Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1995

Abstract

On August 2, 1993, I arrived at the home of Jan, Robby, and Jessica DeBoer' a few hours before the transfer. At 2:00 P.M. I would carry Jessica out of her home and deliver her to the parents who had won the case,2 her biological mother and father. This task probably would have been easier had I not spent eight days in the trial court listening to the experts explain that this transfer from one set of parents to another would harm Jessica.3 It would have been easier had I not recently obtained affidavits from other experts to persuade the United States Supreme Court to delay the transfer until the Court could consider the case.' The experts confirmed what I felt in my heart and what I saw in the faces and heard in the voices of thousands who protested the transfer-losing the parents she loved as her own would hurt Jessica. It would hurt her deeply now, and it might hurt her in various ways as she matured5 Yet, I carried her outside that day, as she screamed for her mommy and daddy, and I delivered her to the people she would need to learn to love as her new parents. This introduction and the accompanying brief describe my argument that a child like Jessica has a right to due process protections when she is likely to suffer transfer trauma caused by a change of custody. Jessica was not protected by the legal system. This is an argument meant to benefit other children facing the loss of their established families.


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