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Parental Alienation, False Allegations and DCFS Corruption

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Parental alienation remains a largely unrecognized issue throughout the United States. This concern was brought to light in an NPR interview titled "Parental Alienation: When Parents Use Their Children as Weapons." Witnessing a parent employ manipulation tactics on a child to spite the other parent is both alarming and heartbreaking.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation fundamentally involves one parent deliberately creating a rift between a child and the other parent. This issue, although often overlooked, is surprisingly frequent following divorces and separations. It's a problem that every parent should be conscious of. Such actions skew a child's perception of the other parent, potentially leading them to fear or despise the other parent, resist visits or interactions, or spread false information about the other parent's conduct.

Parental alienation may be committed when a parent strategically and consistently influences a child by:

· Making negative statements about the other parent

· Making up stories and telling lies about the other parent

· Refusing to let a child see or talk to the other parent

· Bending or breaking custody guidelines

· Enticing a child with fun activities to avoid planned visitation or custody

· Comparing the other parent to a new partner

· Controlling or restricting all communication with the other parent

· Keeping secrets and information about the child, his or her activities, etc. from the other parent

· Expressing disapproval towards the targeted parent

· Justifying their own hostile actions

· Badmouthing the targeted parent

· Withholding medical, academic, and other important information

· Refusing to communicate with the targeted parent.

· Interfering with the targeted parent’s visitation rights

· Creating the impression that the targeted parent is dangerous.

· Forcing the child to choose between the parents.

· Making the child feel guilty for loving the targeted parent.

· Creating the impression that the targeted parent is unloving.

· Referring to the targeted parent by their first name

· Referring to the targeted parent as “your father” or “your mother”

· Refusing to acknowledge the targeted parent’s presence.

· Refusing to acknowledge the targeted parent’s phone calls, emails, or letters.

· Refusing to allow the child to bring gifts from the targeted parent’s home.

· Refusing to allow the child to take personal items to the targeted parent’s home.

· Refusing to allow the child to have pictures of the targeted parent in their home.

The following are potential signs of parental alienation:

  • A child constantly and passionately criticizes the alienated parent, without specific reasons or any evidence as to why he or she feels this way.

  • A child has purely negative feelings about the alienated parent and purely positive feelings about the alienating parent. One parent is “all good” and the other is “all bad” without any real reasons as to why.

  • A child uses terms and phrases borrowed from adult language when describing an alienated parent’s behavior, acts, or character.

  • The child invents stories about the alienated parent, which are obviously untrue.

  • The child’s feelings of hatred toward the alienated parent extend to that parent’s family, including grandparents, children, a new spouse, or others.

Parental alienation can have devastating effects on children’s mental health and well-being. Children who are subjected to parental alienation may experience anger, guilt, grief, disconnection, and low self-esteem. They may struggle with self-esteem, guilt, and self-hatred, as they can internalize hatred toward the targeted parent and are led to believe, incorrectly, that the parent did not love or want them.

Depression and substance use are also pathways by which parental alienation can impact children.

7 themes that reveal the breadth and depth of the effects of alienation well into adulthood:

1. Low self-esteem

2. Depression

3. Anxiety

4. Anger

5. Guilt

6. Self-hatred

7. Abandonment issues

The study found that adult children who endured parent alienation suffer from low self-esteem, self-hatred, abandonment issues, lack of trust, depression, and are more likely to have substance abuse or addictions.

If you suspect that your child is being alienated from you, there are several steps you can take to help your child:

· Seek professional help: Consider seeking the help of a therapist or counselor who specializes in parental alienation.

· Maintain contact: Continue to reach out to your child and maintain contact as much as possible.

· Avoid negative talk: Avoid speaking negatively about the other parent in front of your child.

· Be patient: It may take time for your child to come around, so be patient and continue to show your love and support.

· Do Not Take It Personal: Do not blame the child, and don’t personalize their behavior as a direct reflection of their true feelings towards the target parent.

· Document the alienation: Keep a record of all the instances of alienation, including dates, times, and what was said or done.

· Gather evidence: Collect any evidence that supports your claim, such as emails, text messages, or voicemails from the other parent that demonstrate their attempts to alienate you from your child.

· Talk to witnesses: If there are any witnesses who have observed the alienation, ask them to provide a statement or testify on your behalf.

