Have Texas Parents Lost the Right to Sue Faith-Based Schools That Abuse Their Children?

Published in  Houston Chronicle  on 2018-09-05 by Janet Heimlich

With back-to-school season upon us, many parents are scrambling to buy school supplies, new clothes, and uniforms for their children. But families with children attending private religious schools in Texas have a much more serious thing to worry about — losing their right to protect their children from abuse — as a result of a recent Texas Supreme Court decision.

Read more


News Roundup: Panhandle Boys Ranch Survivors Tell Stories of Abuse

Published in  Texas Standard  on 2018-09-04 by Becky Fogel

Survivors of alleged abuse at a Texas Panhandle youth housing facility are trying to draw attention to what they call decades of mistreatment and cover-ups. Allegations against Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch first made headlines late last year. At the end of last week, former students of the institution gathered in Amarillo to tell their stories.

Read more


Abuse Survivors of Cal Farley's Boys Ranch Seeking Demands

Published in  abc7amarillo.com  on 2018-08-31 by Drew Powell

On the eve of the 74th annual Boys Ranch Rodeo a group of former residents of Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch came forward to share their experiences of abuse they suffered while living on the ranch. The alumni group is represented by Child Friendly Faith Project (CFFP) out of Austin, Texas. Members of the group held a press conference on Friday morning to talk to the media about the physical and mental abuse they say they suffered.

Read more


Accusations of Physical, Mental, and Sexual Abuse from Past Boys Ranch Members

Published in  MyHighPlains  on 2018-08-31 by Blessing Woksman

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – From one person last December to half a dozen this morning. The list of people accusing Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch of abuse continues to grow.

An Austin-based non-profit called Child-Friendly Faith Project hosted a press conference allowing the people they’re calling survivors to share the years of negative experience they say they endured while students at Boys Ranch. We first brought you this story in December when we shared Steve Smith’s story but today we share six others.

Read more


Former Boys Ranch Residents Hold Event In Amarillo, Allege Decades Of Abuse

Published in  High Plains Public Radio (HPPR)  on 2018-08-31 by Jonathan Baker

Since 1939, Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch has been thought of as a safe space for at-risk youth in the Texas Panhandle. But late last year, allegations of abuse–spanning decades–surfaced. On Friday morning, former Boys Ranch residents gathered in Amarillo to bring attention to what they say happened to them at the faith-based facility.

Read more


More Allegations Surface from Survivors of Boys Ranch Abuse

Published in  voiceofamarillo.com  on 2018-08-31 by Charlie Hardin

This morning, a news conference was held with survivors of alleged abuse at the hands of staff at Boys Ranch. What follows is a summary of the information shared over an hour with the former students and family members. Over the course of an hour, we heard from several former residents of Boys Ranch, or family members of former residents. The dates they attended ranged from the 1950’s all the way up to the end of the 1980’s.

Read more


'I don't believe ... Catholics can trust the bishops to protect their children,' expert says

Published in  York Daily Record  on 2018-08-27 by Teresa Boeckel

As the Roman Catholic Church grapples with the recent Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing widespread clergy sexual abuse, it faces a critical question: What can be done to protect children?

Read more


Texas Supreme Court Is Sending a Dangerous Message

Published in  Galveston County Daily News  on 2018-08-23 by Janet Heimlich

Many parents are scrambling to buy school supplies, new clothes and uniforms for their children. But, families with children attending private religious schools in Texas have a much more serious thing to worry about.

Because of a June 22 Texas Supreme Court decision, parents throughout Texas may have lost the right to sue private schools claiming a religious affiliation — even in cases in which children have been abused. It’s a case that should make parents think seriously about whether to enroll their children in private, religious institutions.

Read more


Stark Revelations: For Catholics, an Excruciating New Test of Faith

Published in  Christian Science Monitor  on 2018-08-16 by Harry Bruinius

For Catholics, the past two decades have forced the faithful to grapple with wide-spread sexual abuse among clergy. Now, as other traditions discover similar predators among their ranks, a new report still has the power to shock the nation, as well as those still seeking solace in the church.

Read more


Court Won’t Hear ESD Marijuana Case

Published in  Preston Hollow People  on 2018-07-19 by Timothy Glaze

The Texas Supreme Court has acted – or refused to act – on an issue concerning a former Episcopal School of Dallas student.

By refusing to consider the case of John Doe vs. ESD, the high court lets stand the decision of the lower court, which ruled in favor of the private school against a student who was expelled after being accused of leaving campus without permission and smoking marijuana.

