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

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Reform, Solutions, Enhancements, Adjudication Improvements Built on WHAT? (Unproven Because Unspoken Assumptions about the Deliberate Design = the Deliberate Purposes of the Family Courts in the USA?) [Started May 2, 2019, Publ. Aug. 29].

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ANY post may be further edited (as in, condensed, or expanded, or both) after publishing.  Blogger’s privilege!

Today’s post is:

Reform, Solutions, Enhancements, Adjudication Improvements Built on WHAT? (Unproven Because Unspoken Assumptions about the Deliberate Design = the Deliberate Purposes of the Family Courts in the USA?) [Started May 2, 2019, Publ. Aug. 29]., (short-link ending “-9PC” started May 2,  revisited and expanded June 6-8, “sure hope to publish soon” status, Aug. 6-7, [all dates listed~>] 2019…, just under 8,000 words).
At first I’d just called this post  “The Dangers of Derailment” and talked about why:  See   “Title Comments” (next section)
as in:

TITLE COMMENTS“Why I changed “The Dangers of Derailment” to a rhetorical question:  “Reforms …. built on WHAT?..

As originally summarized in early May, 2019:**  for context, see April/May posts…

WHO BUILT THE FAMILY (and “CONCILIATION”) COURTS?**  WHEN, WHERE, AND ON WHAT MODELS — WHAT WAS THE DESIGN?  WHO HIRED THE BUILDERS? WAS THIS DONE OPENLY, OR PRIVATELY AWAY FROM PEOPLE WHO MIGHT OTHERWISE HAVE PROTESTED, OR VOTED AGAINST IT IN PLACES WHERE VOTES MATTER?

**In the USA, in the UK…in Canada, in Australia and New Zealand… in Europe.  But my main perspective is the USA because I live here.

The WHEN is an important part to understand and, if possible, prove beyond reasonable doubt.

Family Court Reform conversations from what I can see in public somehow never get around to the admitting that just perhaps, their actual current form is intentional, by design, and that this design ideally suits the purposes of those who set them up in the first place, whether or not it suits the purposes of the public at large, or people outside that apparently powerfully inter-connected inner circle.

IF an open discussion and genuinely seeking answers* with a sense of urgency existed in the first place, why rule out, eliminate by silence, consideration of any realistically potential or even probable causes or conditions?  

*Answers to the problems typically cited/characterized as failure to protect/inflicting harm on children, custody of children going to batterers, children getting murdered, and (to a lesser degree but also reported), murder/suicide events of varying scope, long-term traumatic distress..

~ ~ NOW, for THIS post….~ ~


Today’s post is called:

Reform, Solutions, Enhancements, Adjudication Improvements Built on WHAT? (Unproven Because Unspoken Assumptions about the Deliberate Design = the Deliberate Purposes of the Family Courts in the USA?) [Started May 2, 2019, Publ. Aug. 29]., (short-link ending “-9PC” started May 2,  revisited and expanded June 6-8, “sure hope to publish soon” status, Aug. 6-7, [all within 2019], just under 8,000 words)

It originally had three section titles (my spinoff post above may mention this):

1. “Preliminary Chat (Health System Flush with Cash),”  2. “Intro,” and  3. “If it was built, there was a plan.”

After trying again to wrangle (condense) the discussion, I’ve booted “2. Intro” off the list.  So now we only have two sections, BOTH of which were written, primarily, in early May, 2019:

1. “Preliminary Chat (Health System Flush with Cash)”  and 

2. “If it was built, there was a plan.”

It was written starting with what became — it’s my writing style — the third (now second) and final section.  In that section, I take the common-sense admission (“if built, there was a plan”) to prod readers, using basic logic, to look at the self-declared** family court builders for some clues as to the blueprints, (<~brief Wiki explanation) rather than the interior decor (furniture, fixtures, etc.) ignoring the architecture itself.  **(The “we built it, we’re leading it” declarations seem accurate, and I haven’t found others disputing the claims.  If you know of others, please contact me here or on Twitter, and publish a link to that information in a comment ASAP!).

Over the nearly four-month delay publishing this post, besides working (hard!) on the blog appearance (sidebar, top posts, table of contents, etc.) and publishing three spin-off posts directly related to the first section above I also:

<>noticed more current events in “family court reform” including legislation proposed to better protect children in the courts (task forces, commissions, study work groups, etc. in different states (USA) and countries, and a debate at the level of “WHO ICD”), and as I could, explored (extensively) included in my posts and publicized them on Twitter. (I am not a lawyer and did not delve so much into the legislation as the types of responses to them and people involved, which had people in common across several jurisdictions).##

<>continued to develop understanding and I become more acutely aware** how the AFCC has now established a firm connection to the UK’s “CAFCASS” which was established by government — but independent from the main branches — by law in 2001.  This connection was predictable and seen coming, however it’s still a significant turning point.  Some of this has been expressed in the top two sticky posts on the blog, the second one in more detail; the first, in a footnote: **(i.e., I continued researching and doing targeted look-ups and drill-downs…)


