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Inside AFCC Stanley Cohen Distinguished Awardees’ Conference Circuits, or, “Good GRIEF, Marsha Kline Pruett!” [Written March 4, 2016, publ. about 2 yrs. later]

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Post Title: Inside AFCC Stanley Cohen Distinguished Awardees’ Conference Circuits, or, “Good GRIEF, Marsha Kline Pruett!” [Written March 4, 2016, publ. about 2 yrs. later] case-sensitive short-link ends -37M, ca. 8,100 words.

Many years ago, among some mothers blogging their custody challenges and family court fiascoes, the phrase was being circulated “Do You Know Your AFCC?” or “How Well Do You Know Your AFCC?”

(Badass Mamas, some of us were called.  Thank you “RandiJames.com”).

Well this post is “How Well Do You Know Your AFCC Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Awardees?” …. a natural progression as I looked, incidentally to the “Dumpster-Diving in the Credibility Gap” of Batterer Typology verbiage among clinical forensic psychologists, some of who had clear connections also with each other and to AFCC.

Looking at the awardee list systematically and noting who has which associations to which universities, or corporations — and each other — will only educate you about the role of this organization, and about the power of networking.  Some “lights should go on” as to WHO you are dealing with, and WHO is running key institutions affecting family law.

2015 – Barbara A. Babb
2014 – Rachel Birnbaum
2013 – Judy Cashmore and Patrick Parkinson
2012 – Amy Holtzworth-Munroe
2011 – Jennifer McIntosh
2010 – Constance R. Ahrons
2009 – Judith Wallerstein
2008 – Nicholas Bala (Professor of Law, Queens University, Ontario Canada.  Degree also from Harvard) (see “Prevnet” and a bio at “AttorneyGeneral.Jus.gov.ON.CA“)##
2007 – Sanford Braver, Irwin Sandler, Sharlene Wolchik
2006 – J. Herbie DiFonzo, Mary E. O’Connell
2005 – Janet Walker (<==AFCC 2005 conference in Seattle shows Walker as past-AFCC President and from “Newcastle on Tyne, England”) (check out the brochure!)
2004 – Marsha Kline Pruett
2003 – Paul Amato
2002 – Robert Emery  (Professor Psychology, UVirginia & Director “Center for Children Families & the Law)  [BA, Brown University in 1974, PhD SUNY-Stonybrook, 1982, “father of five children” (no wife mentioned).
2001 – JoAnne Pedro-Carroll
2000 – Janet Johnston
1999 – Charlene Depner
1998 – Jessica Pearson and Nancy Thoennes
1997 – Joan B. Kelly

(Image added during May, 2018, update, from “PREVnet” link, above.  PREV is an acronym, and Prevnet is an “Inc.” (it says Canadian charity, however I didn’t know that Canadian companies could end with an “Inc.”  Notice the unusual qualification of law degrees from both a Canadian and a United States (Harvard!) university! I also notice (“Donate”) button that it’s collecting through a different Canadian organization and, as usual “building a field” (image detail) on healthy teen relationships:

Nicholas Bala at PREVNET (imaged added May, 2018)

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.



## (Fn from quote) Nicholas Bala bio blurb — just a fragment, you may recognize some familiar themes in this one — only for Canada:

Prof. Bala is a member of the National Judicial Institute Program Planning Committees for Child Witnesses and High Conflict Parental Separations and is editor of the N. J. I. Electronic Benchbook on Child Witness. He is the principal investigator of an interdisciplinary research project on child witnesses funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Prof. Bala’s research on legal issues related to child abuse, youth justice, family violence and family law is extensive and in those areas, he has served as a consultant for the governments of Canada, Ontario and the Yukon and for aboriginal organizations. He was the lead researcher in a report on the Ontario Child Abuse Register (1987-88) and was a member of a research team reviewing the Ontario Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy (2004). He was a consultant to the Special Advisor on Child Sexual Abuse to the Minister of Health and Welfare Canada (1989-90). He also provided advice to Justice Robbins (Ontario, 2000) for his report on child sexual abuse in schools

Nicholas Bala weighing in on “parental alienation” — 2011 article from the “Nuffield Foundation” (address London):

Parental Alienation and the voices of children in family proceedings

22 July 2011

In a relatively small portion of all separation and divorce cases, children reject a parent. How and why does this happen? How do the courts respond to these cases, which are characterised by high levels of conflict between parents, and what should they do? What can we learn from the experience of other jurisdictions such as Canada and the US?

These were some of the questions addressed in a seminar hosted by the Foundation on 13 July and led by Professor Nicholas Bala from Queen’s University in Canada.

  • (lonesome- looking photo of child from behind , captioned:  “How can courts better respond to high conflict cases and contact disputes?”)

The seminar started with a discussion of the controversial concept of ‘parental alienation.’ While rejecting the view that it is a ‘syndrome,’ Professor Bala recognizes the value of identifying cases where the hostile attitude of one parent results in a child having negative views of the other that are a reflection not of the child’s own experience, and resulting in unjustified rejection of that parent. This approach requires courts and professionals to distinguish cases where a child is justifiably rejecting a parent, for example due to abuse or neglect, from cases of alienation

Hosting the seminar was part of our work in family law, which is a long- standing interest of the Foundation. We are particularly interested in how insights from other jurisdictions and disciplines can help inform policy or practice in the UK.

Professor Bala’s presentation is available to download from the link below:

Parental alienation and the voices of children in family proceedings, Professor Nicholas Bala, 13 July 2011 (PDF).

The Nuffield foundation is in London, England — and has a fascinating history.  There is also a Nuffield College, Nuffield Trust, and for years when import tarriffs kept Ford & General Motors from competing (GM did attempt to buy him out) the founder developed a major operation, was knighted, became a baron, then a Viscount, and in general moved towards mass-manufacturing of autos.  It was said that only “Austin and Singer” could compete (who later combined to become British Motors), and it seems this in part helped develop Oxford itself into more than a village.



