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Monday, September 11, 2017


As a feminist, there is nothing worse in my mind than a situation where women do not support other women.  This is particularly true when it comes to the Protective Mothers who are the victims of Family Court.  Let me tell you how this impacted me recently.  

On March 13, 2017, I received an email from the Three College Luncheon organization inviting me to a luncheon where guest speaker Attorney Kathy Flaherty, Wellesley Class of 1988 and Harvard Law Class of 1994, was going to make a presentation about her service on the Governor's Sandy Hook Commission.  She is currently the Executive Director of the Connecticut legal rights Project, Inc. a State funded non-profit agency which provides legal services to support the rights of low income individuals with mental health disabilities.

For those who are interested, the Three College Luncheon is an annual event including alumnae of the Women's Colleges Wellesley, Mt. Holyoke, and Smith.  Getting this invitation made me somewhat irate because I was annoyed by Kathy Flaherty.  As I stated to Kathleen Colket to whom I was supposed to R.S.V.P. re the luncheon, earlier in the year I'd sent an email to Attorney Flaherty expressing concerns regarding how mothers are abused in Family Court, and asking for information regarding a new approach to medical care which the State of Connecticut has recently implemented known as Integrated Healthcare which I believe poses a serious risk to litigants in Family Court.  She didn't bother to respond to my inquiry.  

Why would you invite a person like Attorney Kathy Flaherty to speak, I asked Kathleen Colket, granting that Flaherty "has failed to address a major civil rights problem here in the State of CT that impacts women in a major way", i.e. the fact that the CT Family Court misapplies mental health labels as a means to deny women custody of their children. The use of psychiatric diagnoses to deny women their fundamental civil rights has a long history in our patriarchal culture. Directly related to this concern is the fact that Integrated Health Care weakens confidentiality in regard to women's mental health care which could put them seriously at risk in Family Court.  

Attorney Kathy Flaherty clearly didn't want to address these very real and pressing issues, so she ignored me and failed to respond to my email.  Isn't that just simply rude?  Shouldn't Public servants like Attorney Kathy Flaherty be accountable to the public and respond to their concerns? Not only that, I believe that it would be fair to say that the graduates of women's colleges such as Attorney Kathy Flaherty, who have been trained to be the leaders in defending women's rights, should be the first to speak out against these kinds of attacks on women in Family Court. 

What is Integrated Health Care, you ask, and how can it be dangerous to Family Court litigants?  

Integrated Health Care is medical care that addresses both your mental health care and your physical care at the same time. This has been implemented here in Connecticut during the last few years. Concretely, what it means is that when you go to see your primary health care physician, while you sit in the waiting room, the receptionist will give you an extensive mental health self inventory where you indicate via "yes" or "no" answers whether you do or do not have the symptoms of some form of mental health issue.  

If you take your children to the pediatrician, the first step of their appointment will consist of the kids sitting there and answering questions to a similar age appropriate self inventory which is intended to pick up any mental health difficulties they have. So the impact of the implementation of Integrated Health Care affects pretty much every citizen in Connecticut from childhood and throughout adulthood.  

How could this possibly be a problem for a family court litigant?  

In essence, this means that your medical records maintained at your primary care physician could end up containing voluminous information in regard to your mental health collected over a period of years, all of which could be used against you in a Court of Law since there are very few protections for Family Court litigants in regard to the confidentiality of their medical records.  For the better part, HIPPA law does not protect the confidentiality of your medical records in family court.

Before Integrated Health Care, it is true that Family Court Judges regularly ordered mental health counselors to hand over their records to the Court and to the opposing attorney.  While the law didn't actually give the Court such extensive access, few attorneys actually bothered to protect the privacy of their clients when the issues arose. Still, you did have some protections if you were aware of the privacy laws against disclosing mental health records and the well informed litigant could insist their attorneys use them in their defense. Many mental health professionals exercised well developed strategies to prevent the Court's access to their client's records and often only provided diagnosis and dates of treatment in response to any requests for disclosure.  The only vulnerability you had then, where your privacy could be breached, was in connection to your therapists.

