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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Family Court Therapist Janelle Burrill Charged with Misconduct by Attorney General's Office

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 2:19 PM

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The California Board of Behavioral Science and California Attorney General's office have filed formal accusations of misconduct against a Sacramento family-court therapist.

The therapist, Janelle Burrill, is a clinical social worker who works with children and parents as ordered by family courts in Sacramento and elsewhere. Burrill has been the subject of multiple complaints by families unhappy with her work.

Documents filed against her by the Behavioral Sciences board and the office of Attorney General Kamala Harris allege that Burrill "committed acts that fall sufficiently below the standard of conduct of the profession as to constitute acts of gross negligence."

The documents assert that Burrill lied to both the American Board of Examiners for Clinical Social Workers and to a Placer County judge, claiming in both cases that no formal complaints had been filed against her by clients when she knew otherwise. If the accusations are upheld, her social-worker license could be suspended or revoked.

Burrill has been a lightning rod for criticism in Sacramento, and is only one of numerous family-court officials who have come under scrutiny for faulty and potentially dangerous practices in child-custody proceedings. Last month, SF Weekly published a story detailing multiple instances in which family courts had delivered children into the custody of parents with convictions for child molestation or spousal battery.

Kathleen Russell of the Center for Judicial Excellence, a family-court reform group, said Burrill should be removed from cases in which parents or children have concerns while the case against her proceeds.

"It seems prudent for the Courts to remove her from any case in which she is involved, at the request of either parent or child, to ensure the safety and well-being of the families and children they serve," Russell said in a statement. "And major policy reforms are needed to ensure a more timely resolution of these complaints."

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Peter Jamison

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