By taking the time to scrutinize even just one list, or even just a few professionals on the list, you can see just how closely, if not inbred, definitely loyal the membership is to promoting others once they have reached positions of power — all the while implying that the conference circuit, keynote lectures, and all awards have been based on merit, not sponsorship or private membership schmoozing.

In some ways, it reminds me of the Masonic way (secrecy, faternity, loyalty….) and other cult-like behavior. I will make no secret about my belief that this association bears enough characteristics of a major (international) cult that it could be called one.  IF anyone would have the guts to say so, given the connections.   However, history is full of the (blood and) guts of individuals who DID have the courage to say so, and sometimes this did indeed change history.  (FOOTNOTE” TRANSLATING”)

Janet Walker, Professor Emeritus, OBE (Order of the British Empire), now at Newcastle University “IHS” Institute of Health & Society. This site (please do explore!) shows at a glance how the British system is paralleling the US in setting up government-sponsored university networks with a strong emphasis on econonmics and social science.

Janet Walker is Emeritus Professor of Family Policy and Strategic Research Adviser in IHS.She studied social sciences and began her career as a researcher shortly after completing her post-graduate studies. She then trained as a Probation Officer, and practised in the fields of civil and criminal justice for some eight years before returning to academic life. For the last twenty five years she has pursued research in family studies and taught in social policy and socio-legal studies. Between 1985 and 2005 she was Director of Newcastle Centre for Family Studies.


1964-1967 University of York, BA Hons (II(i)) Sociology
1969 University of York, BPhil (Sociology/Social Policy)
1970 Rowley House, Oxford. Qualified and appointed as Home Office Approved Probation Officer
Haynes Mediation Training Institute, New York. Qualified to practice in Comprehensive Family Mediation
TSB Group Management College. Total Quality Management

(Employment — skipped — similar positions over many years);


Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

Honours and Awards

Fellow of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences; Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award USA; Order of the British Empire (OBE)*

*Honors and Awards — (over an approximately 50-year career (almost), only three, one of which is the Stanley Cohen one here… Perhaps this should be rephrased as simply a “loyalty” award.  However, under the Institute for Health & Society, she continues to get published.  What language is this in, article is 2010 — and the same old rhetoric, while describing the rhetoric.  I thought you’d find it interesting — and relevant.  A link at the site indicates it’s her first article in the publication (I think) and the affiliation is IHS):

For people familiar with where AFCC tends to gain membership (for example, see in part its typical spread among the board of directors, or look at a conference brochure (many are on-line) for the presenters) — and realizing that one of the first things (professions) PUSHED was “mediation,” this will sound familiar.  I will also note where they come up, admissions (too bad this wasn’t admitted more by the same individuals, openly, in the USA!) that there’s been a “paucity of research” among the types of mediation and the benefits to those involved.

The generic language could’ve been drafted, I’d think, in a few minutes by any membership professional; it summarizes there positions, and — as usual — sprinkles in citations from key AFCC personnel without making a note, for the publication, that they ARE “AFCC” personnel….

Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening, Vol 47, nummer 8, 2010, side 676-687

Family Mediation:  The Rhetoric, the Reality, and the Evidence

The research evidence helps to explain the reasons why not all couples need or want to mediate, but why having the option to mediate is very important.

[[notice later — when and where it’s been made mandatory anyhow.  I live in such an area.  It’s been disastrous…  But I was never contacted for feedback, and doubt those run through the system routinely are…]]

This paper examines the research evidence which has been assembled internationally in recent decades in respect of family mediation, and relates it to the rhetoric which has encouraged people to regard mediation as a dispute resolution process which is superior to others.

This is ironic — the association is identifiable through its own rhetoric (see my January 2011 post, via archives, “Happy New Year:  What Rhetoric Are You — Father, Mother, or Mediator?”  Mediator rhetoric is AFCC rhetoric.

Don’t believe me?  Develop your own history of the organization through its own promoters, and conference materials, and show me different.  For example, a Santa Clara County Judge (now retired and consulting the California Judicial Council’s AOC, i.e., its administrative staff, and 2016 blog names and discusses this judge’s connection with the Greenbook Initiative) in 2006, in California Courts Review (CCR), “A Forum For the State Judicial Branch,” contributed an article, “The Mediation Miracle.”  This Judge also happened to be the son of a well-known Senator, and married to a professor (who died, unfortunately) at San Jose State, where Janet R. Johnston is affiliated).

This CCR article was published Spring 2006.  I have to agree, mediation is indeed a “miracle”  -as “mediation, and only mediation, miraculously changed for my family, the next fall, a felony action committed by the father of my daughters — and as it was acted on, so the Penal Code described it– and the word is “child-stealing,” with potential jail term and significant fines (case in point, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki just did six months –and still faces a felony trial — involving her runaway teen daughters; in Minnesota it’s called parental interference or similar term).   However, when the movement was AWAY from mother TO father with a major child support arrears, this “miraculously” became, in the court’s eyes, a good deal.  It was “facilitated” by a court-appointed mediator, and I was only allowed to see one before getting in front of a judge who would rule on the matter.  Our county is not only mandatory, I learned it was a “recommending” county where mediators’ reports are taken seriously, and this one had (I have to say, deliberately) omitted to provide me an intake form. Being in shock from the missing children, AND having no advocate to walk in with me (mediation here was already separate because of the prior domestic violence) I forgot to ask for one.  On later obtaining one — the pre-printed form had a check-mark for reasons I was in mediation, one of which was “child-stealing.” (!!).

Other “miracles” the same court-appointed mediator had pulled off in previous years was to, within two months of its issuance, all but dismantle an existing EMERGENCY domestic violence restraining order with kickout which had just taken effect!  Essentially, the stay-away protection (both physical space and timeframe) was eliminated by allowing the father to keep his tools in our backyard, NOT requiring him to get a separate mailbox or phone number (instead, I had to), which set the stage, I learned in hindsight, for him to later claim in court he’d lived with us two more years than he actually did.  Mediation does indeed, in this context change “water into wine” for those drunk on their own agenda, in my (not too humble, at this point) “opinion.”

