Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

‘No Way Out But One’

Holly Collins and three of her children. (Courtesy No Way Out But One)

California Judge Michael Nash this year ruled to open child welfare hearings in Los Angeles County unless there’s proof that doing so will harm the child.

Advocates in favor of more transparency in family courts applauded the decision, because they believe the secrecy can lead to decisions that hurt children.

Gail Helms was behind the push for more transparency in California. In 1995, her 2-year-old grandson was beaten to death by his father, who had been awarded custody despite a history of drug abuse.

Around that same time, Holly Collins of Minnesota was on her way to the Netherlands with her children, 11-year-old Zachary and 9-year-old Jennifer. They had been placed in their father’s custody, and she says she fled to protect them from abuse and a court system that ignored her pleas for help.

Holly became a fugitive, accused of kidnapping her children, and she was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. But her children said she was protecting them.

“As a kid, I thought it was quite ridiculous that they were charging my mom with kidnapping her own children… taking them away from an abusive father. It seemed completely ludicrous to me,” Zachary Collins, now in his 20s, said in the documentary, “No Way Out But One.”

Holly Collins and her children lived in a Dutch refugee camp for three years, before she was granted asylum.

After 17 years in the Netherlands, Holly Collins returned to the United States, and was ultimately cleared of kidnapping charges.

And now her case has become a rallying point for advocates who want to reform the family court system in the United States.


  • Holly Collins
  • Garland Walland, co-producer of “No Way Out But One”
  • Lundy Bancroft, domestic violence and family court expert

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.

Experts share a range of perspectives on how to combat the Islamic State militant group, and the role the U.S. should play.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

November 26 8 Comments

Arlo Guthrie Celebrates 50 Years Of ‘Alice’s Restaurant’

Listening to the 18-minute musical monologue has been a Thanksgiving tradition among folk music fans for decades.

November 26 Comment

One Refugee’s Story Of Coming To America

Paul Okot vividly remembers landing at JFK airport in New York at 7 years old, after fleeing violence in southern Sudan.

November 25 3 Comments

Rapper Le1f Finds Struggle And Moral Diversity In American Music

We've been asking musicians what they think of when they think "American music." Today we hear from Khalif Diouf, aka Le1f.

November 24 7 Comments

Ferguson: One Year Later

City council member Wesley Bell looks back on the past year since protests and violence swept the Missouri city.