As children we are taught to abide by the Golden Rule and spend our lives believing that if we treat others as we would like to be treated, play by the rules, and follow the law, for the most part everything will be just fine. That statement could not be further from the truth than when taking a look at the family court system. Being denied access to one's child is the most excruciatingly painful experience that can only be described as a physical emptiness and aching left by a space inside which was once occupied by your child; it's as though they were literally ripped away from you. I know I am not the only mother who has been brought to her knees crying from fear, confusion, self-doubt, worry, and anger. There's no reason a caring, loving, capable parent (mother OR father) should EVER be denied equal time with their child yet that is EXACTLY what the courts are doing (among countless other things that are definitely NOT in the best interest of our children). Every child deserves to experience a close relationship with BOTH parents and it's nothing short of criminal that a random individual with a law degree can, simply by the stroke of a pen, destroy lives before stepping down from the bench and heading home to dinner. As you read this, you may be in a fantastic, loving relationship/marriage; however, no one can predict the future - I certainly never imagined I would find myself in this situation (along with countless other parents). Consider the fact that even if this doesn't happen to you, it could happen to your daughter, your son, your grandchildren. Please, don't wait until it's too late and you are left feeling powerless. Be proactive and help in efforts to make the courts, judges, and others involved in the system be held accountable. Corruption and pocket-lining is rampant and the ones who are most victimized are the CHILDREN. Divorce in and of itself does NOT ruin lives - in most cases it is the best thing that can happen to a child - what ruins lives are the atrocities committed by the system and the psychological and financial impact that ends up having on our society and future generations.
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We need to make better use of the talents and abilities of people of color which means the region must innovate to improve education (from early childhood through post-secondary) for better educational outcomes
Several groups presenting to the Council's Committee of the Whole provided the following feedback: The region's long-range plan should build in principles of equity and policies should be viewed through the lens of equity.