I was forced into reunification therapy

When their parents divorced in 2011, Ashton Goff and his little brother lived primarily with their mom. Ashton disliked visiting their dad, Michael D., and Delaware’s child-welfare agency found that Michael had emotionally abused him. 

Then, in 2016, Michael turned the tables. He claimed that his ex-wife had poisoned the boys against him in a campaign of “parental alienation.” The concept of parental alienation has never been accepted by the American Psychiatric Association. But after taking testimony from several mental health professionals, the family-court judge was persuaded. She gave Michael sole custody of the kids and ordered them into an alienation treatment program. The judge also barred their mother from any contact.

Michael and the boys spent four days at Turning Points for Families in upstate New York, attending a workshop the program’s director, the social worker Linda Gottlieb, called a “therapeutic vacation.” When it was over, by court order, the boys had to change schools, and they started aftercare with a local psychologist, Rachel Brandenburg. Michael didn’t reply to Insider’s interview requests or written questions; in court, he has denied mistreating Ashton. Gottlieb declined to be interviewed. The workshop doesn’t repair anything — it just forces you back into a situation where you’re afraid. It’s forced compliance through fear.

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LINDA C J TURNER Q & A with #LindaCJTurner

Piqui’s Law

A bill known as Piqui’s Law would prohibit court-ordered family reunification therapy or “camps” as part of a child custody or visitation rights proceeding, that is predicated on cutting off a child from a parent with whom the child is attached, is moving through the legislature.

Authored by Senator Susan Rubio, the intent of SB 331 is to increase the priority given to child custody court proceedings affecting the custody and care of children, excluding child protective, abuse, or neglect proceedings and juvenile justice proceedings.

Scientifically unproven, reunification therapy is a controversial method in which children are removed from their preferred parent or safe parent, often used as a tactic to deflect allegations of abuse or mistreatment directed towards the other parent and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Read more: Piqui’s Law


Reunification or not?

Ally Cable

(Sacramento, Calif.) When Ally Cable was 16, she and her younger sister were taken from their mother and flown to Montana where they were subjected to a Building Family Bridges reunification therapy in a hotel for four days.

“My sister and I were kidnapped from a courthouse in Johnson County Kansas and transported to a remote city in Montana,” Cable said.

Read more: Reunification or not?


Reunification Camps!

Amid her custody battle with ex-fiancé Randall Emmett, the Vanderpump Rulesstar commented on the latest happenings of the show while also sharing her frustrations with the family court system and discussing her battle against reunification camps.

“I always say protecting your child is a luxury. There’s very few people in the family court industry who are looking out for the best interest of your child,” Lala began on the May 17 episode of ABC News‘ Nightline. “When it comes to the family court system, you have to know what your future, what your child’s future, could hold because this could be your reality one day.”

In recent months, as she continues to fight for custody of her two-year-old daughterOcean Kent Emmett, Lala has been protesting reunification camps, which attempt to repair relationships between children and a parent they don’t want to see through therapy without their primary custodian.