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In the Beginning, in Hindsight (more on early AFCC newsletters, SVN/CRC, and could we have prevented this?)

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Just grabbed this section off a recent post “Why Supervised Visitation Sucks” after posting it. I’m a woman and I get to redecorate at will.

I’m trying to consider whether anyone could’ve then (and could, now) headed off at the pass the multi-state shape-shifting nonprofits involving public officials (such as AFCC, SVN and CRC, mentioned herein).

There’s no question they are networked, and fast moving; like a maurading invasive species. Such is the nature of how danged easy it is to incorporate anywhere, anything (A few bucks and a statement on a piece of paper), and how we, the public, still don’t know how to track down how our own public officials are being funded.

It seems to me quite intentional that the purpose was to bypass representative legislation through forming multi-state and international nonprofits up front, attracting funding, and holding conferencs where the sun don’t shine (actually meaning, out of state for the target jurisdictions; they have been known to prefer sunny climates for conference locations. Like, Hawaii, or Bermuda, or in Southern California…).

I wanted to reference the AFCC talking about starting up this field (or at least the SVN), and decided to add an inset on the infamous Viola Stroud… I wonder in retrospect, how things might have gone if more of the public knew how vital it is to follow the money, and watch the conference circuits of groups like AFCC and CRC, not to mention SVN, and then connect this to the federal funding. Instead of go with the social scientist crowd, and (while making a fine living off grants to evaluate these programs) quipping, well, it’s OK…. so long as they are well-trained and recognize a batterer or abuser when they see one? Let us see how we can fix that….

AFCC Startup Literature, and Viola Stroud/CRC (inset)

AFCC Newsletter Fall 1992 (Vol. 11 No. 4) leads off with announcement of the formation (previous May) of the Supervised Visitation Network in New York, and presenter Tim Ballew (see also below) explains how it was funded and run. This is in Indianapolis.. So now, I have three states (so far) in which SVN was incorporated: New York, Tennessee and Florida… Above all keep in mind it is a NONPROFIT CORPORATION (to the extent that SVN has been operating legally, which as it turns out, is hardly all the time) whose board members tend to run NONPROFITS that take FEDERAL GRANT SUBSIDIES for this field, which was heavily promoted for application to divorce, not just kids in placement (dependency, that is). Why stop a “great” idea when it’s started??

Perhaps records don’t go back to 1992, however only a 2005 incorporated NEW YORK CHAPTER of the SVN actually shows up as a nonprofit. Search HERE, check status type ALL and search option “Contains” to view. A search of “Charities.NYS.gov” on “Supervised Visitation” pulls up only the “Little Angels” one (infamous for having involved a woman later convicted of robbing the estates of elders; with this corporation involved, aka Viola Stroud. Who was involved in the famous (to some of us) Genia Shockome case as a supervised visitation provider….).

LITTLE ANGELS SUPERVISED VISITATION, LTD. 20-85-80 134077366 NFP MAHOPAC NY”
SEARCH RESULTS SELECTION
Organization Name: LITTLE ANGELS SUPERVISED VISITATION, LTD. 
Registration Type: NFP  
Registration Category: Dual   [this means they can also fund-raise as a nonprofit]
Month number fiscal year ends : 12 
Federal ID No. (EIN): 134077366 
NY State Reg. No.: 20-85-80 
County: PUTNAM 
Address:
47 LONGDALE ROAD
MAHOPAC , NY 10541 
Web Site: NO DATA AVAILABLE 
(below, it shows it did register annually as a charity 12/31/1999 through 2004).


Tax Return:
Year 2003
= $98.5K program service revenues, including “Government fees and contracts.” Books are in the care of Christine Stroud, Board Members include William Stroud and Viola Stroud. Liabilities include Loans payable to Viola Stroud, and William Stroud, and Mahopec Bank (of which about $8K was paid). Expenses: $90K, “Trained staff provided 5,040 hours of supervised visits, approx 2,052 visits…” (no other detail). Ms. Viola paid herself $20K (plus a $3K expenses account) and daughter? sister? mother? at the same address was paid $17K. Apparently it’s no problem that a Program Director also held the books.


Article from the (NJ) Star-Ledger, October 2003 (the last year I see any tax return for Little Angels). You should read it all:

One family, two households

<a href="“>A neutral place where parents can pick up kids for visits (same link as above)
Tuesday, October 7, 2003

BY PEGGY O’CROWLEY
STAR-LEDGER STAFF

When one divorced New Jersey father sees his children, this is how it goes.

On Friday nights, two cars pull into a police department parking lot in an affluent northern Monmouth County town. . . . [[NOTE: affluent town..]]