Listen to the judge judging the impact of mediation — for his fellow judges.  Common people probably would never run across this information normally, nor would their opinions on it be sought.  I do not know what my searches were on to cause it to come up — but do remember then and (obviously) now some of the “seriously?” disbelief of what I was reading being portrayed as absolutely credible, in high-profile-professional (this Judge, specifically), print:

Its opening title and paragraph, which I’m inserting into this Janet Walker article quoted in (some Norwegian? psychological publication on-line), reads, in VERY big letters (big print and colorful magazine probably help judges pay better attention?)

[2006, in California Courts Review (CCR), “A Forum For the State Judicial Branch,” contributed an article, “The Mediation Miracle“: ]

In the past few decades, California has led a national shift in paradigms for family conflict resolution that has freed trial courts to do what they do best—ensure due process of law and serve as the court of last resort.

By Leonard P. Edwards.

When mandatory child custody mediation was enacted into California law in 1981, there was great hope that this new way of resolving family conflicts would make dispute resolution more efficient and family-friendly. Now, 25 years later, we can confidently say this hope has been realized, with a profound shift away from the traditional adversarial model of dispute resolution in family matters and toward a system that supports the private ordering of these issues—a shift that’s arguably the most signifcant legal development affecting family life in 20th-century American jurisprudence.

[[Such modesty. Notice the point of reference, however, isn’t really toward legality or justice, but “family life.” Aren’t trial courts to protect individual rights of citizens according to the rule of law and utilizing due process? Mediation isn’t “due process” simply an entirely DIFFERENT process!]]

For this we must thank a small but organized group of California leaders whose pioneering work led to sweeping legislative reforms that expanded the courts’ options for resolving family legal issues during separation or divorce.

That “small but organized group of California leaders refers, hopefully you recognize by now, AFCC-affiliated decisionmakers in key (strategically positioned) places of power… It wouldn’t be, however, “kosher” to name the organization’s names, particularly after the same organization — in California/Los Angeles — already attracted minor media attention for operating illegally as a Los Angeles County judges’ slush fund (co-mingling funds) and at times, state-level attention for failing to STAY incorporated after it finally did so..See Marv Byer (johnnypumphandle.com, or on this blog), Insight Magazine, and others. Not to mention, cross-country, Liz Richards’ (Anandale, VA, not the one associated with a DV group in Minnesota) “nafc.net” website, up, it says, since 1993.

California was the first state to make this bold leap to a legal process that engages families in a meaningful way and gives them the right to determine the structure of their future relationships. The 25th anniversary of the nation’s rst mandatory mediation law seems like an appropriate opportunity to reflect on how this was achieved.

The Way We Were

Before 1970, laws on marriage and divorce in California, as in all states, were modeled on age- old legal and religious traditions. Divorce between married persons was permitted but only if one party was at fault, thus providing a legal justification for court action. The law gave family courts the power to determine the post-divorce living patterns for the parties, including financial and child custody arrangements. Divorce trials sometimes resembled criminal prosecutions; they often included evidence from private investigators hired to spy on one or both of the parties, as well as claims of misconduct made by each parent against the other.

(Editor(Blogger LGH) note, 2018: In hindsight due to the background color, I believe the next sections are continuation of Ms. Walker’s, not (ret’d. now) Judge Leonard Edwards’ writing.  However, I’m not sure, and as this is a quick (“drive-by”) post draft update in order to post it, readers should check the original quotations to be sure.  Either way, both have perspectives aligned with the organization AFCC; another reason it’s hard to tell at first glance who was speaking.  They speak the same language and share values systems about the virtues of compromise, mediation, conciliation, dispute resolution, etc., in general.

A process that promotes co-operative dispute resolution is not new: it recognises and respects the right of each party to a dispute to fashion a mutually acceptable agreement in a consensual manner which meets their particular needs. Continuing conflict can be damaging to interpersonal relationships, so a process which focuses on co-operation and problem-solving is an important option.

Mediators found it easier to remain impartial in respect of property and finance disputes than in disputes about where children should live and how both parents would retain contact

As the incidence of divorce throughout the Western world rose during the latter half of the last century, mediation was increasingly used to help couples reach mutually acceptable agreements about arrangements for children, the distribution of property and the allocation of finances after separation. Court-connected mediation services were first established in California in 1939 and are now commonplace across the USA. Over the last thirty-five years, family mediation has become an integral feature of family justice systems across Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australasia, and a wide variety of models exist.

For the most part, unless there is a requirement for couples to meet with a mediator to explore whether mediation is a suitable mode for resolving their disputes, mediation appears to play a strategically important but relatively minor role in the separation and divorce process.

Put mildly, there is NOT a grass-roots demand for the process in divorce proceedings!

This has caused concern in countries where it was widely anticipated that mediation would be the preferred route through separation and divorce.

Interesting omission of WHO it concerned in these countries and WHO was anticipating that mediation would be the preferred route.  Possibly, those who stood to make a livelihood at court-connected, court-ordered mediation to go with EVERY dissolution filing, AND those individuals (and organizations — such as AFCC) which were prone to setting up trainings for others to get into the field –and into other, related fields possible to develop from the conflicts of the family court venue — which the AFCC revered founders ALSO helped set up, and are continuing to push (collectively) for even more unified courts to handle anything family or child….

The research evidence helps to explain the reasons why not all couples need or want to mediate, but why having the option to mediate is very important.

“research evidence” is a nice word.  Got any?  Does domestic violence, threats to kidnap, or child abuse (including child sexual abuse) PERHAPS have something to do with why some individuals in any couple may be less, rather than more, prone to ask for mediation, as opposed to litigation which puts a court transcript on the record and where certain stricter rules at least in name, are in place?