· Consult with an attorney: An experienced family law attorney can help you navigate the legal system and provide guidance on how to prove parental alienation.

Is Parental Alienation A Crime?

Parental alienation, although not explicitly recognized as a criminal offense in California, can significantly impact custody and visitation decisions in family courts. When evidence of parental alienation is presented to the court, it can prompt revisions in existing custody arrangements or influence the outcomes of ongoing custody disputes. It's crucial to understand that in California, one cannot file a lawsuit based exclusively on claims of parental alienation due to the absence of distinct statutes categorizing it as a standalone legal issue. Nevertheless, if a parent's actions to alienate the other parent include criminal behavior, such as harassment, stalking, or violation of court orders, they could potentially face criminal charges independent of the family court proceedings. This distinction emphasizes the complex nature of parental alienation cases and the importance of presenting substantial and relevant evidence when such issues are raised in custody battles.


5 Factor Model in Litigating Parental Alienation

In the context of litigation, presenting evidence related to each of these five factors can help the court gain a nuanced understanding of the family’s dynamics and the extent of parental alienation. This model demands a careful and balanced examination, avoiding simplistic conclusions in what are often deeply complex emotional and relational issues. The court’s decision, informed by this model, can lead to various outcomes, including therapy for the child and parents, changes in custody arrangements, or in severe cases, temporary suspension of contact with the alienating parent to mitigate the effects of alienation on the child. The ultimate goal is to serve the best interests of the child, ensuring their well-being and maintaining healthy relationships with both parents wherever possible.

: Demonstrate PA is occurring in this case:

1. Active Influence by the Alienating Parent:

· This factor examines whether there is direct evidence of one parent actively trying to undermine the child’s relationship with the other parent.

· Evidence can include disparaging remarks about the other parent, false allegations of abuse, or any behavior that suggests an intent to distance the child from the other parent.

· Communication records, witness testimonies, and psychological evaluations can be critical in establishing this factor.

2. Independent Contributions by the Child:

· Children may develop negative attitudes towards one parent due to their independent interpretations or experiences, not always as a direct result of the other parent's influence.

· This factor assesses the child’s own contributions to estrangement, including their personal experiences and perceptions.

· It’s important to differentiate between a child’s authentic feelings and those influenced or instilled by the alienating parent.

3. Previous Relationship Between the Child and the Alienated Parent:

· This factor looks at the history of the relationship between the child and the alienated parent.

· A previously positive and loving relationship that suddenly deteriorates can be indicative of alienation.

· On the other hand, a history of abuse, neglect, or poor relationship quality might suggest estrangement rather than alienation.

4. Evidence of Alienation in the Child:

· Behavioral and emotional symptoms in the child can be indicators of alienation. These might include irrational hatred or fear of the alienated parent, parroting the alienating parent's language, or rejection of contact without justifiable reason.

· Professional evaluations by child psychologists or therapists can be crucial in identifying these symptoms and differentiating between alienation and justified estrangement.

5. Absence of Abuse or Neglect:

· The final factor involves ruling out abuse or neglect as the cause of the child’s alienated behavior.

· If evidence of past abuse or neglect by the alienated parent is lacking, it strengthens the case that the child’s rejection is a result of alienation rather than a protective response to mistreatment.

· Thorough investigations and reports from child protective services or similar agencies are often necessary to establish the absence of abuse or neglect.


Dr. Alan D. Blotcky, a seasoned clinical psychologist, identifies false allegations of abuse as a key component of parental alienation. Parental alienation, especially in its most extreme form, involves one parent manipulating their child to believe that the other parent has committed abuse. This tactic, aimed at discrediting the accused parent, forces them to engage in a strenuous battle to clear their reputation.

Uncovering, exposing, and proving false allegations of abuse present significant challenges. There is an inherent inclination among lawyers, judges, mediators, mental health professionals, and the general public to accept such claims at face value. Questions like "Why would a parent or child concoct such stories?" often arise, obscuring the underlying motives. However, the reasoning is often strategic: a fabricated abuse allegation can severely undermine the legal standing of the accused parent in custody and other family law disputes.

False abuse allegations are a common feature in cases of parental alienation, where they serve as a primary tool for one parent to alienate the child from the other. This tactic of weaponizing false allegations can be alarmingly effective, occasionally leading to dire consequences for the targeted parent, including losing custody or visitation rights.

