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Maryland’s Family Court Expansion, AFCC Model, takes Unifying Symbols to a New Level: Paper, Cotton, Leather, Fruit, Wood, Iron…

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This post is PR on something I just discovered recently and, to be honest, am distressed enough about to follow up by phone with the leadership of some of the groups involved, asking they why these things should be happening statewide.  The dialogue illustrates what’s going on, but is a little complex, and unless you have an interest in monitoring the expansion and methods of expansion of the family law bureaucracy WITHIN or as an ADJUNCT to our court system, you may not want to go through it all.

I think there is some legitimacy — however widespread, commonplace, and entrenched this system currently is, and however expensive and status quo it has become — to a theory that the “Family Court Services” if not the “Family Courts” themselves (as it pertains to divorce and custody) — are illegitimate.  They are private enterprises posing as public ones, and servicing their funders, who as it happens, tend to occupy high places in (1) the Executive Branch of the United States Government (I’m talking HHS, DOJ in particular) and (2) the Corporate /tax-exempt foundation stratosphere — almost none of which is truly accessible to individuals who are coming through these courts, unless they already have prior involvement.

First of all, they are about as unbelievingly condescending and patronizing (‘move over, let us experts handle your family — give us your kid, etc.’) as it is possible for any human relationship to be, apart from some truly unhealthy (i.e., violent/abusive) ones.  They deal in force, and subterfuge when it comes to proliferating the program, and like any good, truly “disaster capitalism” enterprise, they deal with distressed populations, exploit them, and call that service.  I come from California, and preliminary expose on this was done courtesy one of the oldest and (not exactly being updated) sites around — but it still is up and still serves a purpose — Johnnypumphandle.com.

assn.gif (5213 bytes)  ”

Dedicated to Exposing Illegal and Immoral Practices in The Courts

… Particularly the Family Law System which includes the Courts, Attorneys, Family Services, Psychologists and Therapists,Visitation Monitors, Ad-Litems, Social Workers, Child Protection Agencies and all of the agencies that support these so-called professionals.

Collusion among individuals within the family law system takes place to extract assets from troubled parents. The system is designed to increase the wealth of the family law professionals at the expense and heartbreak of families. Corrupt practices abound.

For example, why does the “Los Angeles County Superior Court Judges Association” change its name to simply “Los Angeles County Superior Court” in its IRS filings? and what are they actually doing at their special events, including sporting events, and how do they manage to have (year 2010) a net loss of $10,000, being such smart judges (only revenue — membership dues, totaling $50K that year).?

ORGANIZATION NAME

STATE

YEAR

TOTAL ASSETS

FORM

PAGES

EIN

Los Angeles Superior Court CA 2010 $120,654 990EO 10 95-4663773
Los Angeles Superior Court CA 2009 $95,314 990EO 12 95-4663773
Los Angeles Superior Court CA 2008 $102,801 990EO 11 95-4663773
Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Association CA 2007 $87,134 990EO 9 95-4663773
Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Association CA 2006 $90,509 990EO 9 95-4663773
Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Association CA 2005 $70,106 990EO 8 95-4663773
Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Association CA 2004 $55,818 990EO 5 95-4663773

per “Johnny”

The Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Association is a good example of one of the latter Non-Profit organizations whose stated purpose is “promotion of judicial profession pursuant to section 501(c)(6)”. (see form 3500 – Exemption application). The Association boasts a budget of over $100,000 – none of which will be received from members dues {?} – and most of which will be funded by “Professional Education programs for the legal community”. Unlike most professional organizations, this organization was granted(?) the use of County premises, complete with facilities for it’s [sic] office space and management of it’s business within the County Court facilities at 111 North Hill Street.”

Copyright © Design Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Last update 01/10/2010)

They call it collaboration, or cooperation, or “interdisciplinary.”  This person calls it, more correctly, “collusion” and states the purpose as accurately as anyone else . .. to extract assets from troubled parents.  Like I said, disaster capitalism.  Ambulance chasers.  Sometimes they (family law professionals) get impatient and take control of the wheel, cause accidents, and then show up to help solve the resulting “Family conflict,” at public and/or parent expense.  How philanthropic.

REGARDING THE TITLE OF THIS POST:

I called up Liz Richards of NAFCJ.net (who I think I’ve made it clear, has provided the skeleton which started my years of investigative reporting here on this blog and off it — not the motivation, but enough clues to grab onto, validate, and develop as now my own material).   She declared (I would like to see) that any family law judge in the state of Maryland must be an AFCC member to take office.  That’s an INexact quote, but I was very shocked to hear that possibly membership is a pre-requisite to the practice statewide.  Whether or not that’s so, it’s absolutely clear that this state is pretty well sewn up by those interests.

I have blogged before (herein) on UBaltimore’s School of Law “CFCC” in context of therapeutic jurisprudence.  This time, let’s talk about whose idea was it to create a system of family courts in the state? Perhaps you should forward questions to this person about what analogies of Paper, Cotton, Leather, FRUIT, etc.  say about the Department of Family Administration’s disturbing (in)ability to sort, label, categorize and prioritize information.