FYI, a CAFCASS member is now on the AFCC Board of Directors, while throughout 2018 it’s become more clear how professional perspectives — moreso than individual parents’ or families’ experiences and perspectives (on either side of the “Pond”) — are being unified in a network which extends obviously beyond the reach of the average citizen or working parent with minor children (or, domestic violence or child abuse survivors) in either country… unless they form and obtain sponsorship, somehow, for their own advocacy groups which might be heard over the already entrenched ones… I’ve been Tweeting on this since at least Sept. 2018, and again on August 9 in more detail, as well as studying it, and talking it up, generally.

## [Paragraph copyedited after posting to clarify that I didn’t propose legislation or respond officially on legislative websites, task forces, etc.  I am considering how to draft and deliver/publicize a universal, formal response incorporating key things I’ve noticed which, it seems, those involved did not, or ignored..]

Trying to tweak any system designed to produce a predictable outcome, to instead produce the exact opposite:  i.e., justice, and with it, protection from (for example) abuse, or keeping little children — or older ones — or in fact, anyone safe — to me is a form of insanity.


Re-reading this post before publishing it occurred what I mean by “predictable outcome” might still be unclear there.  Here’s a short-list (impromptu, four short paragraphs inside maroon & teal borders) of procedures and specialized terms, professions I’m referring to, generally:

Among what seems to be the “designed to produce” structure is diverting people from the criminal justice system when dealing with potentially criminal issues into “dispute resolution” and referrals to further treatments, evaluations, and other handling by a combination of private (but court-connected or pay-to-play certified to get on the referral list) or directly court-funded professions, some of which have been created to accommodate the deluge of repeat visitors when the first sets of referrals intended to “resolve” conflict instead enabled further abuse.

Another intended outcome, it seems to me, is minimizing violence against women and children while insisting on restoring and preserving relationships — at any cost — including supervised visitation, batterers intervention, psychological assessments, custody evaluations (I forgot — start with “mediation), and after the courts allow or facilitate total separation of one parent, then putting it back together through “reunification” camps, programs and services.  Parenting Coordination has been set up and tried as a profession; almost as soon as it was started, parents(USA) began suing the courts over violation of their rights.

In the process of adding in as many behavioral scientists and mental health specialists as possible and setting up professions (and making fortunes for some when these can be marketed electronically:  Our Family Wizard™, Online Parenting Education programs, etc., specialized jargon increases (“differentiated domestic violence” “parental alienation” being one of them also, and my favorite now engrained one, “high-conflict,” applicable to almost anything — and with specialty courts (see Middletown, Connecticut for a good example).

Overall, increased privatization of the (civil) courts and sharing/spreading around the immunity and quasi-immunity of professions just helping, advising, supporting and encouraging the judiciary in its decision-making seems an intended outcome.

(This text added pre-publication Aug. 28, 2019//LGH)


Whether those engaged in this are themselves as “insane” or illogical as it seems — or perhaps NOT insane or illogical, but instead simply unethical (dishonest, i.e., playing assigned roles in staged battles whose goal isn’t to defeat the opponents on stage, but win over the audience, the spectators), is a good question.  These are tactics many of us already know from having lived with controlling, abusive, and violent individuals with whom many of us also had children.

(This paragraph, my opinion/observations, added in late Aug. 2019): Women may be (I’ll say, overall, are) less physically violent; they murder their partners and biological fathers of their children less,  but individually and in certain contexts they can be just as controlling, coercive, abusive, and employ similar tactics in pursuit of certain goals. It’s truly disturbing to report so much of what I am seeing here, as a woman and mother, is under the “auspices” of and care of women protesting violence against our gender — but, in doing so, made sure to (allow/invite/seek out/permit etc.) at the primary leadership, pinnacle of many of the movements, key men claiming to have the best interests of all involved (and continuing to get published for reporting things we survivors have always known — just better trademarked, distributed, and approved by colleagues.. and to publish while sitting in, often, stable academic (i.e., professors) positions we (survivors) often cannot hold because of the post-separation drama and trauma of the family courts which goes on for YEARS disrupting a normal work life).

I have my own opinion this, which doesn’t make me welcome in many support circles.  Over time, I’ve learned that weakness among protective mothers, including weak focus, follow-through and inability to make wise choices in support groups in the long run, isn’t “supportive.”

Nor is joining, essentially, court-reform cults, and turning on or harassing (passive/aggressive) those who choose not to join.

