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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Center for Judicial Excellence

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Child Abuse Prevention, Civil Rights, Crime & Law, Domestic Violence, Public & Societal Benefit, Sexual Abuse Prevention

Mission: The Center for Judicial Excellence is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to improve the judiciary’s public accountability and strengthen and maintain the integrity of the courts. Founded in May of 2006, the Center has been dedicated to public education and outreach regarding individual rights in the court system. We are deeply committed to creating judicial accountability across all courts and to protecting the rights of society’s most vulnerable members, including the poor, the elderly, children and immigrants. The organization’s strength is rooted in its unique mix of media and legislative advocacy. Our ability to expose court failures and push for judicial accountability through the media has connected us with court victim survivors and lawmakers, who in turn have driven meaningful state policy reforms of the judiciary. The Center has been especially effective at working to protect the rights of children whose parents are going through divorce, and the organization has been in the forefront of exposing a national crisis in the family court system that is harming millions of innocent children.

Results: The Center has taken a quiet, hidden epidemic that has plagued divorcing families for decades and thrust it into statewide and national media attention through hundreds of news stories, while also passing numerous influential laws in the California Legislature that give children a voice in family courts and improve outcomes for them, which is particularly important for the millions of children being physically or sexually abused by a parent. We've become an effective voice for change for a segment of the population that has historically been isolated and muted because the court system routinely pushes protective parents and their kids into deepening poverty, abuse and desperation. We empower survivors of the family court system to speak their truth and advocate for changes at the California Judicial Council, the state legislature, and in the news media.

Target demographics: abused children and their protective parents

Direct beneficiaries per year: countless California families struggling in the broken family court system by changing state law and leading the effort to pass Senate Bill 594 into law.

Geographic areas served: California and across the United States

Programs: public education, courtwatch, media advocacy, legislative advocacy

Community Stories

33 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I initially learned about the wonderful work of the Center for Judicial Excellence when we had the privilege of Mr. Barry Goldstein, visit our state of MN in Oct. of 2017 for a D.V. rally. One of the various facts he mentioned was C.J.E. tracks research relating to child murders, by a parent during custody disputes. Shortly thereafter i went on C.J.E.'s web site & printed the "Championing Children's Rights: Our Top 11 in 11 Years." What especially caught my attention was the fact C.J.E ., "protects vulnerable children in the family court system." Fourteen years ago my only child/ daughter, was murdered by her, abusive "father." (My then ex-husband) I fought so hard to protect her from the time she was a newborn until her, "almost 6th birthday." Unfortunately, because of our failed family court system, my daughter lost her life. For years I have been searching for some way to be a voice for her and so many other families enduring horrendous experiences. (I always thought the "system," was supposed to protect us.) This past August, the Battered Women's Justice Project, introduced us to C.J.E. as well as California Protective Parents. Less than a month later, and after several e-mails back and forth and on line meetings, a friend & I were invited to Washington D.C. to meet with other protective parents for child empowerment and safety. We spent four days with Kathleen Russell, learning more about their in- depth research, and important advocacy work. It was so encouraging and empowering when we met with members of Congress and asked for their support of the H. Con. Res. 72, which "gives states guidance that they should make safety the first priority in custody and parenting adjudications." It was such an honor to meet Kathleen as well as her team. I so appreciated her passion and knowledge, it was contagious. So many protective parents willing to share their experiences with losing their children to an abusive parent. I am grateful to know these individuals who tirelessly work to improve lives and speak up for individuals who cannot for various reasons. Thank you so very much for all you do C.J.E.! I will never forget our experience in D.C.!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

CJE works tirelessly on a local, state and national level to protect children and inform the public about how highly dysfunctional our court system is and the harm that it and child protective services has on families and innocent children.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I advocate for people who are having trouble obtaining viable medical treatment because of a flaw of science written into public health policies. One of the areas which causes these people the most problems is bias in the courts which causes the harmful flaw to continue in policies and physician educational materials.

Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of working with Center for Judicial Excellence (CJE) in matters where our interests dovetail. I can unequivocally state that CJE and their Director Kathleen Russell are always professional in the approach and effective with their efforts. This is a nonprofit organization that is truly making a difference.

1 Belle C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I recently met one of the many parents who is able to emotionally and mentally survive her painful situation through the help and support of CJE. Hearing her story was gut-wrenching. Multiply her story hundreds of times and this the reason why Center of Judicial Excellence under the leadership of the amazing self-less director Kathleen Russell and her many volunteers and supporters are an important fabric in our society. Thank you for CJE!

