The Custody Project

The Custody Project assists qualified mothers who can no longer provide the common necessities of life for their families, due to the cost of defending the custody or visitation of their children. Assisting mothers and their children with visitation and custody expenses in accordance with its mission, TCP recognizes that finances often diminish sharply and common necessities must be forfeited when legal expenses must take precedence to preserve a family's welfare. For this reason, our grants assist families directly with legal expenses or, when they have been paid, with food, utilities, rent, mortgage, car, and other expenses which had to be forfeited to cover the legal expenses. We do this through our Heart to Heart Program assisting qualified mothers with care, custody and visitation expenses, including reference, consultation, and caseload costs, via grants. In addition to TCP's grant program, our revolving-door loan program serves when, as mothers repay their loans, the funds become available to help other families in need.

Helping mothers and their children for over twenty years, The Custody Project recognizes that under ordinary circumstances mothers may work for $4-$12 per hour, stretching dollars daily to feed, clothe, and care for their children and themselves, sometimes in babysitting, waitress, piecework, and other occupations paying below minimum wage. However, when circumstances arise, such as domestic violence, or abuse, or legal attempts to remove custody, or absent or inadequate child support, or legal restraints that prevent mothers from improving the quality of life for their families, their lives are compounded, their situations become extraordinarily more difficult, and their economic challenges are made infinitely harsher. When imposed upon disadvantaged and overextended mothers, such crushing burdens can cause devastating familial hardships. Our grants help some of these deserving families stay afloat, often at perilous junctures.

With attorneys and experts charging $25-$350+ per hour, court and legal fees in addition, and mothers usually making far less, the protection and defense of custody of children can be expensive, and the economic disparity can cause financial ruin. Representation may be spotty or nonexistent; oftentimes mothers must represent themselves and their children in courts of law without training or understanding of the judicial system. It is unacceptable when custody and visitation are at issue that loss of custody and contact with children results from lack: lack of money, good representation and/or legal knowledge.

For any one who has experienced the trauma of protecting a child from molest or abuse, or of making do with little or no child support, or of requesting to relocate to improve the quality of life for one's family, or of requesting legal remedies for domestic violence, or of protecting the custody and safety of one's child[ren], compassion and understanding are aroused. It is a daunting challenge for any parent to face, especially alone.

Regardless of where in our country mothers reside, meeting legal expenses in defense of the custody and visitation of their children can be far beyond the incomes they make. Sometimes, mothers will barter all assets - their homes, their cars, their jobs, their retirement, their savings - to hire attorneys to protect and defend the custody and care of their children. Often, that is not enough. The money runs out. The retainers are exhausted. And the job is unfinished. It is not unusual for relatives, friends, business acquaintances, and even churches to extend financial support until these resources are exhausted, too. The family, bankrupt, can land up homeless, asset-less, and still remain in legal jeopardy. Oftentimes, these families simply need money for the legal expenses and, when these are paid, stability is once more assured.

Your generosity makes it possible for us to help these mothers and children, who are often forgotten. Your compassion allows us to provide assistance to families in desperate situations who, often, have no reason to hope and no further recourse. The Custody Project assists as many qualified families as we can but this number is small compared to the need. We can help bridge the gap with your help. And, along with our grant program, occasionally assistance is extended in other ways including telephone support, brief lectures/presentations, information exchange, and meeting with mothers.

Founded in 1994, The Custody Project is a charitable, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with loyal contributors, volunteers, and a three-member Board. Our charitable donations come from businesses, foundations, and private individuals. Our advocates support our mission through expertise donated to accomplish TCP’s mission, grant awards, charitable business donations, private monetary contributions, direct volunteerism and active service. At least 75% of every dollar helps our Heart to Heart families and this percentage will rise as donations increase; 25% or less is allocated to all other programs and administrative expenses. The Custody Project relies on your grassroots support and does not seek state or federal funding. In this, it is patterned after Mother Theresa, who felt governmental funding would restrict her freedom to help the people she served.

Our Services page provides information to the mothers we serve and our Mothers in Peril illumines some of the dangers they often face. While you can read more about us on Guidestar and Causes/Facebook, our Mission, Programs, Case Excerpts, Annual Letter, and FAQ explain when, where, why, and how TCP provides assistance. Having served families in many states, our range continues to expand. Lastly, our 2001-2002 Brochure, in need of updating, opens in Adobe Acrobat; if the pdf or page will not open in Internet Explorer, just switch to Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

Our Summer 2008 Caravan and our 2016-2017 National Drive describe national efforts to lift awareness for, and to help, our mothers and their children.

Our Charitable News Flashes! describe many innovative ways that you can help, giving directly to The Custody Project, or online through Network for Good, Just Give, Guidestar, and many other secure online sites, through online and on-street shopping, weddings, reward points, matching gifts, company grants, corporate giving, employee grant writing, stock, land, and vehicle donations, State and Federal Campaigns, the United Way, tax write-offs, eBay, Belk's Charity Sales, our Dinner Benefits, TCP's December Raffle, sponsoring Donna on the Drive, by donating to our National Drives, by volunteering your time, or by donating gifts and in-kind donations for our Annual Raffles and Fundraisers, with heartfelt thanks from the families you help. For favorite, alternative, and innovative ways to help our mothers and children, please visit You Can Help.

To Donate by mail, online, and when shopping, please visit Donate. Your contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law, and our Contributions Forms A or B and secure online donation buttons are easy to use. For a list of businesses and foundations which have supported TCP, please see our Contributors page.

The Custody Project is committed to advancing the human rights of some of the most destitute and forgotten of mothers and their children, and has helped to improve the quality of life for families in more than 46 states. Expressing goodwill, promoting lovingness, and building hope for some of those suffering mothers and children amongst us, we send a message of compassion and give hope of a better life to families pinioned by misfortune. In recognition of the important work they do as mothers ... Welcome to The Custody Project.

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