1. “Preliminary Chat (Health System Flush with Cash),” 2. “If it was built, there was a plan.”**

(**Part 2’s premise: once you admit that, generally, builders have plans and (specifically) the family courts were indeed built, by definition raises the next basic question:  By Whom?  Who planned it, built it, and holds the blueprints?  Answering that question FIRST seems far more sensible than trying FIRST to apply solutions to make the family courts and everyone working in them (judges, and all the others) or taking business from them function to produce, perhaps, the exact opposite outcomes that their design illustrates they, most likely, were built/designed and thus intended to produce.

Section 2 delivers the content most directly related to the title.  Sections 1 should provoke more thought and reflection on the much larger framework in which the family courts sit before my call to common sense and attention to specific facts countering said unspoken assumptions which have become built-into the typical solutions demanded.  

I might have placed the Section 2 title up a little higher.  However, right now it’s pretty far down on the post.  I am also exhausted trying to complete this one, and as of Aug. 29, have opted to “punt” and publish it as-is (at this point of development).  The second section is actually less complete (other than its plentiful exhortation parts) but I think towards the bottom you’ll see exactly where I’m going.  Remember that originally (May/April 2019) the context was questioning the assumption about the “Safe Child” premise in association with “HouseConRes.72.”  MUCH has transpired since then, nationally and internationally, so I am just going to publish now — and will update post-publication as I sometimes (often) do…  Comments remain open…



1. Preliminary Chat: A health system flush with cash## through anti-tobacco litigation (MSA and the STMSA, two master settlement agreements with “big tobacco” after class action lawsuits instigated by attorneys general of the USA) and ongoing add-on taxation.

## while claiming efficiencies through increased centralization and complaining about any reduction in ongoing funds, even when that results from successful efforts to change the public’s unhealthy habits (like smoking…) through financial penalties, deterrents and massive media campaigns …

I developed and further detailed this theme on a new post August 7, but some of my exhibits and narrative still remain on this post below.  Look for the ones labeled “father-friendly”

A Health System Flush With Cash — because ‘Smoking Causes Cancer’ (1998 Tobacco Class Action Litigation MSA Payments, and Tobacco-Related Taxes Impact ‘in perpetuity’ on Systems Affecting Family Courts) (Begun Early June; Publ. Aug. 7, 2019) post short-link ends “-a6m.”  Currently 5,200 words, having just been shortened (split), but this one is still a bit complex. Following the funds has been made complex. Last update, Sunday, August 11, 2019.  

That post and two others posted August 14 and 16 (basically one exhibit and an update, the latter providing a link to and sample of the financial statements originally missing) develop and further detail the “health system flush with cash” theme I drafted (early May) as you see here…


This system has by legislation poured even more revenues at state and local (county) level into fields and programming which closely overlaps with those already run through the family court systems: early childhood development, parent education and coaching, consciousness-raising, behavioral modification, and building bodies of evidence that whatever each field proclaimed originally to justify the programming (and build-up of infrastructure within that field) was, of course, right all along, etc., but more research and resources are still needed…

I am certainly not the only person to have written or summarized this information, but I’ll bet I am the only one who has (correctly) connected it to its predictable and probably intentional impact on contested family court proceedings (outcomes) in the 21st century — often contested over the issues child abuse, domestic violence or other criminal behaviors by one, not necessarily both, parents.

I also wonder if anyone else has put both this extra financing together with welfare reform as heading in similar directions administratively and as to intended “designer-family” outcomes, based on gender and marital status of the ideal environments for “human development,” i.e., compliant and correct-ideologically-infused [future] corporate and government workers of [the United States of] America.

Drenching the landscape with fatherhood collectives, councils, and collaboratives, including county-based councils and collectives operating with the label “domestic violence intervention” and of course (as always) “child and family strengthening” policies, increases the likelihood that any man (including a father) or woman (including a mother) in the course of protecting a child, or seeking to retain custody of a child in the family courts, is likely to interface with someone (male or female) who has already been trained — if not brainwashed — into prioritizing “father-friendly agenda” at all levels.  Keep reading, please!

Miscellaneous: This color scheme (fine-print inside double-borders: teal inside maroon) is somewhat administrative; it shows where I added paragraphs after the original (this post has been written across nearly a four-month time span!) I’m including the demarcation for flow: in case it’s too much, read from before, skip those contents, go to after these sections. It may represent more continuous thought sequence. What’s inside is typically elaboration of commentary, in case I felt it needed more explanation…//LGH 8-29-2019.

We already have welfare funds diverted to running fatherhood programs, in case we on the street level still don’t “get” which way the world is supposed to be (re)balanced to counteract any 1970s expectation that women, too, might assert their civil rights not to be treated as second-class citizens throughout society…JUST because no-fault divorce now existed, don’t think that divorce isn’t still a crime, a sin, or placing children at social risk of all the bad things the world has to offer (i.e., single and otherwise “un-wed” mothers as social pariahs — in the 21st century, too..)Those who follow fatherhood programming realize it’s been also blended into Head Start and “Child Abuse Prevention” as well.  In fact, it’s seems to be a kind of “all-purpose” programming — something bad with the world?  These programs should help…

For some reason it was felt appropriate to saturate tobacco revenues, too, towards the same noble cause, at least as far as I have identified specifically, those from “Prop 10” in California (and no doubt in other states too).. See “A Health System Flush with Cash” post for more details.