Read more


Commentary: Why Texans Can’t Sue Faith-Based Schools That Hurt Kids

Published in  Austin American-Statesman  on 2018-07-03 by Janet Heimlich

The Texas Supreme Court recently made a decision that could adversely affect the lives of thousands of children across the state. In the case of John Doe v. Episcopal School of Dallas, the justices refused to consider a harmful ruling issued by a lower appellate court. The ruling allows a faith-based school to avoid civil liability for harming a child in its care. In other words, Texas parents may have just lost their right to sue a faith-based school their children are enrolled in, even if there are claims of abuse or neglect.

Read more


Heimlich: Texas Parents May Have Lost Right to Sue Religious Schools

Published in  Longview News Journal  on 2018-06-30 by Janet Heimlich

The Texas Supreme Court made a decision this past week that could adversely affect the lives of thousands of children across the state. In the John Doe vs. Episcopal School of Dallas case, the justices refused to consider a harmful ruling issued by a lower appellate court. The ruling allows a faith-based school to avoid civil liability for harming a child in its care. In other words, Texas parents may have just lost their right to sue a faith-based school their children are enrolled in, even if there are claims of abuse or neglect.

Read more


Parents May Have Lost Right to Sue Religious Schools

Published in  Galveston County Daily News  on 2018-06-27 by Janet Heimlich

The Texas Supreme Court made a decision last week that could adversely affect the lives of thousands of children. In John Doe vs. Episcopal School of Dallas, the justices refused to consider a harmful ruling issued by an appellate court. The ruling allows a faith-based school to avoid civil liability for harming a child in its care. Texas parents may have lost their right to sue a faith-based school, even if there are claims of abuse or neglect.

Read more


Janet Heimlich, Guest Columnist: Think Twice About Faith-Based Schools After Texas Supreme Court Failure

Published in  Waco Tribune-Herald  on 2018-06-26 by Janet Heimlich

The Texas Supreme Court made a decision this month that could adversely affect the lives of thousands of children across the state. In the John Doe vs. Episcopal School of Dallas case, the justices refused to consider a harmful ruling issued by a lower appellate court. The ruling allows a faith-based school to avoid civil liability for harming a child in its care. In other words, Texas parents may have just lost their right to sue a faith-based school their children are enrolled in, even if there are claims of abuse or neglect.

Read more


Dallas Prep School Wins Legal Battle Over Student's Expulsion

Published in  FOX4News.com  on 2018-06-25 by

The attorney for a Dallas family says a legal victory for the Episcopal School of Dallas set a dangerous precedent. The family sued the school after their son was expelled. They lost and now worry about what it means for other families who try to hold a religious institution accountable. The case hinges on the school’s religious affiliation and how much protection it and other institutions like it will have moving forward.

Read more


Texas Parents May Have Just Lost the Right to Sue Faith-Based Schools

Published in  Corpus Christi Caller-Times  on 2018-06-25 by Janet Heimlich

The Texas Supreme Court made a decision this past week that could adversely affect the lives of thousands of children across the state. In the John Doe vs. Episcopal School of Dallas case, the justices refused to consider a harmful ruling issued by a lower appellate court. The ruling allows a faith-based school to avoid civil liability for harming a child in its care. In other words, Texas parents may have just lost their right to sue a faith-based school their children are enrolled in, even if there are claims of abuse or neglect.

Read more


School Dispute Gives Texas Court Something to Pray Over

Published in  Jacksonville Progress  on 2018-06-02 by John Austin

AUSTIN — After The Episcopal School of Dallas gave a student a choice of withdrawing or expulsion for claimed policy violations, he sued, but a state court said it would not act.

The conflict ended up at the Supreme Court of Texas, where lawyers for the former pupil and his father argue that the school can’t shield itself from liability over the child’s emotional trauma, saying the judicial system should treat the dispute as it would any other civil lawsuit.

The school stands behind a First Amendment claim of protection for faith-based organizations’ right to make rules without judicial interference.

Read more


Christian School Dispute Gives Texas Court Something to Pray Over

Published in  Weatherford Democrat  on 2018-06-01 by John Austin

AUSTIN — After The Episcopal School of Dallas gave a student a choice of withdrawing or expulsion for claimed policy violations, he sued, but a state court said it would not act.

The conflict ended up at the Supreme Court of Texas, where lawyers for the former pupil and his father argue that the school can’t shield itself from liability over the child’s emotional trauma, saying the judicial system should treat the dispute as it would any other civil lawsuit.

