Dr. Phil tells his viewers, "Never, in the nine years that I've been doing this show, has a guest sparked so much controversy, grabbing headlines, leaving all of America talking."
Jessica wrote to Dr. Phil because she said she could not control the frustration she felt toward her adopted 7-year-old son. She sent in a home video that her daughter taped, showing how Jessica disciplines her son. Catch up on what you missed on "Mommy Confessions."
Dr. Phil explains that he, along with the advisory board, takes into consideration all possible courses of action when dealing with guests who need further help after the show. "We knew that we would do way more of an intervention than any other organization or law enforcement that's out there. The options are not great. You may say, â€˜Well, those kids should be taken out of there and put in foster care.' That system is broken. There are six children in this home, and the questions we have to ask ourselves are, are we better off to try to fix this in place, or are we better off to try to remove the children? Of course our goal is to help our guests, obviously, but we also want to raise awareness on parenting practices across the line. So, it's more than just what happens here on this stage. Children have no power, they have no voice, and they can be victimized behind closed doors. If, by the stories we do here, we can inspire parents to go, â€˜You know what? I'm crossing the line too. I need to police myself better,' then it's actually very helpful in that regard."
[AD]Jessica agreed to stop "saucing," stop the showers and stop yelling. She agreed to open her home to monitoring by outside professionals.
After the taping, the chairman of the Dr. Phil Advisory Board, Dr. Frank Lawlis, flew to Anchorage, Alaska, to talk with Jessica at her home.
After meeting with Dr. Lawlis, Jessica and her son were flown to Texas, to the Lawlis Peavey PNP Center for evaluation and treatment, to see what was happening with them and to teach them different techniques for coping.
"What's your report from the home now that they're both back home?" Dr. Phil asks.
"First of all, Jessica was really great in terms of how she absorbed this knowledge very quickly," he says. Dr. Lawlis says they saw progress at the PNP Center with Jessica, and reports from home show that it's going well. Other professionals have been in the home to evaluate them, and the reports have been outstanding. Jessica's son is still having trouble at school due to the issues involved with being adopted. A local therapist is working with the family further.
"Despite all of this constructive intervention, Jessica was charged with misdemeanor child abuse," Dr. Phil says. "The Anchorage municipal prosecutor felt that the behavior violates a municipal code for protecting against child abuse. Now, Child Protective Services came in and did an evaluation, and kind of the way our advisory board concluded: This was not good parenting, but it was not something that was actionable, and they did not find cause to remove this child or any of the other children. The Russian Consulate and some of their authorities visited the home as well and found that they did not see cause to intervene or to remove the children from the home, so the children remain in her custody and a court date has been set for next month."
[AD]Dr. Phil reiterates, "This is not good parenting, in my view, clearly. What we wanted to do was step in and change it. I think that agent for change " Dr. Lawlis, thanks to you and the PNP Center and the local therapist up there that brought this change about. I'm sorry she's being prosecuted at this point. She needs help, not punishment. She's getting it and moving in the right direction. We'll continue to follow the story."