Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Meet The Purveyors of Trafficking Tiny Humans Law: Joseph Goldstein, Anna Freud & Albert Solnit - The Best Interests of the Child - Happy Child Abuse Propaganda Month

Have you ever wondered about the origins of U.S. Child Protection Law?

Well, wonder no more!

Meet Joseph Goldstein, who just so happened to work with Alan Dershowitz on the construction of Child Protection Laws....and so did Hillary Clinton.

These are the purveyors of propaganda in the residuals of  the peculiar institution.

Happy Child Abuse Propaganda Month!

Here is the link to the book, "Beyond the Best Interests of the Child", 1973

Here is the link to a page sample the white paper, "In the Best Interests of the Child", 1986

Here is the link to selected sections of the book, "Before the Best Interests of the Child", 1986.

Joseph Goldstein, Anna Freud, and Albert J. Solnit, Beyond the Best Interests of the Child, 1973

Source: Courtesy of the Freud Museum, London
Albert Solnit, Anna Freud, Dorothy Burlingham, and Joseph Goldstein
 (left to right) in Cork, Ireland after the publication of 
Beyond the Best Interests of the Child
The child’s psychological tie to a parent figure is not the simple, uncomplicated relationship which it may appear to be at first glance. While it is rooted inevitably in the infant’s inability to ensure his own survival, it varies according to the manner in which protection is given and the physical needs fulfilled. Where this is done impersonally and with routine regularity, as in institutions, the infant may remain involved with his own body and not take an alert interest in his surroundings. Where the adult in charge of the child is personally and emotionally involved, a psychological interplay between adult and child will be superimposed on the events of bodily care. Then the child’s libidinal interest will be drawn for the first time to the human object in the outside world.
Such primitive and tenuous first attachments form the base from which any further relationships develop. What the child brings to them next are no longer only his needs for body comfort and gratification but his emotional demands for affection, companionship, and stimulating intimacy. Where these are answered reliably and regularly, the child-parent relationship becomes firm, with immensely productive effects on the child’s intellectual and social development. Where parental care is inadequate, this may be matched by deficits in the child’s mental growth. Where there are changes of parent figure or other hurtful interruptions, the child’s vulnerability and the fragility of the relationship become evident. The child regresses along the whole line of his affections, skills, achievements, and social adaptation. It is only with the advance toward maturity that the emotional ties of the young will outgrow this vulnerability. The first relief in this respect is the formation of internal mental images of the parents which remain available even if the parents are absent. The next step is due to identification with parental attitudes. Once these have become the child’s own, they ensure stability within his inner structure.
As the prototype of true human relationship, the psychological child-parent relationship is not wholly positive but has its admixture of negative elements. Both partners bring to it the combination of loving and hostile feelings that characterize the emotional life of all human beings, whether mature or immature. The balance between positive and negative feelings fluctuates during the years. For children, this culminates in the inevitable and potentially constructive struggle with their parents during adolescence.
Whether an adult becomes the psychological parent of a child is based thus on day-to-day interaction, companionship, and shared experiences. The role can be fulfilled either by a biological parent or by an adoptive parent or by any other caring adult—but never by an absent, inactive adult, whatever his biological or legal relationship to the child may be.
The best qualities in an adult’s personality give no assurance in themselves for a sound result if, for any reason, the necessary psychological tie is absent. Children may also be deeply attached to parents with impoverished or unstable personalities and may progress emotionally within this relationship on the basis of mutual attachment. Where the tie is to adults who are “unfit” as parents, unbroken closeness to them, and especially identification with them, may cease to be a benefit and become a threat. In extreme cases this necessitates state interference. Nevertheless, so far as the child’s emotions are concerned, interference with the tie, whether to a “fit” or “unfit” psychological parent, is extremely painful. . . .
We propose three component guidelines for decision-makers concerned with determining the placement and the process of placement of a child in a family or alternative setting. These guidelines rest on the belief that children whose placement becomes the subject of controversy should be provided with an opportunity to be placed with adults who are or are likely to become their psychological parents.
Some will assert that the views presented in this volume are so child-oriented as to neglect the needs and rights of the adults. In fact, this is not the case. There is nothing one-sided about our position, that the child’s interests should be the paramount consideration once, but not before, a child’s placement becomes the subject of official controversy. Its other side is that the law, to accord with the continuity guideline, must safeguard the rights of any adults, serving as parents, to raise their children as they see fit, free of intervention by the state, and free of law-aided and law-abetted harassment by disappointed adult claimants. To say that a child’s ongoing relationship with a specific adult, the psychological parent, must not be interrupted, is also to say that this adult’s rights are protected against intrusion by the state on behalf of other adults.
As set out in this volume, then, a child’s placement should rest entirely on consideration for the child’s own inner situation and developmental needs. Simple as this rule sounds, there are circumstances which make it difficult to apply even with ample evidence in support of the child’s interests. The injunction disregards that laws are made by adults for the protection of adult rights. . . .