The school stands behind a First Amendment claim of protection for faith-based organizations’ right to make rules without judicial interference.

Read more


School Dispute Gives Texas Court Something to Pray Over

Published in  Athens Daily Review  on 2018-05-31 by John Austin

AUSTIN — After The Episcopal School of Dallas gave a student a choice of withdrawing or expulsion for claimed policy violations, he sued, but a state court said it would not act.

The conflict ended up at the Supreme Court of Texas, where lawyers for the former pupil and his father argue that the school can’t shield itself from liability over the child’s emotional trauma, saying the judicial system should treat the dispute as it would any other civil lawsuit.

The school stands behind a First Amendment claim of protection for faith-based organizations’ right to make rules without judicial interference.

Read more


School Dispute Gives Texas Court Something to Pray Over

Published in  The Huntsville Item  on 2018-05-30 by John Austin

AUSTIN — After The Episcopal School of Dallas gave a student a choice of withdrawing or expulsion for claimed policy violations, he sued, but a state court said it would not act.

The conflict ended up at the Supreme Court of Texas, where lawyers for the former pupil and his father argue the school can’t shield itself from liability over the child’s emotional trauma, saying the judicial system should treat the dispute as it would any other civil lawsuit.

The school stands behind a First Amendment claim of protection for faith-based organizations’ right to make rules without judicial interference.

Read more


Churches Struggle with Their #MeToo Moment

Published in  Christian Science Monitor  on 2018-04-20 by Harry Bruinius

The #MeToo movement has forced Hollywood, Washington, and Wall Street to grapple honestly with patterns of sexual harassment and abuse. Many churches are still struggling to embrace such introspection and the disruption it brings.

Read more


Dad Still Challenging Son’s Withdrawal from ESD

Published in  Preston Hollow People  on 2018-04-19 by Timothy Glaze

A father whose son was forced to withdraw from Episcopal School of Dallas after accusations of smoking marijuana is hoping the Texas Supreme Court will clear the way for his lawsuit against the school to go forward.

A decision on whether the state’s highest civil court will take up the case could come soon, attorneys said.

Read more


Concerns About Teachers, Students, Parents, Education Spending, Betsy DeVos

Published in  Dallas Morning News  on 2018-04-14 by Janet Heimlich

The Texas Supreme Court is considering a case that could affect thousands of children enrolled in faith-based private schools. It involves a lawsuit filed by a father who alleges his child was emotionally harmed by the Episcopal School of Dallas. The school claims no court has the right to intervene because it is faith-based.

Read more


Religious Schools Should Not Be Shielded from Judicial Review

Published in  Laredo Morning Times  on 2018-04-01 by Janet Heimlich

As parents, when we enroll our children in a school, we entrust it to care for our kids and keep them safe. That’s certainly true for private K-12 schools that can cost upward of $15,000 to $25,000 a year. Some parents believe that religiously affiliated schools are particularly trustworthy because of their spiritual teachings.

But, of course, all schools — be they religious or secular — can leave children vulnerable to psychological harm, as well as physical and sexual abuse. Now there is a case before the Texas Supreme Court in which the Episcopal School of Dallas, or ESD, is alleged to have caused a child emotional trauma. The school claims that no court has the right to intervene because it is faith-based.

Read more


Religious Schools Should Not Be Shielded from Judicial Review

Published in  Express-News  on 2018-04-01 by Janet Heimlich

As parents, when we enroll our children in a school, we entrust it to care for our kids and keep them safe. That’s certainly true for private K-12 schools that can cost upward of $15,000 to $25,000 a year. Some parents believe that religiously affiliated schools are particularly trustworthy because of their spiritual teachings.

But, of course, all schools — be they religious or secular — can leave children vulnerable to psychological harm, as well as physical and sexual abuse. Now there is a case before the Texas Supreme Court in which the Episcopal School of Dallas, or ESD, is alleged to have caused a child emotional trauma. The school claims that no court has the right to intervene because it is faith-based.

Read more


Is Court Ruling in Religious School’s Favor a Slippery Slope?

Published in  Austin American-Statesman  on 2018-03-30 by Chuck Lindell

Texas judges have long avoided legal fights over religious doctrine and practice, reasoning that their secular authority should rarely extend into matters of worship.

But the father of a boy expelled from the exclusive Episcopal School of Dallas believes a state appeals court got it wrong when it dismissed his lawsuit against the school, ruling that enrollment and disciplinary decisions were related to its religious practice and therefore protected by the First Amendment.

