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.

Here’s a Feedback Form (and a LONG rant about DV agencies)

with 2 comments


A Feedback Form. Make thoughts known, seek support/comprehension of this system from another point of view.  Or, debate me on the one I hold.  Regarding any post, or subject herein and if it’s re: a post, please include the link and/or post title.  Thanks!

For now, this is a “sticky” post, i.e., stays near the top of the blog. Form is repeated at the bottom of the post.

(Note: The “Check if You Are Willing To” item has a drop-down menu. It’s extending past the right margin, even past the blogroll, but is otherwise functional — just click on the drop-down arrow at the far, far right of that blank field. If I find out how to fix it, I will.)



(Last text area, if label doesn’t display, suggestion: “You have an audience with a state legislator. Legislators can’t intervene in custody cases, and don’t discipline judges when they’re acting in their judicial capacity. But they DO approve (or disapprove) budgets, and laws. … You have an unexpected 15 minute audience with your legislator’s chief aide. What would you say, and what material would you leave with them??” “Doctor, Lawyer, Indian chief” a drop-down above menu is a catchall phrase meaning, “whoever.” Those are ideas (some of my descriptors may have exceeded character limits. Make a best guess…).

(Obviously, I’ve already been conversing for quite a while!)  No “requirement” to enter name and email.  But to me as blog moderator, an IP address and I THINK an email will show up anyhow.  Many people who might say more, have confidentiality issues, legitimately so if they have open court cases.  I also have some confidentiality issues (obviously –– do you see my name on this blog?) and will try to strike a balance between acknowledging feedback, and how topost some of it where people have said they want it posted (herein).


Shorter still doesn’t mean “information-free!”  I have started a conversation here with some key points right on this post.  Response is fine.   Debate, disagree, or ignore it, and bring up another, so long as it’s reasonably on-topic.


Among my Current Themes (expect more posts):

What domestic violence agencies and their leading attorneys just don’t or won’t say  about what they surely know (and is public information — if one knows where to look)

about 1.  WELFARE REFORM

certainly relevant to such mothers who, like the fathers, are attempting to re-stabilize life after separation, …like how many places at the policy and funding (grants to state, county, private, academic/university, etc.) levels,  the air is simply saturated with marriage/fatherhood promotions, and as such is is oppositional to single, or even re-married motherhood without involved biological fathers, prior violence (including incarceration for it) or no prior violence.

and about 2.  the CONCILIATION COURTS.

Failing to report this is like tossing mothers to the wolf pack unprepared, untrained and without even knowing what to watch out for — then, with public proclaim of distress about who’s been devoured, focusing on developing the “appeals level” (when mothers, predictably under this programming and in these courts lose custody), and refining the media campaigns about preventing domestic and family violence, repeatedly attempting to teach the psychologists a lesson or two about valid or invalid theories (like parental alienation).

A certain group of Fix Our Broken Courts groups (note: the URL shows that on 10/22/2012 a national DV group (NCSDV) is advertising this) mutually promoting certain speakers, wish us to believe that there isn’t, and hasn’t been for about 50 years already a well-coordinated, SPONSORED and relatively aligned organization (with membership including prominent– even some state Supreme Court Justices* –  family court judges) already training the judges, evaluators, mediators, parent coordinators (etc.) about how to change the “old” language of criminal law to the “new”  language of behavioral science (see 1970s link, in the folklore [“history”] of the group).  They love to immunize children against “parental alienation,” and are very much into training, establishing Model Practices for the various fields they helped invent.  [Note:  The trainings are not free, although in some cases it appears taxpayers may be reimbursing for attendance (incl. hotel/travel) when the attendees are court employees, like judges.]

*For example, Texas State Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann (right) IS AFCC.

-|-|-|-|-| Just to sample how “Everywhere” is the evidence of: AFCC promotion of Parental Alienation (as a sort of relationship disease people should be immunized against, and if they have it (moms….) quarantined until they get over it, these also know quite well about the federal funds promoting the same, and that major affiliated groups are also well aware of and presenting alongside AFCC — which brings up, why are the FIX THE COURTS crowd and, for that matter, their DV FRIENDS, not talking (or, not much) at all?

ANALOGY: There are cars on the road?  Do they have makers?  Do they have a destination?  Who made the roads?  Who pays for the gas in their tanks?  What cars and trucks, typically, do they carry?

Anyone can see by simply looking (including on-line) at how “everywhere” this basic information if your brain — and emotions, and time —  isn’t filled with something else leaving no room for independent observation (or thinking?)  is like talking about the cars and trucks coming down the road — without talking about:  where they came from, where they’re going, WHO manufactured them, who bought them or the road.

– – – – – – – – – – –

One might as well go coach prosperous evangelists or skilled theologians that their fundamental beliefs are off-base and have always been, and as a result, they should expect and accept a sudden decrease in  paycheck and other earnings (like book royalties, training fees from institutes and a smaller conference circuit), and a forcible change in lifestyle.  It’s a lose/lose proposition going in, which appears (in my humble opinion) which a reasonably alert person ought to know up front.) However, this has been attempted, and is still being pushed (keep reading).  Then, while training up new generations of lawyers in domestic violence law (are they not informed, either about these matters?)

Yes, the WELFARE REFORM issues absolutely intersect with the state family and conciliation courts when it comes to: promoting increased noncustodial [applied in practices as “fathers'”] parenting time (through A/V grants); fatherhood involvement (through A/V grants and the child support (OCSE) system); and with this, DEcreased child support payments (debt forgiveness, compromise of arrears programs), a real “cause of action” and parental strife in this area;

Not to mention there is a strange silence among DV agencies and nonprofits, even when they do get involved in the family courts — on the matters of conciliation courts, codes or a prominent nonprofit with the word “conciliationin its name, and prominent judges among its membership — and what this represents to (no matter how much it’s taught) different sections of the family code talking about domestic violence.  The Conciliation Court is a jurisdiction grab — and different rules seem to apply!

And Yes, it makes a difference to both parents, and the length, history and direction of our cases, whether or not they are in a conciliation court, presided over by a certain type of judge whose forebear (or him/herself perhaps) declared it such a court to start with, and thus “owns” that case itself.  (I have some posts on the topic).

See also the longer post, “Join or Start a Conversation on Family Court Matters. Jump in Somewhere!

FYI, I do not take a traditional point of view on either the problems with the courts, or how to fix them.    For one, the traditional rhetoric absolutely did not explain what I saw in court (other than in general an assurance that mothers (I’m one) were going to lose custody,* if they had it originally and how suddenly and without apparent legal basis, that could happen.)

And for another, I don’t buy the assertion (propaganda) that they are in a “broken” state and rather than doing what they have apparently been designed to do, and doing it effectively….Although I do know who’s been selling it, hard…

(*“Thanks” for that valuable information, without the “how to prevent this” instructions attached, or even a coherent explanation WHY!  

Also — and possibly related, I also feel that it’s time at least for women (mothers) who have filed for protection from domestic violence, or reported it, to quit ignoring the DV agency coverups of their prior awareness of, as I said above, (1) what “Conciliation Code” meant to the entire field of domestic violence and family law; and (2) of the federal incentives (to promote marriage/fatherhood, and/or the Access-Visitation programming ($10 million/year since 1996.

AS TO WELFARE REFORM: Marriage/Fatherhood as opposed to Access/Visitation seem to originate (as to funding sources) from different Titles of the Social Security Act, so a bit on Title IV-D here: Access-Visitation legislation is from Title IV-D (Child Support). Marriage-Fatherhood is (in large part) justified under purpose “IV” from Title IV-A (TANF, i.e., the part that handles Food Stamps and direct aid to families. The Marriage promotion is the INdirect “Aid to Families”). Purpose “IV” promote the formation and maintenance of stable, two-parent families.  (See Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, TANF diversions history, for more on that). Somewhere between the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and the no-fault divorce movement, first legal in 1970 (in my state) and feminism, plus laws to protect battered women (see late 70s 80s, as I understand it), there had to be a response — and there was! This was the gradually increasing frenzy about single-mother household (and their fertility habits, especially when these mothers had dark skin) as a threat to the country.  So it went from civil rights for African Americans, to for Women, and apparently someone was more inclined to let African Americans have some rights than women of more than one color; so next thing we know, to protect children the most important cause becomes to protect them from fatherlessness, which is another way of saying, from their mothers…. and to protect our patriarchal-based systems of punishments and rewards, from being upended by the Pathology of Matriarchy (that’s a quote, almost, from the Moynihan report available still at the USDOL).   See that long sidebar widget for links. To make the war on “fatherlessness” a little more palatable, it was filed under “families and children” and particularly “Children’s Rights.”   That’s MY take on it, anyhow.  “I/WE despise hate and fear women, especially adult and unafraid ones, unless they are under my/OUR control” is hardly a rallying cry for the larger public, even if it’s true. “Hip-Hip-Hooray, and Three cheers for misogyny” needs a better sound-bite, and got one, too. Anyhow quick review of what’s Title IV-D and proof that “Access Visitation” is considered alongside it:   So this is simply explanatory, if it’s unfamiliar territory: Title IV-D of the Social Security Act wasn’t passed til 1975, but has become increasingly expansive, invasive, and all-encompassing to states, and to parents (mothers and fathers)…Below that, a table referencing Access/Visitation, which was sent to “Title IV-D Directors.”

One quick summary from “CPR-MN“:

*“Title IV-D” meaning, of the Soc. Sec. Act, Section IV-D, which refers to “Child Support”  Hasn’t always been here only dates to 1975! [See charted timeline (source isn’t gov’t but what I know to be an equal-parenting group from MN.  However it’s in chart form and shows the increasing scope and invasion, standardization, and federal requirements that every states either obey requirements, or forfeit welfare grants to that state)]

Another quick update from CRS (The “Congressional Research Service”) which tends to be objective in tone, factual summaries prepared for “Members and Committees of Congress” on various issues.  :

Child Support Enforcement:  Program Basics (by Carmen Solomon-Fears;  7-5700 http://www.crs.gov RS22380, 9/12/2013, i.e., recent!)

The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program was enacted in 1975 as a federal-state program (Title IV-D of the Social Security Act) to help strengthen families by securing financial support for children from their noncustodial parent on a consistent and continuing basis and by helping some families to remain self-sufficient and off public assistance by providing the requisite CSE services. Over the years, CSE has evolved into a multifaceted program. While cost-recovery still remains an important function of the program, its other aspects include service delivery and promotion of self-sufficiency and parental responsibility. In FY2012, the CSE program collected $27.7 billion in child support payments and served nearly 15.7 million child support cases. However,the program still collects only 63% of current child support obligations for which it has responsibility and collects payments for only 59% of its caseload.

Perhaps we should give it a dose of its own medicine, and moralizing lectures on agency responsibility, diverting program costs for our own time spent doing so.