Although the social, economic and cultural contexts in which family mediation is practised vary considerably, there are many common factors which render the learning gained from international experience particularly helpful. The international literature, however, does not refer to a uniform body of work, nor to a homogeneous service. Family mediation is a shorthand term for a varied and somewhat fragmented approach to dispute resolution, which developed as an alternative to litigation through the courts and arm’s-length negotiation via partisan lawyers.

Notice the rhetoric — “fragmented.”

“The word “fragmented” sets the stage for recommending what is being heavily promoted by related parties (see my recent post on the six groups positioned at the USDOJ/OVW to advise would-be grantees on Court Training Improvements or such:  They are:
(1) Center for Court Innovation (not an organization; huge, backed by the NYS UNIFIED Court system and a Ford-foundation-backed “Fund for the City of New York” and with an international component.  The EIN# for what’s considered that “Center” (as I recall) is actually the EIN# for the well-heeld “Fund for the City of New York.”
(2) Futures Without Violence (in San Francisco, est. assets last I looked around $40M.  Incidentally, FwoV takes gov’t funding and in a recent RRF I saw, listed funds from another of the six, “NCJFCJ” under “Government Funding,” which it wasn’t. NCJFCJ is a private association!)
(3) IDVAAC (A center — not legal entity — under University of Minnesota School of Social Welfare.  It has a steering committee, and website — but from what I can tell, no identifiable business, OR fiscally, section of UMN labeling. Which basically means, good luck tracking what business transactions “IDVAAC” Is engaged in, whether public or private);
(4) Legal Momentum: NJEP (National Judicial Education Project) — whose websites I just posted and will revisit, as they are immediately, and evidently, NOT CREDIBLE),
(5) National Center for State Courts (which has related or associated membership organizations underneath it, and maintains an international sector, despite the word “National”).  “NCSC”), and finally,
(6) “NCJFCJ” (National Council of  Family and Juvenile Court Judges)

– – –

In the latter, each party instructs a lawyer and all negotiations between the parties are conducted via the lawyers. In this approach there is no direct communication between the parties and each is dependent on lawyers to convey messages accurately. In practice, such negotiations have tended to escalate conflict. In many jurisdictions mediation services are attached to the courts and form an integral part of the legal process; other mediation services are community-based, enabling all couples with issues in dispute to access them whenever they wish; mediation is also offered privately by psychologists and lawyers, particularly in the USA and the UK; and in a few jurisdictions, couples are required to meet with a mediator prior to or during court proceedings to attempt to resolve the disputes. Increasingly, lawyers acting for the parties refer their clients to a mediator before they get involved with court processes. The focus in all these services in on empowering parents to take responsibility for their children’s and their own futures.

Sifting the evidence

Many of the early research studies focused on determining client satisfaction and the extent to which mediation processes were beneficial for the parties, as well as for settlement rates (Beck & Sales, 2000; Kelly, 1988, 1990; Pearson & Thoennes, 1989; Walker et al., 1994).The first-generation research conducted in the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK constitutes the largest body of empirical mediation research. Most studies were initiated to assess the often sweeping claims about the benefits of mediation. Much of the research did not, however, distinguish between or make allowances for different approaches to mediation practice (such as single sessions, multiple sessions, co-mediation) and different settings (such as court-connected and community-based services). Nevertheless, there was a remarkable degree of convergence within the studies on many issues. This is important because there has been relatively little new research in the last decade.

Mediators with a social welfare/mental health background were much more comfortable dealing with children and parenting issues and seemingly less at ease addressing finance and property disputes than mediators with a legal background

There are, however, significant gaps in the evidence. There is a paucity of research that investigates the relative benefits of different types of mediation: problem-solving, transformative, therapeutic, facilitative, and evaluative. We know relatively little about the efficacy of these processes or for whom they might be more beneficial. Kelly (2004) has also noted the lack of research about mediator behaviours and interventions, participant characteristics and behaviours, and the interactions and relationship of all these with and to outcomes


It takes significant effort to get a PhD in any field — although no question some fields might be mentally and academically more rigorous, as well as some institutions.  I know several AFCC members have degrees — or work connections after graduation — from prestigious universities.

For example, Marsha Kline Pruett has an M.S.L. (not J.D.) from Yale School of Law, and a long work connection with Yale, and currently with Smith, as well as retaining a UCBerkeley connection.

BUT — one thing these individuals to NOT seem to have been subject to, over their lifetimes, is strategic targeting and attack by AFCC_affiliated professionals in AFCC_influenced courts surrounding divorce or custody matters!  Where is the sense of reality that their academic specialties might be, literally, destroying other men and women’s lives, and academic prospects?  From what I can tell — NONE.

One of the “Batterer Typology” authors — at Indiana University Dept. of Psychology (famous in part for its long-term association with Alfred Kinsey) happened to be an AFCC Stanley Cohen awardee.  In simply explaining the significance and revisiting the list (about 90% of whom I’d run across in studying the subject matter of this blog, and that includes for many of them, studying the nonprofits created by some of those awardees), I was checking my memory on the university connection of one of them (Marsha Kline-Pruett), and reviewed the C.V. dated 2014.


I decided the rest of us should take a look at a decade and a half (or so) in the life of an AFCC-affiliated, conference-circuit, keynote lecture world traveler taking both private foundation AND public entity (California Dept. of Social Services, UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare) and jet-settting it to and for across the United States, and sometimes the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean, to promote and train others about Father Involvement, and warn about maternal “gatekeeping” — but in places many mothers might not know existed, and might not be aware until too late, that almost any sphere they might enter involving their contact with their offspring MIGHT have been previously training-propaganda-saturation AGAINST mothers FOR fathers (phrased in untouchable academic, social science or psychological, etc. authoritative terms).


It’s going to take about three paragraphs to make my point about comparing the career path of an AFCC Awardee in a certain field (not legal primarily) and my own custody case — overlapping in the same geography at many times.  If you can visualize two parallel columns, where the rows are YEARS.  At the head of one column is the professional’s career path, and on the other is your, or someone you know well’s “Career path” in the sense of events taking place, and income gain or lost.

