National Parents Organization
|Motto||Preserving the bond between parents and children|
|Founders||Ned Holstein, John Cristofano, Phil Clendenning, John Maguire|
|Type||501(c)3 not-for-profit charitable organization|
|Purpose||To make shared parenting the norm by reforming family courts and laws|
|Headquarters||Newton, MA, United States|
|Ned Holstein, Founder and Chair |
Petra Maxwell, National Executive Director
|Affiliations||State affiliates in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia.|
|Website||National Parents Organization|
|Fathers and Families|
The National Parents Organization (NPO) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable and educational organization in the United States that promotes shared parenting and the right of children to have both parents present in their daily life. The organization focuses on family court reform, research and public education with the goal to make shared parenting the general norm in every state. The stated mission of the organization is to improves the lives of children and strengthen society by protecting every child's right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce and to seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.
The organization was founded in Massachusetts in 1998 with the name Foundation for Fathers and Families. The founders were Ned Holstein, John Cristofano, Phil Clendenning and John Maguire. The name was later shortened to Fathers and Families. In 2013 the name was changed to the National Parents Organization in order to reflect the organizations belief in gender neutral shared parenting and parental equality, as opposed to seeking any special rights for fathers.
Family Court Reform
The National Parents Organization seeks to reform laws both at the state and the national level to encourage shared parenting. This is done by working with legislatures, the courts, the media, persons of influence and advocacy groups, and parents and extended families of children concerned. The organization sees a problem not in the views held by the public regarding shared parenting, but in the ways in which the legal system hampers equal treatment of both parents in family courts. The organization also works to ensure that a child's father is notified ahead of adoption proceedings, so that a child does not loose a biological parent against the parents wish. It also works for the right of a child to know their true father and to protect fathers from false paternity claims. Most of the family court reform work is done by local affiliates on a state-by-state basis.
In Kentucky, the National Parents Organization was instrumental in the 2018 passage of HB528, the nation's first presumption that shared parenting is in the best interest of the child. The law affects permanent, temporary, modified and military orders and it also discourages parental move-away and parental alienation. It was passed in both the house and the senate, with only two lawmakers voting against, one of which lost subsequent reelection.
In Virginia, the local affiliate led the campaign for House Bill 1351. Passed unanimously by both chambers in 2018, Virginia courts are now required to consider shared custody arrangements along with sole custody.
In 2016, the NPO affiliate in Missouri helped pass a law stating that judges may not give custody preference to a parent because of gender, age or financial status. Subsequently, the organization worked to pass House Bill 1667, establishing a rebuttal presumption that child-custody arrangements which award equal parenting time are in the best interest of the child. This bill was passed by the house in 2018 but not by the senate, where it was filibustered by democratic senator Jill Schupp.
The Massachusetts affiliate has worked to pass a new custody statute favoring shared parenting. Work by NPO and democratic representative Coleen Garry led governor Deval Patrick to establish an 18-member task force to propose legislation - the Governor's Working Group on Child-Centered Family Law. In 2018, the house passed House Bill 3090 that takes the children's best interest into account by encouraging shared parental responsibility when possible, but it subsequently died in a senate committee.
In Hawaii the organization supported the Parental Parity Bill (HB2163), to allow and encourage parents to play a meaningful and equal role in the lives of their children, without damaging custody battles. The bill passed both the house and the senate in 2014 but was vetoed by governor Neil Abercrombie.
In Utah, the National Parents Organization was a catalyst for House Bill 35, which encourages family courts to more equally award physical custody after a divorce or separation. The bill passed in 2015 with unanimous support in the senate and only one dissenting vote in the house. In 2014, the Utah affiliation also promoted bill HB318, legislation designed to uphold parents' right to a jury trial before termination of parental rights, as well as bill SB63, legislation that would allow states to share paternity claim filings and locate unwed fathers who want to be notified of adoption proceedings. HB318 passed in the house, but was never voted on in the senate, while SB63 died in a senate committee.