Parent and Child: A new approach to adoption and custody

The article as it originally appeared.
October 7, 1973, Page 338The New York Times Archives

By now it is axiomatic in the field of child development that healthy emotional and intellectual growth—the ability to relate to others and to learn —depends to a great extent on the establishment very early in life of a mutually gratifying, continuing relationship with a mothering figure who cares for and stimulates the infant. It is in this relationship that the child begins to develop security and trust—a good feeling about himself and a sense that the world is worth moving out into and exploring. Psychologists have come to believe that if you start with these feelings you don't need much of anything else, and that without them, it doesn't much matter what else you have.
The key word here is “continuity.” Where this kind of relationship never gets established (children who grow up in crowded institutions) or when it is interrupted (by the disappearance or replacement of the mothering adult for whatever reason—death, divorce, hospitalization) very young children withdraw, regress, become depressed, sometimes even retarded.
This premise is the starting point for a soon‐to‐be‐published book—“Beyond the Best Interests of the Child”—which applies what psychoanalysts have learned about child development to a new area: the law as it affects children. It is written by the daughter of Sigmund Freud, joined by two other distinguished scholars, and it may well become as controversial among judges, lawyers, legislators, social workers and even psychiatrists as Freud's writings were to the medical and psychological establishment of his day.

Anna Freud, who is based at the Hampstead Child Therapy Clinic in London, is probably the foremost living authority on the emotional lives of children, a subject she explored in depth among children separated from their families during World War II. Her co‐authors are Joseph Goldstein, a professor of law, science and social policy at Yale who specializes in the application of psychoanalysis to law, and Dr. Albert Solnit, director of the Child Study Center at Yale and a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry. This formidable threesome believes that while the law recognizes the need to protect a child's physical well‐being, it has failed to make provisions for safeguarding his psychological wellbeing. Although our present childcustody laws are supposed to protect “the best interests of the child,” the authors argue that they more often serve the emotional needs of parents or the convenience of the courts and the social‐welfare agencies. What Freud‐Goldstein‐Solnit want to do is shift the focus of the laws to the needs of children. To accomplish this, “Beyond the Best Interests” suggests a new set of guidelines for adoption, foster‐care placement and divorce proceedings.

Freud‐Goldstein‐Solnit call the adult who provides day‐to‐day affection and stimulation “the psychological parent,” and they insist that a child's relationship with his psychological parent, whether or not he or she is the child's natural parent, should never be interrupted. What counts in such a relationship is the child's degree of attachment and whether he feels wanted and needed—needed for himself, not for some financial advantage, or to score against a warring spouse in a divorce or to fulfill some fantasy or replace some loss. The book suggests replacing the old thinking in terms of “the best interests of the child,” which promises so much more than it can deliver, with the idea of “the least detrimental alternative,” the placement that provides the child with the best chance of being raised by his “psychological” parents.

Continue reading the main storyA “real” mother or father (in the biological or legal sense) who is not around on a day‐to‐day basis while the child is growing, feeling, learning, is not psychologically speaking a parent at all but a stranger. A “natural” mother or father who has abandoned his or her child for any reason whatever would have no right to reclaim the child on the basis of birth or blood ties, under the book's thesis. It would be irrelevant to establish his or her fitness as a parent (character, level of education or income), or lack of blame for the circumstances that interrupted the relationship and made him a stranger to the child (illness, business, hospitalization—even war). The only relevant questions are who is the child used to, fond of, connected with by daily experiences, related to through memories, learning from through identification? Whom is he used to coming to with his questions, finding at home when he gets there, being tucked in by at night and trying to act like? Who gives him his bottle, eventually teaches him how to make a sandwich or throw a ball, who reads to him, whom does he wind up wanting to “be good” for so they'll go on loving him?
Freud‐Goldstein‐Solnit think the law has not only tended to favor biology over psychology, but has failed to understand the child's sense of time: “Unlike adults, who measure the passing of time by clock and calendar, children have their own built‐in time sense, based on the urgency of their instinctual and emotional needs.” What seems like a short wait to a grownup can be an intolerable separation to a young child, to whom a week can seem like a year; a month, forever. A 6‐month‐old who doesn't see the mother he's used to has no clear idea that she still exists. At 2, he still has no certainty that when she goes out she will return. And two years after that he still can't understand exactly how many breakfasts or bedtimes away “six weeks” is.