Read more


Texas Students' Rights at Stake vs. Faith-Based Schools

Published in  Corpus Christi Caller-Times  on 2018-03-27 by Janet Heimlich

As parents, when we enroll our children in a school, we entrust it to care for our kids and keep them safe. That’s certainly true for private K-12 schools which can cost upward of $15,000 to $25,000 a year. Some parents believe that religiously affiliated schools are particularly trustworthy because of their spiritual teachings.

But, of course, all schools—be they religious or secular—can leave children vulnerable to psychological harm, as well as physical and sexual abuse. Now there is a case before the Texas Supreme Court in which the Episcopal School of Dallas (ESD) has been alleged to have caused a child emotional trauma, while the school claims that no court has the right to intervene because it is faith-based.

Read more


COMMENTARY: Why Texans Could Lose Right to Sue Faith-Based Schools

Published in  The Monitor  on 2018-03-26 by Janet Heimlich

As parents, when we enroll our children in a school, we entrust it to care for our kids and keep them safe. That’s certainly true for private K-12 schools which can cost upwards of $15,000 to $25,000 per year. Some parents believe that religiously affiliated schools are particularly trustworthy because of their spiritual teachings.

But, of course, all schools — whether religious or secular — can leave children vulnerable to psychological harm, as well as physical and sexual abuse. Now there is a case before the Texas Supreme Court in which the Episcopal School of Dallas (ESD) has been alleged to have caused a child emotional trauma, while the school claims that no court has the right to intervene because it is faith-based.

Read more


Commentary: Why Texas Should Let Parents Sue Faith-Based Schools

Published in  Austin American-Statesman  on 2018-03-24 by Janet Heimlich

As parents, when we enroll our children in a school, we entrust it to care for our kids and keep them safe. That’s certainly true for private K-12 schools, which can cost $15,000 to $25,000 a year. Some parents believe that religiously affiliated schools are particularly trustworthy because of their spiritual teachings.

But, of course, all schools — be they religious or secular — can leave children vulnerable to psychological harm, as well as physical and sexual abuse. Now, there is a case before the Texas Supreme Court in which the Episcopal School of Dallas (ESD) has been alleged to have caused a child emotional trauma, while the school claims that no court has the right to intervene because it is faith-based.

Read more


Episcopal School of Dallas Case Pits Religious Freedom Against Student's Right to Sue

Published in  Dallas Observer  on 2018-03-23 by Patrick Williams

For those who attended public school before the age of intolerance, a little lunchtime toking might seem like a minor thing, but the outcome in the case Doe Jr. and his dad filed against ESD could have huge implications for students, school discipline, religion and the law. So far, ESD is winning — the 5th Texas District Court of Appeals in Dallas threw the Does’ case out of court last October. The Does have an appeal pending before the Texas Supreme Court, which is expected to decide soon whether to take it up.

Read more


Should Texas Parents Be Able to Sue Faith-Based Schools?

Published in  Fort Worth Star-Telegram  on 2018-03-19 by Janet Heimlich

As parents, when we enroll our children in a school, we entrust it to care for our kids and keep them safe. That’s certainly true for private K-12 schools which can cost upwards of $15,000 to $25,000 a year. Some parents believe that religiously affiliated schools are particularly trustworthy because of their spiritual teachings.

But, of course, all schools—be they religious or secular—can leave children vulnerable to psychological harm, as well as physical and sexual abuse.

Read more


Survivors Reveal Rampant Child Abuse at Amarillo Ranch for At-Risk Boys

Published in  Texas Standard  on 2017-12-28 by Laura Rice

There’s a city of sorts in the Texas Panhandle that really isn’t a regular city at all. It has a post office, a museum, and a church – but other than that, it’s mostly just homes, dorms, and school buildings. Boys Ranch, Texas is home to Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, a residential community for at-risk children. It’s been serving this purpose for close to 80 years. But now, some former residents say it’s Boys Ranch itself that really put them at risk.

Read more


AGN EXCLUSIVE: Former Congressman Bill Sarpalius details suffering abuse at Boys Ranch

Published in  Amarillo Globe-News  on 2017-12-23 by Robert Stein

When Bill Sarpalius was a teen, he lived at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch with 35 others in a dormitory overseen by two house parents. Also at the home for troubled or parentless youths was a dairy barn. That’s at least one of the places where the former U.S. congressman said he was abused when he was a resident there from 1960 to 1967.