Perhaps its distraction and diversion efforts [“evolving purpose’] show that the real concern is NOT enforcement, although this was the basis for the passage of the entire law, originally. Only collects for just over half its caseload, and less than two-thirds of obligations for that caseload it does handle??? Anyhow, notice the program elements, and that Visitation Grants and Responsible Fatherhood Programs, while not indented as a “program element” do show up on this report, under “Child Support Enforcement Programs:

  • Program Elements… 2
    • Locating Absent Parents 2
    • Paternity Establishment 3
    • Establishment of Child Support Orders.. 4
    • Review and Modification of Support Orders . 4
    • Enforcement 4
    • Financing 5
    • Collection and Disbursement.. 5
    • Distribution of Support. 5
  • Visitation Grants and Responsible Fatherhood Programs 6

Bookmark that one — first table shows (clearly) that of a 15.8 million caseload ONLY 1.9 million are current TANF; 6.8 million are FORMER TANF, and 7.0 million were NEVER TANF. (See Anne Stevenson comment, linked below).  So, looks like 8.7 million now or formerly welfare recipients, to 7.0 million NEVER welfare recipients — and yet it’s only dealing with 59% of its own caseload.  So what does that look like the actual purpose of the system is, then? Was it even originally intended to only go after poor single mothers because their fathers (whether well to do or poor) had abandoned their children? What about how many recipients are now fathers, and payors mothers after custody-switch events under promoting increased noncustodial parent involvement?  [footnote to table — based on data provided by HHS/OCSE — who is also known to be losing track of millions of $ of enforcement moneys (more than) and HHS/OIG doesn’t auditing agencies that often (per reports showing on the website).  Moreover an audit doesn’t necessarily result in compliance by the auditee agency, either.

This short report, on page 6, summarizes the “Visitation and Responsible Fatherhood.”  Too bad others didn’t, earlier, to let the larger public (and about half the litigating over visitation parents, the female half) know that these existed, or what their purpose:

Visitation and Responsible Fatherhood Grants“**Historically, Congress has agreed that visitation and child support should be legally separate issues, and that only child support should be under the purview of the CSE program. Both federal and state policymakers have maintained that denial of visitation rights should be treated separately, and should not be considered a reason for stopping child support payments. However, in recognition of the negative long-term consequences for children associated with the absence of their father, P.L. 104-193 provided an annual entitlement of $10 million from the federal CSE budget account for grants to states for access and visitation programs, including mediation, counseling, education, and supervised visitation.


P.L. 109-171 provided $50 million per year for five years (FY2006-FY2010) in competitive grants (under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act) for responsible fatherhood programs to states, territories, Indian tribes and tribal organizations, and public and nonprofit organizations, including religious organizations.   [Title IV-A entailing Food Stamps and Temporary Aid to Needy families/”TANF”]


P.L. 111-291 (enacted December 8, 2010) extended funding for the Title IV-A Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood grants through FY2011. For FY2011, P.L. 111-291 appropriated $75 million for awarding funds for healthy marriage promotion activities and $75 million for awarding funds for activities promoting responsible fatherhood. The result is that the Title IV-A Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood grants, which were funded at $150 million annually from FY2006 through FY2010, were funded for an additional year (FY2011) on an equal basis.* [*it’s a moot point.  Under TAGGS.hhs.gov, the “Category of Federal Domestic Assistance” (CFDA) listing is the same, 93.086, regardless of whether marriage, or fatherhood, is being promoted. ] **I’m wondering what this CRS report is doing posted at the “FAS” (Federation of American Scientists) site — look at what they do (hover cursor) what’s the relationship?  Many of them are fathers??

see next box:

From the government website, “www.ACF.HHS.gov”August 2009 (DCL 09-26) “Dear Colleague” letter, “Noncustodial Parents: Summaries of Research, Grants and Practices“)Attachment: Noncustodial Parents: Summaries of Research, Grants and Practices


TO: All State and Tribal IV-D Directors*   State Access and Visitation Program Coordinators


Much of the success of the Federal child support program is contingent upon the ability or willingness of noncustodial parents (NCPs) to provide financial support for their children. As a result, OCSE has an established track record of supporting demonstration and research projects focused on testing innovative program practices that enable NCPs to assume personal responsibility (financial and emotional) for their children. Therefore, I am pleased to announce the publication of a new OCSE report entitled, Noncustodial Parents: Summaries of Research, Grants and Practices, that is based on the highlights of numerous demonstration and research projects funded by this office in recent years. This report contains information on projects related to:

  • Fatherhood and Employment and Training;
  • Child Access and Visitation;
  • Incarceration and Re-Entry; and
  • NCP-related Projects In Progress.

The purpose of this report is three-fold: 1) to disseminate information to the child support program and research community-at-large regarding State or local experiences in working with NCPs; 2) to share information on successes or lessons learned resulting from implementing these program interventions; and 3) to provide potential or future OCSE grantees with a baseline of information regarding projects that have been funded to date. While this report does not encompass all of the projects funded by OCSE in the past, it will provide readers with a solid and current understanding of the issues related to working with NCPs and their families.


Just sampling from the Access Visitation grant site at HHS to show emphasize these things (which DV agencies maintain, in public face and to their clients — a silence on) indeed exist!]: [Attachment to the above, 2009 “Dear Colleague” letter shows projects in:  Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland (Baltimore), Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin.


The “FRAGILE FAMILIES” soundbyte takes more than a byte out of federal and private funds:Some of these projects (many) have OCSE (federal funds) backing.   For example, per this attachment (one of the projects being “PFF” (Partners for Fragile Families):

PFF ran from 2000 through 2003. The demonstrations were designed to help fragile families by helping fathers work with mothers in sharing the legal, financial, and emotional responsibilities of parenthood . . . . Each project received up to $1 million in Federal IV-D matching funds via Section 1115 waivers. The Ford Foundation and other local foundations provided the non-Federal share. The projects were managed by the National Partnership for Community Leadership (NPCL)*, the Ford Foundation, and State and Federal staff. The Urban Institute conducted the evaluation. Four reports were produced: • Implementation of the Partners for Fragile Families Demonstration Projects • Voices of Young Fathers: In-Depth Interviews • Employment and Child Support Outcomes and Trends • Ten Key Findings from Responsible Fatherhood Initiatives

**The NPCL, despite the neutral sounding name, click on almost any link (like “Meet the President”) and it becomes clear that what’s meant by “Strong Families” means “father-involved families.”  And the business is, the business of training, incl. Train-the-Trainers Institutes granting Certificate status in the field of “Fatherhood” [Topic “To Be Continued….”]

It seems that quite a few players are in bed with the whole field of parents who having children in common, are either divorcing (if married), or separating (if not married) or, if neither simply have tangled with either welfare (TANF), or at some point, the massive child support enforcement system. Start exploring that Fragile Families (or Welfare Reform players) topic itself, and at some point, we have to admit — life ain’t so private as it might have been.

Not to mention, those who aren’t, still pay taxes into it, unless they have figured out a completely tax-free lifestyle, which I doubt is most of us.  This is about where federal grants to the states go, and for which purposes, and what the courts do with them.  Logically speaking, its ALSO about how money gets to the federal government also.  It is about income.  It is about public institutions.  It is about the country.

How has Domestic Violence Leadership overall Responded to This, knowing that “DV” intersects with Families, and with Custody matters?

By “leadership” I mean primarily those who call themselves, and have been, such leadership, whether HHS or DOJ Grantee nonprofit (posts upcoming), Lawyers working for nonprofits, Law Professors, or the various alliances and partnerships of the above.  Those who are publishing, conferencing, consulting and training, not just those who at the local level meet with people seeking help and help them get, initially, restraining or protective orders.   This includes the constantly educating element also.

Towards their clients (warm body DV Victims) and on most of their websites — with SILENCE.

Funny, I don’t hear Domestic Violence agencies or leadership, on their websites, or that I’m aware of, to clients seeking help from them, systematically teaching (mothers) anything at all about welfare reform, let alone about conflict-of-interest relationships of key players such as participated above, or influences in how that 1996 act went.

For example, Ron Haskins, a developmental psychologist (Ph.D.) and educator (M.A.) from North Carolina, with a long, and prolific career (see vita and publications list) of the Brookings Institute (Co-Director Center on Families and Children), Annie E. Casey foundation consultant (A private philanthropy, one of the larger ones in the country, heavily involved in promoting fatherhood studies), that if the concept has the word “fathers” in it, Haskins is probably involved. (National Fatherhood Leaders Group* being merely a more recent assembling of men leading other nonprofits).  And that prior to this, he was influential in welfare reform:

* From February to December of 2002 he was the senior advisor to the president for welfare policy at the White House.    Prior to joining Brookings and Casey in 2000, he spent 14 years on the staff of the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee, first as welfare counsel to the Republican staff, then as the subcommittee’s staff director.

That was the Annie E. Casey/fatherhood connection through Ron Haskins (hardly their only contact).

How about the the Ford Foundation/fatherhood “Fragile Families” concept connection through Ronald Mincy, Ph.D. (MIT, Harvard) now at Columbia?

Dr. Ronald Mincy teaches Introduction to Social Welfare Policy; Program Evaluation; Economics for Policy Analysis; and Advanced Methods in Policy Analysis, and directs the Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being. Dr. Mincy is also a co-principal investigator of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, and a faculty member of the Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC). He came to the University, in 2001, from the Ford Foundation where he served as a senior program officer and worked on such issues as improving U.S. social welfare policies for low-income fathers, especially child support, and workforce development policies; he also served on the Clinton Administration’s Welfare Reform Task Force. He is an advisory board member for the National Poverty Center, University of Michigan; Technical Work Group for the Office of Policy Research and Evaluation* (OPRE); Transition to Fatherhood, Cornell University; the National Fatherhood Leaders Group** the Longitudinal Evaluation of the Harlem Children’s Zone; and The Economic Mobility Project, Pew Charitable Trusts. Dr. Mincy is also a former member of the Council, National Institute of Child and Human Development and the Policy Council, Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, co-chair of the Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce, and a board member of the Grantmakers for Children, Youth, and Families.***

[**Despite the glorious name, technically speaking, best I could find recently this is a D.C. corporation formed ca. 2007, which had its corporate status revoked for not filing ca. 2010, but is still advertising (and taking donations) as a nonprofit as is Haskins, as is the leader of the NCPL group, above];

***”GCYF (originally called GCY Grantmakers for Children and Youth) began as an affinity group in 1985, part of the Council on Foundations. Today, it is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.”

Should the DV agencies at all breathe a hint or give a clue to their potential clients, or litigants — where to look, or that these groups even exist and have been active in policy — POSSIBLY affecting why mothers at the family court level (which also involves child support matters) just MIGHT be taking some serious hits in retaining custody?