I do not think it’s fair to subject women and mothers in such situations to an entire trained and conditioned culture of decision-makers, likely to also be predominantly women, who as part of their job requirements are being drenched with such policy presentations, under almost any possible named issue or cause which may come up.

Regarding the above two images: I just (re-published and expanded) “Women Judges setting up nonprofits to run fatherhood programming” having found out about it back in 2013.  [[See Table of Contents 2019 for link to that topic, updated version: the 2019 TOC is an August , 2019 post and shown separately also on the right sidebar widget]] I’d been aware of Alameda County Fatherhood Corps, but came up again in that context, so I looked at it again, and (click-and-read) and came across information (from above images) which linked to a Philadelphia-based 501©3 Strong Families Commission, Inc. set up (only in 2015) to certify social service “agencies” (actually meaning, corporate entities).

The pdf was only eight pages long, but the word-count of “father” to “mother” was about 10:1!.

I question why California might be taking its fatherhood policies from Philadelphia and (previously blogged) some of its child abuse prevention training (see “CalSWEC” posts of about 2016/2017) from neighboring Ohio:  Quick search (CalSWEC is also a tag on this blog) came up with this post:

You can probably read, but if not, Click here to see flyer advertising fatherhoodqic.org

The title of this post I started Feb 15, 2017    Don’t know Who or What ~QIC-NRF ~ is?  Looks like neither do the AHA, the NFI, the ABA Center on Children and the Law, and HHS/Children’s Bureau (at least as uploaded at UCBerkeley’s School of Social Welfare CalSWEC) who collaborated on IT, then reported IT as a WHO (2010).  File under Fatherhood Engagement Absurdities — or at least, lots of anomalies —  2010. (case-sensitive shortlink ends in -5U6)
Or click this annotated screenshot (from the same post) showing conflation of “child welfare” with “father-engagement” also.  NCCWE Screenshot taken and annotated Feb. 2017. NCCWE = National Center for Child Welfare Excellence, and it’s at the Silberman School of Social Work.  Various arrows show the first “resource” listed is (US DHHS’) ChildWelfare Information Gateway which is promoting — what else?  QIC-NRF — better Non Resident Father engagement, with help from (HHS-funded for this purpose) American Humane Organization.  et cetera… (Silberman School of Social Work is at Hunter College).


The people, like judges, setting up or urging others to set up such county-based councils often also maintain membership in national and international associations organized around the subject matter.

They also tend to urge a parallel networked structure:  one is private (501©3’d) and the other, public, with specialized nomenclature for parts of government.  The names alone do not reveal whether the entity or part of government is in fact, private or public unless the suffix “Inc.” or similar is attached showing it to be in fact a private business (regardless of who runs it).

Many discussions on websites tend to omit the suffix indicating something is in fact private, or a statement showing that, in fact, it is not. More work for readers to find out, if it crosses their mind while also processing the purpose, nature, and programs of any such (public or private) “council” “commission” “initiative” (etc.).


As a result of tobacco litigation settlement money (1998ff) AND as a result of in at least California, additional taxation on cigarettes started in 1998 and intended to deter — what else? — smoking ($.50/pack, “Prop 10”) and even later, $2.00 a pack, has all kinds of revenues flowing to and through health departments, some where “fatherhood” as a public health matter had previously been established as a matter of national emergency demanding a national policy — remember?  In the mid-1990s.

Funny how both massive events (Welfare Reform involved ALL 50 states and territories in 1996; the “Master Settlement Agreement” involved 46 out of 50 state attorneys-general) overlapped and coincided to beef up $$ already flowing from U.S. taxpayers and consumers, allocated by Congress, through the federal government and from there to the states, and from there (by specialized county-based commission and funds) to the counties, basically intended for population management, including assignment of relative values of men, as opposed to women — but around the politically safer theme of “children and family.”

So while this post was in draft, about 5,000 words of it, and almost ready to go, this is what I’ve been researching (some of it, again), and writing about, still in amazement at how far behind the public is kept in the comprehension of where the revenues extracted from it are actually going.


I also ran across (incidentally, and meanwhile) an organization (nonprofit) set up to “Frame” strategically how to sell the public on policy solutions, and (through this) the deliberate intent, in part by having major, well-to-do foundations, use common terminology  with their intended public partners to increase “buy-in” of the theme.  In other words, the foundation which previously might have been associated with a well-known family name, known by all to be, essentially, rich and powerful generation after generation (examples in the US.  Ford, Rockefeller, Casey, etc.) would instead pick a name which “just so happened” to employ a phrase so overused as to become almost blurred nationally:  “Child and Family Wellness.”  This is also done cross-border (the example I have in mind was across U.S./Canada border); the family name I was not so familiar with, but it didn’t take long to find.  (The Frameworks Institute)


This post started out with a very simple lead-in:  “IF it was built, there was a plan.”