Read more


Former Texas Boys Ranch Residents Say They Suffered Abuse

Published in  NBCDFW.com  on 2017-12-22 by The Associated Press

The head of a ranch that houses at-risk children in the Texas Panhandle has issued an apology after several former residents say they were abused by staffers there from the 1950s until at least the 1990s.

Read more


Ranch for ‘Vulnerable Boys’ Leaves Children Beaten, Raped, Run Over by Horses: Report

Published in  Crimeonline.com  on 2017-12-22 by Leigh Egan

Former residents of a Texas ranch for “vulnerable boys” stepped forward with allegations of severe abuse that reportedly span back to the 1950s and lasted until the 1990s.

Read more


'A Paradise for Adult Abusers': Shocking Accounts of How Children Were ‘Raped, Beaten and Run Over by HORSES’ at a Texas Ranch for Vulnerable Boys

Published in  The Daily Mail  on 2017-12-21 by Gareth Davies

A Texas boys ranch residents has been called into questions as claims emerged vulnerable  boys were raped, beaten and run over by horses under the noses of the staff. Former residents have come forward to say they and hundreds of others were systematically abused at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch near Amarillo.

Read more


Former Texas Boys Ranch Residents Say They Suffered Abuse

Published in  Seattle Times  on 2017-12-21 by The Associated Press

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — The head of a ranch that houses at-risk children in the Texas Panhandle issued an apology after several former residents said they were abused by staffers there from the 1950s until at least the 1990s.

Read more


Former Texas Boys Ranch Residents Say They Suffered Abuse

Published in  US News & World Report  on 2017-12-21 by The Associated Press

The head of a ranch that houses at-risk children in the Texas Panhandle has issued an apology after several former residents say they were abused by staffers there from the 1950s until at least the 1990s.

Read more


Former Texas boys ranch residents say they suffered abuse

Published in  WATE.com  on 2017-12-21 by The Associated Press

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — The head of a ranch that houses at-risk children in the Texas Panhandle has issued an apology after several former residents say they were abused by staffers there from the 1950s until at least the 1990s.

Read more


Abuse Allegations Against Cal Farley's Boys Ranch

Published in  MyHighPlains  on 2017-12-20 by Meredith Avery

AMARILLO, TX – An article from “The Guardian” released earlier today reveals allegations of physical and sexual abuse surrounding Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. Some of those allegations are more than 50 years old; made by men who lived at Boy’s Ranch in from the late 50’s to the 90’s.

Read more


Amarillo-Area Boys Ranch Apologizes for Decades of Physical, Sexual Abuse of At-Risk Youths

Published in  Dallas Morning News  on 2017-12-20 by Marc Ramirez

Leaders of a Texas institution for at-risk kids have acknowledged and apologized for decades of physical and sexual abuse, the Amarillo Globe-News reported.

The abuse at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, northwest of Amarillo, endured through the early 1990s, made public Wednesday in a report published by The Guardian. The newspaper interviewed eight men who accused former Boys Ranch staff members of propagating systemic abuse that affected hundreds of children.

Read more


Boys Ranch Acknowledges, Apologizes for Decades of Physical, Sexual Abuse from ’50s to ’90s

Published in  Amarillo Globe-News  on 2017-12-20 by Robert Stein

Officials at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch acknowledged and apologized Wednesday for decades of alleged abuse at its facility northwest of Amarillo.

Read more


Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch Acknowledges, Apologizes for Decades of Physical, Sexual Abuse

Published in  Lubbock Avalanche Journal  on 2017-12-20 by Robert Stein

AMARILLO – Officials at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch acknowledged and apologized Wednesday for decades of alleged abuse at its facility northwest of Amarillo.

Read more


Former Cal Farley's Boys Ranch Resident Speaks Out on Alleged Abuse

Published in  abc7amarillo.com  on 2017-12-20 by Abby Aldrich

Steve Smith, a former Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch resident, spoke out today on his experiences of being physically and emotionally abused during his time at the Boys Ranch.

Read more


The Texas Boys Were Beaten, Abused, Raped. Now All They Want is an Apology

Published in  The Guardian  on 2017-12-20 by Jason Wilson

The youngsters at Cal Farley’s Ranch in Texas were subjected to years of abuse. But the institution’s feeble response has been a slap in the face to survivors. Steve Smith was just eight when his mother left him in the care of Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, a Texas institution for at-risk children. From the moment he got there in 1959, the place didn’t sit right with him.