University of BaltimoreSchool of Law

Contact CFCC

Barbara A. Babb
Director and Associate Professor of Law
B.S., Pennsylvania State University  (interesting — does she keep up with the Penn State, Luzerne County or Lackawanna County scandals?)
M.S., Cornell University
J.D., Cornell Law School

UB faculty member since 1989. Member, New York and Maryland bars. National leader in family justice system reform, focusing on creation of unified family courts. Spearheaded Maryland’s efforts to create a family court in 1998. Advisory Board Member, ABA Standing Committee on Substance Abuse. Member, ABA Unified Family Court Coordinating Council and the AFCC Family Court Review Editorial Board. Past chair, Family/Juvenile Law Section, Association of American Law Schools.

Telephone: 410-837-5661
E-mail Barbara Babb

This professional is clearly AFCC-friendly (so is the ABA, it seems), and heads up this Center at a Law School.  Notice the bolded part.  This is what AFCC professionals, who can do this — do.  They Unify Family Courts (then preside over them, and appoint cronies).  I’ve seen it in state after state.  The Hon. Chester Harhut did this in Lackawanna County (as I recall) and the parents are already picketing outside the courthouse.  Or, were, until some of the protesters got manhandled (so to speak) by a local judge’s sheriff’s, resulting in a federal lawsuit on the civil rights violation, and a second one on the inappropriate pushing of the GAL system on the county without running it by the public!   

I’m only including the next individual to show that she hails from London! (see “three cities that rule the world”) in a country from which, allegedly, the United States fought a war of independence, in part to establish a DIFFERENT form of government …

Gloria Danziger
Senior Fellow
B.A., London University
M.Phil., Oxford University
J.D., Georgetown University Law Center

Former staff director, ABA Standing Committee on Substance Abuse, focusing on how substance abuse/truancy are addressed in the justice system. Former director, Communities, Families and the Justice System, an ABA unified family court initiative. Former public policy consultant, reporter and editor.

As we can see, this emphasis is on substance abuse and truancy (juvenile matters).  Applying this same model to divorce courts on the basis that divorce, too needs “treatment” is seriously questionable!
 For example, a symposium makes it clear who is leading the charge to change, and how they view themselves at UBaltimore.  I need to note that Ms. Babb has some prior experience and ties to Southern California.  California also has a “CFCC” but under the Administrative Office of the Courts.  Maryland has its one at this school of law, but that’s Ok — the courts are being transformed anyhow:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Families Matter Symposium: Working Toward a More Therapeutic Family Justice System

The invitation-only “Families Matter” Symposium was held last Thursday and Friday, June 24 and 25, at the University of Baltimore.  Co-sponsored by CFCC and the American Bar Association Section of Family Law, the symposium promises to be a powerful catalyst for change.  It was exhiliarating to participate in the exchange of groundbreaking ideas that emerge when you put together some of the leading professionals from a range disciplines to discuss how to improve the experience of children and families in the family justice system.  More exciting, however, is the fact that this group of high-powered experts is committed to move from theory to action by implementing many of their recommendations for changing the family law system.

Most definitely, if laws, and law systems are to be seriously changed, it should be through closed-door conferences of high-powered experts excited about their collective clout, at law schools –and absolutely not through the legislative process involving the general public voting on bills they had some say in, or (God forbid) perhaps even initiated.

A Dec. follow-up specifically acknowledges AFCC leadership in this, and gives a detailed plan, which I gather has been followed, and we might as well read about for a retrospective!

Thursday, December 2, 2010 Families Matter: Reforming the Family Law Process

It is hard to believe it already has been almost six months since CFCC and the ABA Section of Family Law co-sponsored the Families Matter Symposium. We at CFCC are excited about the work that has been done since the symposium to expand the Families Matter initiative. Because of the partnerships that this initiative created – among CFCC, the ABA, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), to name a few – we are able to tackle the issue of family law reform from every angle, something that has been a struggle in the past.In the coming months and years, we will work together with our partners to ensure that therapeutic reform touches legal and court structures, relevant service providers from across disciplines, and the lawyers and other legal actors who work so closely with families.

“and other legal actors”???

The 2008 newsletter I quoted is titled” Families Matter.”  Now that we know where that came from, let’s go back to this 2008 piece of ?? listing marketable commodities to connect with court reform years….

“. . .Paper, Cotton, Leather, Fruit, Wood, Iron…”

SERIOUSLY?

Yes, apparently.  Look for yourself:

Newsletter of the Department of Family Administration

…and this is now nearly four years ago!  Shame!!! on those who did NOT blog the AFCC when they blogged against “PAS,” subconsciously? taking cues from leadership who, while knowing quite well about this, chose not to mention it in their press releases, news letters, or triumphantly mainstream on-lines, leaving the job up to volunteer bloggers, commenters (on those on-lines) and other “lone wolf investigators” who were honest enough to recognize something was missing in the protective mothers AND in the domestic violence rhetoric.

These people -and they still exist, generation after generation — should expect something a little better than to have the same groups simply sell out the mothers for profit, for professional respectability, for the ability to publish, for public platforms in setting agenda, and for nice websites.