1 Joan M.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CJE is a phenomenal tiny non-profit that is helping "move mountains," as Kathleen Russell's consulting practice puts it. They were critical contributors to a group effort to get H.Con.Res. 72 - on child safety in family courts - adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives. Kathleen's repeated trips east, along with trainings, and organizing of grassroots groups and individuals, and intensive lobbying efforts did the job - one we've been waiting for for over 4 years. Kathleen has expertise in Congressional advocacy and is a skilled communicator, and helped create a powerful graphic map of over 600 child homicides related to family dissolutions.

1

Board Member

Rating: 4

I have had a wonderful experience working with this amazing non-profit for many years when serving clients who were trying to navigate the family court system and process. I now gratefully serve on the Board of Directors,and in any other way I can, to support their efforts. Please visit our website to see the progress we have made and the voice we have given to these devastated protective parents and family members.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been following CJE through Facebook for over a year to get updates on any legislation being passed regarding protecting children through the family court system. I had the chance to meet Kathleen Russell over the summer as she invited me to learn about and help advocate for a federal resolution. I cannot say enough positive words when it comes to Kathleen's/ CJE's dedication to this cause. She is one of the people who has been working tirelessly for over a decade to provide a chance for protective parents to be heard and to lay the groundwork for change to happen. I am so proud to know and to have been able to support Kathleen in her efforts and I hope to be able to help her again one day. I could never repay her for the chance at life she has provided for children like mine to be safe with a parent who will not allow the other parent to hurt them.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been involved with the Center for Judicial Excellence (CJE) since 2008. CJE is at the forefront of addressing the systemic failures of our country's family courts that too often put children in harmful situations, with little regard for the well being of children and victims of domestic violence. CJE has passed legislation at the state and federal levels to help protect children from these systemic failures, most notably passing AB 1050 - a bill which gives children an actual voice in family court proceedings - in the California State Legislature in 2010. CJE also led the efforts in 2009 to pass the historic performance audit of the Marin and Sacramento County family courts which found that both courts were operating out of compliance with state laws and their own administrative processes. Just last week, CJE passed federal legislation with the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 72, which expresses the sense of Congress that child safety MUST be the first priority in all custody and visitation adjudications. If you are looking for a nonprofit to dedicate your money or time to, I strongly recommend contributing to the Center for Judicial Excellence. I cannot think of an organization that is similar in resources and capacity as CJE and accomplishes as much as CJE does. -SB

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to come into contact with the Center for Judicial Excellence when I flew to Washington DC from Utah in September to be a part of Child Safety Days and help lobby for H. Con. Resolution 72. I met Kathleen and let me tell you, no one works harder or is more dedicated to the safety of children in the family court system than Kathleen. She takes it upon herself personally to help bring awareness to the problems that have led to the innocent deaths of more than 650 children since 2008 that have been failed by the family court system. She has been an advocate and activist for child safety for many, many years and has already accomplished a great deal to help turn the wheels that have been stationary for too long.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After suffering injustice at the hands of Family court bad actors, i actually began to see how corrupt our judicial system is. I had never thought as a child that i would grow up in supposed great nation where police are supposed to protect us, and the courts are supposed to give us our rights, but i found horrible damage being done to our families by the very courts that are supposed to help and protect us. The courts abuse the parents and the children, all for financial gain. So i lost hope, until i met Kathleen Russell. Kathleen restored my faith in humanity. And now i know there are good people in this world. Kathleen' s heart is humble and pure, but she has strength and courage to fight hard for families. Kathleen' s dedication to our nation's children is unmatched by anyone I've ever known. I support her 100%. I am forever grateful to have met and spent time in Washington DC with her. I miss her. We all need to give her our full support. No one else cares for our children more than Kathleen. There is a special place in God's heart for her...❤

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

California Protective Parents Association has worked closely with Center for Judicial Excellence on many, many projects over the past decade. Thanks to Kathleen Russell and CJE, we have had amazing successes, from new laws, audits and resolutions in California including H.R. 113 (Rubio) with 96% of the California Assembly signing on as author/ coauthors, to the passage by the House of Representative of House Concurrent Resolution 72, sponsored by Congressman Pete Sessions and cosponsored by 86 Congress Members, to ensure child safety is the first priority in custody and visitation adjudications.

We honor CJE as a wonderful partner in anti-crime. Thank you, Kathleen!