If it helps visualization, put a third column, the ex-spouse’s.  This is a timeline, from top to bottom.

When I read the C.V. I’m about to post below, I already had a mental timeline of key devastating legal and personal events precipitated by the family court involvement.  Awareness of the discrepancy in part is what convinced me this should be posted.  See “FOOTNOTE / PERSONAL TIMELINE” for anecdotal information I’d like to voice (it may parallel others’)– but not at this point in the post.

Many of us have a personal timeline or point of reference for when we:  separated from an abuser; child support payments were perhaps started (it’s an ignition factor for noncustodial father promotion, through OCSE and access/visitation programs, and has been, funding wise since 1988, legally, since at least 1984 at the federal level — did you know this?  I didn’t either….)…. and when someone (one side or the other) may have started — for those who were married — the dissolution process.  Or, even for those who were not, still, the custody and visitation legal pleadings.  Another scenario — some women,  mothers with children I mean, may have initially resorted to welfare, out of economic need.  This generally also jumpstarts assignment of rights to the local (county-based) child support agency, which then generates an attempt to collect child support from the father.  When we are dealing with economically controlling ex-batterers or other vengeful personalities, this is a ripe time for a custody war.

The CUSTODY WARS (Conflict — lawsuits), ESPECIALLY AS THEY OFTEN INVOLVE CHILDREN ARE AFCC TERRITORY — this is where the membership thrives, and where personal household incomes, one or both sides, often starts to take a nosedive.

However, it seemed to me that –possibly from a sense of powerlessness, although not without righteous indignation at the situations — or for other reasons I don’t subscribe to — the general trend was to “follow the leader” in policy, despite awareness of certain key elements the leaders were not interested (year, after year, after year, after year — I count about a dozen years, minimum) in exposing, discussing, or publicizing.  To put this most simplistic terms, the things the “leaders” (unofficial) would NOT talk about were basically two:

1.  AFCC as an organization — its existence, its practices, its history as a corporation, and membership.  This was a RICH source of information about networked power, and neglecting to teach about it was, well, disgraceful.  And,

2., The federal incentives grants, especially through HHS and especially since 1996 PRWORA passed,  to switch custody from mothers to fathers, or focus on co-parenting, joint custody etc. when there was known domestic violence, terrorism, or documented (sometimes even convictions for) abuse towards the other partner or the involved children.

In talking about either of the above, one is going to be talking, and must talk, about 501©3s and their fiscal behavior, about membership associations involving public civil servants, and about where these hook up with the federal faucet.  Not to mention the international nature of AFCC and its intents to internationalize the courts according to the private model as opposed to the US Constitution and State Constitutions.

Clearly, even within the domestic violence field (networked groups) let alone the so-called “protective mothers” or “mothers movement” (self-designated terms) this was not going to be a popular line of inquiry. Hardly anyone’s hands are clean in either womens’ rights or fathers’ rights (so-called on both parts) fields.

Interest in AFCC could be found on the internet, from individual bloggers, but from advocacy groups — it seemed to then drop off until about 2011, after which it picked up again that possibly the prestigious (membership includes lots of judges) private association was, well, not exactly as respectable as it seemed.  Then a triumphant series of exposes showed them (as they’d been showed back in the 1990s) as operating as unregistered private association RIGHT OUT OF THE COURTHOUSES.

I don’t recall that I ever stopped paying attention to membership, jargon, positioning, and involvement of this association with other associations — and NOT just the more commonly reported “Children’s Rights Council” (David Levy et al.) and/or certain fathers’ rights groups, and/or (I know I reported) the Jessica Pearson // Nancy Thoennes dynamic duo out of Denver, and under the nonprofit “Center for Policy Research,” evaluating all kinds of HHS programming, as their website says.


Well, AFCC membership tend to be, many of them, (a) zealots for the agenda, the cause and (b) well-positioned in society, either academically, or shall we say, governmentally.  This is then compounded when government funds those in academia, in addition to, as often happens in certain career fields, private foundations ALSO sponsoring study of the same cause.  As I hope you will begin to comprehend the phrase Public/Private Partnership or “P3” — this is advertised, promoted, and to be considered as GOOD, however, no question there is a dark side.  And that might be the more important side as well — IF we are concerned about balance of power and not continuing to enslave people economically — and then going to those who enslaved for the “solutions” to slavery — but those needing help, of course, must be prepared to “consent” to forking over some more privileges, rights, and freedom of choice — i.e.,what in some circles might be called “Liberty, and Justice.”


To document my statement, from AFCCnet.org, “Awards” Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award:”

The Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award is sponsored by the Oregon Family Institute. The award was created to recognize outstanding research and/or research achievements in the field of family and divorce. The award is named for the late Dr. Stanley Cohen, founding member of AFCC who served as executive director and co-editor of the Review.

(A list of recipients follows.  You might want to copy  or print out and stick it on the refrigerator, if you have an active custody case and are being accused of parental alienation…These are a series of professionals whom AFCC deems to be in alignment with its strategic plans and goals as a private, judicial-family-lawyer-custody-evaluator (etc.) membership association).  By now, I could tell about something specific about most of the individuals involved, and what position they held, or influence exerted, in the court system AND geography (i.e., Babb– Baltimore.  Wallerstein (d. 2012, but SF Bay Area), Bala — Canada (Ontario,?)  Paul Amato — Pennsylvania.  Pedro-Carroll was influential (including on Chief Judge the late Judith Kaye, it seems) in New York State.  Sanford Braver was Arizona (still?).   Marsha Kline Pruett (fatherhood interests) — see link I’ve added (Smith School of Social Work, but background:  UPensylvania 1982 (Psychological Services in Education, B.A., M.S.), UCBerkeley 1989 M.S.L. “Clinical Psychology” and in `1996, she got her M.S.L. (=??) at Yale School of Law…  Actually, I was right to remember as associated with Yale Child Study Center (1990-2006) after which she moved on…