To better understand this, also see the site “MDJustice.com” (I have a draft post explaining the presence of Parenting Coordination right next to Domestic Violence in a Family Law Task Force.  This is relevant because the training and resources are intended for PRO BONO service providers.  However, it would make this post too long….

I was very upset (and tweeted this) to discover HOW inbred the Women’s Law Center, and a spiffy website resource (MDJustice.com) focusing on pro bono legal services — not only are they sharing language of “parenting coordination” right next to “domestic violence” talks in the family law task force, (a clear indication of AFCC’s fathers’ rights agenda.  You can talk about domestic violence, or even child abuse, so long as you don’t seriously believe this should affect how much contact the offender has with the victim, and act on that belief to protect the child or (often as not) his/her mother.


Newsletter of the Department of Family Administration

Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts  (“AOC”)

Vol. 8, No. 1 summer 2008

What’s going on when a system of progressive reform and expansion of the family law system (with a token nod towards protecting people) chooses to name each year of reform after a COMMODITY?  Subliminal message, much?

  • PAPER

  • COTTON

  • LEATHER

  • FRUIT

  • WOOD

  • IRON

  • WOOL

  • BRONZE

(See newsletter).  These are collective labels to conveniently (and privately to those who get the newsletter) describe an 8-year agenda for family court reform.  The use of these unifying symbols is specific to this court (from what I can tell) and is just — to tell the truth — weird.  I am remembering about this time how Hitler was adept at using symbols, flags, mottos, gestures, and of course music & staged events to get his point across.   So are the Boy Scouts.  So were are certain religious cults.  Is this what we’re heading for, again?   What do these commodities (which they are) have to do with the situations they are hooked to, except to, in the minds of the readers, signify some collective progress achieved in a collective goal?

Even little kids are often taught as youngsters, sorting shapes, and being tested on their ability to categorize various common objects.   But look at this order — is it by durability?  Is it by function?  Is it by value?  No – it’s a hodgepodge:

  • PAPER COTTON LEATHER FRUIT WOOD IRON WOOL BRONZE

By the most obvious (to me, at least) functions of the material, it would go:

  • Writing, clothing & linens, clothing & bookbinding, FOOD, building & fuel, Building & tools, Clothing, Statuary-sculptures.
By perhaps flexibility?  That makes no sense — as “fruit” is in the middle.
By FLAMMABILITY?  – – –
  • very, very less, Huh?, yes, with some tinder, no – must be smelted, yes, no unless you have a serious furnace.
But the people who put this together are not little kids learning to sort, prioritize and categorize — they are adults seeking to expand an expensive bureaucracy with authority to decide whether Mom & Dad get to raise their kids, (or which Mom which Dad) — or have them institutionalized and raised by foster parents, or adopted out.  These are major responsibilities.  It would be a little more reassuring if the people facilitating them had a little basic common sense!
The book of Daniel (Daniel 2), (Old Testament) Nebuchadnezzar’s dream , at least stuck to one material, and stuck them in some sort of order, from precious, to common, showing the ability to (1) sort and (2) prioritize.
The passage:

1And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. 2Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.  3And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.

In some ways, reminds me of our current Republican (?) system, complete with task forces, commissions, institutes, and initiatives.

4Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.

5The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.6But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.

 As it goes, they couldn’t, and so the order was dispatched to dispatch all the wise men, etc., including at this time Daniel.  Daniel got his moment in the sun, and said (after introductions):

31Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

32This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

Perhaps our current leaders should take a lesson from history — and learn to sort and select:  The statue was described in general — and then in particular, from the HEAD to the FEET.  Each part, in order, was described as to what it was made of.  Then, stage set, the action was described:

34Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.35Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

36This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king

 Right or Wrong, Real or Imagined, the image has persisted such that even infidels.org can discuss its meaning, centuries later, according to its organizing principle(s). . . .

To begin with, the four empires with their metals and beasts [different part of “Daniel”] fall into a simple pattern: they are listed in order of decreasing splendor and increasing strength and cruelty to symbolize their moral degeneration from one to the next (cf. Daniel 2:39).

In the vision of the statue in Daniel 2, the four empires are symbolized by four metals: viz., the golden head of Babylonia, the silver chest of Media, the bronze loins of Persia, the iron legs of Greece, and the iron-and-clay feet of the successor states of Greece. The metals decrease in monetary value yet increase in strength from the top to the bottom of the statue.

Our author probably got the idea of the four ages from Hesiod, an eighth-century BC Greek poet. Hesiod taught that the world has gone through four ages, each one morally inferior to its predecessor: viz., the ages of gold, silver, bronze, and iron (Works and Days 106-201).[8] Our author need not have read Hesiod; he and his fellow Jews probably picked up the idea from Greeks living in that part of the world.

SO, What, exactly, is the organizing and ordering principle behind this Department of Family Administration Newsletters’ selection of:

PAPER COTTON LEATHER FRUIT WOOD IRON WOOL BRONZE

IS THE TRUE MESSAGE BEHIND THE METAPHOR ITS INHERENT MEANINGLESSNESS?

BASED ON THE CONTEXTS, POSSIBLY THE CONTENTS AND WORDS ARE, INDEED MEANINGLESS, ESPECIALLY GIVEN WHICH IS NEXT TO WHAT….

