A WORD ABOUT
THE CHILDREN'S RIGHTS COUNCIL

The Children's Rights Council, "CRC", is a father's rights group originally founded by, inter alia, FR ideologue David Levy, who is its president.  It is a 501(c)(3) organization that purports to be"educational." In reality, its membership is strongly tied to FR political lobbying groups. It's political, not educational.

When the organization was formed, (about the time it began to become popular for father's rights groups to include mention of "children" in the names of their organizations, and also about the time joint custody started getting a lot of academic notice via Ph.D. studies as a "new idea"), the founders put together an honorary membership in a "board" that currently is listed on the organization's stationery. It is common for non-profits, particularly charitable non-profits (this is not) to solicit actors and other famous persons in this way. They do it because it facilitates their public relations appearance of philanthropy and interest in causes, and in return, this simultaneously lends an air of immediate credibility to the non-profit organization.

The Children's Rights Council carefully postures its supposed "officials" in a way designed to make it appear that the group is inclusive of all interests.  

In particular, the C.R.C. plays down its FR ties, and plays up its "women" ties, e.g. hawking joint custody supporter, Karen DeCrow (childless second wife) and FRster Warren Farrell because that permits repeated mention of these individuals now dubious ties to "N.O.W." to cast the impression that the C.R.C. is a group comprising mothers and sanctioned by feminists!

But according to its masthead, the working officers and board consist of only four persons.

Of those four, two are David Levy, president, and Ellen Dublin Levy, secretary. This information is indicated in small, inconspicuous type on the Council's stationery. Quite a tight-knit group. Few might notice or question this, however, or notice that it's not at all up-front about who are the powers-that-be-in-charge, because the organization's stationery (below, as of 1998) and publications obscure this lack of informative information with a LENGTHY listing of ostensible executives including, among others:

An Honorary President (what the heck is this?) comedian David Brenner

Parenting Education Spokesperson, NBA hall-of-famer, Wes Unseld (based on his child development experience or his legal experience?)

National Spokespersons, Darryl Grant, Washington Redskins; Doug Superman, a country music singer; and Dwight Twilley, a pop music singer. (More entertainers and ball players...)

The "general counsel" is FATHER'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST-lawyer-writer MICHAEL L. ODDENINO who is a founder and organization ideologue.

His actual influence is downplayed by listing his name as if it is on a par with the comedians and sports figures.)

Then there's the long "impressive" list of "Advisory Panel" members:

Mendel Abrams, a rabbi,
Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby),
Senator Fred Thompson (TN), an actor,
Senator Bob Graham (FL),
Judith Bakersfeld, president of the Stepfamily Association of America,
Kay and Ray Berryhill, founders of Grandparents Rights in New Strength,
David Birney, an actor.
Pat Boyd, of Parents Without Partners,
Jim Cook, president of the Joint Custody Association, an FR organization,
Karen DeCrow, former president of NOW and well-known misguided supporter of the FR agenda (but if you didn't know this, her inclusion on a quick glance down the roster certainly makes this organization look woman-friendly, doesn't it),
Ellen Diamond, Children's Rights Council Co-founder
Phyllis Diller, an entertainer
Warren Farrell "Ph.D., a self-proclaimed "sexologist" and father's rights activist,
Larry Caughan, director of Family Mediation of Washington, DC,
Jonathan Goodson, the Hollywood TV producer,
Jennifer Isham, president of Mothers Without Custody, and
Joan Berlin Kelly, researcher and author.

The panel listing was designed to appear to represent a spectrum of positions and interests, particularly to be inclusive of women and feminists.

The former NOW presidency of (childless, second wife) Karen DeCrow is touted as her sole claim to fame (is it?), and, as is typical, so is (childless) Warren Farrell's board membership in the NYC chapter of NOW, which (as he usually portrays it) is written up to appear to have been membership in the national board, with a dangling modifyer implying that the national board is headquartered in NYC. (One has to wonder about THIS being Farrell's listed credential? What about his decade or so AFTERWARD studying incest and pedophilia and claiming to be a sexologist...?)

In summary, then, the C.R.C. honchos, both active and titular, include: lots of sports figures and entertainers, a representative of a stepparent's association, a representative of a noncustodial mother's association, a couple of childless former feminists (including one who has opined that "...millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and genitally caressing their children, when that is really part of a caring, loving expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves"), the founders of a grandparents rights organization, the P.W.P. social dating club, and okay so there's the unmistakable FRs like Oddenino and Jim Cook, but everyone's represented, right? Wrong.

Notably, you will not see one single individual or organization listed, even among the titular luminaries, who represent primary parenting-custodial mothers, married, unwed or divorced.  Not represented.  Mothers with children are not represented.  At all.  The single largest demographic group with hands-on experience in child rearing, the one demographic group with the MOST interest in and concern for children's welfare: NOT represented.

The agenda of the C.R.C. is in favor of joint custody and extended visitation rights. It has put its support behind a range of FR legislative proposals and position papers. Its featured speakers include (e.g. 11th Annual Conference in fall of 1997) the likes of Sanford Braver, Ph.D. (pro-joint custody propagandist "researcher"), Richard Gardner, M.D. of Parental Alienation Syndrome fame, Canadian Senator Anne Cools (dyed in the wool anti-feminist for those of you who are familiar with Canadian politics -- what was she doing here in a U.S. policy group?). Members of Congress routinely are invited to the organization's D.C. area meetings, such as the above 11th annual conference which featured the above notable anti-mother activists.

The C.R.C. downpeddles its FR agenda and RR ties, and markets itself in a way designed to appear to the disinterested observer as an organization backed by important people, concerned about, studying and working in the interests of children and their divorce problems.

The agenda of groups such as the C.R.C. often passes easily on a quick look-see by scholars and legislators as neutral and benign. (Another one of these, albeit not an organization per se but a program is the National Fatherhood Initiative.) Although these professionals should be "smarter," their very posture as objective and neutral means that they frequently will fail to examine surface presentations. And many of them are in fact men with personal agendas that are not pro-woman.

So what's the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers doing endorsing this bunch on its website? There are two possibilities: either (1) this supposed smart group of some of the nation's top family lawyers is ignorant of family law politics, or (2) they are themselves anti-mother, non-neutral, father's-rights ideologues.

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