Colorado has become the first state to outlaw camps where children are ‘reunified’ with an accused abusive parent.
Family court judges utilize reunion camps to mediate child custody and divorce cases outside court. Camp staff are occasionally granted temporary custody of the children as part of the order, allowing them to lawfully remove the kids from their homes. There are allegations that camp staff uses a “brainwashing technique” on the youngsters, which the camps call “reunification therapy.”
The primary reason a court would compel a kid to attend a reunification camp is if the other parent claims the youngster made false child abuse charges against their parent.
Forcing children back into a connection with an abusive parent is effectively “court-ordered child trafficking,” says One Mom’s Battle founder Tina Swithin.
After a succession of tragic killings of children within a month by Colorado parents who were given custody despite having convictions or outstanding charges against them, Colorado passed a statute banning courts from compelling children to attend reunion camps against their choice.
It was also in response to findings from a state audit that at least one custody evaluator had acknowledged ignoring or otherwise dismissing 90% of allegations of child abuse.
Family court judges have been found to ignore evidence of child abuse against a parent in many instances. Some courts have even ordered the expungement of parental child abuse convictions.
Some parents have been accused of alienating their children. The parent falsely accused of “alienation” typically loses custody of their children, and the family must undergo reunion counseling.
The American Psychiatric Association is only one of several groups that have spoken out against court-ordered reunions. Insurance policies cover neither the camps nor the therapy provided within, and the average daily cost of the treatment is a whopping $5,000.
A typical camper will spend 90 days there.
This worldwide camp advertises itself as “a therapeutic vacation” and labels parental estrangement as “child abuse” on its website.
The legislature recently established a subcommittee to examine the family court system.
There have been four hearings held by the committee thus far. Judges and other court supporters have been given up to an hour to talk, while parents and reform activists have been limited to five minutes.