I have talked (made phone calls, email contact, responded on forms, and in a few cases, in-person contact) with several — not just one or two– prominent domestic violence leadership who are still active, still running webinars, training young lawyers, or forming more and more partnerships to teach the world about domestic violence.  This busy leadership has omitted a lot of the obvious, and apparently still don’t want to talk about it.  Among them, Barbara J. Hart, Joan Meier (despite excellent work in Appeals, DVLEAP), Nancy K. D. Lemon (ditto and despite almost inventing the book for teaching the law, if not helping write it, from what I understand), the people at PCADV, and some others.

Here, I submitted a comment, as a survivor — and not one response or acknowledgement (since last March!).  On legal turf:  An Appealing Strategy – California Lawyer.  I used to wonder why all the focus on appeals and the lack of focus on the funding rewarding people (and states) for getting kids from mothers?  

On seeing (and exploring a bit), this “FVAP” [Family Violence Appellate Project], which the above letter references, including just how quickly it was set up and jumped on by (related DV leadership) and presented under “California Partnership to End Domestic Violence,” — I remembered other similar projects (near and far) and again started wondering — why are these same diligent smart and passed-the-bar advocates so uninterested in the topics I have seen fit, as have other mothers in prior years, to blog and talk about? What’s with the “Silent Treatment” on Conciliation Code and the AFCC, in particular? Too many colleagues involved? Might have to stand in front of one of an AFCC judge and lose a case? Might not be able to make a living?

Organization Name Registration Number Record Type Registration Status City State Registration Type Record Type
FAMILY VIOLENCE APPELLATE PROJECT CT0184060 Charity Current SAN FRANCISCO CA Charity Registration Charity
1

The nonprofit corp. FVAP  (EIN# 454726212) was barely formed in 2012, {applied to register as a charity July 2012), already has assets and revenue of over $500K and (unlike FVLC, below, for certain years) looks like turned in its “RRF” form timely. Which form, however, is not yet available on the public website (Aug Sept Oct Nov — paperwork delay? Understaffing?).   The law school donated space immediately for the project (see Founding documents)

(PURPOSE): (a) to provide appellate representation to survivors of domestic violence; (b) to educate pro bono counsel on domestic violence issues through consultations and mentoring; (c) to train lawyers and judges on cutting-edge domestic violence issues; and (d) to participate in any other such activities in furtherance of the general purposes of the corporation, as determined by the board of directors. Property currently in CA: $3,070 Property expected to be in CA: $200,000 and computer and office supplies

 
“No Members . . . . Directors need not be residents of California  (??) ….

Another minor detail – its listed street address is in San Francisco, the 26th floor of a building listed as the address of a large? law firm, Jones Day.  The first business of the Articles of Incorporation is to note that while they do their PRINCIPAL business in (Alameda County, CA), they may have offices and do business anywhere else, as designated:

SECTION 1. PRINCIPAL OFFICE The principal of of the corporation for the transaction of its business is located in Alameda County, California SECTION 2. CHANGE OF ADDRESS The county of the corporation’s principal office can be changed only by amendment of these bylaws and not otherwise. The board of directors may, however, change the principal office from one location to within the named county; SECTION 3. OTHER OFFICES The corporation may also have offices at such other phces, within or without the State of California, where it is qualified to do business, as its business may require and as the board of directors may, from time to time,designate.

Anyhow, corporate registration (I’m taking out the street address of incorporator, however it is a UCBerkeley School of Law address):

Entity Name: FAMILY VIOLENCE APPELLATE PROJECT
Entity Number: C3442890
Date Filed: 02/10/2012
Status: ACTIVE
Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA
Entity Address: 555 CALIFORNIA ST., 26TH FLOOR
Entity City, State, Zip: SAN FRANCISCO CA 94104
Agent for Service of Process: ERIN CANFIELD SMITH
Agent Address: [x x x x x ]
Agent City, State, Zip: BERKELEY CA 94705

This new nonprofit has presented already at a conference for another group, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (statewide conference, 2012, San Diego), which I found out after finding next to nothing on the charitable registry site.  It’s not immediately clear, though I’m sure I could find out, on what date.

A brief look (well after finishing? this post) at the 2011 CPEDV conference shows that an Access/Visitation Grantee also involved in the training (in my terms, “racket”), i.e., Supervised Visitation “Rally Visitation Services,” was among the presenters, under “Children’s Track.”  I have been looking closely at this and another group who have formed THEIR new corporation.  For one, “Rally,” who is mentioned (alongside Kids Turn and others) in the A/V California Report to the Legislature and under AOC/CFCC materials, it turns out, is NOT a separate corporation, but this occurs at a hospital, which I believe has religious origins or background.  Anyhow, it’s not a nonprofit. So how do payments, grants, and public accountability for them, then work in this case?

Another involved (in THAT same nonprofit) grantee, in the Supervised Visitation Train the Providers Track (for which new legislation was recently sponsored, and passed, in California) is listed as a religious (exempt from filing) organization, “Los Angeles Greater Wings of Faith” or similar title.  I cannot find any church activity under its name, but DID find a provider (using a DIFFERENT nonprofit name) running (expensive) trainings.   This next theme is straight out of AFCC and “conflict is bad // children in the middle // give us access to the children and we will through psychoeducational trainings and provisions, help them heal” theory:

  • Children’s track  Children in the Crossfire – Helping Women and Children Heal Through Visitation Services Sonia Melara, Executive Director, Rally Family Visitation

           Presentation

This Rally Visitation Services showing up and presenting at CPEDV has to be discussed separately, it’s a major topic…. not the least because, how can you be an Executive Director of a corporation which doesn’t exist? Except in this field, that’s commonplace… Hardly a way to keep one’s colleagues honest, if that’s on the radar…. This presenter on a Domestic Violence Prevention Conference shows that the fathers’ rights agenda (as expressed by acknowledged “Fathers’ Rights” group “Children’s Rights’ COUNCIL” (CRCkids.org, David Levy et al) — whose theme IS access & Visitation (including “Supervised Visitation,” if danger has been assessed — the contact should still occur…) has a welcome seat on the “trainers” table — but talking about this movement per se is NOT.   So yes, it is important to  have a sorting mechanism with so many players in this now well-funded and very popular (if not downright fashionable) to proclaim one is against field. Visitation services do not “Heal” children.  But they do HELP those who are in on the business, considerably — which I will continue to take a close look at, as should you!


Actually I note its’ called “THE California Partnership” so I suppose everyone knows who they are, no need to further explain the obvious…..They are the ones who are connecting the dots (except on the issues I’ve named, above….)

Conference Workshop Tracks:( see track “H”)
Track A: Trauma-Informed Advocacy Track I: Managing Trauma-Informed Services
Track B: Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Track J: Economic Empowerment
Track C: Leadership Track K: Communications
Track D: Human Trafficking Track L: Serving Native American Survivors
Track E: Serving LGBTQ Survivors Track M: Language Access
Track F: Servicios Para Sobreviviente Inmigrantes Latinas (Serving Latina Immigrant Survivors) Track N: Serving Farmworkers and Immigrants
Track G: Prevention Track O: School-based Collaborations to Prevent Teen Dating Violence
Track H: Legal Issues Track P: Collaborating with the Justice System

Although the Track I’m interested in here, is Track H, Legal Issues, I feel it necessary to point out that Track P, “Collaborating with the Justice System,” features both a leader from (at least) two  organizations in Track H (FVAP and FVLC, below) — it’s also featuring a prominent AFCC Judge from Santa Clara who I already separately (flagged) a few times — for having Co-founded the Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Council which is helping run fatherhood conferences as DV preventatives (See “Women Judges forming Nonprofits” topic), and, prior to that for having written up and published (where the public is unlikely to run across it) a self-congratulating (to the field) article about the “Miracle of Mediation.”   AFCC’s first area of emphasis as a group (as I recall) was consistently and collaboratively PUSHING the field of mediation into the family courts.  Part of “conciliation” and the Marriage Hospital theme….

In other words, Judge Leonard P. Edwards:

Track P: Collaborating with the Justice System  

We have met the enemy, and he is us. Gerald Fineman, Supervising Deputy District Attorney at Riverside County District Attorney. Presentation 

DA/Advocate Cross-Training Project: Working Collaboratively for the Safety of Domestic Violence Victims Kathi Harper, CEO at DOVES of Big Bear Valley, and Erin Scott, Director of Programs at Family Violence Law Center. Presentation 

The Importance of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council Hon. Leonard Edwards, Retired Judge of the Superior Court, County of Santa Clara, now working with the California Administrative Office of the Courts as a volunteer, and Patricia Bennett, Director of Programs at Next Door Solutions. Presentation  Handout

Track H: Legal Issues:  


Family Justice Centers Connecting the Dots with Advocates in Leadership Valerie Bowman, Director at Family Justice Center of Ouachita Parish. Presentation 

Ethical Legal Advocacy: Issues for Domestic Violence Advocates Jessica Dayton, Supervising Attorney at Community [“Communities’] Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA) and Erin Scott, Director of Programs at Family Violence Law Center. Presentation Handouts

Family Violence Appellate Project: Who We Are, How You Can Help Nancy Lemon, Legal Director at Family Violence Appellate Project, and Erin Smith, Executive Director at Family Violence Appellate Project.

Presentation 

[There are two “Erins” here — one for “FVLC” and one for “FVAP.”  However I learned from the “Presentation” (directly above, p. 19 — or over cursor, I pasted into the link description) that both are actually on the Board of the FVAP.  So we have in one person, Erin Scott, a Director of Programs at FVLC (which is housed at another Family Justice Center in the County), and a member of the newly formed FVAP…..  In fact, as NO visible tax return is filed at the charity level, ONLY someone who happened to associate with the group, be “in the loop” on DV agencies, or such as my self, tailing them around (to figure out when, if ever, they are going to admit that another section of Family Code exists under which their beloved DV laws they fought for and/or helped write are NOT the reigning paradigm, etc.) would have found this.  So here’s that list:

  • Cherri Allison, Executive Director Alameda County Family Justice Center
  • Lisa Auer, Attorney Auer & Hoegger LLP
  • Nadia Costa, Shareholder Miller Starr Regalia
  • Jessica Dayton, Manager of Legal Services Communities Overcoming Relationship Abuse
  • Sam Ernst, Partner, Appellate Practice Covington & Burling LLP
  • Erin Everett, Law Student UC Berkeley School of Law
  • Tara Flanagan, Attorney, Judge-Elect Flanagan Law Offices
  • Roxanne Hoegger, Attorney Auer & Hoegger LLP
  • Minouche Kandel, Staff Attorney Bay Area Legal Aid
  • Protima Pandey, Staff Attorney Bay Area Legal Aid
  • Julie Saffren, Attorney, Adjunct Faculty Law Offices of Julie Saffren, Santa Clara University Law School
  • Joanne Schulman, Attorney Law Offices of Joanne Schulman
  • Craig Stewart, Partner, Issues and Appeals Practice Jones Day LLP  [the SF law firm where street address now showe]
  • Joan Wolff, Attorney, Law Offices of Joan Wolff
  • Seth Goldstein, Attorney Law Offices of Seth Goldstein [see notes below]

Probably this Seth Goldstein, with?? a background in law enforcement and concern about protecting children from abuse.