Here’s the cute description provided in newsletter, after which on to more serious matters, for example, what is the DFA doing, anyhow? Why are there DFAs?  WHY are courts adding divisions to their regular courts, and doing so in particular “flavor”??

Scroll past my indented summary in this color font, to get to that discussion.  The choice of metaphors is basically frivolous and meaningless — the real agenda has already been identified years earlier and is in operation nationwide, anyhow.  The newsletter simply makes it sound more legitimate….

PAPER – Year 1 — “we have produced a lot of paper in ten years!”  ~ COTTON – Year 2 — “Courts have found creative and powerful ways to make connections with their communities. In 2006, Carroll County Circuit Court participated with a network of community providers to create a guide that provides survivors of violence with a roadmap to recovery.”  (Cotton refers to a “Clothesline Project”  The word “Cotton” is as arbitrary as Paper in usage).   LEATHER – Year 3 — “Over the past decade, the public “purse” that supports the family justice system has been strength-ened thanks to the advocacy of Chief Judge Robert M. Bell and State Court Administrator Frank Broccolina and the support of the Maryland General Assembly. Family divisions and family services programs are supported by jurisdictional grants given annually to each Circuit Court. In Fiscal Year 2008, courts received $11.2 million to support case management innovations and services to families involved indomestic and juvenile case types.” (LEATHER — the Purse Strings.  The State Legislature, obviously, opens and closes that purse, and for its own reasons, opened it towards the establishment of more programs and services).   FRUIT – YEAR 4 — “We profoundly hope that the efforts of the last ten years have borne “fruit” in the experiences of Maryland families and children. {{for that level of grants, it had better be more than just “hope”}} One measure maybe the level of involvement parents have in their children’s lives post-litigation. {{translation:  access/visitation grant systems, plus some.}}   WOOD – Year 5 — “The Maryland “bench” has been innovative in the last ten years,{{and produced a lot of paperwork}} and courts have shown a willingness to try new approaches. Administrative judges have adopted case management strategies to ensure family and juvenile cases are handled effectively”

 (Currently in Pennsylvania, those administrative orders, for example, to hire a certain guardian ad litem, are coming under FBI fire (Lackawanna County, Stefanov case, Pilchesky case, see my other blog http://lackawannafamilycourtfederal.blogspot.com and recent local news coverage)

WOOD is for “The Bench.”  Cute.  etc.  For example, WOOL – Year 7 — “Families entering the justice system are wrapped in the “mantle” of services that enable courts to make more effective decisions and that aid and guide families in transition. All Maryland courts offer co-parenting education, Family Law Self-Help Centers, child access mediation, and custody evaluations. Some courts offer psychoeducational programs for children and specialized parenting courses; others are experimenting with parenting coordination, employment programs for child support payors, and special dispute resolution services for high-conflict families.”*(*IN OTHER WORDS, BUSINESS AS AFCC/CRC/WELFARE REFORM USUAL).  BRONZE – YEAR 8 — “The Judiciary’s family court reform efforts have brought attention to bear on the special needs of victims of domestic violence.” (It seems very appropriate that the concern for domestic violence should be limited to their “special needs” not their protection — and come last.)

The Administrative Offices of the Courts (nationwide) are enough of an issue themselves (and the various “CFCC’s underneath some of them, like in California).  Yet under this Maryland one is a Department of Family Administration.  I guess we all one big happy family, then?  Or if not — and there are some unhappy upstarts, this can be administered?   (reminds me of the Texas Office of Attorney General’s “Office of Family Initiatives” associated with, at least recently, Michael Hayes).

NOTICE THE DETAILS:

Family Administration – Maryland state court system

Department of Family Administration-Administrative Office of the Courts 410-260-1580

Notice of Funding for Family Division/Family Services Grants: Grant Documents

Yes, please do click on the “notice of Funding” link above.  You’ll see about 9 different categories of funding.  I looked at “Child Support Incentives.”  These are programs that bring money to the courts, if these services are utilized (the $2/1 ratio, I believe) and while it’s labeled sometimes Welfare, there is a way to get non-welfare cases involved as well.  For example (and this is a CURRENT, 2013, OPEN (well, just closed 2/2012) grant solicitation):

“NOTICE OF FUNDING AVAILABILITY — CHILD SUPPORT INCENTIVE FUNDS GRANTS — ISSUED 1/3/2012, APPLICATIONS DUE 2/15/2012″

(Hover cursor over link or click on it to read description of the grant’s purpose — this is important, because it shows the HHS/Maryland Judiciary financial connection, in a Cooperative Reimbursement Agreement (CRA) according to performance incentives — i.e., how many child support orders did you establish, etc.  

Given that, Funding Priorities, Category “A” actually seem to relate to — child support enforcement.   Such as:  “Privatizing and outsourcing of child support enforcement services;  Improvingautomationcapabilities;  Creatingpublicawarenessprojects;  Developingprogramsandspecialprojects;

But Category “B” may sound familiar to some parents with the toughest custody cases around, that are behaving very oddly, given the circumstances of the case:   And this includes (notice order of Priorities here).   