Warring divorced parents who drop off and pick up children in public places like police stations or courthouse steps now have a less traumatic alternative. In New Jersey, the first �child access center,� a neutral place where parents can exchange their children without having to communicate with each other, opened at the Zarephath Community Chapel in Franklin, Somerset County, last spring. Plans are in the works to open two more centers in Morris and Sussex counties.

The centers are sponsored by the national and state chapters of the Council for Children�s Rights, a group of noncustodial parents, mostly fathers. So far, 33 centers are up and running, most of them in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., New York and Ohio. New ones are just getting started in Indiana and North Carolina as well as New Jersey, said Al Ellis, director of child access services for the Maryland-based council.

Ellis said the centers are also looking at providing supervised visitation, in which a parent meets with a child in the company of a third person. Courts usually require supervised visitation in cases involving drug or alcohol abuse by a parent, a history of domestic violence, or if a child has not seen a parent for a long time, said Viola Stroud, executive director of Little Angels Supervised Visitation Inc., which runs seven sites in Westchester, Putnam and Duchess counties, New York. Her centers work with 300 parents and children at any one time, she said.. . . .

{{The state Battered Women’s Coaliation went along with it}}

The “dirt” on her later (like, 2004) being caught sleeping during supervised visitations (of mother Genia Shockome), and later prosecuted criminally for defrauding the estates of elders, is found on “Misguided Black Robes post of 2007. However it appears to be a news article from 2004.
Click, or hover cursor for parts of it; it goes about like this (after having been videotaped repeatedly sleeping during “supervised” visitation, by Ms. Shockome): …in September, published reports said she wrote tens of thousands of dollars in checks to herself, to ”cash” and to Little Angels after she was given control over the finances of three Putnam women. Last month, the Putnam district attorney confirmed a criminal investigation of Stroud after a state judge ordered her to repay more than $30,000 to a Mahopac woman who suffered blindness and brain damage after a car crash. She, and now that I just saw the tax returns, her husband family, sound like real creeps. This case is fairly well known (and not the main topic of my post), but for reference, looks like group discussion (and much more detail) on this one, including her conviction for grand larceny.

AFCC 1993:
AFCC newsletter from 1993 has several mentions of Supervised Visitation; it was a planned presentation topic for a Regional Conference (Tim Ballew, from Visiting Nurses Association??). This was a conference in Toledo Ohio, and they began taking donations to an “AFCC Anniversary Fund.” Heavy presence of Connecticut Court Staff noted (I counted seven on one list).

AFCC 1994:
1994 Newsletter Continued promo for SVN and rejoicing that Connecticut has mandated parent education programs for divorcing parents; future conferences planned on this. .. It can be seen that the group is aware there are DV issues in custody, but as the same group was pushing mandatory mediation so hard, obviously something has to give — so just teach the mediators to screen for it, and all will be well… (recommended reading in general).

Really, these letters are a history lesson in how to draft legislation without running it by the populace in advance. Meet separately, write off expenses, collaborate, and just do it. Sell stuff, meanwhile.

Recently, the AFCC has been getting some mainstream press (not positive) over in the Washington Times, and regarding a situation in Connecticut.

However anyone who reads conference agenda, and the old newsletters, can see who else is favorable and working with them, including some other major (often also national) nonprofit trade associations, plus private funding.

Advocacy individuals who understand these basics, I encourage us to dig a little deeper on understanding the model here — the purpose of the nonprofits is to make tracking the funding a lot harder, and bypassing anti-trust laws a lot easier. It’s so commonplace now, hardly anyone questions the existence of MANY nonprofit trade associations staffed by public civil servants.

I encourage us to realize that this is intentional, and possibly to make it easier and faster to set up the slush funds and start new market niches, and of course trainings for them.

Supervised Visitation was not the only one, but it was a major one.

Well, let’s keep this real short for a change. Again, no lengthy intro here, this WAS a lengthy intro to something else, which alas is my style.

One Response

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  1. I posted yet again on the fathers rights board in my area a link to your blog. A father was asking some very good questions about “who are these court ordered custody evaluators and how do we get rid of them? I realize it may take some time but couldn’t we get some legislation to have them removed?” Oh DEAR! He’s about to get his eyes slammed wide OPEN. There are some major lights shining on much of these problems and it’s coming from every angle. Reminds me of a leaky boat. There are some very dedicated people to research such as yourself (thank you) and reporting who are being “touched” by these programs. It appears the natives are restless and I believe most people are still good. It’s just difficult to get the word out but we can thank the internet for being the big excavator in uncovering the truth and it will prevail.

    stillhere

    June 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm


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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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