Founder and Executive Director: The Child Abuse Forensic Institute (CAFI) Author of The Sexual Exploitation of Children Seth is one of today’s leading law enforcement experts on crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. His career started as a municipal police officer and developed into a prosecutor’s investigator. Since the mid-70’s, he has helped expose the extent of child sexual abuse in the U.S., investigated and been involved in the prosecution of child molesters, and written the leading child sexual abuse investigation textbook, The SexualExploitation of Children. Among his long list of accomplishments, Seth helped to create the child sexual abuse investigative practices that are now the standard for investigators across the country; he met with President Ronald Reagan in April, 1985, to discuss the issue of missing and exploited children; he was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children; and he founded the Child Abuse Forensic Institute in 1992 where he serves as Executive Director. This nonprofit organization’s primary goal is to create competent, credible, and court admissible evidence in child abuse cases, especially cases that are difficult to prosecute. In 1989, Seth turned to the law profession to provide better advocacy for children’s personal safety.

Make that year 1993, not 1992.  The nonprofit had five men as incorporators, and at one point (like, 1994) appeared to have an address in a different county, and from the nonprofit filing, never [acc. to filings] earned any money, to speak of, or filed more than maybe two tax returns, and so is marked delinquent:

Entity Number Date Filed Status Entity Name Agent for Service of Process
C1876873 11/29/1993 ACTIVE CHILD ABUSE FORENSIC INSTITUTE, A PUBLIC BENEFIT CORPORATION SETH L. GOLDSTEIN

(EIN# 680328915, for what it’s worth)

Organization Name Registration Number Record Type Registration Status City State Registration Type Record Type
CHILD ABUSE FORENSIC INSTITUTE, A PUBLIC BENEFIT CORPORATION 092431 Charity Delinquent PACIFIC GROVE CA Charity Registration Charity
1

The CAFI website *(apparently pretty inactive) does, however, show an awareness of California’s 2002 Family Court Report (Helen Grieco and Rachel Allen), which reads, in part: (and it’s posted on the site).  Significance?  It points to the FR funding and visitation funding.  It did this 10 years ago.  I am still waiting for the domestic violence industry to even tangle with the topic, but not “holding my breath” that they actually will:

*Report by the California National Organization of Women on Family Law Custody Cases:   Discrimination in Family Courts – Women and Children Beware by Helen Grieco, Executive Director and Rachel Allen, Public Relations Director


Of all the calls for help CA NOW receives, women going through the family court system top the list. We hear heart-wrenching stories daily from women who cannot believe what happens when they take their cases to family court.


We hear from mothers who have lost all contact with their children due to a judge’s decision that a child’s allegation of abuse is actually a mother’s attempt to alienate the father. We hear from women who fear for their children’s safety and well-being when they are ordered visitation with an abusive father regardless of their attempts to bring this to the attention of the court. We hear from women who have their cases heard by judges who refuse to hear evidence, who make decisions on ex parte orders without input from the mother, who belittle and berate them in open court, who rely on half-cocked “evaluations” to decide custody or visitation and who favor the father despite the fact that the mother has been the primary caregiver and protective parent.


Some fathers waltz back in after being completely absent from their child’s life for years, and suddenly seek custody…and get it. Some are avoiding paying child support, while others are simply trying to manipulate their ex through the children.


Some cases don’t involve children at all, but women who are denied the spousal support they are due because judges ignore evidence and side with the manipulative ex. Unfair divorce settlements contribute to the feminization of poverty and the increasing numbers of older women living in poverty.


In response to this epidemic of injustice in the family law courts, CA NOW formed the Family Law Task Force to study the problem and, in 2002, published the findings from 300 cases where women reported that they had suffered some form of bias or injustice in their family law cases. The findings, published in the CA NOW Family Court Report 2002 showed gender bias, denial of due process, incompetence and corruption.

I have the report; it is over 170 pages long and includes a chapter by Marv Bryer on the apparent development of the AFCC (with DETAILED dates and accounts).

Women’s civil rights are systematically violated. Evidence is ignored or not allowed into court;  outside, court-appointed mediators, evaluators, and psychologists issue reports that are biased against the mother by using sexist stereotypes that play well with judges and favor fathers. Women who have been victims of abuse are often required to “mediate” with their abusers. The court seems to bend over backward to accommodate the fathers’ interests while the best interests of the children are ignored. In addition to institutionalized sexism in the court system, the influence of the Fathers’ Rights movement is orchestrating the bias in today’s family courts.


The Fathers’ Rights movement is anchored in patriarchal ideology and is well organized and funded (both legally and illegally by federal, state and local visitation program funds). Its members are men and women who share a conservative political ideology. They work to influence and train judges, court personnel and attorneys who represent fathers. An American Judges Association study showed that up to seventy percent of fathers who fight for custody of their children get it (and some  men fight for the right to children who aren’t biologically, or adoptively, theirs).

Does this sound to you as though CA NOW, at least at that time, knew nothing about the access and visitation grants?  Or about responsible fatherhood funding?  So, what happened?  Does it sound (as claimed in a 2012 powerpoint presentation to a statewide partnership of Domestic Violence prevention people — that “Judges are forced to rely on their own ideas about what is best, with no guidance??” (light-blue background quote, below)

CA NOW has become a leading voice in the movement for family court reform. We have sponsored conferences and forums to bring these issues to light. We have publicized our Family Court Report and made it and other resources and information available to the public on our website. We have worked to support family law reform legislation, and are currently working on a Protective Parent Reform Act-recently passed in Tennessee-that would address many of the pervasive problems in the family courts.  We have met with the Judicial Council-the group that oversees the judges I California-and brought these issues to their attention. We have applied political pressure to elected officials and politicians. We have made court watch materials available for local grassroots efforts to monitor the courts.


We are deeply committed to ending the practice of discrimination against women in family courts and the danger for children it so often leads to.  If we are to achieve true equality in all aspects of society, we must ensure the fairness of our judicial system. Please join us in that effort.


Found at a “Battered Mothers Custody Conference” site, this appears to be an (undated)  Chapter 8 (followed by a 1998 article) by Mr. Goldstein called “Sorting Out Allegations of Child Abuse in Custody and Visitation Case:  The problem of “System Failure” from a book, “Expose:  The Failure of Family Courts to Protect Children from Abuse in Custody Disputes, a Resource Book (etc. etc.) … I link because by page 3 of the article, he’s mentioned, negatively, that the existence of “no-fault divorce” and “child-support” (i.e., timesharing of a child affecting child support) encourage falsely alleging abuse:

[Image can’t be copied, the short article is a recommended read. He mentions that Law Enforcement and Social Services have independent duties, particularly law enforcement, however when they fail to stay independent near the beginning of an investigation, the situation is rarely corrected. Also, notice this segment, he mentions “false allegations” and lays some blame at the feet of no-fault divorce and child support, interesting…. Italics mine….

No-Fault and Child Support Day in and day-out, family courts are faced with people who exaggerate minor indiscretions into major felonies.  Divorce with its attendant mistrust, disappointment and outright hate between the parties has jaded the perceptions of judges, court personnel and those who investiate child abuse allegations which arise in the context of custody and visitation cases.  This is especially true in jurisdictions where “no fault” divorce is available and where child support is tied to the amount of timeshare a child spends with respective parents.  These factors may result in false or exaggerated allegations to better custody status

He makes no reference to whether mothers or fathers, implying exaggerated allegations to get better custody status. Dep. on date of this article (unclear), that is the “parental alienation” excuse, and fingers are systematically pointed at mothers, in general. This paragraph for an independent investigator is actually speculation on motive until proven otherwise. It sounds reasonable, but without clarifying, is just left there as a declaration, absent proof. Back to FVAP and it’s Conference Presentation in San Diego, 2012 (after only incorporating 1Q 2012..)

My point being is, the appellate project group introduced themselves to the colleagues before the public had a chance to even comprehend they existed, and certainly before finding out who’s going to be funding. DO they have a legal right (as a corporation) to do this? Certainly, no one directs what a corporation has to do immediately after incorporating.


But as established leadership (true in many fields, but I’m referring here to DV) already has the “form a nonprofit and get the thing rolling” expertise, and connections — once these wheels are rolling, does this give public, whose interests they are serving (as a nonprofit), specifically, involved parents or DV survivors, have a real bona fide chance for feedback? In my experience, NO!


Here’s the from the opening of the 53 page powerpoint, with orange and blue themes, and copyright notice on the information, although so far it doesn’t look particularly unique in concepts:

 DV has substantial overlap with physical child abuse – approx. 30-60%  Child abuse may escalate when other parent no longer there to intervene  Because of this, DV advocates in CA have worked for decades to create protections in the Family Code for children exposed to DV. [next slide]


However, around the US, batterers are being awarded custody or unsupervised visitation with children where this is clearly dangerous  1. Dr. Jay Silverman, Harvard School of Public Health: 54% of cases with documented DV resulted in custody to abuser (Mass. Study)  2. Nancy Johnson, Dennis Saccuzzo, and Wendy Koehn study, San Diego: Mothers who brought up DV in Family Court Services process were more likely to have mediator recommend custody to abuser than were mothers who kept silent


[next slide] How could this be?80% of family law litigants in CA have no attorneys [**]  This results in few appeals, and scant published body of case law for judges to follow  Judges are forced to rely on their own ideas about what is best, with no guidance***  Many family court judges have no background in this area of law


[next slide]  How could this be? (cont.)  Perception that any father (or mother) is better than no father  Batterers often have greater financial and other resources than DV survivors, so appear to be able to provide more stability for children  DV survivors may present as scattered, equivocal, or unreliable to judges due to the abuse, and therefore less able to care for children  Parental alienation syndrome

Does this line of reasoning sound familiar yet?

[[FN to the slides: **Maybe, but they also lose custody when they have attorneys, too…*** I would characterize that as a lie, (mis-statement at the best) and probably a conscious one.  Possibly, it might slide through as simply “folk wisdom” or hearsay / speculation from the various groups who say this among themselves.  “Judges are forced to rely on their own ideas” coming from an organization whose stated goals include training judges, has to be taken with a grain of salt. The statement is ridiculous, given that both the organization and the California Judicial Council have a SF address, that involved colleagues are indeed going to either be, or deal regularly with, members of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (around since 1960s, 1975ff?) and leading members of the National Association of Counsel for Children (sitting as staff on or under on the Judicial Council, i.e., Christopher Wu)  (NACC having been around since the 1970s also), and in the area, training judges about family law matters is big business.

and notice the collegial enthusiasm (please do also look at that link):

The niche in social advocacy that we can build on here is huge.” Dean Christopher Edley, UC Berkeley School of Law “Such an important project that helps us look at longer term sustained change.” Attendee at California Partnership to End Domestic Violence Annual Conference “If FVAP had existed when I was a child and my mom had been able to appeal our case, my brothers and I could have been spared years of abuse.” Childhood domestic violence survivor

[Would it have?  Anyhow, it’s important to have at least one token actual survivor at a conference to justify the policies…..]