Across the country, the organization has advocated for and helped pass military parent child custody legislation in Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, Ohio and Texas. In Washington and California, the organization has introduced legislation protecting men and children against paternity fraud. Members have served on child support guidelines revision committees in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Utah and Virginia.
The National Parents Organization conducts research on the state of shared parenting across the country, including laws and court guidelines. The organization also promotes and disseminates scientific research on how children are effected by shared parenting versus other custody arrangements.
The organization has published a Shared Parenting National Report Card, which gave each state a grade of A to F on the degree to which they promote shared parenting after divorce or separation. The highest grade, which was just a B, was received by Alaska, Arizona and Minnesota. The lowest grade of an F was received by New York and Rhode Island.
In Ohio, the local chapter evaluated and compared the court guidelines that each county uses to determine parenting time when parents cannot agree. Each county received a grade of A to F, with A given to guidelines with the most equal time. Most counties received a D, but two counties, Ashtabula and Tuscarawas, received an A, while one county, Van Wert, received an F. The media attention generated interest and discussions among judges and court officials, with some counties revising their guidelines.
Through conferences and media, the National Parents Organization does public education on the benefits of shared parenting, based on scientific research from across the globe. Members also works to raise awareness about the problems with parental alienation.
Together with the International Council on Shared Parenting, the National Parents Organization sponsored the Third International Conference on Shared Parenting, held in Boston in May 2017. The theme of the conference was Shared Parenting Research: A Watershed in Understanding Children’s Best Interest? The conference had presentations by most of the leading scientists in the field of optimal post-divorce parenting arrangements, including Drs. Linda Nielsen, Richard Warshak, William Fabricius, Kari Adamsons, Irwin Sandler, William Austin, Patrick Parkinson, Hildegund Sunderhauf, Malin Bergström, Michael Lamb and Edward Kruk. For example, Malin Bergström presented the results from her longitudinal study of children with divorced parents, concluding that children with one primary caregiver has twice the physical and mental health problems as children with a shared parenting arrangement.
The organization engages social, local, and national media to raise awareness about the family court system, shared parenting and parental alienation, with coverage by many both minor and major media outlets, such as the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune, CNN, FOX News, Huffington Post, National Public Radio, USA Today, and the Washington Post. Members of the organization have written Op-Eds in the Birmingham News, the Boston Business Journal, the Columbia Daily Tribune, the Dallas Morning News, Detroit News, Fox News, the Houston Chronicle, the Orlando Sentinel, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Hill and dozens of other newspapers across the country. For example, in 2018 the co-chair of the Virginia chapter wrote an Op-Ed on comparing the growing uproar to children being separated from their parents at the border with the forced child-parent separations imposed by our family courts.
Headquarter: The organization is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts. The Board of Directors and officers are Ned Holstein Massachusetts, Founder and Chairman of the Board; Philip Dyk, Connecticut; Robert A. Franklin, Texas, Journalist for National Parents Organization; Matt Hale, Kentucky; Benny Hau, California; Donald Hubin, Ohio; Linda Reutzel, Missouri; and Bruce Rogers, Massachusetts. The National Executive Director is Petra Maxwell.
State Affiliates: National Parents Organization relies heavily on its state affiliates and their volunteers to further shared parenting across the country. To this end, the national office to provide its state affiliates with the resources necessary to educate legislators, inform media, and increase awareness in their local communities. There are 16 state affiliates in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia.
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- "Nonprofit Report for National Parents Organization Inc".
- "By: Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Chair of the Board".
- "Our History - committed to change".
- "Fathers & Families". Fairness.com.
- "NPO Achievements - Outlining National Parent Organization's History of Advocacy". National Parent Organization.
- Jennifer Ludden (February 26, 2014). "Push To Change Custody Laws: What's Best For Kids?". National Public Radio.