Read more


Helping End ‘Faith-based’ Child Abuse

Published in  tfn.org  on 2015-10-28 by Dan Quinn

A boy is beaten because he fidgets during a sermon. A girl is made to feel shameful about her “unclean” sexuality. A teenager is denied medical care because her community only believes in faith healing. When a religious leader molests a child, no one reports it.

Religion is a powerful and positive influence in the lives of many people. But we know that religion can sometimes be used to harm children. Fortunately, the Child-Friendly Faith Project is announcing a new program designed specially for faith communities that aims to end child abuse and neglect perpetrated in the name of faith. What’s more, all faith communities can benefit from it.

Read more


Faith Project Educates on Child Maltreatment

Published in Plainsman Press on October 26, 2015 by Chesanie Brantley

Children throughout the world are suffering from abuse related to religious and cultural ideologies. The Child-Friendly Faith Project (CFFP) is a national nonprofit public charity that protects children from this type of abuse through education. Read more

Interview with Marci A. Hamilton, JD

Published on childfriendlyfaith.org on October 10, 2015 by Zanna Haney

Professor Marci A. Hamilton holds the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. One of the country’s leading scholars in church/state law, she represented the City of Boerne, Texas, in a successful challenge to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a case that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Boerne v. Flores. Professor Hamilton is the author of the newly revised God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty and Justice Denied: what American Must Do to Protect Its Children.

We asked Professor Hamilton about her significant work as a child advocate and her keynote address at this year’s Child-Friendly Faith Project Conference. Read more

What Is It About Religion That Fosters Abuse?

Published in vice.com on August 5, 2015 by James Nolan

Abuse is still rife in religion. Earlier this year, the Methodist Church of Britain released an “unreserved apology” for failing to protect children and adults, following a report that uncovered 1,885 alleged incidents of abuse in the Church dating back to the 1950s. Ministers and lay employees are said to have been involved in 25 percent of cases, with over half of those involving ministers being of a sexual nature. There are six ongoing police investigations. Read more

Janet Heimlich, “Parents rights” advocates have scored a victory now that Idaho has passed House Bill 113. But what does it mean for Idaho’s children?, Child Friendly Faith

Published in rfraperils.com on April 23, 2015

On April 2, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed into law House Bill 113 known as the “parents rights” bill. It will become law on July 1 of this year.

The bill was one of many similar pieces of legislation being lobbied around the country by the Home School Legal Defense Association, whose mission is to “preserve and advance the fundamental, God-given, constitutional right of parents and others legally responsible for their children to direct their education.” Read more

Janet Heimlich, In the Wake of Idaho Granting Parents “Fundamental Rights”

Published in rfraperils.com on April 14, 2015

Last month, I testified in front of an Idaho Senate panel against House bill 113, known as the “parents’ rights” bill. I was there representing my nonprofit organization, theChild-Friendly Faith Project and believe that we, along with other child advocates, convinced lawmakers to improve that bill. But now that Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has signed the parents’ rights bill into law, we wonder, have we lost the fight to save the lives of Idaho’s children who suffer every day due to four religious exemptions that allow parents to “treat” their sick children with only prayer and other religious rituals? Read more

Ending Religious Child Maltreatment

Published in cultureandyouth.org on January 2015

If we hope to end religious child abuse and neglect, people of faith and the nonreligious must put aside their theological differences and learn about this form of maltreatment.

When I tell someone that part of the work of my nonprofit organization, the Child-Friendly Faith Project, involves ending child abuse and neglect that is enabled by religious belief, I often get one of two reactions. Either someone is convinced that religion is in no way responsible for harm done to children, or he or she believes that religious faith is akin to poisons under the kitchen sink and should come with the warning, “keep away from children.” Read more

All In One Accord – CFFP Conference 2014

Published in togetherweheal.com on December 27, 2014

With the hustle and bustle of families and travel during the holiday season, it’s taken me a little longer than normal to write about the conference Linda and I attended in Austin, TX. Because its message and the message of this time of year are so simpatico, I knew now was the right time.

As many of you know by now, last month Linda and I attended The Child-Friendly Faith Project Conference and had the honor of speaking on Day 2. Read more

Coming Together To Fight Child Abuse in Religious Communities

Published in mystatesman.com on November 28, 2014 by Carla Cheatham

“You can start a revolution that will flame up and burn out quickly when you rally folks against a problem, but if you want to stoke the fires of long-term transformation, we must first give people something to be for; something to agree upon.”