  • Putting together the child's need for continuity in his relationship with his psychological parents and the special way in which he experiences time, Freud‐Goldstein‐Solnit draw these conclusions about parents, children and the law:•The adoption decree should be made final and unconditional from the moment a child is placed with a family, as final as a birth certificate and no more subject to review (except, as in the case of the birth certificate, in cases of gross neglect or abuse). Adoption should—with absolute finality—cancel out the legal right of biological parents.
  • Adoption should take place as early as possible—even before birth where this can be arranged—and with no trial periods, since a succession of temporary placements means the interruption of early attachments that is so destructive for the young child, as well as uncertainty for the adoptive parents, who may hesitate to make a full emotional commitment to the child. Expectant parents who plan to put their child up for adoption should make a firm decision before the birth, and adopting parents should be selected in advance. “If anyone is to be kept waiting, it should not be the child.”
  •  Foster‐care arrangements are usually made with the understanding that the child is placed in a home on a temporary basis and that the placing agency retains the legal right to remove the child at any time. This can lead to a lack of emotional involvement on the part of the foster parents and a feeling of insecurity on the part of the child. Freud‐Goldstein‐Solnit see this as a particularly silly arrangement, one which, since it tends to work against establishment of the psychological ‐ parent/wanted ‐ child relationship, defeats the whole purpose of replacing institutional care with family care. They suggest instead that when foster parents have truly become psychological parents, they should be considered “common‐law adoptive parents,” and that the courts should recognize this new category and the right it gives the foster parents to become adopters. Up to now this right has often been withheld by the courts in the face of objections by social agencies, either on their own behalf (rules and policies) or on behalf of the biological parents (who, while unable to care for their children themselves, may be unwilling to give them up for adoption).
  • As in the case of adoption, custody decrees in divorce and separation proceedings should be final. One parent should be given custody and that parent—and not the court—should make all decisions about the child's life, including the right of the other parent to visit with the child. Freud‐Goldstein‐Solnit go so far as to suggest that two equally acceptable psychological parents should draw lots as the most rational process for resolving a hard choice. This is the most controversial point made by the authors. They base it on the belief that (1) visiting arrangements may in themselves be sources of discontinuity in the child's experience; (2) children often have difficulty relating to two psychological parents who are not in positive contact with each other, and (3) a visiting or visited parent has little chance of being a psychological parent, since this role depends on his being available on an uninterrupted, day‐to‐day basis.
  • In order to avoid the psychological injury caused by a sense of loss and uncertainty, all child‐placement decisions should be considered by agencies and treated by the courts as psychological emergencies to be given priority on court calendars, decided—and, where necessary, reviewed—as rapidly as possible. The period for appeal should be no more than a week or two, and final decision should be given within a few days of the close of that hearing. As things stand today, decisions can drag out over weeks and months because of overworked social administrators, understaffed agencies, crowded dockets, overcautious judges and lawyers who demand postponements. On the other hand, when the physical well‐being of a child is endangered by delay — for instance, when parents who are Jehovah's Witnesses have refused on religious grounds to authorize a blood transfusion for a deathly ill child in a hospital—the courts have shown they can move with speed and flexibility, sometimes in a matter of hours.
  • The longer a child has been in the custody of an adult, the less chance there should be for another party to gain custody. Abandonment and neglect should be redefined in terms of a child's sense of time. The younger the child; the shorter the period in which a psychological tie is broken and a new one fornied.
ONCE a child becomes the subject of a custody dispute, Freud‐Goldstein‐Solnit feel it can no longer be assumed that his parents are best suited to safeguard his interests. Even the social agencies involved may have policies which conflict with the child's needs—and many judges are unaware of those needs or unwilling to consider them seriously because they don't fit their common‐sense view of the matter, or even threaten some personal notion of what is decent or moral. Then who represents the child? Certainly not the lawyers of the disputing parents. Freud‐Goldstein‐Solnit insist that a child is being deprived of his rights in any legal proceedings concerned with his future unless he is represented by a lawyer of his own who has no other goal than to determine what is the least harmful alternative for his child client.

This suggests a whole new legal specialty — lawyers trained in psychoanalytic child development and specializing in child‐custody cases. Judges and lawyers I talked with reacted to this idea in terms ranging from “impractical” (because it would cost so much and require so much additional training) to “ridiculous and unnecessary.” Few of them were aware that a “childadvocacy” bill that would make it a legal requirement for any child involved in a custody case to be represented by counsel has been introduced in the New York State Assembly, where it is now under consideration.

In one chapter of the book Freud‐Goldstein‐Solnit take up an actual placement decision by Justice Bernhard Nadel of the New York Supreme Court and then rewrite the decision according to their guidelines. The case is that of Stacey, an 8‐year‐old foster child whose mother gave her infant daughter to a child‐care agency for temporary care in 1964 when she voluntarily entered a mental hospital. The agency had placed Stacey with a foster family. In 1969 the mother was released, and from then until the time of the decision in 1971 had been living with her parents, holding a job as an executive secretary, taking an active part in community affairs and seeking to regain her child.