However, Integrated Health Care as practiced currently breaks down the barriers and expands the possible locations where Family Court can access your private psychiatric information. Integrated Healthcare means that information regarding your mental health status is now shared not only with your primary care physician but pretty much with every physical health care provider you deal with because it often ends up in the data base. In essence, whenever, or wherever you go for treatment, the medical office will look at your online records and find out exactly what your mental health status is. Further, they will create their own medical records which further describe your mental health status. While mental health professionals have traditionally been extremely careful about the privacy of their clients mental health records, this is not true of other areas of medicine where doctors address physical health care. This means that Family Court now has an expanded field of opportunity where it can obtain private information regarding your mental health, all of which can be used against you.  

Furthermore, what the implementation of Integrated Health Care unfortunately has not done is eliminate the widespread stigma against people with or perceived of as having mental illness that remains a very powerful factor in our culture. Discrimination against people with mental illness or perceived as having mental illness remains alive and well.  As a result Integrated Health Care puts any and all Family Court litigants at serious risk of losing their parental rights based upon stigma. Several Court cases, including the Watley/Hasemann case, indicate that parents who lose custody based upon mental illness often don't even have serious mental illnesses. On the contrary, they have conditions that are highly treatable and that do not preclude good parenting.  Still, such parents lose not only custody, but all access to their children. 

What is even worse about this situation is that primary health care physicians are, for the better part, not trained mental health professionals and so they are not qualified to assess how exactly these self inventories should be understood in terms of an individuals mental health status.  In that regard, I can personally report that when I used one of these inventories, my primary care physician drew a conclusion in regard to my mental health status that was radically different than the mental health professionals I was seeing at the time, and had seen in the past.  

Multiply incidents of misdiagnosis like this dramatically as the use of Integrated Health Care expands and the result will be absolutely tragic in terms of patients ending up being mislabeled, misrepresented, and misperceived and being denied proper health care as well as their parental rights in the process.  

I won't even go into the situations where people with perceived mental health disabilities receive substandard health care because medical professionals attribute their symptoms to mental illness. That is an entirely different topic altogether!  But for those of you who are interested, you are welcome to see link the link below:  

This is simply unacceptable.  

Of course, in my view, the reason why the Sandy Hook Commission put the cart before the horse, i.e. implementing Integrated Health Care prior to addressing stigma, is that the participants fundamentally believe that people with or perceived of as having mental health disabilities should be perfectly satisfied with their severely inferior status.  In many respects, they consider such people a lower form of human being who wouldn't object to greatly limited access to housing, employment, education, their children, let alone basic human rights.  Isn't that what this is all about, if you get right to it?  This bigoted attitude particularly impacts Protective Mothers since corrupt Family Court vendors routinely use fabricated labels of mental illness to seize their children from them.

How did we end up with Integrated Health Care which exposes so many citizens to very serious harm and damage, particularly in Family Court?  

We can thank Adam Lanza for Integrated Health Care since it came out as the result of the Sandy Hook Commission recommendations which were published on March 6, 2015.  This is the Commission Attorney Kathy Flaherty participated in.  This is why I wrote Attorney Flaherty and her fellow leaders at the Keep the Promise Coalition my email confronting her in regard to the potential damaging consequences of this approach to medicine.  Not only did I write to her about the dangers posed to Family Court Litigants due to the lack of protections for privacy and confidentiality, I also touched upon issues related to stigma which impacts everyone with a mental health disability.   

Again, to emphasize, Integrated Health Care represents a serious danger to citizens in the State of Connecticut on many different levels.  Still, the State of Connecticut is willing to subject people to this serious danger in order to be seen as doing something decisive to avoid another Adam Lanza situation.  Too bad that Integrated Health Care is absolutely the worst approach it could take! 

What is my advice?  Just resist! 

I don't have much more to say other than to emphasize again and again how much Integrated Health Care puts Family Court Litigants at risk.  If you are a Family Court litigant, or you anticipate that one day you might just become one, I urge you to refuse to fill out these mental health self inventories.  You do have a right to refuse to take them and I would absolutely assert those rights.  If you are in a position, as I have been, where you cannot refuse them, I would recommend that you simply lie on them.  Always report that you are doing just fine--thank you very much.  That is the only way to defuse the danger that these intrusions into your mental health privacy represents.  

Given the very real harms that Integrated Health Care represents to the Citizens of the State of Connecticut, particularly women, as I said before, it is very puzzling that the members of the Three College Luncheon would invite a top proponent of that policy, Attorney Kathy Flaherty, to act as a guest speaker at the luncheon.  You'd think they'd find her behavior in supporting such a policy as reprehensible as I find it.  

