Thursday, May 29, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Ohio father released following CAFC's national protest
In a dramatic turnaround on Friday, Butler County, Ohio, Judge David Niehaus reversed his earlier decision and released Brian Gegner from a six-month jail sentence for his daughter's failure to get a GED diploma. The new order requires Brittany Gegner, the daughter, to enroll in a GED prep class by the next court date and to attend the class 4 days a week. Newspaper columnist and blogger Glenn Sacks reported Brian’s release early Friday morning:
"Good News! Judge Backs Down in Case Where Dad was Jailed Because His Adult Daughter Didn't Get Her GED"
Michael Robinson, Executive Director for the California Alliance for Families and Children, spoke Friday evening with Stephanie Gegner after Brian's release. Stephanie told Robinson that the family can't thank CAFC enough for all of the support they received in gaining Brian's release. It goes without saying that this family has been under a great deal of stress.
CAFC started a campaign for Gegner's release by sending out a press release to all the major media at 3:00 PM on Monday, May 12, 2008, after learning about the case from FOX News and Glenn Sacks. As some of you know, the following morning CAFC and Glenn Sacks moved quickly to mobilize a national protest:
"Protest Ohio Outrage: Father Jailed Because His Daughter Didn't Get Her GED!"
CAFC wants to thank all its members, supporters and friends who took the time to respond to our call for a national protest in support of Brian Gegner. A special thanks also goes to Glenn Sacks and the readers of his newsletter, who also joined in the protest.
The impact of our protest was widespread:
- According to the Ohio Governor's office, they received over 700 phone calls. We can only assume a similar number hit the judge's office.
- More than 300 media stories were carried around the country following our national media press release.
- Local media reporters have told CAFC they plan to follow-up with additional questions and investigations of the judge.
- At the recommendation of CAFC, the Ohio Governor's office is exploring the expanded use of The Parent Project® as a useful strategy to help parents in other counties. You can see the communication CAFC sent to the Ohio Governor's office here:
We believe that our efforts will make Judges in Ohio much more careful in the future before they unfairly jail a parent trying to do the best they can for their kids. When we pick our issues wisely, men and women united behind a fair and just cause can make a difference. We must build on our successes, one victory at a time.
Please take the time to sign up for membership or make a donation here.
As always, our success depends upon your help and participation.
Robinson's e-mail, sent to governor's office and other elected officials
(Below is an e-mail sent by CAFC to the office of Ohio's Governor, Ted Strickland, as well as other elected officials, regarding the campaign to release Brian Gegner from jail for his daughter's inability to pass a test for her GED diploma:)
Regarding the following story:
"Man jailed after father fails to get GED to appear in court"
Friday, May 16, 2008
Hamilton Journal News
From the above story (italics added):
Rob Clevenger, Butler County court administrator, said:
In 2007, 196 parents were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for not compelling their children to attend school. He said other parents who did not comply have gone to jail, although he could not specify how many."
Before I continue, I have also seen the blistering report regarding the Butler County Juvenile Court, written by former County Commissioner Michael Fox: "A Culture of Secrecy, Fear and Judicial Abuse"
Remember, Brittany's parents kept taking her to school; she would take off after being dropped off. Were these parents supposed to quit their jobs, and handcuff themselves to Brittany? Did Juvenile Court Judge David Niehaus expect the parents to beat the crap out of her to get her to comply, so then the court would convict them for child abuse?
Mr. Rob Clevenger sounds like he is the political spin doctor for the out-of-control Juvenile Court Judge David Niehaus, and his spin is not working well here because there is no way they can justify parents being jailed because the parents don't have the needed skill to control an out-of-control, strong-willed teen. According to the following and other sources (Fairfield County), the Ohio Attorney General strongly urged counties to start using the The Parent Project® after an impact study of the program's success in helping parents learn how to deal with strong-willed teens.
When Rob Clevenger received the memo from the attorney general's office recommending The Parent Project®, did he just throw it in the trash? Was this because the Niehaus court would rather jail parents, rather than solve the problems parents experience with strong-willed, out-of-control kids? He can make all of the excuses he wants, but there is no way they can justify the Orwellian tactics being employed by this court and by Juvenile Court Judge David Niehaus.