- Ryland Barton (April 29, 2018). "Joint Custody Will Be The Default Under New Kentucky Law". WFPL National Public Radio.
- Matt Hale (November 29, 2018). "Opinion: Shared parenting law has fantastic election day". The Daily Independent.
- Saleen Martin (May 29, 2018). "When parents split, new Virginia law will make it easier to get joint custody". The Virginian-Pilot.
- Linda Reutzel (May 9, 2018). "On Mother's Day, let's celebrate shared parenting". The St. Louis Post - Dispatch.
- Mark Bliss (October 12, 2017). "Child-custody advocate: State law needs fix to provide parents with more equal custody". Southeast Missourian.
- Robert Franklin (May 21, 2018). "A Single Senator Stops Shared Parenting in Missouri". National Parents Organization Blog.
- Ned Holstein (May 6, 2014). "Divorced parents should share parenting". Newton TAB.
- Sam Heller (June 13, 2014). "New Legislation Would Even The Ground Between Divorced Moms and Dads". WGBH Public Radio.
- "Shared-parenting bill will benefit kids". Sentinel & Enterprise. April 29, 2014.
- "Bill will benefit children". The Lowell Sun. April 28, 2014.
- "MA House Passes Shared Parenting Bill". Patch Beacon Hill. July 13, 2018.
- "Massachusetts House Bill 3090". LegiScan.
- Chris Lethem (June 30, 2014). "Parents should have equal rights – when it comes to their kids". Hawaii Reporter.
- Neil Abercrombie (July 8, 2014). "Statement of Objections to house bill no. 2163" (PDF). Executive Chambers, Honolulu.
- Danielle Downs (May 19, 2015). "Utah's new shared parenting law in effect". Daily Herald.
- Marjorie Cortez (21 February 2014). "Bill that would provide jury trials in parental rights termination proceedings advances to House". Deseret News.
- "HB318: Jury Trial for Parents Facing Termination of Parental Rights". Libertas Institute. 2014.
- Brooke Adams (February 13, 2014). "Utah may take lead in protection of fathers' rights in adoption cases". The Salt Lake Tribune.
- "Minutes of the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Standing Committee" (PDF). Utah State Legislature. March 7, 2014.
- "NPO's Deuel appointed to serve 4-year term on Utah Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee". National Parents Organization. November 7, 2018.
- "Report of the Child Support Guidelines Task Force" (PDF). Mass.gov. October 2008.
- "2014 Shared Parenting Report Card, A New Look At Child Welfare, A State-by-State Ranking" (PDF). National Parents Organization. 2014.
- Donald C. Hubin, Frank Glandorf, Julia W. Carpenter-Hubin (August 29, 2018). "NPO Ohio Parenting Time Report" (PDF). National Parents Organization.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- Rita Price (December 9, 2018). "Should Ohio divorce courts follow same standard in setting shared parenting?". The Columbus Dispatch.
- Paige Pfleger (September 17, 2018). "Report Reveals Antiquated Court Custody Guidelines Across Ohio". Cincinnati Public Radio News, WVXU.
- "Disposable Dad". Salt Lake City Weekly.
- Edward Kruk (26 June 2017). "Understanding Children's Best Interests in Divorce: Conclusions of the Third International Conference on Shared Parenting". Psychology Today.
- Traci L. Slatton (30 May 2017). "International Conference in Shared Parenting 2017: Watershed Moment". Huffington Post.
- "Our Achievements". National Parents Organization.
- Jonathan Ellis, USA TODAY (27 January 2014). "Shared parenting could be new divorce outcome". usatoday.com.
- Christian Paasch (August 9, 2018). "Child separation issues go well beyond the border". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- "9 Tips for Hiring a Caregiver When You're Divorced". Care.com.
- "10 Tips for Working for Divorced Parents". Care.com.
- "Presenting: NPO's Exciting New Executive Director!". NPO. April 4, 2018.
- "NPO State Affiliates". NPO.