Documenting events and constructing a detailed timeline is crucial in combating false abuse allegations. Such a timeline can outline events and behavior patterns that strongly suggest the falseness of the abuse claim. Noting when and under what circumstances the allegations arise can be revealing, especially if they frequently coincide with legal proceedings, which is a significant indicator of potential deceit.

Through my extensive experience in handling hundreds of parental alienation cases, I've observed that a significant proportion involve such fabricated allegations as a tactical maneuver by the alienating parent, often paralleling instances of parental alienation. Typically, one parent accuses the other of physical or sexual abuse as a strategy to gain an upper hand in custody battles. This approach can have a profound impact since courts often lean towards granting primary custody to the accuser, even in the absence of concrete evidence against the accused parent. Therefore, false abuse allegations emerge as a potent tool in manipulating custody and visitation arrangements, frequently driven by vindictive motives.

Reacting impulsively or emotionally to such allegations, although a natural response, can be detrimental. On the other hand, adopting a 'wait-and-see' approach allows for a more comprehensive and fair evaluation before any judicial decisions are made. It's critical to recognize that false abuse allegations constitute a form of parental alienation, one that can lead to deeply flawed custody decisions. Furthermore, once a custody ruling is made, altering it becomes an arduous and often an insurmountable task.

Principles of the Evaluation

The process involves assessing whether the claim is genuine or fabricated by a parent seeking to undermine the other. Essential to this evaluation is involving all parties concerned: the accused parent, the accusing parent, and the child. This holistic involvement ensures that the conclusions and recommendations are grounded in a comprehensive understanding of the situation. Contrary to some legal counsel, it is pivotal for the accused parent to participate in the evaluation. Avoiding participation can result in a one-sided narrative dominated by the accuser, potentially lending undue credibility to their claim. Moreover, in California, as demonstrated in the case of Montenegro v. Diaz (2001) 26 Cal.4th 249, the court emphasizes the importance of considering all relevant information when making determinations regarding child custody and visitation, including any allegations of abuse.

An independent forensic evaluation of the child is also advisable. This complements the court-appointed evaluator's findings and provides a more rounded view, as established in In re Marriage of Brown and Yana (2006) 37 Cal.4th 947, which highlights the court's discretion in considering evaluations in custody disputes.

The timing of abuse allegations during custody proceedings is critical. If the allegation emerges for the first time during these proceedings, its credibility should be scrutinized. The improbability of a parent commencing abuse coinciding with legal disputes was acknowledged in the case of In re Marriage of Carney (1979) 24 Cal.3d 725, where the court recognized the need to evaluate changes in family dynamics during custody disputes. Multiple allegations against one parent during custody proceedings should raise significant concerns. In California, as per Elkins v. Superior Court (2007) 41 Cal.4th 1337, the courts are guided to critically analyze evidence, especially in the context of repetitive allegations during a contentious custody battle.

The use of a timeline is a powerful tool in identifying potentially false allegations. It helps track the sequence of events and ascertain if the allegations correlate suspiciously with legal milestones in the custody case. This approach aligns with the judicial principle of examining the entirety of circumstances, as seen in In re Marriage of LaMusga (2004) 32 Cal.4th 1072, which stresses the importance of considering the broader context in custody and visitation decisions. Unfortunately, false allegations can involve children being manipulated to support such claims. This is particularly concerning for children aged 3 to 7, who are susceptible to coaching by a parent. The California courts recognize the delicate nature of involving children in custody disputes, as seen in In re Marriage of Burgess (1996) 13 Cal.4th 25, where the child's best interest is the paramount concern. Older children and teenagers may be involved, but their testimonies often require scrutiny, as they are more likely to reveal coaching or manipulation.

DCFS and Parental Alienation in Custody Cases

The corruption within child and family services can have a profound impact on cases of parental alienation, particularly in the context of custody disputes. While it is anticipated professionals in child and family services work ethically to protect children's welfare, the high levels of corruption or misconduct have exacerbated the issues surrounding parental alienation.

1. Biased Investigations: If child and family service workers are corrupt or biased, their investigations into allegations of abuse or neglect might be skewed. This can lead to an unfair portrayal of one parent, often the one being alienated. For instance, a biased investigator might give undue weight to unfounded allegations by the alienating parent, which can influence custody decisions in their favor.

