Kerri Kasem Lobbies Congress for Parents' Rights

Prevented from seeing her ailing father Casey Kasem in his final years, Kerri Kasem has pushed through legislation in 11 states to keep this abuse from happening to anyone else's family. Now she is taking her crusade to Capitol Hill.

Kerri Kasem

Kerri Kasem — daughter of radio icon Casey Kasem, one of the most recognizable voices in American broadcasting — traveled to Washington, D.C., to be master of ceremonies of a human rights education advocacy event April 13 on Capitol Hill. While in Washington, she met with members of the House Judiciary Committee.

Kasem is looking for sponsors for a federal bill that will prevent a caretaker blocking people from visiting an ailing family member—whether that person is a hired caretaker, a spouse or another family member. Eleven states have already passed similar bills since 2015, spearheaded by Kerri and her nonprofit Kasem Cares Foundation.

In dozens of media interviews since 2013, Kasem has recounted how she and her siblings were completely shut out from their father’s life, despite her father explicitly requesting to see them.

In an interview on KTLA Los Angeles Morning News, Kerri stated, “If a parent is in a private residence, believe it or not, if you want to see your parent, and that person who is taking care of that parent says you cannot come in, that is absolutely legal. The police can’t help you. Adult protective services can’t help you. The law can’t help.”  

According to Kerri, in 2013, 11 months before his death, as Casey fell ill and dementia began to set in, she and her siblings were denied the right to visit him, particularly the adult children from his first marriage. With no legal recourse, after three months of being denied the right to visit her father, Kerri began to protest publicly—first staging a demonstration with supporters outside her father’s home.

It was only after racking up legal fees in attempts to get help from the courts and using every media outlet available that Kerri and her siblings were finally able to see their father just before his passing.

Over the past four years, Kerri has successfully lobbied 11 state legislatures to pass the Kasem Cares Visitation Bill that allows adult children to simply petition a judge for parental visitation without going through lengthy, expensive legal battles over guardianship or power of attorney. Kerri says there are a multitude of such cases across the U.S. and abroad, and prior to her lobbying action, there were no laws in place anywhere in the nation to facilitate visitation.

While championing legislation, Kerri has also advocated for human rights education to raise awareness and inspire others to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for violations of such fundamental rights in a democratic society.

On Friday, April 13, Kasem emceed the Youth for Human Rights Presidential Volunteer Service Awards on Capitol Hill. Co-produced by the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office and Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI), the event awarded young people who have done outstanding work to forward human rights education. Each awardee was presented with the President of the United States Volunteer Service Award.

Youth for Human Rights is a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching youth about human rights with materials based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Source: Youth for Human Rights International

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