Other categories of programs that are considered “non-Title IV-D” that may still be eligible for funding upon the receipt of a written exception by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement are set forth in OCSE-AT-01-04** and include, but are not limited to:

Fatherhood programs;  Education and job programs for non-custodialparents;  Programs targeting incarcerated or putative fathers;  Teen pregnancy programs;  Parenting programs;  (in CALIF, this would be a “KIDS TURN” or KY or PA, a “KIDS FIRST” get it?) Mediation or couples counseling (including as provided by faith-based grantees, no doubt), and  Visitation issue resolution when linked to non-payment of support.**

**WTH does that mean?  When a noncustodial parent actually says, “I’d be more willing to pay my child support ORDER if I were given more ACCESS to my KID(s)??” In practice, this may possibly include supervised visitation, it may also include abatement of child support arrears in exchange for more time with the other parent.

These programs must also demonstrate a clear connection and collaboration with the Maryland Child Support Enforcement program.

**”OCSE-AT-01-04” refers to an “Action Transmittal.”  Overall, this shows us that (no matter what a parent may have been told while filing for custody, or its modification up front) the judiciary is deeply hooked into the HHS financing and its incentives to do this, or that, regarding something as essential to life (in many cases) as child support. . . . . .  And I believe this particular grant notice demonstrates that the OCSE/Child support Incentives ARE indeed in good deal about fatherhood programs” and parenting education (etc.).

Supporting Children Through the Judiciary Conference

Photo of children and familiesThe Department of Family Administration is responsible for assisting Maryland’s courts in developing a comprehensive family law system. Family Administration has overseen the creation of family divisions in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, and family services programs in the remaining 19 counties. We work with judges, masters, court administrators and family support services coordinators to develop family law policy and to identify and promote best practices in the handling of domestic and juvenile cases.(1*)

“The mission of family divisions is to provide a fair and efficient forum to resolve family legal matters in a problem-solving manner, with the goal of improving the lives of families and children who appear before the court. To that end, the court shall make appropriate services available for families who need them. The court also shall provide an environment that supports judges, court staff and attorneys so that they can respond effectively to the many legal and nonlegal issues of families in the justice system.”

Connie Kratovil-Lavelle, Esq.

(*1)  The sentence “we work with judges, (etc.) . . . to develop family law policyt . .. identify and promote best practices…..” indicates a different identity, a distinction between (1) “WE” (meaning the Dept. of Family Administration/”DFA”) and (2) said judges, masters, etc. . . . . . .

As I can see below, the Executive Director of this DFA is promoting AFCC policy, hook, line and “sink-it.”

There’s a long, colorful newsletter above, which mixes talk of in order, page 1, Civil Protective Orders (DV issues) &  Parent Coordination Promotion.

(An AFCC created profession, hostile to mothers in practice, which does an end run around legal protections and due process (as it was intended to) and to date already has brought up serious objections from parents and issues of billing, in PA at least (I blogged this over at http://thefamilycourtmoneymachine.blogspot.com, including the underlying case Yates v. Yates, where a father protested the parenting coordinator, and the family law div. of PA Bar Case Notes (newsletter 2009), exulting in how they shot down all his arguments.  Some of the casework I read showed a custody evaluator appointed in 2002 or 2003, who I looked up.  It turns out that in 2004-2005 (per 2006 Winter Psychology Board newsletter), this same man was cited for discipline and subjected to supervision of his practice!

NEWSLETTER, PAGE 1, TOPIC 1 — “SEE, WE ARE HELPING STOP DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!”

Statewide Civil Domestic Violence Database to be Launched this Summer

By Clifton Files, Esq., Domestic Violence Specialist, Administrative Office of the Courts, Department of Family Administration

The Maryland Judiciary will be one of the first states with a comprehensive database of civil orders of protection when it launches the Domestic Vio- lence Central Repository this summer. In September 2006, the Department of Family Administration was awarded a grant by the Office of Violence Against Women from the Grants To Encourage Arrest Policies Program (GTEAP). The focus of the grant was to develop a Statewide Civil Domestic Violence Database. The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV) coordinated with an advisory committee and held six regional focus groups to discuss and consider recommendations on policies, procedures, and uses for the database.

The end result of these efforts is a central database for District and Circuit Court judges and staff that will store all domestic violence orders, produce statistics, and enhance enforcement (cont’d on page 23….)

The Statewide Domestic Violence Coalition here is (was) working with the “Department of Family Administration.”  Who the “Department of Family Administration” is, matters.  How did the AOC (Admin. Office of the Courts) get a DFA? (Dept. of Fam. Admin.) anyhow — expanding bureaucracy?
That can be discussed in a moment, but let’s look at the focus of the “Executive Director” of this DFA in our next article, which I believe is clear enough…

PAGE 1, TOPIC 2 — “BUT DON’T WORRY, DADS & AFCC PROFESSIONALS — WE REMEMBERED YOUR AGENDA TOO”*

(*Maintaining a mechanism to apply “PAS” theory, retaining privileged quasi-judicial status without accountability, and more of us in every custody case)

Refining Emerging Practices Proposed Parenting Coordination Rule Completed

By Pamela Cardullo Ortiz, Esq., Executive Director, Department of Family Administration

Innovation always happens on the ground.*** In their efforts to better serve families, courts have experimented with emerging practice models, especially those with promise for assisting high conflict families who often require a great deal of court intervention. Over the last several years, a number of Maryland Circuit Courts have begun to refer high conflict families with child access issues to “parent coordinators.”