  • 1990-94 Associate Research Scientist, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut (joint appointment with the Child Study Center, effective 7/1/94)
  • 1990-94 Consultant and Trainer, Department of Community Mental Health, Westchester County, New York
  • 1992-99 Director of Child and Adolescent Programs, The Consultation Center, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 1994-2002 Research Scientist, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut (joint appointment with the Child Study Center)


Kline-Pruett is highly decorated (I’m sure deservedly), the type of professional an AFCC would appreciate.  Here are some more showing the POSITIONING at state levels (or even one “tri-state”) to of course change custody, divorce, mediation etc. standards.  I also included a 2003-04 segment from this her 2014 C.V., showing her involvement in California, in promoting father involvement.  This was around the time my custody case was getting started, in the same area. I’m including to call attention to the “high-conflict’ terminology and also sho some of the private sponsorship (i.e., The Johnson Foundation & ABA):

  • 2000 Invited Participant: Wingspread Conference on High Conflict Child Custody Funded by The Johnson Foundation and the ABA
  • 2000 Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Mental Health, Expert Panel on Prevention
  • 2001-02  Connecticut Governor’s Commission on Divorce, Custody, and Children
  • 2001-03  One of founding leaders: Tristate (CT, MA, NY) Leadership Group for High Conflict Child Custody Reform
  • 2002 Fatherhood Initiative Community Recognition Award, State of Connecticut
  • 2002-05 Selected member for Children, Youth and Family Subcommittee of the American Psychological Association
  • 2003-2006 Elected Officer, Connecticut Council on Divorce Mediation
  • 2003 Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award, Awarded by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • 2004-05 Jochelson Scholar in Law and Psychiatry
  • 2005  Invited Participant: Wingspread Leadership Conference on Family Law School Education Reform Project  Funded by The Johnson Foundation, AFCC and Hofstra School of Law
  • 2006  APA and ABA Collaborative Working Group on Child Custody and Parenting Plans. One of 7 psychologists chosen to represent APA for the APA/ABA Steering Committee on Children, Families, Divorce, and Custody

Here (still, Marsha Kline-Pruett as a Stanley Cohen Innovative Research Awardee, year 2003 her resume says) — As to COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE — look at the sponsoring foundations.  A quick (mental-math) summary shows over $600K grants received from 1999-2003, and more in 2004:

  • Smith Richardson Foundation, Inc.: Collaborative Divorce Project. 3/1/99 – 6/30/01: Total (T) $301,112
    Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
  • Roslyn Milstein Meyer Foundation, Inc.: Collaborative Divorce Project. 7/1/01-6/30/02: Total (T) $10,000
    Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
  • Karen Vlock Pritzker Foundation, Inc.: Collaborative Divorce Project. 7/1/01-6/30/02: Total (T) $10,000
    Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
  • Community Foundation of Northeastern Connecticut: Collaborative Divorce Project. 7/1/01- 6/30/02: Total (T) $10,000
    Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
  • Smith Richardson Foundation, Inc.: Collaborative Divorce Project. 7/1/01 – 6/30/03: Total (T) $277,561
    Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
  • Karen Vlock Pritzker Foundation, Inc.: Collaborative Divorce Project. 1/1/04-6/30/05: Total (T) $6,000
    Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Principal Investigator

    Roslyn Milstein Meyer Foundation, Inc.: Collaborative Divorce Project. 1/1/04-12/30/05: Total (T) $10,000 Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Principal Investigator

Meanwhile (still Kline-Pruett) in 2003-2004, she ALSO got over $140K for Father Involvement in California, in two chunks, right under my nose — at a time, when (due to custody fight starting) I as a single mother whose ex-batterer still had WEEKLY visitation, uninterrupted (unless he skilled) was beginning to lose work when the domestic violence protection order expired….after which he started racking up child support arrearages for two more years …..

State of California, Department of Social Services: Supporting Father Involvement 4/1/03-6/30/04: Total (T) $79,481
Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Principal Investigator

University of California, Berkeley: Supporting Father Involvement 4/1/03-6/30/04: Total (T) $66,439
Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Consultant

MORE father-engagement grants in California followed, the first one, a five-year, $353K one.  This OVERLAPPED with the “Collaborative Divorce” project some.

University of California, Berkeley: Supporting Father Involvement

7/1/04-6/30/09: Total (T) $353,849
Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Co-Investigator

University of California, Berkeley: Father Engagement Consultation for State Welfare Program Improvement Plan
1/1/10-12/31/11: Total (T) $22,000
Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Co-Investigator . . .

University of California, Berkeley: Supporting Father Involvement 7/1/09-6/30/12:Total (T) $353,849
Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Co-Investigator

More, from another foundation (no $$ amount referenced)…

Norlien Foundation: Supporting Father Involvement- Alberta Replication Intervention Project 1/1/10-12/31/12 Contract

Norlien Foundation: Judicial Consultation for Intervention and Father Engagement 6/1/10-5/30/12 Contract

And finally, a spit in the ocean (of sponsored studies) at Smith (where she now works) for “Parenting Coordination” (!!)

Smith College School for Social Work Clinical Research Institute: Parenting Coordination 5/1/11-4/30/12: (T) $1,680
Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Co-Investigator

BACK to my Stanley Cohen (AFCC) Awardee List impromptu awareness….

Janet Johnston — see “Typologies of Batterers,” she’s done them too — San Jose State.  Charlene Depner — California Judicial Council AOC/CFCC — she’s a longstanding loyal member it seems.  Pearson & Thoennes STILL operate “Center for Policy Research” in Denver, and you ought to study that group and these two.  Joan B. Kelly, I’ve blogged, and that’s also (my area) Northern California.   Emery, I needed a refresher on, see link added.