2. Inaccurate Reporting: Corruption can result in inaccurate or incomplete reporting. If reports do not accurately reflect the family situation or the child's needs and interactions with each parent, there can be a wrongful assessment of the child's best interests. This can lead to decisions that inadvertently support the alienating parent's efforts.

3. Delayed or Inappropriate Response: In cases where child and family services are inefficient or corrupt, there can be significant delays in responding to allegations or in the thorough investigation of a case. This delay can allow parental alienation to continue unaddressed, further damaging the child's relationship with the alienated parent.

4. Misguided Custody Recommendations: If child and family services are corrupt, the recommendations made to the court regarding custody and visitation can be misguided. This may lead to custody arrangements that favor the alienating parent, reinforcing the alienation.

5. Loss of Trust in the System: When parents and children perceive that child and family services are corrupt or biased, it can lead to a loss of trust in the system. This disillusionment can make the alienated parent less likely to seek help or cooperate with services, worsening the situation.

6. Reinforcement of Alienating Behaviors: If the alienating parent perceives that corrupt practices can be manipulated to their advantage, it may encourage them to continue or intensify their alienating behaviors. This creates a vicious cycle where the child is increasingly isolated from the alienated parent.

7. Impact on the Child’s Well-being: Ultimately, the most significant impact is on the child. Corruption in child and family services can lead to decisions that do not reflect the child’s best interests, exacerbating the emotional and psychological harm caused by parental alienation.

Facing false allegations in the context of parental alienation, especially when compounded by issues with child and family services, can be incredibly challenging for a target parent. When presenting their case to the court, there are several key strategies and considerations that can help navigate these complex circumstances:

1. Gather Comprehensive Evidence:

- Collect all relevant documentation, including communication records (emails, texts, social media posts), relevant photographs, and any other evidence that counters the false allegations.

- Maintain records of interactions with DCFS or any other child and family services, noting any discrepancies or concerns in their handling of the case.

2. Seek Legal Representation:

- Hire an attorney experienced in family law, particularly in cases involving parental alienation and false allegations.

- An attorney can guide you through the legal process, help in gathering and presenting evidence, and ensure that your rights are protected.

3. Prepare a Detailed Timeline:

- Create a comprehensive timeline of events, highlighting key incidents and interactions that are relevant to the case.

- This timeline can help demonstrate inconsistencies in the allegations and provide context for your interactions with the child and the other parent.

4. Obtain Expert Witnesses:

- Consider involving psychologists or other professionals who specialize in parental alienation and child welfare.

- Expert testimony can provide the court with a deeper understanding of the psychological aspects of your case and the impact of the allegations on your relationship with your child.

5. Highlight the Impact of Allegations:

- Clearly articulate the emotional, psychological, and practical impact of the false allegations on you and your child.

- Emphasize your ongoing commitment to your child’s well-being and your efforts to maintain a positive relationship despite the challenges.

6. Address Issues with DCFS:

- If you have concerns about the integrity or conduct of DCFS in your case, present any evidence that supports these concerns.

- This might include documentation of biased investigations, failure to follow proper protocols, or evidence of any misconduct.

7. Demonstrate Parenting Competency:

- Show your involvement and commitment to your child’s life, including participation in school activities, healthcare, and other aspects of their well-being.

- This can help counteract any negative portrayal by the alienating parent.

8. Stay Composed and Professional:

- In court, remain calm and composed, even when discussing distressing aspects of your case.

- Emotional reactions, while understandable, can sometimes be misinterpreted or used against you.

9. Request a Guardian ad Litem or Custody Evaluator:

- In some cases, it may be beneficial to request that the court appoint guardian ad litem or an independent custody evaluator to assess the best interests of the child.

10. Consider the Child’s Perspective:

- Be mindful of the impact this situation may have on your child and try to address their needs and feelings.

- Avoid speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the child.

The primary objective is to present a clear, fact-based case that illustrates your commitment to your child's well-being and counters the false allegations effectively.