“Just knowing that we have someone to call when our clients are in this desperate situation is incredible. Before, we could not do anything.” Erin Scott, Family Violence Law Center, Oakland

Yes, Let’s talk a bit about this Nonprofit DV group and its charitable work — and ANNUALLY required reports to the state on its work, including donations and revenue:

The Family Violence Law Center [website re-tooled along the “Futures without Violence” theme] already takes multiple forms of funding (per their nonprofit filing) and appears to be the “leading nonprofit” on the board? of another entity, “Alameda County Family Justice Center,” which maintains a low economic profile on ITS nonprofit filing (which wasn’t made until it was specifically asked to cough one up) (being on county property and run administratively by county-paid staff, and headed up by the County District Attorney). This being the One Stop Justice Shop concept also promoted by former US President George W. Bush, with a particular emphasis on bringing in the faith-leaders element… California Partnership to End Domestic Violence is itself a merger of two other groups. In short, to keep track of them all (and how many nonprofits, at any single point in time, any board member happens to belong to, would probably be a full time administrative support job.).

This Family Violence Law Center (EIN# 942527939) is supposed to report annually on an RRF, for the public, its receipts and let the public know from which gov’t agencies, if any, it is taking funding.  This is a simple one-page form (if no gov’t grants) and two pages (if grants). I believe also other information must go to the Office of Attorney General’s Charitable Trusts Registry providing names and addresses of major contributors (“Schedule B”) though I’m not sure.  I know groups have been reprimanded for not providing this.  So look at this segment of filings, for a minute, pls, and notice the “RRF Received” dates comparted to the Fiscal Begin/End Year dates, in years when their revenues were over $2 million, and the next year, over $3 million:

Fiscal Begin: 01-JUL-07
Fiscal End: 30-JUN-08
Total Assets: $633,771.00
Gross Annual Revenue: $2,085,566.00
RRF Received: 22-JUL-10
Returned Date:
990 Attached: Y
Status: Accepted
Fiscal Begin: 01-JUL-08
Fiscal End: 30-JUN-09
Total Assets: $1,402,116.00
Gross Annual Revenue: $3,250,900.00
RRF Received: 25-MAY-10
Returned Date:
990 Attached: Y
Status: Accepted

Gross Annual Revenue includes both Contributions/Donations (i.e. grants, gifts) + Program Service Revenues (i.e., in a non-exempt organization this would simply be called “Income.”  Subtract the year’s Expenses from the Year’s Income (simplistic, not talking overhead, for the moment) — and you have the year’s Profits).  Then for-profit corps get taxed on their PROFITS at certain rates.  From my understanding, NON-profits do NOT, hence the tax designation, tax-exempt…

However, looking at tax returns of nonprofits and noticing the difference, or approximate ratio, of Contributions to “Program Service Revenue, including government contracts” paints a picture of the business — i.e., is it running a (nontaxed) PROFIT, or is it running at a substantial LOSS, but such a worthy cause everyone keeps chipping in anyhow…

And how does this change from year to year.   And something interesting about the change in FVLC tax returns from year 2007-2008 to 2008-2009 caught my (non-accountant) eye.  And makes me wonder why such an active, leading group “forgot to file” for two years while doing so much government business, and demands an interpretation.  More below, or possibly later.

Apparently, they coughed up an RRF for the year 2008-2009 almost a year after FYend, but didn’t do the prior years until literally threatened by the OAG to do so, and at that time, per the “Delinquency Letter,” were also behind on several years of providing basic 990 forms to the state office, either.  This letter is posted as having been sent FVLC on July 14, 2010, which may have something to do with why they got that information in within one week!

WARNING OF ASSESSMENT OF PENALTIES AND LATE FEES, AND SUSPENSION OF REGISTERED STATUS CT FILE NUMBER: 034285, Dated July 14, 2010: The Registry of Charitable Trusts has not received annual report(s) for the captioned organization, as follows: 1. The $150.00 renewal fee for the fiscal year ending: 6/30/09 was not received. Please send a check in that amount, payable to “Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts”. 2. Registration Renewal Fee (RRF-1) Report (s), together with required renewal fee, for fiscal year(s) ending: 6/30/08. 3. IRS Form 990, 990-PF, or 990-EZ report(s) for fiscal year(s) ending: 6/30/05, 6/30/06, 6/30/08, & 6/30/09. Failure to timely file required reports violates Government Code section 12586.  Unless the above-described report(s) are filed with the Registry of Charitable Trusts within thirty (30) days of the date of this letter, the following will occur: 1. The California Franchise Tax Board will be notified to disallow the tax exemption of the above-named entity. In addition, the above-named entity will be billed $800 plus interest by Franchise Tax Board, which represents the minimum tax penalty. (See Revenue and Taxation Code section 23703). 2. Late fees will be imposed by the Registry of Charitable Trusts for each month or partial month for which the report(s) are delinquent. Directors, trustees, officers and return preparers responsible for failure to timely file these reports are also personally liable for payment of all late fees. PLEASE NOTE: Charitable assets cannot be used to pay these avoidable costs. Accordingly, directors, trustees, officers and return preparers responsible for failure to timely file the above-described report(s) are personally liable for payment of all penalties, interests, and fees required to restore exempt status. In accordance with the provisions of Government Code section 12598, subdivision (e), the Attorney General will suspend the registration of the above-named entity.

For the year 2007, they received government funding from (RRF delivered May 2010 shows):

Government Agency That Provided Funding Page 1 94-2527939

  • City of Alameda;2263 Santa Clara Ave.,Alameda,CA 94501;Terri Wright; (510)747-6898
  • City of Berkeley Housing Dept.;2180 Milvia St.,Berkeley,CA 94704;Jennifer Vasquez;(510)981-5431
  • City of Hayward;777 B St.,Hayward,CA 94541;Anne Culver; (510)583-4238
  • City of Oakland;150 Frank Ogawa Plaza,#4340,’Oakland,CA 94612;Page Tomlin-Measure Y; (510)238-350 ??
  • City of Oakland;150 Frank Ogawa Plaza,#4216,Oakland,CA 94612;Terry Hill-OFCY;(510)238-6380
  • City of Oakland; 250 Frank Ogawa Plaza,#5313,Oakland,CA 94612;Michele Byrd-CDBG;**
  • City of San Leandro;835 E.14th St.,San Leandro,CA 94577;Joann Oliver; (510)577-3463
  • County of Alameda;2000 San Pablo Ave.,4th Fl.,Oakland,CA 94612;Melody Kelley;(510)271-9165 .
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency;221 Main St.,#300;S.F.,CA 94105;Laura Escobar; (415)808-4380
  • Legal Services Trust Fund,State Bar of CA;180 Howard St.,S.F.,CA 94105;Lorna Choy; (415)538-2535

*CDBG probably Community Development Block Grant.

Note: The form was typed single-spaced, very messy. I inserted bullets and am not responsible if some of the bulleting or copying (it’s copied from the Charities downloaded “pdf” format) may have got tel#s. Wrong. This is public information available on-site, better to check the original uploads at the Registry Search site. I’ve instructions on “Look It Up” and possibly also under the “What’s with Women Judges Forming Nonprofits…” recent posts — or find it yourself. “Not rocket science”!

For the year 2008, they received government funding from (RRF delivered July 2010 shows):

Government Agency That Provided Funding (Looks like the same Ten (10) government sources). Gross receipts for the year were $3,250,900)

Year 2007-2008 (Gross receipts $2+ million) tax return: (reported on form OMB 1545-0047, with rev. date in tiny print at the bottom, as 12/27/2007.  However it was stamped “Received” not til March 18, 20?? (illegible) by the IRS, and on the margin, “Scanned April 2009.”   (only 1st page shows any time-stamps)….   Donor-Advised $228K, Public Support only $90K,  + Govt. Grants  $318K = CONTRIBUTIONS part is $636.6K  (there was also $9K interest income)….  PROGRAM SERVICE REVS was $1,680,748 — meaning $1.68 million.  Of this, MOST was government contracts.  So essentially, we have a nonprofit which is doing government business, and producing (that year) 2.6x profit on what was invested.   $636K IN, and $1.68 Program Service Revenue.  Not bad.

Under “Functional Expenses” (grants to other organizations), a statement at the back, lists, some of which are shelters, and some are not.  Only two of the many board of directors are paid, totaling a modest (for a nonprofit) total salaries of $166K to the directors.

Year 2008-2009 (Gross receipts $3+ million) tax return. (reported on same OMB 1545-0047 form, but rev. date (blocked out with signature block) presumably 2008 version — and does NOT have a line showing Govt’ grants separate from p. 1.  Stamped received (Ogden Utah) May 10, 2010, “scanned Jul 9, 2010”).  Page 1 only lists about half of the Previous Year’s contributions (which prior form shows was the government contributions of $318K. Donor Advised $228K, not listed, and public support, $90K apparently not listed either.  So their contributions were understated?).

This time the Program Service Accomplishments were typed in (on the form, not as an attached statement), starting with how “their legal department continues to be recognized throughout the community as the leader providing top-quality legal services to families fleeing domestic violence.” and readers can see that they are also (purpose 4c) working on Relationship Abuse Prevention for teens. [another topic, is taking private funding from Robt Wood Johnson Foundation and Blue Shield, looks like it, as a Strong Start Initiative.** ].  Their main “Program Service Revenue,” is listed as “Government Grants” (perhaps “Contracts” was meant?).   No grants were disbursed to shelters (that we can see) this time, and only $75K to the many clients actually fleeing domestic violence [“Client Assistance Fund”].  What looks like perhaps half their activities are into Education (RAP) and mental health/counseling for traumatized children (HEAL program, donor-advised fund).