So, now you have some idea of SOME of the sponsorship behind the scholarship, at least for Kline-Pruett.  From the same C.V. (I’m still a little in awe of how nonstop the money has been, once it started) — look at two conferences in 1998 and 2001 with Wallerstein connections:

Invited Lectures:

Pruett, M. K. New research on parents’ and children’s perceptions of divorce in the legal system. Keynote speaker for “New Ways of Helping Children and Parents Through Divorce,” a conference jointly sponsored by the Judith Wallerstein Center for the Family in Transition and University of California Extension, Santa Cruz, Carmel Valley, California, November 20-22, 1998.

Pruett, M.K. Preventive Interventions for Young Children of Divorce. Invited keynote to Children and the Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, Co-sponsored by the Judith Wallerstein Center for the Family in Transition, the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare, and Boalt Law School, Berkeley, CA, April, 28, 2001.

Public/Private, Social Work and Law — there you have it! (Wallerstein Center being the nonprofit, UCBerkeley being the public institution — and blending social sciences and law — AFCC’s specialty… Meyer Elkin (and Judith Wallerstein) had connections to UCBerkeley School of Welfare.  Elkin was being interviewed by someone from there in 1992, shortly before his death in 1994.  See my sidebar.

Pruett, M.K. Series of keynote presentations for “Representing Children in Juvenile and Family Matters”, a training series jointly sponsored by the Quinnipiac University School of Law, Lawyers for Children America, and the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence at the Yale Child Study Center, October 12 and November 8, 2001

That’s back in Connecticut.  AFCC had Quinnipiac University connections, I believe.  There’s the “Yale Child Study Center.”  Next year she’s at an AFCC (oddly labeled) conference in Hawaii.  Nice to be able to write off those travel expenses?

Pruett, M.K. Pre-conference Institute: Parenting plans for young children: Overnights, gatekeeping, and other challenges. Pre-conference Institute at the 39th Annual Association of Family, Conciliation, and Community Professionals, Big Island of Hawaii, June 5-8, 2002

 “Gatekeeping” is code for mothers resisting father visitation…..  Separately searched, here’s a 2007 publication (by Marsha Pruett et al.) on this topic, in Pace Law Review:

Vol. 27, Issue 4, June 2007

The Hand at Rocks the Cradle: Maternal Gatekeeping after Divorce

Marsha Kline Prue Lauren A. Arthur Rachel Ebling, Article 8

Next year for Dr. Pruett?  A joint lecture with her — and her husband Kyle — and the Cowans — this time back in California and about Fatherhood, what else?  Father involvement as child abuse prevention, and another AFCC meeting:

Pruett, M.K., Cowan, P.A., Cowan, C.A.& Pruett, K.D. Supporting Father Involvement family resource center Orientation Training. State of California Department of Social Services, Office of Child Abuse Prevention, Sacramento, CA, October-December, 2003.

This is “unbelievable” — compare the lecture schedule to the “Principal Investigator/Grants” calendar above.  This well-paid zealot has a FEW key themes she keeps hammering home, NONE of which use the word “mother” — ever.  At all! Back and forth from New York to California, Arizona, Texas….(Connecticut, Canada..and a group in Boulder, Colorado.)

Pruett, M.K. Setting the stage: Crafting parenting plans. Sex, lies, and family law: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue for Change. Association of Family and Conciliation Court Professionals – New York, White Plains, NY, November 21, 2003.

Pruett, M.K., Cowan, P.A. & Cowan, C.A. Supporting Father Involvement Group Leader Training. State of California Department of Social Services, Office of Child Abuse Prevention, Sacramento, CA, January 12-13, 2004.

Pruett, M.K. Overnights and Young Children. Symposium presented at the American Psychology-Law Society Annual Conference, Scottsdale, AZ, March 2004.

Pruett, M.K. Interventions for young children of separation and divorce. Keynote speaker to the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, New York Chapter, New York City, April 21, 2004.

Pruett, M.K. When are overnights overmuch and other new intervention data. Speaker at Psychiatry Grand Rounds, Institute of Living, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT, May 12, 2004.

Pruett, M.K. Research Forum: Issues between Research and Applications. Forty-first Annual Conference of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, San Antonio, TX, May 12- 15, 2004.

Pruett, M.K. New Interventions for Divorcing Families with Young Children. Keynote speaker at the National Family Law Program, LaMalbaie, Quebec, Canada, July 12-15, 2004.

Pruett, M.K. Supporting Father Involvement team training. State of California Department of Social Services, Office of Child Abuse Prevention, Sacramento, CA, October 5-6, 2004.

Pruett, M.K. Interventions and Overnights for Young Children of Divorcing Parents. Keynote speaker for Arizona Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Sedona, AZ, February 3- 5, 2005.

Pruett, M.K. When are Overnights Overmuch and New Intervention Data. Keynote speaker for the Institute of Human Development Annual Conference, Boulder CO, February 11, 2005.

Pruett, M.K. The Power of Paternal Involvement in Children’s Lives. Keynote speaker for the Institute of Human Development Annual Conference, Boulder CO, February 11, 2005.

Pruett, M.K. The Nurturing Father: The Last Frontier in Understanding Childhood. Keynote speaker for the Power of Prevention Child Abuse Awareness Day Conference, Bellflower Center for Prevention of Child Abuse, Cleveland, OH, April 8, 2005.

In this next section, the first entry is a co-presentation at an NCJFCJ conference, apparently with a Judge Dranginis.  There follows what I say MIGHT represent an obsession.  Or, simply evangelization by this particular, decorated, woman zealot for fathers.  (She has one more degree than her own husband, Kyle Pruett).  At what point does “ENOUGH, ALREADY!!” kick in?  Here, apparently — never:

Pruett, M.K. & Dranginis, A. Hon. Collaborative Divorce Project. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges 68th Annual Conference, July 18, 2005. (probably in Nevada — that’s where NCJFCJ is….)

Pruett, M.K. Bringing Men Out of Left Field: Group Interventions for Couples and Fathers. Keynote speaker at Advances in Theory and Research on Family Development and Family- based Prevention and Policy: A Festschrift in Honor of Philip A. Cowan and Carolyn Pape Cowan. University of California, Berkeley, October 8-9, 2005.