Think about it:

Again, IF it was built, there was a plan.  People make plans (so do other animals/animals, but this context is of people).

Which people?

If it was built, it was also financed.  People assemble and disburse financing to pay designers and builders.

WHICH PEOPLE, and from where did their resources come?  How were those resources acquired?

Mostly, to build in a developed country, especially right in the middle of a city, permits are required.

Who provided the permissions to whom for the family courts?

Real estate (occupancy), staffing, administrations, and operational staff are there now.  They came from or were instituted somewhere.  WAS “Child Safety” anywhere in the planning process?  Suppose the planning process was in fact intended for child trafficking?  Not saying it was (though that may not be far off…), but if so (unless that can be ruled out as a design purpose) then what kind response might family court operators/owners/administrators be expected to give to a plan which proposed to shut down their business, that is, the business of child trafficking, IF that was a purpose.

Whatever the reason, complete absence of engagement in (PUBLIC!) exposure to the blueprints, financing, design purposes and original owners/founders of the family courts  before selling an intended comprehensive, top (Federal government)-down solution is inane.

I have another “what-if” question.  Please suspend assumed reality for a moment to consider — this is just speculation, considering alternate possibilities to see IF they make any sense; it’s not a developed theory (decent and good judges, lawyers and custody evaluators, bear with me please).  It’s a way of considering simply saying alternatives aloud to see how they resonate:

WHAT IF it (the family courts, and I’m talking primarily USA) was in fact designed (this whole infrastructure) by a small, select set of inter-related, inter-married if not inbred people invested and highly interested in child-trafficking for profit (obviously a criminal activity, so tax-evasion would also be part of it).  That is, selling people, i.e., a form of slavery.

Not by “normal” people who do not usually think (can I still say this safely?) in such terms, let alone would after conceiving them actually work with each other collaboratively to obtain enough control of the entire family court system itself to bring into fruition such plans, and protect operations from interruption until any planned back-door exit or planned sell-off strategy was ready to be activated.

—->>> IF such intimately connected (colleagues, pairs of married couples, father-daughter, mother-son, or mentor/mentees) people with such plans existed, would they design a system like the one we have now? Would they seek in order to effect this a vertical monopoly on the trainings and the business revenues (main ones anyhow) proceeding from them, and sell it as a great idea to as many compromised or needy people just amoral enough to join up?

Would they internationalize it just in case one country started getting into prosecutorial mode, or a justice system of enough integrity to shut it down, friends could be found in other countries?

– – – – >> >How loyal, really, to the U.S. law, constitution, jurisdictional boundaries, subject matter restrictions, and the general theme of public accountability for use of public funds — ALL of them — would such people be?


And that’s where we’re at.

When people continue to demand  that higher powers (here, the United States Congress) re-tool, or get stage legislators and justices to re-tool the state-jurisdiction family courts to make them safer for children, based on complaints that they are failing to protect children,…

…then it’s time (again) to more formally examine — to challenge — the inane unproven, unspoken, but obviously assumed proposition that family courts were ever designed to protect children.  

That is, it’s time to bring the hidden assumption out in public — because it was hidden in the first place — and from there “dissect” it to see the contents.

For that matter, the same courts are failing to protect plenty of adults also, including the parents of some of those children, and THEIR parents, sisters, brothers-in law, and occasionally by-standers.  And responding police officers. In one view then, you could also say, referring to the same problem, “the family courts are failing to stop murder” (or, “murderers”).  However, the main complaint usually centers around failing to protect children from ongoing abuse.  Recently, the aspect of “murder” has been added on, as an afterthought almost (more dramatic…).

Were they?  

WERE family courts ever designed to protect children?  

Were the family courts under state jurisdiction once a noble, high-minded undertaking that somehow (when?**)  “went astray” got compromised, was “broken” (by whom?), therefore, can somehow can and should be fixed without altering the foundation and structure, which is to say, their intended design?

This reasoning implies, maybe it was just their administrators — or the programs, the applications — that are “off” and need to be tweaked.  The family court administrators  (that is, judges, mediators, evaluators, etc.) just not “up to speed” on current issues and so now need better, more current, and more scientifically sound training in more science-based practices in order to successfully fulfil their mission (?) of protecting children.  The concept of “scientifically sound” used in family court reform circles is typically applied to (essentially) psychology, again, presuming that psychology is a science and not a practice alone.

** I’ve already shown/posted that in some states:  Maryland, Kentucky — they’ve barely been around a generation or two: since the 1990s.  Has anyone done a survey of ALL states and when family court divisions were set up?  Is there a presentation of this somewhere? I’d love to see one.


