National Parents Organization

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National Parents Organization
Founded 1998
Founders Ned Holstein, MS, MS, John Cristofano, Phil Clendenning, and John Maguire.
Type 501(c)3 not-for-profit charitable organization
Focus Shared parenting, parental and gender equality, protection of human and property rights
  • Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Key people Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Founder and Chair; Rita Fuerst Adams, MBA, Executive Director
Slogan “Preserving the bond between parents and children”
Website National Parents Organization

National Parents Organization was founded in 1998[1] by Chair Ned Holstein, MD, MS, and three other fathers with the goal of promoting shared parenting in every state. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable and educational organization, National Parents Organization focuses on issues of custody, finances, and parental alienation in order to promote gender equality in family court and make shared parenting the norm across the nation.


“National Parents Organization improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting every child's right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.”


National Parents Organization advocates that the equal treatment of both parents in family court regarding issues relating to custody, finances, and alienation will result in the following positive outcomes:

  • Protection of the child’s access to both parents;
  • An increased sense of security and safety for children;
  • Promotion of the sharing of responsibilities of children for both parents;
  • Increased voluntary compliance with child support orders and financial support for children;
  • Increased parental harmony;
  • Increased employment opportunities for women;
  • Self-sufficiency of both mothers and fathers;
  • Equitable division of family assets;
  • Decrease in expensive legal battles; and
  • Lower divorce rates. and mothers.

Shared parenting, where both parents have equal standing raising children after a separation or divorce, is a solution that prominent and respected experts in child development have shown through research that:

  • children ardently desire;
  • makes them happier;
  • improves their schooling;
  • decreases delinquency, gang violence and trouble with the law;
  • decreases substance abuse and teen pregnancy;
  • increases child support compliance; and
  • diminishes parental conflict and domestic violence.

Core Principles[edit]

National Parents Organization promotes the following as its Core Principles:

  • Shared Parenting: Shared parenting protects children's best interests and preserves the loving bond children share with both parents after separation or divorce.
  • Parental Equality: Equality between genders has been extended to every corner of American society, with one huge exception: family courts and the related agencies.
  • Respect for Human and Property Rights: The Supreme Court of the United States has found that "the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children... is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court."[2]


National Parents 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 our family courts; as such, the National Parents Organization’s approach to combat these issues is to advance the following strategic objectives:

  • Lobbying and advocacy: National Parents Organization seeks to reform laws both at the state and the national level to encourage shared parenting by working with legislatures, the courts, the media, persons of influence and advocacy groups, and parents and extended families of children concerned.
  • Education: National Parents Organization seeks to engage social, local, and national media to raise awareness about the realities of our family court system The organization strives to bring attention to the negative impact current practices have on our families and highlight the reasons reform would benefit children. National Parents Organization also promotes published research on parenting.
  • Building affiliates: National Parents Organization works to develop strong volunteer leadership and affiliates in order to grow its national membership, providing its affiliates with the resources necessary to educate legislators, inform media, and increase awareness in their local communities.

National Parents Organization relies heavily on its affiliates—a community of activists working to further shared parenting—across the country. To this end, National Parents Organization is building a national office to provide its activists with a variety of support necessary for local advocacy and lobbying efforts.


Since its founding, the National Parents Organization has achieved the following milestones in the fight for shared parenting:

  • Placed us on the brink of passing a new custody statute in Massachusetts that favors shared parenting;
  • Working task forces in Connecticut, Maryland, and Massachusetts to document the importance of and need for shared parenting;[3][4]
  • Won equitable changes in Massachusetts child support guidelines, for a second time, providing better care for our children;[5]
  • Passed alimony reform in Connecticut, setting the stage for alimony reform in Massachusetts;
  • Backing military child custody legislation;
  • Killing numerous bills behind the scenes that would cripple non-custodial parents even more, such as the proposed automatic increase in child support in Ohio;
  • Moved the alimony reform movement to other states, following the Massachusetts alimony reform victory;
  • Placed a new limit on California spousal support, and opposed AB414, a bill that would perpetuate unacceptably high child support and inappropriately conflate child support with spousal support;[6]
  • Helped Ohio child support obligors by maintaining their driver’s licenses so they keep current jobs or find employment;
  • Helped to pass military parent child custody legislation in Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, and Ohio, bringing the total to 37 states;
  • Introduced legislation protecting men and children against paternity fraud in Washington and California;
  • Promoted member involvement in child support guidelines revisions in Indiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Texas;
  • Took on Proctor & Gamble, who only recognized mothers as promoters of Olympic athletes, and Oscar Mayer for grilling dads in its advertisements in addition to its dogs;
  • Promoted Utah bill HB318, legislation designed to uphold parents' right to a jury trial before termination of parental rights;[7][8]


  • Building affiliates in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

Name change[edit]

Formerly Families and Fathers, National Parents Organization changed its name in 2013 to emphasize the gender neutrality of its mission.[9]


Board of Directors and officers
Ned Holstein, MD, MD, Massachusetts, Founder and Chairman of the Board
Elizabeth J. Barton, AM, PhD, New York
David Brasington, Massachusetts, Secretary of the Board
Ronald Lee Fleming, MA, FAICP, Massachusetts
Robert A. Franklin, JD, Texas, Journalist for National Parents Organization
Benny Hau, MD, California
Thomas C. Meyers, JD, Massachusetts
Samuel D. Perry, MBA, Massachusetts
Bruce Rogers, Massachusetts
Daniel Wyand, CPWA, New Hampshire, Treasurer

Rita Fuerst Adams, MBA, Massachusetts, Executive Director[10]
R. Steven Sweely, Ohio, Office Manager

See also[edit]


External links[edit]