Unfortunately, there are large swaths of the population out there who have no idea about the implications of this new health care approach.  As a result, when I raised my objections to Attorney Flaherty, Kathleen Colket essentially faced me with a brick wall.  Her response to me was, "I am an attorney who works with low income clients, but I do not do family law cases.  I do not know anything about family law."  In regard to my concerns regarding the impact of Integrated Health Care on family court matters she stated, "My job is to organize a luncheon, not to educate you about a system you clearly do not understand."  

Ms. Marcia Kropf representing Mt. Holyoke College stated, "My understanding is that Attorney Flaherty was invited to share her experience serving on the Governor's Sandy Hook Commission.  The Association and the alumnae clubs invite speakers on a wide range of topics with a wide range of opinions.  Inviting them to speak does not mean that the club endorses all their opinions."  

That may be so, but I have not yet known the organization to invite anyone to speak whose opinions they did not endorse.  

In my response to Marcia Kropf I stated, "I think it is very unfortunate when women do not support other women."  It does concern me that women from sister colleges are so grossly ignorant of the massive war on women now being fought in the Family Court Systems across this country.  Of all the groups that take the lead on this issue, it should be the alumnae of sister schools who rise to the forefront of leadership on behalf of women and lead the battle for justice and for equity.  Instead, such women appear to prefer to sink into a mire of indifference and ignorance despite the fact that this war against women is most particularly directed against them.  

One point both judges and attorneys have made repeatedly is that, more than any other group, the one they hate the most are the "intelligent" women who emerge from sister schools.  Sister school graduates can only ignore that fact at their own risk!

Kate Millett, author of "Sexual Politics"
It is ironic that at the same time as I arrive at this conclusion, Kate Millet died this past week in Paris, France at the age of 82. She was the first feminist activist to call out Women's Colleges and demand that they actually live up to the ideals that a Woman's College is supposed to represent. She pointed out the damaging impact that a women's college education has on young women in terms of silencing their critical minds and turning them into Stepford wife, zombie clone types. Millet did this in 1968 which was not long before the timeframe in which Attorney Kathy Flaherty and I received our degrees.  Their response? Barnard fired her from her faculty position at the College.

Author Rosalind Rosenberg, author of "Changing the Subject" published in 2013 described Kate Millet's perspective on this phenomenon as follows, "Millet blasted [Barnard College] for giving its students an inferior "Jim Crow" education rather than providing them with the critical tools necessary to understand their position in a patriarchal society."  

When I look at the Three College Luncheon leadership's brick wall response to my challenge to Attorney Kathy Flaherty, I can only state that the problem of systematically putting a halt to any kind of critical thinking remains. Something should be done about this so that graduates of Women's Colleges live up to the ideas they bought into when they stepped up to the plate and went to a woman's College. Women should support other women, particularly those who are oppressed, and few are more oppressed that protective mothers in Family Court.


  1. Not sure where to start on this response other than a stiff drink and an expression of gratitude to the Lord for bestowing on C Sloper a high level of consciousness and ability to communicate truth. Second, as an embarrassed closet member of the male gender regretfully containing a remarkable number of low consciousness, narcissistic types , I must confess we good ol' boys stick together in any number of back-scratching forums esp in business but other public/private sectors too. In 40 year plus career I've noted many instances of women acting as unguided lone operatives, wolves if you will,actually conspiring against other women! What in H E L L gives here? Good assignment for the Yalie soc/psych majors or alas , a PhD dissertation!!
    Anyway, I have no read zero reason to doubt any aspect of this report. Many unanswered questions with a benign unquestioning public/legislators yawning through it all wondering more importantly how Florida won the game in the last second. (Let the next generation sort it out) pls, spare me more pain..
    Lastly let women's colleges continue to atrophy and let 'em
    Go the route of dinosaurs, college frats and related anachronisms. Let them at least go the route of Conn College in the article 70's-80's..Thats the irony of ironies ..Women's colleges, while they are still around and marginally relevant information should INDEED be at the forefront of woman's (medical) rights in family court. Start with CT family court, the epitome of general corruption, female wolf operatives in action and the pillaging of women's rights.
    O K, on that positive note(s) let's end this with collective gratitude and blessings extended to Kate Millet, a woman and pioneer, like Jesus, who “ expressed infinite truth and clearly was ahead of her times..

  2. Anyone know the male version of "feminism"?