The Parent Project® (2004-2005)
Funding Agency: Office of the Ohio Attorney General
"Project Description: With support from the Office of the Ohio Attorney General, ISPV staff conducted an evaluation of Parent Project, a training curriculum for the parents of adolescents who engage in various forms of destructive behavior. Data were collected from both parents and their children, as well as from juvenile courts in Cuyahoga, Mahoning and Stark Counties: http://dept.kent.edu/ispv/pastProj.html
"Fairfield County has been using the program for 2 years with great success after they received information from the attorney general's office urging them to use it:
Toni Ashton, Coalition Director
I guess Juvenile Court Judge David Niehaus would rather jail parents and cause them to lose their jobs instead of getting productive results like these:
The following statistics illustrate what happened in Minidoka County, Idaho, from August 1997 (when full implementation of The Parent Project® began) through December 1999:
- The number of petitions filed for juvenile offenses fell 33%.
- The number of minors on probation for any cause fell by more than 30%.
- The number of drug-related probation violations was down by 20%.
- The number of days spent by youth in detention fell by 24%.
- School dropouts and expulsions dropped by 95%.
So it costs the county taxpayers approximately $30K a year to house an inmate. In the instant case of a 6-month sentence for Brian Gegner, would mean it could cost the taxpayers $15k. His sentence -- or that of the other parents whom Rob Clevenger says they have jailed -- didn't change the teenagers' destructive behavior. The Parent Project® costs parents at most $240, and in some places as low as $150. Mind you this is paid by the parents, not the tax payers. According to my math, Butler County could have helped 63 parents change their kids' destructive behavior, including improving their academic achievement levels for the $15,000 that it will cost taxpayers to jail Brian Gegner. The taxpayers of Butler county have been robbed by the actions of Juvenile Court Judge David Niehaus, and he should be recalled or removed from the bench.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Judge Orders Man to Jail After Adult Daughter Fails to Get a GED; Sparks Call for National Protest by Both Men and Women
Michael Robinson, Executive Director of CAFC, said, “This is one of the most outrageous court rulings we have seen in a long time – and that’s saying something. Under the judge's logic, more than a million men and woman alike -- who are parents of high school dropouts -- should all be put in jail. This judge is out of control, and should be immediately removed from this case.”
Butler County Juvenile Court Judge David Niehaus ordered Brian Gegner to jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor by not following a court order, an order which required Gegner to be sure that his daughter got her GED. While the father had technical custody, the daughter actually lived with her mother while she was truant from school.
ABC station WPCO reported that the daughter, Brittany Gegner -- who is now 18 -- says the order is “ridiculously wrong,” adding that if anyone should go to jail, she should and not her dad. Brittany was quoted: "I'm about to be 19 and my Dad's being punished for something I did when I was 16," she said. "I would way rather me go to jail than my Dad."
Her mother also volunteered to go to jail. "They probably should have punished me if they were going to punish anybody," said Brittany's mother, Shana Roach. "Because she did live with me at the time, but because he had the custody, that's why he's being punished." "But I don't understand the punishment all together, because she's going to school, she's been going for four months," said Roach. "The only thing that's holding her back is she can't pass her math test."
A copy of the full story can be found at: http://www.wcpo.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=28d2acca-9947-44cc-8831-9859f1f6137e
Contact: Michael Robinson
This press release is also available in PDF format:
Labels: press release
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Positive Feedback From Daddy Hunger Screening
The Daddy Hunger screening has product some very positive results. CAFC had invited an attendee of our February 2008 Domestic Violence Conference to attend the screening. That person is a representative of the California Department of Social Services. The CDSS representative was very impressed with the film and the research materials presented during CAFC’s opening remarks. As a result a copy of the DVD and the presentation materials were passed onto another senior official within CDSS’s children's issues division. You too can view these materials at CAFC’s website.
We are please to announce that CAFC was contacted by that senior official informing us that CDSS wants to use the materials for a pilot fatherhood program. The program will teach responsible fatherhood and develop policies that encourage fathers to take part in their children’s daily lives, not just provide financial support. It is our understanding the program will also encourage mothers to be more supportive of the father’s involvement in the daily lives of their children. Furthermore, it appears that CDSS will support a resolution that CAFC plans to introduce next year to promote the importance of a father’s involvement to the overall well-being of their children.
For more information, please visit the CAFC website.