It appears it’s more lucrative doing privately-funded “reach-out to teens” than addressing the issues in the family courts with adults, including mothers fleeing violence who can’t do so because of forced co-parenting, fatherhood promotion, access/visitation, and similar situations.  Also apparently it’s fun being famous while dealing with some populations who have a need, at times, to be invisible (i.e., stalking continues post-separation, etc.) Let’s face facts.  Wealth likes wealth, and knows how to keep it “all in the family.”   See that link to “Strong Start Initiative” and press release (July 2009) at how they are launching 10 pilot sites, in conjunction with one helluva well-funded nonprofit from SF area, “Family Violence Prevention Fund” who was so well-funded that the very next year, looks like, they got a namechange, facelift, and new digs at the prestigious SF Praesidio (FVPF becomes FVW).  This FVLC in Oakland obviously knows which way the wind is blowing, and followed suit

HHS isn’t giving the group much directly (not big enough? Not a statewide coalition?) (one small grant in 2004) (notice — no DUNS# ever shown):

Recipient Name City State ZIP Code County DUNS Number Sum of Awards
Family Violence Law Center  OAKLAND CA 94623 ALAMEDA $ 74,748

  

 

While thumbing their noses at the home state by failing to file tax returns and RRFs with the attorney general.  Question:  lawyers know all about filing things — it’s required in court cases.  They didn’t know?  Forgot?  Were too busy fund-raising?  Were too busy in the middle schools teaching 11 to 14 year olds?  Would you want a group who can’t file an organizational two-page return on time representing your family in court?

I am a domestic violence survivor who knows almost exactly (now — didn’t then) how the process of case-dumping into the family court systems by DV agencies happens. Now they want to pick up the lost-cause cases, after they’re trashed in the courts — and STILL not talk about conciliation court, or access/visitation factor? But come up the heroes for helping at all? And this is offensive. I have just posted a single incident (on-line article) of a non-response to one of their own PR pieces when a cast-off of that system attempts feed-back. That article was hardly my only attempt to knock on those doors, in the past many years.


If the heart of the matter was exposed, which I have to say, SOME of which relates to welfare reform and the diversion of Title IV-A (For Fatherhood/Healthy Marriage) AND Title IV-D (for Access/Visitation) monies to set up corporations (for life, or retirement, as it may be if a public servants was among the officers or incorporators, or on the payroll) to programming aimed RIGHT at the state’s various (usually county-based) family and conciliation courts?


How hard to how many people have to volunteer to write up this information, often in the same leadership’s back yards (while people are continuing to be killed around custody exchanges, and have that labeled “Domestic violence” when in fact, it’s DV + FAMILY COURTS)?

I am reminded of the phrase, “Change is Here, Lead, or Get out of the Way.” From now on, these topics are going to become further front and further central to Battered Mothers Losing Custody and to Protective Parents and to Women With Children who File Restraining Orders. The fathers already know about (and many protest) VAWA — so what’s with mothers not knowing even the basics about fatherhood.gov? Feminists have known for a long time (I now California NOW did, but their extensive 2002 report is now almost impossible to find on a NOW site….).


DVLEAP (essentially Joan Meier’s Nonprofit, 10 years old now):  [“LEAP” = “Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project”] Custody and Abuse Project

DV LEAP litigates carefully selected cases in D.C. and elsewhere on cutting edge issues in the field of custody and abuse, including child sexual abuse and domestic violence, “parental alienation,” and malicious prosecution claims wrongfully brought against protective mothers. DV LEAP was founded in 2003 to respond to an urgent need for expert appellate litigation to reverse unjust trial court rulings and to protect the legal rights of women and children victimized by family violence.  DV LEAP’s Founder had been litigating domestic violence and participating in extensive local and national law reform efforts for decades.  Yet she and her colleagues began to see advocacy for battered women meet with increasing resistance in the courts.

In hindsight (from my perspective, and I DO remember scouring the web for help during my custody challenge years) — 2003 minus even two decades (2003 – 20=1983) would put the timeframe at almost precisely when “Access Visitation” funding had begun in Congress.  Am I to believe that lil’ ol me could eventually, belatedly, notice this — but smart, networked, and highly professional connected DV attorneys could and did not?   Welfare reform of 1996 had NOTHING to do with the changed climate and increased resistance?  The same crowd also knew nothing at all about Liz Richards’ site, which is in (generally speaking) the DC area and reads “since 1993”?).

Or moreover, as a smart and talented (I have no question about this) attorney, Ms. Meier and others involved in this field and particularly at the appellate levels, had know awareness of, or didn’t take into consideration some of the writings just prior to no-fault divorce law (1970s, California), such here, in the California Law Review, by prominent feminist attorney/law professor, etc. Herma Hill Kay, “A Family Court:  The California Proposal (Oct. 1968, Vol. 56 No. 5) “

Or that this was all about (as the association AFCC continues to demonstrate, or at least proclaim in their own history pages) introducing other fields than law, like behavioral science and social science — in concept and intent.  Again, go back not 20, but now about 35 years prior to 2003 (2003-35 = 1968):

[1968, remember!] “The idea of a family court has been discussed for many years. Such a court, it is said, should have integrated jurisdiction over all legal problems that involve the members of a family; be presided over by a specialist judge assisted by a professional staff trained in the social and behavioral sciences; and employ its special resources and those of the community to intervene therapeutically in the lives of the people who come before it…” We suggest handling our unhappy and delinquent spouses much as we handle our delinquent children. Often their behavior is not unlike that of a delinquent child, and for much the same reasons. We would take•them out of the quasi-criminal divorce court and deal with them and their problems in a modern family court. When the marriage gets sick there is a cause. This cause manifests itself in the behavior, or misbehavior, of one or both spouses. Instead of determining whether a spouse has misbehaved and then “punishing” him by rewarding the aggrieved spouse with a divorce decree we would follow the general pattern of the juvenile court and endeavor to diagnose and treat, to discover the fundamental cause, then bring to bear all available resources to remove or rectify it.’

While that’s from long ago, I don’t see that the attitude of treating BOTH parents like squabbling children [Sound familiar to anyone still?  Been treated like a child in the courts recently?]  and trying hard to order services (as many as possible, just like it says, to fix their “sick” idea of believing the other parent has “misbehaved” (the former causes of divorce included such things, did they not, as committing felony crimes, abandonment, mental cruelty, etc. — so if the entire concept of FAMILY COURTS was to get rid of those concepts, as it appears to have (definitely) been — then why are the noble and appellate attorneys attempting to force the concept that “CRIME is WRONG” back onto this venue — instead of trying to get the venue changed???

So let’s move this fast-forward to about 2011 (when this project/nonprofit “DVLEAP” started):

DV LEAP-OVW CUSTODY & ABUSE PROJECT DV LEAP has partnered with the Dept. of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women on a 2-year cooperative agreement to improve the family court system’s ability to protect children in custody cases involving domestic violence or child abuse. The DV LEAP Custody and Abuse Project responds to the well-documented trend of family courts granting custody or unsafe access to parents accused of (and even found to have committed) domestic violence or child abuse. To date we have conducted 24 trainings– for judges, court-appointed custody evaluators/guardians ad litem and attorneys/advocates– to increase accurate case assessment and effective protective parent representation in custody and abuse litigation. In partnership with the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence,*** we provide education on critical issues that often determine case outcomes, such as the misuse of flawed parental alienation theories and failure to consider evidence of abuse. One particularly powerful aspect of the Project’s work is the development of a unique database of cases that have “Turned Around.”  These are cases in which the initial custody order placed a child (or children) in dangerous contact with an abusive parent and a subsequent order protected the child. Analysis of these cases is providing valuable understanding of how and why custody evaluations so frequently fail to identify or predict actual risk to children who are victims of family violence.  The first portion of this research is being readied for publication as of fall 2013.

**I have been looking for the nonprofit filing of the Leadership Group (in which state). I believe it probably exists, but haven’t found yet. Their “Donate” button links to a Pennsylvania address; and said nonprofit doesn’t show (at least in the IRS database) in that town.  A psychiatrist “Dr. Donald N. Takavoli”  shows at the same street address and Suite# in the busy town of “Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania”

Please RSVP. If this group is taking DOJ grants cooperative or other, it matters. Also, while I am on this topic, you will see below, or some reason I was inspired? to post the non-existence, to speak of, at least corporation-wise of a “Child Abuse Forensic Institute” in what looks like a very well-qualified individual who, it says, was one of the original founders of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (“NCMEC”).  I notice he is listed as advisory board (with resume and qualifications) also over at The Leadership Council (they have a very large advisory board….) ..

Am I being unreasonable on this topic?  If it were an OCCASIONAL finding, no.  However, I have been around this block several times in the past several years — and this type of finding is NOT occasional.  It’s COMMON.  And it’s UNacceptable.  Again, if the experts are so expert and to be trusted and revered — let them, after setting up their websites and inbetween honoraria or free presentations (because they want so badly to protect children) — send in a few pieces of paperwork, and get their corporations AND nonprofit filins (if they claim to be a nonprofit in public) current — and keep them that way.

And screen their colleagues for doing the same before fronting for them year after year!!!

I see (from tax returns) that DVLEAP is small (fiscally); it looks as though Ms. Meier is not paid much:

ORGANIZATION NAME STATE YEAR FORM PAGES TOTAL ASSETS EIN
Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project DC 2012 990 16 $93,724 ~ 20-1076297
Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project DC 2011 990 21 $51,711 ~ 20-1076297
Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project DC 2010 990EZ 11 $78,077 ~ 20-1076297

The website for Joyanna Silberg, Executive Director of this “Leadership Council on Interpersonal Violence and Trauma” now lists the cooperative work with DVLEAP as well, and is informative.  It also sports (bottom left website) a different company name, state, and address:

Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D. is the Senior Consultant for Child and Adolescent Trauma at Sheppard Pratt Health System in Baltimore Maryland and the Executive Vice-President of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence. Her psychotherapy practice specializes in children and adolescents suffering from dissociative symptoms and disorders, and her forensic practice specializes in child sexual abuse. She has served as an expert witness in 27 states.


She is past-president of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) and contributing editor to the society’s journal, the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation. She is the recipient of the 1992 Walter P. Klopfer Award for her research, 1997 Cornelia Wilbur Award for clinical excellence, and the 2011 William Friedrich Award for work on Child Sexual Abuse. Silberg is the editor of The Dissociative Child (Sidran Press) and co-editor of Misinformation Concerning Child Sexual Abuse and Adult Survivors (Haworth Press). She has presented nationally and internationally on child abuse, psychotherapy, and protecting abused children in family court. She is the consultant for DVLEAP’s Custody and Abuse Project with Office on Violence Against Women, and her project involves an analysis of cases in which judicial decisions that imperil children are reversed by later judicial decisions. Her newest book The Child Survivor: Healing Developmental Trauma and Dissociation, was released by Routledge Press in October of 2012


Sample discussion — again, the topic as usual. The courts just misunderstand…: “Many domestic violence perpetrators threaten their spouses by using their children as pawns, convincing their partners that they will never see their children again if they leave the marriage. As we explore this dynamic, Dr. Silberg will explain how courts sometimes misunderstand the way that battered women present in court. We will process the difference between the normal badmouthing that occurs in any divorce situation and the lethal emotional abuse found in “dv by proxy.” The notion of parental alienation will be dissected and explained, and we will talk about “high conflict” divorce and why that is often a misnomer. We will also identify where parents can get help when their children are subjected to this form of trauma.”