As practiced in other states, and defined by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC): Parenting coordination is a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process in which a mental health or legal. . .(Cont’d on page 24) professional with mediation training and experience assists high conflict parents to implement their parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of their disputes in a timely manner, educating parents about children’s needs, and with prior approval of the parties and/or the court, making decisions within the scope of the court order or appointment contract. (Guidelines for Parenting Coordination, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.)

A Maryland Version of Parenting Coordination

To ensure that Maryland courts have the requisite authority to order parties to work with a parenting coordinator, and to guide courts and define the practice in light of Maryland law, the Custody Subcommittee of the Judicial Conference Committee on Family Law has developed a proposed parenting coordination rule. The subcommittee, chaired by Judge Deborah S. Eyler of the Court of Special Appeals, worked for two years with judges, court professionals, parenting coordinators, attorneys, and others to devise a draft rule and proposed application for parenting coordinators. Those documents were reviewed and approved by the Committee on Family Law at their meeting this April. The proposed documents have been approved by the Conference of Circuit Judges and will be forwarded to the Rules Committee for consideration.

The proposed rule defines the practice for Mary- land courts and addresses issues relating to the appointment of a parenting coordinator, qualifica- tions, selection, term of service, removal and withdrawal of a parenting coordinator, fees, and the powers and scope of appointment.

Paragraph 1, above, starts with a lie — it’s dissembling.  This is CLASSIC AFCC — referring to its own members as if they were actually independent of each other, in the overall strategic plan!  HEre it is, again:
Innovation always happens on the ground.*** In their efforts to better serve families, courts have experimented with emerging practice models, especially those with promise for assisting high conflict families who often require a great deal of court intervention. Over the last several years, a number of Maryland Circuit Courts have begun to refer high conflict families with child access issues to “parent coordinators.”
LIE#1:   Innovation IN THE COURTS doesn’t happen on the ground, it’s mostly a top-down strategy, possible because those in control of the families in the courts are the judges — and AFCC overall is not at all lacking in judges.  Calling lower levels of courts “on the ground” is dissembling.  A pretense, in some senses it’s fair enough to call it simpy a lie.   AFCC’s own history page prides itself in spearheading innovations in family law practices.  That’s hardly “on the ground” except in a world of ranking professionals which excludes the very much “on the ground” litigants:

(AFCC) “History”

AFCC’s self-definition on their main website, at the top (it is the “motto”)is:
An interdisciplinary and international association of professionals
dedicated to improving the lives of children and families
through the resolution of family conflict.
It’s hard to know where to start, outlining the problems with this, given who the AFCC membership is.  DOES resolving family conflict (IF AFCC did this – it doesn’t, it exacerbates it, incites it, and then calls in its “experts” to allegedly resolve family conflict) improve the lives of children and families?
Who — besides this crowd — says that “family conflict” is the major problem facing families these days?  Go tell that to Jaycee Dugard; go tell that to the parents of Trayvon Martin.  Go tell that to MaryAnne Godboldo, who stood off a home invasion (unwarranted) to protect her 13 year old daughter from being forcibly put on Risperdal by CPS after a medical doctor had warned her to take her off it:
August 12, 2011, Voice of Detroit Article:

ma2.jpgby Diane Bukowski  (photo from http://justice4maryanne.com/)

August 12, 2011

DETROIT – Despite testimony that Mia Wenk, a “social services specialist” with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, authorized the  psychiatric hospitalization of Ariana Godboldo-Hakim, 13, and the administration of four dangerous psychotropic drugs, without reviewing the child’s  medical records, a jury found Aug. 9 that it was Ariana’s mother Maryanne Godboldo who had neglected her. 

Godboldo, who obtained alternative holistic treatment for her daughter from a medical doctor, testified earlier that she was suffering from a reaction to immunizations administered in Sept. 2009. She said Ariana had been diagnosed with encephalitis, not a psychiatric disorder. Neither she nor Ariana’s father Mubarak Hakim authorized their daughter’s treatment at Hawthorn Children’s Psychiatric facility after an army of police seized her from her home on Blaine near Linwood in Detroit March 24, 2011. 

This mother above, and the community that rallied to defend her (she got her daughters back and felony charges dropped) have a “high conflict” with treating their children as state hostages when they resist forcible drugging and unwarranted home invasions of their kids.  This was a single mother, and the nonresident father had no conflict with the mother’s resisting the situation.  44
AFCC believes that the primary social ill is conflict — not crime.  It believes that its professionals can, and should “improve the lives of children and families” according to their definition, and given the membership, they have the collective clout to do this pretty much over the objection of any individual family in any given case.  They are collectively dedicated to playing “God,” Declaration of Independence aside…. (all men created equal ~ which would mean that AFCC profesionals are not more “equal” than non-AFCC professionals, such as “flawed parents” (a term actually seen in one of their brochures) and endowed with their Creator (not AFCC) with “certain unalienable rights.”  AFCC most especially is concerned — in their policy agenda of playing God to “children and families” (note the order of nouns) — with getting rid of any God-given or due-process rights of individuals which might “conflict” with their determination to help people against their own will, in order to establish family peace, under conditions of extortion (virtually).
RE:
Innovation always happens on the ground.*** In their efforts to better serve families, courts have experimented with emerging practice models, especially those with promise for assisting high conflict families who often require a great deal of court intervention. Over the last several years, a number of Maryland Circuit Courts have begun to refer high conflict families with child access issues to “parent coordinators.”