With those words in April 2013, I joined the board of directors of the Child-Friendly Faith Project, an Austin-based, national nonprofit organization that educates the public about child abuse and neglect that is enabled by religious and cultural ideologies. Read more

The Internet, Religion, Transparency, and Battling Tyranny

Published in verdict.justia.com on November 13, 2014 by Marci. A. Hamilton

Reporter Laurie Goodstein wrote a fascinating New York Times front-page story this week on the admissions by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“LDS Church”) regarding their founder, Joseph Smith, and the fact he had approximately 40 wives, one of whom was age 14, and some others of whom were already married to other men. This came as a surprise to numerous LDS believers, who had been taught that Smith was a paradigm of virtue devoted to his first wife, Emma. Read more

Religious Child Maltreatment – One of the Many Ills of Authoritarian Faith

Published in tfninsider.com on November 10, 2014 by Dan

This guest post by Janet Heimlich, founder of the Child-Friendly Faith Project (CFFP), explores the tragic connection that sometimes exists between religion and child maltreatment. Sadly, Texas is no stranger to this problem. The cautionary tale of fundamentalist preacher Lester Roloff and his homes for troubled teens is a case in point. TFN lobbied for years for the Texas Legislature to suspend the alternative (and lenient) licensing program the state maintained for faith-based child care providers like Roloff. That program was finally allowed to expire in 2001, and the Roloff Homes moved out of the state. Janet’s CFFP will host a conference on religious and cultural maltreatment on Dec. 4-5 in Austin. Read more

 

Greg Kelley protests draw more attention, scrutiny

Published in Kxan.com on July 28, 2014 by Angie Beavin

thumb_sponsor_kxanGEORGETOWN, Texas — For the first time, supporters of the victim in the Greg Kelley case in Williamson County are making their voices heard, adding to the growing community outrage.

The 19-year-old was sentenced earlier this month to 25 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 4-year-old child. The sentence came as a punishment agreement between prosecutors and Kelley’s defense. The jury found him guilty of the crime and could have given him anywhere from 25 years to life in prison. The agreement to 25 years also meant he couldn’t appeal. Read more

 

Austin

Published in Rejuvenate Magazine on April 7, 2014 by Christine Barrett

Janet-Heimlich

Known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin is certainly not bluffing about its bustling music scene. The area has more than 250 live-music venues and is home to some of the most popular festivals in the country, such as Fun Fun Fun Fest, South by Southwest and Austin City Limits. And it’s not only big music festivals that are attracted to the city. Read more

 

 

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light On Religious Child Maltreatment 

Published in St. Edward’s University on March 28, 2014 by Casey Burkhart

btwposter_april8_0A spiritual upbringing is not always a nurturing experience for a child. In fact, many children are abused and neglected by those who believe their actions are mandated by their faith. Examples include failing to report sexual abuse to protect the image of a faith leader or community, physical abuse due to beliefs about “biblical chastisement,” denial of medial care due to beliefs about faith healing, and spurning and terrorizing using religious messages. Read more

 

 

 

Child Friendly Faith Project founded to provide solutions to child maltreatment in faith communities

Published in Foundation Beyond Belief on March 10, 2014 by Elizabeth Minutello

fbb_logoAs Janet Heimlich was researching her 2011 book Breaking their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, it became clear that while religious, cultural, and spiritual beliefs can establish a positive moral foundation and structure, these same ideologies may be used to justify harmful childrearing practices. Having exposed such problems, Heimlich then looked at what could be done to end this form of maltreatment and founded the Child-Friendly Faith Project(CFFP). Our current Challenge the Gap beneficiary, the CFFP works to find these solutions. Read more

 

SCNUCC Interview with Janet Heimlich

Published in scnucc.org on February 24, 2014 by Jaime J. Romo, Commissioned Minister for Healing and Healthy Environments

JRomocropJanet-HeimlichSeveral months ago, Victor Vieth, director of the National Child Protection Training Center, recommended me for nomination as a board member for Child-Friendly Faith Project, a new non-profit. The more I learned about its mission and leadership team, the more I saw this as an extension of my purpose as Commissioned Minister for Healing and Healthy Environments. I would like to introduce you to the founder of the Child-Friendly Faith Project, Janet Heimlich. Read more

 

Religion For Life Podcast Interview with Janet Heimlich

Broadcast on Religion For Life
 on November 28, 2013

itunes picJanet Heimlich is an award journalist and former freelance reporter for NPR.  She is the president of the Child-Friendly Faith Project and the author of Breaking Their Will:  Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment.   She speaks with me about how religion has been used to justify and excuse mistreatment of children.  From medical neglect to corporal punishment to emotional abuse, religion can serve to harm children.   We can make a difference by breaking the silence. Listen Here