For me, this would be re-examine because I’ve done it before.

However, parents and children formerly subject to the family court apparatus age out, run away (disappear), some we know from headlines (and some, from personal experience of friends or relatives) become roadkill, others burn out on re-iterating the same basics (I’ve come close).  As new people are continually born, and their parents do not always marry or stay married, and there continues to be violence and assault, harm, injury etc. between human beings — including “intimate partners” and spouses,  new people young and old are being fed into the system.

Someone ought to set the record straight and keep it straight on WHO designed, or at least claims to have designed, the family courts and FOR WHAT PURPOSES.

If that question remains unspoken and unanswered (WHO designed it and for what purposes?), undefined, and unidentified, and such people (or their heirs, descendants or proselytes, mentored next-generation carrying that torch) are still around, then whoever wants to FIX it will have to continually overcome those with a different agenda and purpose.  There will be ongoing conflict.  With ongoing conflict, there is no lack of business and need for their services and assembled wisdom (so to speak).

It seems to me that this ongoing conflict MIGHT be a part of the initial design by a specific organization whose stated motto includes “the resolution of family conflict.” After I go through (again) the need for this statement, I’m going to look at this organization’s classic self-description for evidence of possible design of the family courts.

From there (having answered that question or identified the “WHO” of the designers of family courts and that design), and continuing with careful attention to the both WHO designed and the actual design as “evolving,” then the question of whether family courts could or should be gradually re-tooled, re-aligned, or re-purposed (i.e., “improved”) under the same infrastructure (and leadership) can be more sensibly considered.

That is an important question to ask, and to find an answer to.  Basic part of planning any major undertaking is considering what it will involve.

NOT EVEN GOING THERE PUTS SUCH DISCUSSION (MARKETING, BASICALLY) IN THE KINGDOM OF SPECULATION, THAT IS INSENSIBLE — AND THAT’S WHY I CALL IT “INSANE” IN THE MOST BASIC DEFINITION OF THAT WORD, AND ITS UNDERLYING ROOT WORD. (with the prefix “in-” for “not”).   (Etymology On-line set to “sane” and images)

Online Etymology Dictionary (“http://etymonline.com”) set to “sane.” See also “insane” and related words. LGH May 2, 2019

Online Etymology Dictionary (“http://etymonline.com”) set to “sane.” See also “insane” and related words. LGH May 2, 2019

Online Etymology Dictionary (“http://etymonline.com”) set to “sane.” See also “insane” and related words. LGH May 2, 2019

I’m going to talk about buildings as having designers, developers (financing) and those designers (or actually, those who commissioned the designers) have intent and purpose.

While using this as an analogy for “the family courts” =/= family courthouses.  Remember that “family courts” (the jurisdictions, dockets, the applicable laws) are not buildings but in fact a dedicated purpose and set of protocols (including which types of people, i.e., judge, commissioner, bailiff, court reporter, and lawyers are involved — plus litigants and/or accused prisoners) assigned to or carried out in, for the most part, pre-existing rooms, typically built to accommodate a judge, a court reporter, bailiffs, and a very visible “bar” which litigants approach to present their cases.  Sometimes new buildings are acquired or built for the purpose, but my point is, what comprises a “court” is more about its programming, rules, officers  and presiding officiants (<~Wikipedia) so to speak; “officiant” (<~etymonline.com) seems to imply connection with a religious ceremony) than about its place.

An officiant is someone who officiates (i.e. leads) at a service or ceremony, such as marriageburial, or namegiving/baptism.

Etymonline.com defines court.Just pointing out origins of the word and how far back it goes “formal assembly of a sovereign,” and the sense of “enclosed” [For my post ending in shortlink ‘-9PC’ started May 29, 2019

But the word “court” also has those connotations: (Again, etymonline.com provides clues):  The sense of a formal assembly of a sovereign and the sense of enclosed area may relate to sovereigns also pronouncing judgment.  The enclosed plot of ground and, by association, those officiating or ruling within it (see nearby image for the full; this quote is just part):

court (n). late 12c., “formal assembly held by a sovereign,” from Old French cort “king’s court; princely residence” (11c., Modern French cour), from Latin cortem, accusative of cors (earlier cohors) “enclosed yard,” and by extension (and perhaps by association with curia “sovereign’s assembly”), “those assembled in the yard; company, cohort,” from assimilated form of com “with, together” (see com-) + stem hort- related to hortus “garden, plot of ground” (from PIE root *gher- (1) “to grasp, enclose”).

Both senses of the Latin word emerged in English. …

Take a look at history and see how closely “sovereign” in which countries also meant head of the religion, God’s representative on earth… The formal assembly stems from the authority of the one presiding over it.