Previous Stories
3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We have worked with CJE for the past decade. It is a stellar non-profit and has done a tremendous job helping to encourage the California judiciary to protect abused children of divorce. We are grateful to CJE for being the lead partner in many projects we have done together and want to publicly thank them. Thank you, CJE!!
Connie Valentine M.S.
CA Protective Parents Association

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Every year in the United States thousands of children are being awarded to abusers in family court. Many times, cases involving domestic violence, child abuse, and/or sexual abuse--the courts are awarding custody of children to the perpetrators. The Center for Judicial Excellence has researched this phenomenon and their work includes data about adverse childhood experiences and custody related child murders. The organization has lobbied for the rights and safety of children and victims of abuse locally and at the national U.S. Senate level. Recently, the work of the CJE has resulted in a resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that makes child safety the first priority in child custody cases. The advocacy, research, and work conducted within the Center for Judicial Excellence is of utmost importance to children.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

CJE was a lifeline for me during a very difficult and scary time with my daughter and grandchildren. CJE gave my daughter help in navigating the dangers and corruption of the family court system. The organization provides many services, resources, and support in the on-going battle for justice. CJE has helped pass significant legislation nationally to help keep children safe in the family court system. I am so grateful for all the Center does at both the local and national levels.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center for Judicial Excellence (CJE) has worked tirelessly on a local, state and national level to shine a light on broken court systems that harm parents and children. Kudos to executive director Kathleen Russell and CJE for repeatedly going where no one else will in demanding child safety and effective judicial oversight, all on a limited budget.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter and her children were caught in an horrendous abuse situation that my daughter had been struggling with for years, to no avail. My husband and I were helping her as best as we knew how to, but we were running out of resources and ideas. Then my daughter was fortunate to find the Center for Judicial Excellence because it helped her with all the issues she had: domestic violence, child abuse, and family court corruption. We saw, as very involved grandparents, a turning point in our daughter's life as she was helped by Center for Judicial Excellence. She was given personal support, resources, and great advocacy. She has been better able to move ahead with her life and better able to help her children thanks to all she has learned and all the help she has received. We are so relieved and appreciative, as grandparents, to see how she and her children continue to benefit. The director of the center, Kathleen, is dedicated to her work, cares deeply, and is very knowledgeable. Thank you, Center for Judicial Excellence, for helping us all.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I found myself with nowhere else to turn, Kathleen Russell and her amazing organization gave me the lifeline I so desperately needed. Center for Judicial Excellence not only advocates for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, and family court corruption, but also brings the human rights crisis within the family court to the local and national forefront. I am deeply and eternally grateful for the help I received from the center personally, as it was a turning point for me and my children. I also believe, with a passion, that the work Ms. Russel is doing is crucial for the health and well being of our children, and our society as a whole.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center for Judical Excellence is a powerful organization led by Kathleen Russell. Kathleen works tirelessly to drive positive change in the family court system. I have been aware of their work for the past decade, but have personally been engaged with this organization for the past year. Kathleen is passionately engaged on a daily basis, whether speaking at important engagements and meetings on identifying systemic issues or pushing for transparency and accountability, she gives a voice to the voiceless. One project that truly impacted the movement to create change and drive awareness, was the child murder database they built, which sadly demonstrates how many children have been murdered (over 600 and counting) by a parent. So many accomplishments in the history of The Center For Judicial Excellence- I can’t say enough.

2 Seth L. G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

There can be no better acknowledgement of one's success than the opposition admitting you are a formidable force. That's what those who have opposed the Center's legislation have said.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

CJE had done an interview for a publication which my aunt saw. She knew my story and realized this organization could be helpful to me. I met with Kathleen from CJE and was able to learn more about my rights, how to stand up for my children in family court and how to advocate for change. CJE also introduced me to CA Protective Parents Association. She connects people to provide even more help. Without CJE's work, we would not be as far as we are now in this movement. On a personal note, I know CJE's work helped me get custody of my children back. It takes a village and you want CJE in your village to end the family court crisis.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Center for Judicial Excellence works to keep parents and children safe when the judiciary has not kept the best interests of the children in mind. Kathleen Russell worked with the California Board of Psychology to understand their complaint processing process. She works with legislators so they understand how to address child safety. She works with protective parents to help them keep their children safe throughout the catastrophic legal processes that divorce creates for families. She is pleasantly determined to understand why judges turn over children to parents who abuse and sometimes kill them. In spite of personal turmoil caused by the behavior of an insurance company Kathleen continues to focus on the safety and welfare of children.