Picture: ParentalRights.org President Jim Mason and Gov’t Relations Director Will Estrada on Capitol Hill with Diane Redleaf of The Family Defense Center and Suzanne Sellers of Families Organizing for Child Welfare Justice, part of a 12-member coalition for parental rights
ParentalRights.org President Jim Mason met with Senator Lindsey Graham’s staff last Tuesday to lay the groundwork for reintroducing the Parental Rights Amendment (PRA) in the U.S. Senate very soon. (Stay tuned for details in the coming weeks.)
Then on Thursday we met with the staff of one senator and those of three representatives in company with a bipartisan group of family-advocacy partners who all agree—federal child welfare laws need to change to better protect children and families.
As the day went on a theme emerged: forcibly removing a child from his or her parents’ home is itself a source of trauma.
In cases of actual abuse or intentional neglect, sometimes child removal is, sadly, unavoidable.
But studies have shown that children in borderline child welfare cases left with their families fare much better later in life than children in the same exact kinds of cases who are removed to foster care. It turns out that in such cases, removal from the home actually does more harm than the risks it is supposed to solve.
That’s one reason protecting fundamental parental rights is so important: to keep children with their parents where they belong. And it is to that end that we are championing state and federal legislation, and ultimately the Parental Rights Amendment.
Every office we visited found the political breadth of our coalition eye-opening and encouraging. Parents’ right to protect children is an issue on which nearly all Americans can agree, regardless of political leanings or affiliation.
Our Thursday meetings also served to introduce us and our organization to a wider array of congressional staff. And that’s another point: as we work to fix parental rights issues in federal law now, we also build bridges that will be helpful in passing the Parental Rights Amendment in the months ahead.
Passing an amendment requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, so there’s no way either party would ever be able to pass the PRA on its own. But by working with a broad coalition, we hope to build bridges to members of Congress who may one day stand with us for the Amendment.
We remain hard at work to advance the Amendment. Your generous support today will help to fuel these on-going efforts to preserve parental rights.
One congressional staffer we met with Thursday told us, “I’m a mother myself, and I’m happy to be a friend to you all on this issue.” It’s only because of you that we were there and now have a friend in a key office to fight for parental rights.
Thank you for continuing to stand with us as we press forward for the protection of our families. Together we can see exciting victories in the days just ahead!