The Crucial Role of a Comprehensive Parenting Plan in Co-Parenting

Key Benefits of a Comprehensive Parenting Plan:

1. Sets Clear Guidelines: Establishes expectations and boundaries, reducing misunderstandings.

2. Provides Stability for Children: Offers consistency, crucial for their emotional well-being.

3. Aids in Conflict Resolution: Pre-agreed framework helps resolve disputes efficiently.

4. Allows Flexibility: Adapts to life’s changes and evolving needs of the family.

5. Legal Enforcement: Offers a reference point for legal intervention if necessary.

Essential Uncommon Considerations for a Parenting Plan:

Developing a parenting plan when dealing with a high-conflict co-parent demands extra attention and, occasionally, unique approaches to facilitate harmonious co-parenting. Focusing on less obvious yet vital elements in the plan can lead to a more successful and less tense co-parenting arrangement, particularly in contentious scenarios. Consulting a legal professional or mediator who specializes in high-conflict family situations is recommended to help formulate a thorough and practical parenting plan.

1. Communication Protocols:

- What specific, structured communication methods will be used (e.g., only emails, a co-parenting app)?

- How will communication about emergencies differ from regular communication?

2. Transitions and Exchanges:

- Can a neutral, public place be designated for child exchanges to reduce direct interaction?

- Would involving a third party or professional supervisor during exchanges help reduce conflict?

3. Handling Disagreements:

- Is there an agreed-upon mediator or counselor to consult in case of major disagreements?

- What steps will be taken if one parent consistently violates the agreement?

4. Information Sharing:

- How will information (school reports, health records) be shared to avoid direct contact?

- Should there be an agreement on not using children as messengers?

5. Decision-Making:

- In what circumstances should decisions be made independently or require both parents' consent?

- How will decisions be made in areas where parents fundamentally disagree?

6. Coping Mechanisms for Children:

- What strategies will be implemented to help the child cope with the high-conflict situation?

- Is there a plan for regular counseling or therapy for the child?

7. Parental Behavior:

- Are there agreed-upon rules about speaking of the other parent in the child’s presence?

- How will new partners be introduced into the child’s life in this context?

8. Social Media and Privacy:

- What are the boundaries regarding posting about the child or co-parenting situations on social media?

- How will the child’s privacy and online presence be managed and protected?

9. Flexibility and Adaptation:

- How will the plan adapt to the child’s changing needs as they grow older?

- What is the process for revising the plan, considering the high-conflict nature?

10. Support Systems:

- What external support systems (family therapy, parenting classes) can be utilized?

- How will extended family be involved, considering the high-conflict dynamics?


In cases of parental alienation, therapists face a challenging task. They must help the child navigate through a complex mix of emotions, including confusion, divided loyalties, and skewed views about their parents. The primary aim of the therapist is to guide the child toward a more balanced and realistic understanding of both parents, ensuring the child's emotional and psychological health is protected throughout this process. This involves carefully unraveling the child's mixed emotions and perceptions, aiming to restore a sense of harmony and understanding in their view of their family situation.

Here are some key roles and interventions a therapist might employ:

1. Building Trust and Rapport: The therapist should create an environment where the child feels safe to express their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or repercussion. Developing a strong, trusting relationship is essential for effective therapy.

2. Assessment: Assess the family dynamics and the extent of alienation. Determine how the child perceives each parent and the nature of their relationships.

3. Therapeutic Interventions: To challenge and modify distorted beliefs and perceptions the child may hold about the alienated parent. In some cases, involving both parents (if safe and appropriate) can help address family dynamics and improve communication.

4. Emotional Support and Processing: Art, play, or music therapy can help younger children’s express emotions they might not be able to articulate. Teaching the child coping mechanisms to manage feelings of anger, guilt, or confusion.

5. Reality Testing: Helping the child to view situations and relationships more objectively. Guiding the child to understand different viewpoints, including that of the alienated parent.

6. Rebuilding Relationships: Facilitating a gradual reintroduction to the alienated parent, if deemed appropriate and safe. Encouraging and reinforcing positive interactions and thoughts about the alienated parent.

7. Parental Guidance: Teaching the alienating parent about the impact of their actions and guiding them towards more constructive behavior. Offering them strategies to reconnect with their child in a healthy and non-intrusive way.

Navigating cases of parental alienation and false allegations requires a multi-faceted approach that includes legal strategy, mental health support, and a focus on the child's best interests. Balancing these elements, while maintaining your well-being and a clear, fact-based approach in court, is key to navigating this challenging situation effectively.

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