LIE#2:  The courts are not trying to “better serve families” — they are serving themselves TO the families forced into their courtrooms, for profit, and for their overall agenda stated above.  This agenda includes transforming the justice system (complete with concepts of individual rights, due process, basic standing as an individual in the courtroom, right to confront one’s accusers, in fact just about anything traditionally considered a “right” including a little right to privacy, right to be free from undue search and seizure, and not be deprived of things unlawfully.) into a therapeutic turnstile attached to an ATM.  Part of which includes the power to traffick children, for profit, into the juvenile justice system (see Luzerne County kids for Cash RICO case!!) or, for drugging/drug-testing and Lord knows what else, into the foster care and from then on, adoption system.  A handy aspect of the permanent threat to all standing parents to having their children improperly removed is keeping adult parents in line, too, and/or extorting them financially.  It’s a FANTASTIC wealth transfer system.  Saying this somehow “serves families,” in context of reality, is pure bullshit, and is keeping the blogsphere and, at times, the FBI, busy.
LIE/Truth#3:   Courts have experimented with emerging-practice models.  Courts (meaning AFCC professionals, or courts run by them – if you want proof, or some samples, hit me with a comment below, I’ll post some) are, rather, experimenting with how asleep the American public is.  It’s not a true experiment about whether or not, for example, “parenting coordination” actually works.  The agenda is to ram it through over the objections of parents, and sometimes over a state Governor (Florida 2004, Gov. Jeb Bush), which AFCC has done and knows how to do.  
The word “emerging” from this group is never an honest assessment.  Read their conference brochures.  they don’t talk about emerging practices — they talk about THEIR practices, and discuss results, and how to expand the collective model  (refine it slightly, or re-shrinkwrap the concept).  For example, parent coordination is expensive to train for (check Parent Coordination Central, Boyan/Termini website), and has a host of products associated for sale (even though they are incorporated WHERE ?  ????).  It’s also not free to the parents.  Yet, I saw an AFCC conference brochure, I believe it was, discussing how to utilize this for the poor indigent parents on Title IV.  Surely they needed parent coordination more than food, housing, clothing, medical care or transportation in the form of child support or TANF benefits, right?   After all, wasn’t the reason they are poor, their “family conflict”???
PHRASE/Stray Concept #4:   with promise for assisting high conflict families . . . .
 If AFCC has an agenda as a NONPROFIT alone and wants to pursue it — more power to them.  Take their funding from wherever (membership fees, people who wish to contribute to the cause, gaining a little tax-deduction charitable contribution perk also, for mutual benefit:  donor/Donee.  I have no problem with that.   It’s elective.   BUT AFCC is comprised in large part of JUDGES — who are public employees, MEDIATORS who are many times court-appointed and county-supported (plus some A/V funding to go along with it), and they are in positions which require them to (??) take oaths of office to uphold the constitution.  I hear that some jurisdictions do not– but their function in society is as public servants.  As such, they have no right to be pushing a PRIVATE, FOR_PROFIT AGENDA utilizing the authority of their office which was designed to rule in matters dealing with JUSTICE.
AFCC has rejected the concept of individual rights and placed it with the language of collectivism.  As such, it might as well be a religion, or an instrument of socialism, as far as I am concerned.  The best assistance any judge can offer is to READ the case file (which many don’t), OBEY his/her own laws of procedure and Judicial Canons promoting ethical behavior, RECUSE him/herself when there is a conflict of interest (which no AFCC judge can deny exists when there are related professionals to steer business towards in the same jurisdiction), and honestly attempt to ascertain if one party or the other’s evidence does not support the claim.  To refrain from extensive ex parte and in-chambers deliberation, and to act in concert with the criminal law — not attempt to ignore the criminal law, create new “psychological crimes” (PAS theory) and so forth.
None of these judges are likely to do this, or they’d quit the organization.  The law as stated did not suit them so, acting more as priests than judges, they simply collaborated (“innovation and collaboration” is accurate, above) to alter it to suit their private purposes, which (see the cases I highlit above) conflicts many times with individual rights of U.S. citizens, and parental rights to avoid having their homes invaded, and their children kidnapped and institutionalized simply because Mom or Dad protested improper and physically/mentally dangerous drugging!
COMMENTARY, EXPRESSING INDIGNATION ABOUT THIS:
(These paragraphs may not be in the best order.  Please take them individually.  I tried yesterday, but PTSD was an issue in contacting the organization to talk about this, or emailing them. I suspect a phone call would work better).
By the time some file for a domestic violence restraining order (sometimes called Protection From Abuse, etc.) with kickout — a person has sometimes tried long and hard to handle the situation without legal action, and may have simply tried to stop the abuse, or get help to stop the abuse, before making the tough situation to throw someone out legally in order to stay alive or physically intact.  
In my case (now about a decade old or just more), as an educated, fairly liberal (I like to think) woman, I told people in my social sphere about the abuse.  The range of people who knew, witnessed dramatic incidents and longstanding patterns that clearly speak of domestic violence and “intimate terrorism”** was very wide.  Men and women of all ages, married and single, employed and stay-at-home, sometimes facilitated temporary survival post-incident, or to temporarily avoid one, but collectively it was a wash — no interference, no confrontation, no referral to outside resources, and no personal hard talks (man to man) with the father saying “stop!” Collectively, I have to say, society still values marriage over sanity, i.e., when marriage seriously endangers & compromises basic life, then it’s not worth preserving, and THAT marriage is NOT part of the “social unit of society.”
(**such as fleeing to the home overnight, property destruction symbolically targeted towards what was of value to me, work sabotage by refusing to reliably watch our children, or be home in time for me to get to work, serious attempts to prevent me from access to transportation, or basics like holding an open bank account (there was never any joint one), or participate in inspiring or encouraging community activities, interception of mail, weapons collection used to terrorize me out of certain activities, and seeing me in complete trauma over a period of years and immediately after various incidents; seeing a mother and children without necessaries, yet a father with multiple pairs of shoes, electronics, and etc.; indications that the house was not being maintained in a functional manner (utilities, etc.) . . . .