As with the word “church” it can have varied meanings, only one of which is the building constructed itself for the purpose.  Churches also can meet in shopping center or street storefronts.  It’s the format, purpose of assembly, and who’s leading it, in a sense the ‘programming’ (sermons, songs, worship, prayer, public announcements of related events, missions, etc.) which define any church. So, when it comes to “FAMILY” courts we might also want to look at the pre-existing buildings in which they occur, whether courthouses, or (I’ve seen, often) ancillary buildings next to the main courthouse) and now, there are more “justice centers” being specifically built for such purposes.

111 Hill Street in Los Angeles, California being a much older example...

Come to think of it, the same could be said of (public) schools.  There’s a school district, schoolHouses and real estate, but as to operations, public SCHOOLS are projects of SCHOOL DISTRICTS, again, all based under state (not federal) law.  Private schools are run by chartered (i.e., legal) corporations, typically but not always nonprofits.

School church/mosque/synagogue/temple (etc.) or family courts, ALL were somehow organized, registered, designed and funded.

I’m going to list many kinds of buildings here, however for an analogy. The point is — whatever’s built or designed had origins and in those origins was a purpose.  Even birds building nests build them for a purpose — what about when people build and design? Do they not have purposes? In deducing what the purpose was, one has to look also at the design.  When building plans or blueprints have been recorded and still exist, those can AND SHOULD also be looked at before evaluating why it isn’t functioning right and how to fix it, or whether to scrap it and do something else (in the same place, or elsewhere) instead!

Buildings have purposes, which can at times be re-purposed, but generally speaking, they are designed with eventual usage in mind from the start.  Once a BUILDING is in place for a purpose, purposes can be added, changed, or misappropriated, including criminally.  The activities that take place within the building are not the building, but tend to echo its design and function.

SHOPPING MALLS are built to promote (conspicuous) consumption and, after development fees are paid, ongoing revenues for their owners: The huge indoor shopping malls were meant to house retail stores which would rent, and  promote consumption of products (and services) in a central place.  PRISONS: Prisons are built for security and to prevent escape.  HOMES are built for living in, in a huge variety of styles and sizes:  some also for income (i.e., duplexes, apartment buildings) or “mixed-use” (residential and commercial).  Whatever the style or size, they are intended for habitation — people sleep and wake up there.  GARAGES (whether within a home or within an apartment building or otherwise) are for housing, protected, vehicles and other belongings and tools which wouldn’t normally go in a home.  Their doors will usually be wider.  They can be converted into living spaces, but were not originally built for them. AUTO SHOPS (Garages for mechanics) are going to have both the wide doors and (generally) more specialized tools — like a lift for the car.

SCHOOLS, particularly the larger ones, were built for efficiently education large groups of students in a central place: many students to fewer teachers and administrators; group-education.  BANKS also are built for security, and generally with ATMs for dispensation of cash.  COURTHOUSES also have specific intents and designs.

Even impermanent  (like “HOMELESS ENCAMPMENTS”  still have characteristics and purposes as they came into being.

CONFERENCE CENTERS (I’m thinking of “The Wingspread” Conference Center in Racine, Wisconsin, a Frank Lloyd Wright building, beautiful, and surrounded by plenty of open space, i.e., privacy; it’s been relevant in family court and domestic violence conference/initiatives/issues), RESTAURANTS, GYMS, OFFICE BUILDINGS, TRANSPORTATION HUBS (train, but stations), AIRPORTS, etc. — all have different purposes indicated by their designs.  The same is true of “Army/Navy bases” in some cities I’ve lived in which of course are also likely to entail transportation facilities, warehouses, barracks, and more.  Some were closed down and went up for redevelopment.  MUSEUMS.  CONCERT HALLS.  PLAZAs.  SUBWAYS…



2. IF it was built, there was a plan.

Somebody planned it, built it and likely still holds the blueprints… unless the blueprints were all in one place and physically destroyed by “an act of God” (or, the California wildfires in recent years), or acts of man.  Were they destroyed, or have they just been withheld from public viewing and distribution for better understanding of “the way things work”?

Was it (were these courts) designed, built, and still being operated by some of the original owners still, or was it designed, built, and then as a public/private enterprise model sold off to others?

…. IF the original owners (or their heirs or designees) are still in place, then we can assess what the plans were in the possession of the original design/build/owner/operators, or their respective joint-ventures, partnerships, or whatever occurred to bring these things into existence and into their current conditions.  These would have to be looked up, located, but who’s to say they couldn’t be.

And why would any reform begin anywhere other than identifying, finding, and exhibiting to the public — who’s going to be funding the alterations — those plans?

I’m responding to things I’ve observed on-line enough such that I believe the theme needs to be handled, generally, addressed to parents dealing with the family courts and those who’ve passed through it already, but are still activist and interested in change.