Childhood Recovery Resources 6501 North Charles Street P.O Box 6815 Baltimore, Maryland 21285-6815 tel: 410 938 4974 email: joysilberg@me.com


= Street address of “Shepherd Pratt Health System” Sheppard Pratt Health System 6501 N. Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21285 410-938-3000


Under the “Presentations” link, again trumpeting the DVLEAP/OVW connection on Turned-Around Cases. Perhaps it was presented at the May 2013 BMCC conference, looks like: A STUDY OF TURNED-AROUND CASES Presenter: Joyanna Silberg, PhD When: May 10, 2013

Dr. Joyanna Silberg and her research team under the auspices of DVLEAP and the Office on Violence Against Women have been collecting a sample of cases that have “turned around. ” This means that while the child is a minor, the courts have either recognized that the child was placed with an abuser and corrected the decision, or the child has found his or her own way to freedom from an abusive court order that becomes sanctioned by the court. This presentation will review the current findings, showing the significance of the misdiagnosis of parental alienation, and the key importance of custody evaluations that miss red flags of abuse. The innovative approaches of families that have turned around these cases will be highlighted as well as the errors in custody evaluations. This presentation will offer preliminary suggestions that emerge from studying these data.

[Preliminary shows that they hope to keep getting (funded for) similar ongoing studies..Click on the “More” link = directed to the BMCC website, a forum for Dr. Silberg for several years now, I think she’s a definite regular (along with some other “Leadership Council” individuals)..]

LinkedIn references on Dr Silberg shows ONE publication (in 17 years of work?): I just looked up, at least as a corporation in Maryland, “Childhood Recovery Resources” and came up empty — not showing. Again, please prove me wrong:

Executive Vice-President  Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence 1998 – Present (15 years) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting accurate information about interpersonal violence and child abuse to professionals, the media, and the courts.

Where is the corporate registration, where is the nonprofit registration?  Is there a tax return?  Was it a 501(c)3 or not?  We know where to send donations — to Bala Cynwyd, PA….

Psychologist  Childhood Recovery Resources July 1996 – Present (17 years 5 months) Therapy, Consultation, Training, Forensic Assessment, Specialty in trauma and dissociation in children and adolescents

Where is the corporate registration?  The street address matches a major Mental Health System, see next:

Consulting Psychologist   Sheppard Pratt Health System  Nonprofit; 1001-5000 employees; Mental Health Care industry  1997 – 2013 (16 years)  

Is her name found at the organization’s web site?  Not when I searched.  Should I call?

President  International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation 2000 – 2001 (1 year)

ISTSTD (the society, motto “Navigating the development of the therapist: Integration of Knowledge, Theory and Research in Complex Trauma and Dissociation” ) just held its 30th anniversary celebration, recently, nice web graphics, in Baltimore, with thanks to Sheppard Pratt Healthy System, our Ph.D. here did a pre-conference workshop, “The Surprising and Counter-intuitive Lessons I Learned about Therapy for Child Dissociation  Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D.”  Webpage reveals a “McLean, Virginia” address for THIS society:

International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation 8400 Westpark Drive, Second Floor, McLean, VA 22102 Telephone: 703/610-9037 Fax: 703/610-0234

This is registered in VA [Search here] as a foreign corporation from IL, formation date 2007.  At least it’s registered!

SCC ID: F1696170
Entity Type: Foreign Corporation
Jurisdiction of Formation: IL
Date of Formation/Registration: 1/30/2007
Status: Active

Illinois Corporations Search Site

The organization was incorporated in Illinois in 1985, and previously titled:

12/08/1986 – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF MULTIPLE PERSONALITY 09/07/1994 – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF MULTIPLE PERSONALITY AND DISSOCIATION 10/25/2006 – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF DISSOCIATION

[[basically it runs conferences, does some publications and trainings.  Not showing as large org. But at least a real one…]]

ORGANIZATION NAME STATE YEAR FORM PAGES TOTAL ASSETS EIN
International Society for The Study of Trauma and Dissociation Inc. VA 2011 990 22 $205,815 36-3465788
International Society for The Study of Trauma and Dissociation Inc. VA 2010 990 28 $244,917 36-3465788
International Society for The Study of Trauma and Dissociation Inc. VA 2009 990 23 $267,579 36-3465788

SINCE I’M IN ILLINOIS AT THE MOMENT, HERE’S ANOTHER CORPORATION RECORD:

Entity Type File Number Corporation/LLC Name
CORP OLD 50708497 ASSOCIATION OF FAMILY CONCILIATION COURTS
CORP MST 50708497 ASSOCIATION OF FAMILY AND CONCILIATION COURTS

PREVIOUS NAMES:   07/27/2001 – ASSOCIATION OF FAMILY CONCILIATION COURTS 09/09/2002 – AFCC, A NOT FOR PROFIT CORPORATION   [SEE “LOOK IT UP” PAGES]

I found DVLEAP’s grant:   “Prioritizing Safety in Family Courts:  A Study of Turned-Around Cases

by Joyanna Silberg, PhD Stephanie Dallam, RN. “The DVLEAP-OVW Custody and Abuse TTA Project is supported by Grant No.2011-TA-AX- K006 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U. S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this program are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.” (This also makes it clear that DVLEAP got the grant, and The Leadership Council’s role is to consult with DVLEAP).

What’s funny — this is posted, apparently in (at least) 4 parts at the URL http://svnetwork.net/attachments/pas1.pdf, “SVNetwork” having been a group I’ve reported on previously (Why Supervised Visitation (per se) Sucks — Federal Millions, that is/June 6, 2013), plenty, also January 2013, “STILL Too Hot to Touch with a Ten-Foot Pole? Supervised Visitation Racketeering (Shockome/Viola Stroud case) and Professionalization (SVNetwork.org) etc.

(the Supervised Visitation Network of course has some interest in the “Access/Visitation” grants which The Leadership Council isn’t talking about (YET……).

[Incidentally, the Shockome case apparently was what, in part, helped Mr. Goldstein get disbarred.  Maybe he just doesn’t want to deal with the fact that one of the supervised visitation monitors involved in the case was later caught in grand theft larceny.  Or maybe there’s more than meets the eye, post-disbarment,  in exchange for years of distracting mothers from this type of information while being hugely empathetic.  I do know there is SOME reason…)

(In the Matter of Barry L. Goldstein, an Attorney, Respondent. Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District, Petitioner. Goldstein Charges 1-9 relate to escrow accounts; while I don’t understand the situation , I do see that the amounts involved are minuscule compared to what else goes on in the field; charges 10-24 relate to Shockome).

However, the charges have to do with failure to keep accounts straight in a master and sub-accounts relating to a housing resource agency, and several separate landlord-tenant matters. I am not familiar with the case, and simply quoting from the charges as an FYI. Interesting, that the Housing Resource Center is in association also with other services, such as Divorce Mediation, and Youth and Family Services.  Cluster is private and has been around a while.  I will look into this further, and as I have been curious for a very long time why Mr. Goldstein, part of whose disbarment involved charges of breach of fiduciary duty for a community service agency focused, it seems, on low- and moderate-income individuals, cannot seem to accept or comprehend that matters of financial fraud (1) were involved with a supervised visitation person involved in the Shockome case (Viola Stroud) or that (2) such things as financial fraud is occurring and can be a factor in cases.   Not within the scope of this post, though! Home CLUSTER Community Services is a private, non-profit, 501 (c) (3) multi-service agency located in Yonkers, New York.  Since 1975, CLUSTER has been providing a broad range of programs and services designed to meet the needs of residents of Westchester and most recently Rockland County. CLUSTER provides services in these four core program areas: (see site. Includes also –pushing this — Mental Health, divorce mediation, Youth and Family and Housing Resource.  Curious, I just went to look up this corporation in new york.  There are about 17 active (31? inactive & active) groups with the word “Cluster” in them in NY — not one of which is actually called “Cluster Community Services” or, that I can tell, was actually incorporated in 1975.  Years such as:  1925, 1985, 2007 and 2013 DO show up, but none that I saw in the 1970s.  Moreover, the street address matches the Social Security Office (minus a suite#).  See site, and compare to here: (agency website, bottom, fine print): © 2013 CLUSTER INC. All Rights Reserved. | 20 So. Broadway, Yonkers , NY 10701 | 914.963.6440 | info@clusterinc.org | site design: thebynegroup Yonkers New York SS Office NY Corporation Search (key in “Cluster” or “Cluster Inc.”).  here are the active ones:

Entity Name
CLUSTER 13, INC.
CLUSTER AMENITIES NO. 1, LLC
CLUSTER BUSTER LLC
CLUSTER FLY CONTROL, INC.
CLUSTER HAVEN, INC.
CLUSTER HOLDING CORPORATION
CLUSTER HOUSING DEVELOPMENT FUND COMPANY, INC
CLUSTER JEWELRY CO., INC.
CLUSTER LABOR SUPPLIES CORP
CLUSTER PIE INC.
CLUSTER RAY, LLC
CLUSTER SEVEN INC.
CLUSTER X CLUB L.L.C.
CLUSTER, INC.
CLUSTERFLEECE.COM, INC.
CLUSTERS INSIGHTS LLC
CLUSTERS OF VESTAL INC.

Cluster, Inc. isn’t “Non-Profit,” but Domestic For-Profit (at least this website then, was?) and was incorporated in 1985.  As of 1988 it seems to have hooked up with the City of Yonkers, which refers to it. However the Youth, Mediation parts started earlier? The YonkersNY Government reference to the Housing Resource Center (“Clusterinc.org”) says:

The Housing Resource Center has extensive experience in mobilizing tenants, landlords, and government agencies to work together to address urgent housing and community problems. The agency provides legal assistance and tenant education and organizing as part of its Homelessness Prevention & Housing Improvement Program. The Resource Center also works in collaboration with The Yonkers Dept. of Housing & Bldgs. and the YFD’s Fire Prevention Unit to facilitate local code enforcement efforts, and helps form tenant associations to address a broad range of issues affecting residents’ quality of life.

Current Entity Name: CLUSTER, INC.
DOS ID #: 1045086
Initial DOS Filing Date: DECEMBER 23, 1985
County: ONONDAGA
Jurisdiction: NEW YORK
Entity Type: DOMESTIC BUSINESS CORPORATION
Current Entity Status: ACTIVE
Chief Executive Officer
STANISLAW CHOROMANSKI 320 COLERIDGE AVENUE SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, 13204

(=probably this Syracuse engineer protesting calling Auschwitz  (and other death camps) “Polish” when in fact they were German camps in Nazi-occupied Poland.)