Justice Nadel ruled that the agency had failed to demonstrate that the rehabilitated mother was unfit to care for Stacey. He held that the lack of a parent‐child relationship between them was caused by the agency's failure to encourage contact between them, and ordered the return of the child “to her natural mother” after a period of transition. Freud‐Goldstein‐Solnit insist that the fitness of the mother is not the issue. Here are some quotes from their reworking of the decision as they think it might better have been written:

“The real question is: Does Stacey need to have a parent assigned to her by the court? In the absence of such evidence, the law must presume that Stacey is a wanted child, well settled in a reciprocal relationship with her custodians . . . . Stacey has been psychologically abandoned by her biological mother. Seven years have elapsed since their last contact. . . . Painful as it must be for this well‐meaning woman, whatever the cause, whoever may feel responsible, the psychological fact, which the law acknowledges, is that Stacey does not now recognize her as a parent . . . It is the real tie—the reality of an ongoing relationship—that is crucial to this court's decision and that demands the protection bf the state through law. The court must not, despite its sympathetic concern for the petitioner, become party to tearing Stacey away from the only affectionate parents she knows.”

The outcome of the real decision shows what can happen to a child caught in the legal process. Stacey was so antagonistic to her mother that the court modified its earlier judgment and, instead of returning the child to her, gave custody to the agency, which placed her in a residential center. Five psychiatrists chosen by the various parties involved testified that she was depressed and that the mere mention of being returned to her natural mother brought on misery and tears. Even the psychiatrist called by the mother agreed that it would be harmful to return Stacey to her.

A schedule of visits was decided on to develop a gradual rapport, but it was a complete failure. Stacey rejected all offers of affection by her mother. In her frustration, the mother began to yell at her and reproach her, and the child would return upset, tearful, sometimes hysterical. In a second decision a year later, Justice Nadel decided that Stacey was one of the “exceptions to the rule of the primacy of parental custody,” and that under the circumstances it would endanger her mental and emotional wellbeing to return her to her mother. He reversed his original order.

NOT all their colleagues would agree with all the points set forth by Freud‐Goldstein‐Solnit. Experts I talked with, several of them divorced and with children themselves, made their sharpest attacks on the guidelines for settling custody in divorce cases —particularly the notion of allowing the parent awarded custody to make all decisions affecting the child, including the other parent's visitation rights. This could result in the noncustodial parent never being allowed to see the child at all.

One experienced child analyst asks, “Is the anxiety caused by conflict really more damaging than the anxiety caused by permanent loss? We know, from the work of Anna Freud herself, among others, that where there are two involved parents, as there are in most divorces, the loss of one parent is irreparable for the child—and this is true right up into adolescence. We have to ask ourselves what it would mean in an already unsettled society like ours—with separation, divorce, remarriage and even no marriage so common — to encourage further weakening of the ties between children and parents —even part‐time parents. A father who comes once a week and hugs you and takes you for a walk in the park and asks about your report card is better than a father who never comes at all.”

Despite such criticisms, “Beyond the Best Interests of the Child” is an important book, a manifesto on behalf of the rights of children that suggests new ways of looking at family relationships. Just as women until recently were chattel—the property of first their fathers and then their husbands—children have been regarded by the law as the property of their biological parents. But children, unlike any other social group, are unable to fight for their own rights.

The authors insist the law's first obligation should be to protect the child's need for continuity, and they acknowledge the anguishing decisions that are implicit in such a irinciple. As an extreme example, they cite the Dutch Jews who returned from concentration camps after World War II to reclaim the children they had left with nonJewish families; many of the children had by this time become strongly attached to their foster parents. The Dutch Parliament ruled that the children should be returned to their natural parents. Freud‐GoldsteinSolnit disagree. They feel that “the choice in such tragic instances is between causing intolerable hardship to the child who is torn away from his psychological parents, or causing further intolerable hardship to already victimized adults who, after losing freedom, livelihood and worldly possessions may now also lose possession of their child. . . Harsh as it is, and as it must seem to the biological parents, their standing in court is no greater than that of a stranger.”

Grown men and women have feelings too, and needs, and they suffer no less than children. Perhaps the only answer is that as with so many other social problems—like breaking the poverty cycle—a start must be made somewhere. As Freud‐Goldstein‐Solnit conclude: “By and large society must use each child's placement as an occasion for protecting future generations of children by increasing the number of adults‐to‐be who are likely to be adequate parents. Only in the implementation of this policy does there lie a real opportunity for beginning to break the cycle of sickness and hardship bequeathed from one generation to the next by adults who as children were denied the least detrimental alternative.”

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