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American Family Advocacy Center exercises exclusive jurisdiction and oversight over the practice of Family Advocacy.
We do not offer Family Advocacy Services, nor provide family advocates. We provided educational and information services. Family Rights Advocacy Institute trains and supports qualified family advocates and qualified advocacy groups nationwide and provides trained and certified family advocates in limited areas.
- If you have complaints about any person who claims to be a Family Advocate, please advise us by filling out this form.
- If you are a Family Advocate whose practice is being thwarted by child welfare practitioners, contact us via email.
We will ask you to provide documentation of your claim, investigate the claim and attempt to contact the individual or organization who is responsible. If we find that there has been a violation, we will attempt to negotiate a reasonable solution. If the responsible person has acted improperly, and refuses to correct the wrong, we will report our findings publicly, including whether or not the responsible person responded.
Your identity will be kept confidential from the public and from the responsible persons or organizations.
Very good question. Since this web site was first published in 1996, Ms. Shell has worked tirelessly for family rights, building an unparalleled reputation and advancing this movement on a national scale. If you want to know why she sued the defendants, you can see reasons for the complaint at ShellvAFRA.com. Below is an excerpt from the complaint.
But as far as CPS Watch, Cheryl Barnes has taken methods devised by Suzanne Shell, including her advice that parents document their interactions with follow-up letters and write reports to the court from a presentation given by Ms. Shell. Barnes passed it off as if she originated that strategy. Barnes did not originate that or any other viable strategy. Barnes recently even accepted a compliment from a member of her online group, who stated she was a genius for devising this strategy, and did not deny that she created it, accepting the praise for herself without giving credit to Ms. Shell as the originator of that strategy.
In fact, Barnes sought and obtained permission from Ms. Shell to include this information in a bulletin to her members, which Ms. Shell granted under the condition that Barnes not charge for this information, that she give credit to Ms. Shell and provide a link to this web site. Barnes has never given credit to Ms. Shell, and has never linked to this web site and she did charge for this information which she featured in the single booklet she has ever written on this subject.
Barnes is a con artist, building her reputation and stature on a mere two parts of Ms. Shell's extensive work, and duping the public into thinking Barnes created it. The real tragedy is that Barnes has the bare bones of this strategy, but cannot provide the balance of the information necessary to make it a powerful tool for parents involved with child welfare. If you want the rest of the story, you must come to American Family Advocacy Center to obtain it, CPS Watch doesn't have it and hasn't been able to figure it out for the past ten years.
CPS Watch and Barnes, as well as AFRA, have hired pro-DHS attorney Dan Slater of Fremont County to represent them in this case. Slater is one of the most anti-family Guardians ad Litem in Colorado, who has worked with Rocco Meconi to prevent American Family Advocacy Center from helping families who have been abused by child welfare agencies in Colorado and prosecute Ms. Shell for her advocacy and news gathering. Ask yourself, why would an anti-CPS group hire a pro-CPS attorney who has a reputation of trying to take down family rights activists and advocates in Colorado?
AMERICAN FAMILY RIGHTS ASSOCIATION
WILLIAM O. TOWER
SUSAN ADAMS JACKSON AKA SUSAN WOLVERTON
FAMILIES AT RISK DEFENSE
FRANCINE RENEE CYGAN
ILLINOIS FAMILY ADVOCACY COALITION
GEORGIA FAMILY RIGHTS, INC.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FAMILY ADVOCATES
CONNECTICUT DCF WATCH
DESERE’ CLABO aka HOWARD
Unknown defendants Doe 1-15
1. This is a case of the theft of proprietary methods and copyrighted literary content developed by the Plaintiff that were so pioneering and unique, that no other similar product existed or was otherwise available to the consumer. Consumers in this market welcomed the Plaintiff’s products enthusiastically. Competitors could not compete with the comprehensiveness and undisputed quality of the Plaintiff’s products. The positive outcomes that accompanied consumer use of the Plaintiff’s products were so enticing that the Defendants began to covet, and ultimately conspired to steal Plaintiff’s unique creations.
2. Defendants stole Plaintiff’s unique and proprietary writings and methods, and are using it as the centerpiece of their marketing efforts to garner credibility, stature and the large share of the market that rightfully belongs to Plaintiff by virtue of the quality of her products and services.
4. This lawsuit seeks permanent injunctive relief to prevent the defendants from causing further harm to the Plaintiff, divestiture of their businesses, as well as damages to redress Defendants’s copyright infringement in violation of the federal copyright laws, misappropriation of Plaintiff’s trade secrets and other proprietary and confidential information, reverse-passing off under the Lanham Act, false and misleading advertising, unfair or deceptive trade practices and unfair methods of competition, breach of contract, tortious interference with Plaintiff’s contractual relations, racketeering and anti-trust.
5. As explained more fully below, Plaintiff developed a pioneering and unique method by which families involved with child welfare agencies could dramatically speed up the reunification process for their children in foster care, or even prevent their placement into foster care, prevent the state from terminating parental rights (TPR) and insure the welfare and safety of the child in the process. It also reduces the associated burdens on taxpayers, courts and state agencies. This proprietary method was treated as trade secrets and any publicly released literary content for marketing purposes was registered with the U. S. copyright office. This method and her inventory of associated original copyrighted documents gave Plaintiff a distinct market advantage over other providers of child welfare services, catapulting her into a position of national dominance in this market.
6. During the process of conspiring and stealing the Plaintiff’s writings and methods and passing it off as their own, Defendants began a campaign of stalking and terror in response to the Plaintiff’s efforts to protect her Intellectual Property (IP) rights. This campaign included libeling the Plaintiff’s profession, her business and her property on the World Wide Web, in the real world, in person, by phone and over the airwaves. They published world-wide in every location where the Plaintiff was being discussed or featured in a publication that the Plaintiff stole her work from others, that she was a convicted felon, a child abuser, a stalker, that she published kiddie porn, that her methods were nothing special, that her methods didn’t work and more. When the Plaintiff had scheduled personal appearances, events and presentations, the defendants contacted the management of the hosting facilities beguiling the managing personnel to believe that Plaintiff’s presence would damage the reputation of their facilities. Defendants even showed up physically at locations to stalk and harass the Plaintiff, her customers, associates and licensees. They respected no reasonable boundaries, and included attacks against the Plaintiff’s father, husband and in-laws, as well as involving her children.
7. At the same time, the Defendants used her misappropriated content–the same content that they were discrediting–to market their businesses, their organizations, occupations, services a d products, resulting in undeservingly enhancing their credibility, stature and market share, and eliminating the Plaintiff from competition. To add insult to injury, they made all of this misappropriated content available for free, having publicly denounced the Plaintiff for charging fees for her products.