The respondent’s primary legal practice was in representing tenants for Cluster Housing Resource Center (hereinafter Cluster), a not-for-profit housing resource center, and North Yonkers Preservation and Development. In his role as counsel for Cluster, the respondent deposited client funds into his master escrow account at JP Morgan Chase or into a client subaccount for Cluster which covered deposits for all tenants on whose behalf Cluster was working. Charge 1 alleges that the respondent engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law by converting funds and/or failing to maintain a duly constituted escrow account in breach of his fiduciary duty, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibility DR 1- 102(a)(7) (22 NYCRR 1200.3[a][7]). The respondent maintained a master account at JP Morgan Chase and a subaccount for Cluster. With respect to the subaccount for Cluster, between January 27, 2003, and July 29, 2003, the respondent made various deposits and disbursements or transfers The respondent’s primary legal practice was in representing tenants for Cluster Housing Resource Center (hereinafter Cluster), a not-for-profit housing resource center, and North Yonkers Preservation and Development. In his role as counsel for Cluster, the respondent deposited client funds into his master escrow account at JP Morgan Chase or into a client subaccount for Cluster which covered deposits for all tenants on whose behalf Cluster was working. Charge 1 alleges that the respondent engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law by converting funds and/or failing to maintain a duly constituted escrow account in breach of his fiduciary duty, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibility DR 1- 102(a)(7) (22 NYCRR 1200.3[a][7]). The respondent maintained a master account at JP Morgan Chase and a subaccount for Cluster. With respect to the subaccount for Cluster, between January 27, 2003, and July 29, 2003, the respondent made various deposits and disbursements or transfers December 30, 2008


Essentially, Barry had come up against Judge Amodeo (the guy who was giving business to Viola Stroud).  “Battered Mothers’ Custody Conference” is mentioned.  The Mother on Supervised Visitation is  mentioned.

Here (similar or same?) is a 101 page powerpoint, citing the same grant, which (blatantly) points to The Leadership Council’s chosen circle of friends and references (Courageous Kids, Holly Collins Case, Castillo case (Maryland, 3 children killed — it’s awful, but it’s OLD, and in my opinion disrespects the others who have been killed — on court-ordered visitations — since), and the Saunders study, a Barry Goldstein quote, and arguing parental alienation:

SilbergDallam PDF – Amazon S3

Jul 24, 2013 – The DVLEAP-OVW Custody and Abuse TA Project is supported by GrantNo. 2011TAAXK006 awarded  Women, U.S. Department of Justice.

In searching this grant (and finding similar ones) I see from a bio of Ms. Meier — who has indeed been litigating domestic violence cases for 20 years (at that time) — that she “Co-authored the Family Violence Option of the 1996  Welfare Reform Act.”  


So may I repeat:  DV attorneys AND advocates indeed know about the impact of Welfare Reform.  They also know — but will not TALK, or continue to ADVOCATE AGAINST the outrageous marriage/fatherhood funding, the access/visitation funding, or teach women (who may not be at risk of disbarment — just of death, or homelessness, or destitution, or losing contact with their children) about these matters?

 From DOJ (I’m not so good at finding the DOJ grants, nor their database, at least from their main site), but from usaspending.gov, looks like that’s the one:

Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project Washington $450,000 OVW TA FY 2010

Transaction # 1 Federal Award ID: 2011TAAXK006: 00 (Grant) 

Recipient: Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appea 
2000 G Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia
Program Source: 15-0409 “Violence against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs”
Department/Agency: Department of JusticeOffice of Justice Programs
CFDA Program: 16.526: OVW Technical Assistance Initiative
Description: DV LEAP Custody and Abuse Project
Obligation Date:
08-10-2011 
Obligation Amount:
$450,000

“Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs” (cfda as it says, 16.526).  So, about this Technical Initiative which is going to pretend no access and visitation grants exist, therefore any children going to the custody of batterers must be evaluator error, or lack of training — that information says the grant closed 5/31/2013.  So where is the report — those powerpoints??

The material posted at 2011 is quoting an OLD (1993) case (material re-hashed has been around, a lot)…I hope this is not being portrayed as new research or information, at public expense.    Anyhow, this network ARE part of the “PAS is real, and must be STOPPED” crowd.  So are they just really ahead of the game on this particular grant, or  what, exactly, is the relationship with The Leadership Council in all this?  It is (earlier parts) basically still “arguing Gardner” and finally, a more recent quote from 2011, “

“Saunders, Faller & Tolman. (2011). Child Custody Evaluators’ Beliefs About Domestic Abuse Allegations.  Funded by U.S. Department of Justice”

….which Barry Goldstein et. al, has been (incessantly) quoting as the “Now we have real evidence” breakthrough discovery which will REALLY convince the judges — if only he could get the squirrelly and obstreperous battered mothers, protective mothers, and DV survivor (mothers) to sit still and cooperate with, say, Lundy Bancroft’s Protective Mothers Alliance theme, and stop talking back to leadership….

How nice.  Maybe I’ll just figure out how to get published, cough it up somehow (pass the bar) and see if this crowd will listen, then???? I’ll speak the truth, for a period, and then probably get disbarred for doing so.  Would it be worthwhile?  …. What I don’t get is how the smart lawyers just forgot about these things.  Or did they?

“Conciliation Courts” are a specific type of court, with different rules and priorities than “family courts.”They also have different applicable sections of the family code, from what I can understand.

So while the DV professionals hang out in (California example) Rebuttable Presumption Against Custody Going to Batterers Land, we are supposed to believe they know nothing at all about “Conciliation Jurisdiction Grabs,”  or that a primary organization helping develop and set the standards FOR those courts has the word “Concilliation” in its name, leadership at the State Supreme Court Justice (and often top of many Administrative Offices of the Courts level as well), and have a multitude of ways to push “parental alienation” for every course the DV People run on how that’s a fake psychological theory (“Debating Richard Gardner stuff).

And of course none of these are going to (while training others for Technical Assistance and Training on Violence Prevention, and getting funding for it) mention that there’s a “to the contrary” entire field of practice grabbing its share of TA&T funding and it’s laced throughout the child support (applies to most litigating parents) and welfare (applies to some) systems.

Or teach systematically about the purpose (or existence) of the Access Visitation Grants.  Is it really possible that major professionals have agreed to blacklist certain topics when dealing with some of their clients and drop in, crisis-line, HELP ME! calls?

You betcha!  Just keep pretending these things do not exist, and vote for the next round of VAWA, no matter how it reads…

Hence, people who have filed, good luck getting intelligent help from the DV prevention field, or even providers, after you’ve been dropped off in “conciliation courts” to face off against the other parent, who’s probably pissed of to have been served with a protection order, has now a great venue to have one put on you, and would like to get that child support (and/or its arrears) reduced.  Such a deal….

Silence by this group which DOES Know of the above matters, consents IGNORANCE for those who simply did not hear, and aren’t systematically told.  Hence, how collaborative or protective IS that?

They want to talk about “DV” and with any vocabulary, concepts, or real tools someone can grab onto, about how the subject is handled in the courts — except on specific terms which omit the three major topics I just raised:  Welfare Reform, and the Conciliation Courts, and that for some reason, that major foundations and the federal government have set up National Poverty Centers and “Fragile Families” rhetoric and activities to study fatherlessness — didn’t raise a blip on the “let’s talk about it” radar.

Not that it’s an excuse for the other side of that fence:

Not that ANY of this is an excuse for the degree of marriage/fatherhood promotion I have personally seen (and blogged) ongoing since shortly after (if even then) women got the vote and feminists, and/or burgeoning single-mother households were threatening to destroy the country (or so the story goes)…..  most themes go both ways.

SO, IS there a common ground then?

These and other reasons are why I think it highly unwise to leave policy and funding of that policy, up to lawyers and judges, let alone their friends the psychologists and social scientists.  So — who does that leave, then?  Legislators?  Church (faith-based) leadership?

Perhaps it’s time to drop the personality cults, the anecdotal tell-my-stories (DO keep telling, but that cannot be all thats done) and take a FAIR but that includes CRITICAL (hard) look on ALL sides of the rhetorical fences.  To start speaking in more concrete terms about the lowest common denominator (OFTEN, that’s funding, which is going to include both grants and corporate filings when nonprofits or for-profits are getting those grants, and/or contracts) and develop the skills to do so.  So, my blog says, anyhow.

(Note: The “Check if You Are Willing To” item has a drop-down menu. It’s extending past the right margin, even past the blogroll, but is otherwise functional — just click on the drop-down arrow at the far, far right of that blank field. If I find out how to fix it, I will.)



(Last text area, if label doesn’t display, suggestion: “You have an audience with a state legislator. Legislators can’t intervene in custody cases, and don’t discipline judges when they’re acting in their judicial capacity. But they DO approve (or disapprove) budgets, and laws. … You have an unexpected 15 minute audience with your legislator’s chief aide. What would you say, and what material would you leave with them??” “Doctor, Lawyer, Indian chief” a drop-down above menu is a catchall phrase meaning, “whoever.” Those are ideas (some of my descriptors may have exceeded character limits. Make a best guess…).

If I get some good feedback, I’ll figure out how to post it. Try to step out of the “sideline” complaining mode — and think about “What-if?” you actually had an audience, and some clout. What would you change, and what would you want?  How well-developed is that concept and how fair to others, including the public paying for the courts?

Etc.  Go with the flow and see what comes out.

My take on the above issues:

I have been discussing this with friends lately and am more and more convinced that significant reform of this system will have to come from OUTside the legal AND the judicial profession, and even the social science/psychological sectors (which has become a literal national “cartel” hard to break into– but can happen with their consultation.  I believe the angle of approach will be one these have used to justify policies — but we have to approach it differently. That angle is ECONOMIC, and PRINCIPLED.   No one can probably out-power or out-finance the datacrunching and networking capabilities of this cartel.  However, economic principles are at play here which affect more than these three sectors — they affect the entire public and are funded by public (and private).

Obviously the layperson doesn’t know law so well. On the other hand, lawyers are vulnerable to being disbarred on short notice (some have been, around this topic, earlier and as we speak), and in general often tend to run in packs, and (in my opinion) hold inordinate respect for the alpha dogs in the packs. Failure to respect this would mean an income hit, and possibly getting defrocked, disbarred.  I also think that many attorneys are so used to being the experts, and their billable hours so high, perhaps they simply forget to tell their customers some very important basic issues.  however, the Domestic Violence groups have their eyes on certain things, including prominence and funding for the cause.  Telling the whole truth to their customers ,or even the general public about issues 1, and 2 above (not the only ones, either) isn’t amnesia, it’s habitual, practice, and I interpret this as strategy.

 

Written by Let's Get Honest

November 24, 2013 at 8:15 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Hello

    Bruce Levine

    November 24, 2013 at 10:58 pm

  2. (OK, will have to see what hidden (or very small) code is causing that margin leak, above. Sorry!)

    Let's Get Honest

    November 25, 2013 at 6:49 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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