Sometime the silence is religious, but not always.

So, when these mothers then figure out there are more activist, feminist women’s groups who really do say NO! !!! to sexual assault (including in relationships) and violence — and seek some help or leadership in navigating their legal and civil rights in the matter, and/or the police force, reporting, district attorney’s office, or as it may be, nonprofit domestic violence support groups which might help them file a pleading to protect their lives (and/or their kids), when they couldn’t safely flee or separate on their own — we should expect to be treated as equals and intelligent adults in knowing who has a seat at the roundtable deciding our future, and the future of others in our shoes.

In Maryland, it’s crystal clear — the women’s law groups and pro bono service providers — do not see fit to check back with these mothers after years after  in the court, and to perhaps courageously revamp whether the Parenting Coordination Pushers deserve a seat at the round table.

FIRST, mothers, being women, tend to look for women’s groups for leadership when it comes to defense against severe violence in the home, or in attempting to terminate a relationship.   I know that’s all who helped me out — no patriarchal institution around did squat to stop, report, intervene with, or refer me to anyone who could intervene with, my ex’s nasty habit of assault & battery when offended, or when simply ornery, plus all the other things that I later learned compromised domestic violence (but knew at the time were simply terrorism).

Such mothers in these situations KNOW we could be killed, and after separation, are sometimes being stalked, threatened, have suffered serious injuries, major setbacks to maintaining stable employment and social involvements outside the home — or only such social involvements as will NOT intervene with the family situation and tell the batterer to stop!!! or suffer at least social consequences.

We also know (by now) that while the domestic violence groups have developed a language to describe and “unify” such situations, the domestic violence groups have lumped women WITHOUT children together with women WITH children (i.e., mothers), and focused their efforts on tactics and issues that assist the former — while failing to report in a timely and transparent manner about their dealings with the “fatherhood” (men’s supremacy) groups.  They do not even report that these groups exist, what their names are, and how their influence affects custody hearings.

They do not even name the groups, do not name the primary groups running the family law system; they do not warn mothers about what lies ahead in enough time to protect themselves, or build some sort of “ark” to keep from being financially and psychologically drowned in the legal system after the DV group got its warm body, a protective order, a ## to put on a report, and enough to justify next year’s funding.

In short, they do not report what they know because it’s simply not a transparent situation.  Mothers are not told that they are fighting a contest which is funded on the opposing side by the welfare institution that perhaps may be providing them with housing, food initially.  That this institution literally has been diverting millions of dollars to assist “noncustodial fathers” in regaining contact with their kids, based on the theory that these same mothers are the serious risk to their own kids’ futures by the fact of not having a man in the home who is that kids’ Dad even when that kids’ Dad was assaulting her and/or them (or molesting them) is as such not a fit parent.

3 Responses

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  1. God this makes me ill! ~ MotherC

    MotherClucker

    March 29, 2012 at 11:33 pm

  2. […] Maryland's Family Court Expansion, AFCC Model, takes Unifying … […]

    I only approved this (SPAM) because it goes to show, there’s a better living to be made in selling family counseling, than in being a family.

  3. […] Marylands Family Court Expansion, AFCC Model, takes Unifying Symbols to a New Level: Paper, Cotton, …Fruit, Wood, Iron . . .”First of all, they are about as unbelievingly condescending and patronizing (move over, let us experts handle your family give us your kid, etc.) as it is possible for any human relationship to be, apart from some truly unhealthy (i.e., violent/abusive) ones.  They deal in force, and subterfuge when it comes to proliferating the program, and like any good, truly disaster capitalism enterprise, they deal with distressed populations, exploit them, and call that service.”  [My blog connects Barbara Babb of Baltimore to Lackawanna County pilot program in UFC] […]


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