 

Child Abuse among the Faithful

Published in Austin American-Statesman on November 7, 2013 by Juan CastilloCharles-Foster-JohnsonJanet-Heimlich

The problems of child sexual abuse in religious organizations remain serious, but more and more, critics are raising awareness about other forms of abuse and neglect occurring in faith communities in the United States. Read more

Spar with Jamila Bey: Ending religious mistreatment of children

Broadcast on voiceofrussia.com on September 27, 2013

jamilaWASHINGTON (VOR)— “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” is a saying many parents cite as justification for instilling discipline and obedience into their children through corporal punishment. However, in cases where religious parents take authority and discipline too far, resources to help the abused children may be scarce. Unfortunately, moreover, society has a hard time determining when “discipline” in the name of religion is taken too far. Our guests in this episode are here to help us understand how to identify and stamp out this form of child abuse. One is Janet Heimlich, president of The Child-Friendly Faith Project. (there is additionally a closed Facebook group for survivors called “Child-Friendly Faith.”) Heimlich’s book, Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment was a groundbreaking work on the topic. Also joining our discussion is Dolon Hickmon, himself a survivor of religious child abuse, and author of the forthcoming book “1324: A Story of Faith and Obsession.” Listen here

Advocates decry child abuse in religious settings

Published in Courier-Journal.com on September 27, 2013 by Peter Smith

bozWhile the problems of sexual abuse and coverup remain acute in many religious organizations, a related problem is still not getting enough attention: other types of physical abuse and neglect of children. That was a consensus of a group of advocates for child welfare in faith-based settings who spoke at the Religion Newswriters’ Association annual meeting in Austin, Texas, on Thursday. Read more

Breaking Their Will: The Sick Biblical Literalism That Leads to Child Abuse and Even Death

Published in alternet.org on September 25, 2013 by Valerie Tarico

As of late, critics have been raising awareness of the link between certain kinds of religious parenting and abuse. Janet Heimlich, author of  Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, recently founded the  Child-Friendly Faith Project, a national nonprofit organization that educates the public about the impact that religious, spiritual, and cultural beliefs and practices have on children. Read more

Hemant_Mehta

Introducing the Child-Friendly Faith Project

Published in Patheos.com on June 2, 2013 by Hemant Mehta

I wanted to let you all know I recently accepted a position on the Board of Advisors for a really wonderful organization called the Child-Friendly Faith Project. The group was founded by Janet Heimlich, author of Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child MaltreatmentRead more

 

Spanking in the Name of the Lord: When Children are Maltreated by Religious Groups

Published in San Diego Free Press on May 20, 2013 by Dave Rice

Child sexual abuse cases in the Catholic Church have repeatedly rocked the nation for more than a decade now, and in 2010 spread locally to reach the San Diego Diocese. The so-called “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s and early ‘90s brought the prospect of harm to children through mysterious and violent rituals to the forefront of the nation’s attention (though such focus turned out to be largely overblown), while periodically stories reach the news involving the tragic death of a child raised by a family of religious separatists. Incidents such as the aforementioned remind us that institutions of faith are capable of inspiring misplaced trust that can bring harm to the most vulnerable amongst us: our children. Read more

janet heimlichJanet Heimlich discusses religious child abuse

Published in Examiner.com on May 20, 2013 by William Hamby

Janet Heimlich is the author of Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment and President of the Child-Friendly Faith Project. The organization is “a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity that educates the public about the impact that religious, spiritual, and cultural beliefs and practices have on children in the United States and around the world.” To put it simply, Janet is confronting the often-ignored abusive aspects of some religious child-rearing practices. Read more

Child-Friendly Faith Project

Published in Away Point on March 3, 2012 by Valerie Tarico

Awaypoint girl photoDoes religion help children or harm them? Viewpoints range from those who believe that it is impossible to raise loving, moral children without faith to those who see religious immersion as child abuse. Author Janet Heimlich (Breaking their Will) believes this isn’t an either or question, but rather a set of when, where and how questions. Heimlich is launching an initiative, Child-Friendly Faith, that seeks to create productive dialog between those who value and those who criticize the role of religion in the lives of children. Read more 

 

A New Voice for an Old Problem

Published in American Atheist in the 4th quarter of 2011 by Pamela Whissel

Although religiously motivated child abuse and neglect has been around as long as religion has, it didn’t have a name until Janet Heimlich began the research for her book Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment. Hers is one of the very few books to look at this problem in a comprehensive way. Read more