 2018) – Child Justice, Inc., announced today that singing legend Johnny Mathis will appear and perform at the non profit’s 4th Annual Heroes of Child Justice Event next month in the nation’s capital. The goal of the event is raise funds in support of Child Justice’s life saving programs, which  protect children “lost in the system” after exposure to family violence, physical/sexual abuse, substance addictions or neglect.

This year's event will take place on Sunday, September 23, 2018 at Georgetown University Hotel & Conference Center (3700 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC)  and will include a tribute to heroes of Child Justice who have contributed to the organization’s vision of a future that is safe, stable and nurturing for children. The names of the heroes being recognized will be announced at a later date. The event, which is from 2:30 P.M. to 6:00 P.M., will include a live auction giving guests the rare opportunity to bid on a round of golf with Mr. Mathis and Child Justice’s Tim Goodman at The Riviera Club in LA. Ticket prices start at $200 per person.

Recognized for his music which “became the soundtrack for people’s lives”, Mr. Mathis was an “album selling juggernaut whose 1958 “Johnny’s Greatest Hits” spent almost a decade on Billboard’s charts, according to a recent Washington Post article. Columbia Records’ longest running recording artist, Mathis was a man before his time. He is most recognized for his classics “Chances Are,” “The Twelfth of Never,” “Misty” and “It’s Not for Me to Say.”

“The legal system has a gap in it. Who looks out for the children who have been exposed to abuse or violence at home, substance addictions or neglect, and don’t have the financial resources, knowledge or experience to fend for themselves? That is where Child Justice enters into the equation as they work to pave the way for a better future for these children,“ said Mr. Mathis. “I was very blessed to grow up in a family that was supportive, loving and wonderful, but not all children have that same experience. Because of this I have great empathy for those children whose lives have taken a less fortunate turn. And that’s why I am looking forward to performing on September 23rd - so I can help Child Justice raise funds to continue the much needed work they do to support these children in need.”

“We are beyond thrilled that a world-renowned recording artist and singer such as Johnny Mathis is going to use his amazing talents to support Child Justice and our quest to offer hope to children who have been exposed to violence and abuse at home as well as other traumas,” said Eileen King, executive director of Child Justice. “The funds raised from his performance will allow us to continue to offer pro bono legal services to these children who get lost in the system.”

Event Details

Program -- Begins at 2:30 P.M.
Drink & Dine -- Hors d'oeuvres and beverages
Live Auction -- Starting at 3:00 P.M.
Live Performance -- 4:00 P.M.
Dress Code -- Business Casual
Purchase Tickets -- Click here to purchase tickets!

Tickets can also be purchased by check. Payment can be made out to Child Justice, Inc. and sent to: 8401 Colesville Road, Suite 300 Silver Spring, MD 20910.

For sponsorship information, please visit this link.

Event Contact Info

Danielle Tergis for Fifth & Main PR, 202-643-9503, Danielle@thetergisgroup.com 
Mary Beth Olson, Fifth & Main PR, 240-507-9152, marybeth@fifthandmainpr.com

Save The Date: Night With Special Guest & Friend, Johnny Mathis

In Blog, Events by Child Justice, Inc.


Every year we honor a hero of Child Justice who has contributed to our vision of a future that is safe, stable and nurturing for children. This year's celebration will take place at Georgetown University Hotel & Conference Center and will include a tribute to our Hero of 2018. Also joining us for our 4th Annual Heroes of Child Justice will be our special guest, Johnny Mathis.

Tickets are on sale through September 20. There is limited seating capacity for this event so get your tickets before we sell out -- it will be a celebration you won't want to miss!

Tickets may also be purchased by check. Please make payment to Child Justice, Inc. and send to the following address:

8401 Colesville Road, Suite 300
Silver Spring, MD 20910


Begins at 2:30pm

Drink & Dine
Delicious Hors d'oeuvres and Beverages

Live Auction
Starting at 3:00pm

Live Performance 
at 4:00pm

Dress Code
Business Casual

You’re Invited: Happy Hour Fundraiser at Ivy City Smokehouse in DC

In Blog, Events by Child Justice, Inc.


Legal Director’s Corner: Davies Appeal Win!

In Blog, Events by Child Justice, Inc.

Child Justice is pleased to announce that it has received a favorable appellate ruling in a pivotal case in which it was an amicus curiae (Friend of the Court).

Today the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its ruling upholding the order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Davies v. Davies.

At issue was whether the Mother of a five-year-old boy must repatriate the child and return him to his Father in French St. Martin. The Second Circuit upheld the trial court and denied the Father’s Petition for Repatriation.

The Davies family – Mother, Father, and son K.D. – lived in French St. Martin. The Father was found by the trial court to be very abusive towards the Mother, both physically and emotionally. We recommend that you read the opinion below in order to have better understanding of the abuse the court held that Mother and K.D. endured.

The trial court found that the Father would abuse the Mother in front of K.D. (which is highly relevant under the governing law). The Mother fled the country and came to the United States, where the Father sued the Mother in Federal Court in New York, seeking the return of K.D. under Hague Convention’s Treaty on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“Hague Convention”). Of great to concern to Child Justice was the fact that other courts had turned a blind eye to the obvious and sad fact that abuse to a parent can also presage harm to the child – both due to the emotional harm of watching his Mother get beaten and because it raises the likelihood that the child will be beaten. Child Justice is pleased that the Second Circuit recognized this pragmatic point.

The relevant exception precluding repatriation of the child would be those instances where repatriation put the child at “grave risk” of “physical or psychological harm or otherwise place [him] in an intolerable situation[.]” Although the fact that the Mother was abused does not it itself justify denying repatriation of the child, the court recognized that there are circumstances – and they exist on these facts – where abuse to a parent can directly harm the child and show a likelihood of further harm to that child.

The Mother’s trial team from the law firm of McLaughlin & Stern did an amazing job in a nine-day trial, and the lower court found that Father’s abusive actions towards the Mother would cause K.D. the requisite “grave risk” of “psychological harm.”

Child Justice became involved during the appellate process because we were aware of other cases where abusive parents were granted repatriation despite a substantial history of abuse. Child Justice wanted to help ensure that the Second Circuit understood the issues at stake and that the trial court had ruled correctly.

With that goal in mind, Child Justice collaborated with several other amici and the law firms of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, and Proskauer Rose LLP, and filed three separate amicus curiae briefs with the Second Circuit, urging it to uphold the trial court.

Today the Second Circuit did just that and issued the attached order, noting that under the “grave-risk-of-harm exception to repatriation, ‘[t]he potential harm to the child must be severe, and the level of risk and danger required to trigger this exception has consistently been held to be very high.’” And that, “‘[t]his grave risk exception is to be interpreted narrowly[.]’” Nonetheless, after reciting the acts of abuse the Father was found to have committed, the Second Circuit upheld the trial court’s finding that “that K.D. was subjected to severe and persistent psychological abuse by Mr. Davies, and [] that this abuse would continue if K.D. returned to French St. Martin.”

Child Justice is quite pleased with this outcome and wishes to thank Lea Haber Kuck, Emma S. Gardner, Christina A. Pryor, and Eva Y. Chan of the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP for their outstanding work on the amicus curiae brief they drafted and filed on its behalf.