(The Cowans also involved in fatherhood work.  You’d think with all this star-power, state validation, AFCC cooperation (AND they have judges involved — and law professors — and international connections), AND the private foundations — the job would at some point be “done” would it not?

Pruett, M.K. Working with Children of Separation and Divorce. Association of Family and Conciliation Courtsand University of Baltimore School of Law, Center for Families, Children, and the Courts, Baltimore, MD, December 7-8, 2005.

Yeah, well Ms. Babb got her Stanley Cohen award, and is running said “CFCC” in Baltimore like an AFCC outpost, which I already posted on in 2014….In fact, my (investigations, so far as I could take them) seem to show that, working with Justice Bell (well-known Civil Rights judge, and deservedly so), Babb and friends were instrumental in getting the Family Court Divisions created by an Administrative Ruling in Maryland — when the legislature kept saying “No Thanks.”  Baltimore is also notably “fatherhood” organization-involved as well.  See “CFUF” (Center for Urban Fathers)…

Pruett, M.K. Lessons Learned from the Supporting Father Involvement Project. Office of Child Abuse Prevention, Department of Social Services, Sacramento, CA, March 27th, 2006.

Pruett, M.K. Fathering and Young Children after Divorce. Conference of the Massachusetts Chapter of AFCC, Weston, MA: April 7, 2006.

Pruett, M.K. Father Involvement: The Final Frontier of Child Development. Wisconsin Inter- professional Committee on Divorce, Wisconsin Dells, WI: May 19, 2006.

Check out the travel plans (imagine the airfare!) from a half-year period in 2006 alone! Note the locations: I see: June (two), July, August, October, and November — and make that:  Florida, New Hampshire (note:  Susan B. Carbon, NCJCFJ judge was in NH, possibly a stronghold); Great Britain, New Orleans (on Caucasian/Hispanic interventions), Massachusetts, and finally, Chicago (legal domicile of AFCC).

Pruett, M.K. What’s Wrong with Children’s Rights? Keynote Panelist: Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Tampa, FL: May 31-June 2, 2006.

Pruett, M.K. Child Development, Family Conflict, and New Issues for the Bench. New Hampshire Family Division and Superior Court Judges’ Conference, Concord, NH: June 16, 2006.

Pruett, M.K. Young children and divorce interventions. International Conference on Children and Divorce, Norwich, Great Britain: July 24-27, 2006.

Pruett, M.K. Symposium Chair: Supporting Father Involvement Through Intervention with Caucasian and Hispanic Parents. American Psychological Association Conference, New Orleans, LA, August 10-14, 2006.

Pruett, M.K., Young Children and Overnights. Massachusetts Probate and Family Court Judiciary Conference, Norwood, MA, October 20, 2006.

Pruett, M.K. & Pruett, K.D.Supporting Father Involvement in Low-Income Families: Interventions for Fathers and for Couples. Paper presented in the symposium Moving couples research
to the front lines:Results from three preventive interventions designed to promote healthy couple and family relationships. Conference of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapists, Chicago, IL, November 18, 2006.



What’s disheartening in our case is that I do not believe the father of (our two children) wanted EITHER the divorce OR custody –and I knew this at the outset, and pointed it out to other professionals involved.  Unfortunately, it appears that he wanted something else more — and that was to get out of supporting a family he no longer controlled, and getting even for my having exposed the original abuse, and/or refused to take any more of it.  We spoke about it in later years, and I got no clear answer then, either.

Based on general timing of events and the state of the courts and social changes (i.e., welfare reform pro-father practices both kicking in, and starting to commandeer the DV-prevention groups also, while “Futures Without Violence” (then “Family Violence Prevention Fund”) essentially IGNORED the family court arena as a field of interest, it seems to me that an attorney who was also associated with a (Baptist) church in the area may have reached out to him, or vice versa, and coached that this (seeking sole physicial and legal custody, leaving me only visitation, and forcing me to pay child support to him — sound familiar, women?) was the way to go.  What he filed legally was completely out of character with what he was saying, expressing and dealing with as a man at this time — including his own father’s suicide (within recent time period) and of course, adjusting to the reality that I had moved out of the original (rental) home now, and there was still a protective order on, meaning, he lacked any excuse to “hover” around the property other than on the visitation hours.

I didn’t (file for divorce first), as mine seemed adept at avoiding gainful employment above-board, and he was not the major player in my particular disaster — my in-laws and middle-aged adult siblings played THAT scenario to their profit and my, and my kids’ loss — the intergenerational transmission of t.r.o.u.b.l.e., for personal and financial reasons at the expense of compliance with court orders, or a law-abiding lifestyle.

Speaking of which, the callous indifference to lawbreaking is among the most disturbing things to behold — and it’s contagious.  It affects others witnessing and involved, and it also attracts others of similar character to the case, unfortunately for those who wish there to be a sort of generic compliance with these orders as a matter of principle.


I’m thinking specifically of “The Reformation” and particularly individuals who were in the business of translating the scriptures (“the Bible”) into the common language, over the period of centuries, while fleeing kings, monarchs, and emissaries of the Pope.  I have no desire for this type of end (some were burned at the stake, FYI, and MANY became fugitives).  I do not think the current “501©3 churches” in the USA bear much (if any) resemblance to what those individuals lived, and died for, particularly with faithfulness to even speaking aloud what those scriptures say without the pre-shrink-wrapped, branded, and reformulated “What We Believe.”


[I DNR exact train of thought from two years ago on the above few paragraphs, but have published this post, belatedly, in association with another recent one posting the current editorial board members of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, at least as current as posted on Hofstra University School of Law’s website naming them..Especially as all the tags had been added to this post in 2016…//LGH May, 2018]

Written by Let's Get Honest|She Looks It Up

May 24, 2018 at 9:53 am

Posted in 1996 TANF PRWORA (cat. added 11/2011)

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