While I realize my exposure is limited in that I am not an involved professional and cannot afford to subscribe (and in some cases may not qualify to subscribe) to all membership journals handling the family courts, let alone law reviews, I also know that many key players HAVE made themselves known over the years, and I have continued to read, as possible due to the volume and my own life circumstances (i.e., interstate relocation, impending litigation at various points and the litigation itself), what they’ve been publishing (as available to the general public, including on their own websites) and from some other sources.  I also maintain (somewhat) one active social media website.  Beyond that, I have no interns or staff to delegate research to, and people in my situation tend to be followers characterizing themselves as leaders and wary of people without an attached nonprofit label to presume some sort of expert or official status…)

I believe based on the above that this post is still timely and necessary.  SOMEONE has to say this.  

I intend to prove (as far as it goes within the size limits of a single post) that at least one specific organization associated with the courts has NEVER claimed or shown its origins have anything to do with protecting children — and that they do not. In so doing, it does reveal other purposes, whether intentionally or not, I’m less sure. Most of it is marketing.

The initial about 2,500 words were written nonstop (as inspired).  I intend to follow through with that line of proof enough to hit “Publish” on this post. It’s my (‘insane’ ‘irrational’) hope that after the irrational and insane is eliminated, there may be some space in which to consider other probable SANE purposes of the family courts, and from there, a better response to them than I’m seeing promoted by NON-players in them.  In immediate context of having just realized the  two lobbyists behind a Congressional Resolution declaring that state courts ought to improve their adjudications of custody and visitation to prioritize “child safety.”

NOTHING I’ve read on the origins and originators of the family courts as subdivisions of district court systems indicates they were set up to protect children, or even adults…so how does their failure to protect children even apply as a critique.  (It seems more likely they were set up to protect batterers and felons who also happened to have families.

Whatever, the cause, one thing the family courts are effectively protecting is private interests associated with the entire system, at local through state and (due to the federal grants involved) federal levels of government.

Those complaining about child safety never, that I can see, go to any effort in the constant public relationship material, to prove the assumption that the family courts were ever intended to protect anyone.  That’s an unspoken, unproven, and (I believe) false assumption to which the proposed “solutions” infrastructure is added, by which time it’s likely to be “too far gone” to correct course.

Why should we even listen to arguments based on such a major unproven, unspoken assumption SLIPPED IN THE FRONT DOOR OF MANY REPORTS, EVALUATIONS AND SUMMARIES UNANNOUNCED.  For anyone who, like I did, attempted to find some evidence in the writings of groups and people who helped establish those family courts in the first place, that the purpose was in any way “protecting children”, the arguments that follow cannot and do not hold water.  They are seeking to dig in deeper a known design flaw, and get the public to clamor for expanded problem-solving infrastructures.

A close connection between the origins of the family courts and the organization “AFCC” exists.

To look at AFCC the organization in many ways IS to look at those courts (history, practices, and operations, as well as how they evolve and are steered one direction or another).  While AFCC members have many overlapping allegiances and/or affiliations (and tend to also form their own nonprofits and network those, too), failure to examine this organization while talking about the family courts — at all — is sheer blindness.

Ongoing attempts to induce (through on-line media, private email groups, conference circuits and individual consultations and communications as available with legislators) the public to go along with this mass blindness is ….just plain wrong.  It’s unethical, immoral, and it’s suspect.  And it’s not “the blind leading the blind.”  It’s a coordinated effort to blind others and keep them in this condition for easier manipulation into a “consensus” for ongoing compromise of their own rights under the law.

If you read the self-history of “Association of Family and Conciliation Courts” that is not mentioned as an initiator of the system, and if ANY single nonprofit has a close connection to starting up those courts (mid-century 1900s, i.e., 20th century) it would be that one — that the (Our Broken or “Safe/Protect the Children”) family court reform professionals and (where it applies) their associated 501©3s, don’t like, and didn’t for so many years like, to call attention to or even mention by name, while publishing volumes on almost anything BUT.

To review (I have done this before!), I’ve copied as both text and image, AFCC’s self-description, the page labeled “History” with several subtitles.  You should notice that the second chapter is not labeled “protect the children!” but “From Reconciliation to Divorce with Dignity.”

Originally its stated purpose was to discourage divorce, right about the time (or leading up to the time) “no-fault divorce” was in motion; the first (USA) state being California, in the 1970s…having failed at that, it backtracked some to “Divorce with Dignity.” THIS IS THE LINK.

Quoting it below, I’ve added “bullets” mostly to reduce the vertical spacing inbetween each title.

On the original page, clicking on any section expands into a description for that section.  But look at the titles:  mostly they are talking about themselves (innovators and collaborators), celebrating milestones: 25th, 30th, 50th, describing their legacy (these were copied, not transcribed by typing, from the web page link above:

  • A Legacy of Innovation and Collaboration
  • In the Beginning: AFCC in the 1960s
  • The 1970s: From Reconciliation to Divorce with Dignity
  • The 1980s: The Mediation Explosion
  • 1988—AFCC’s 25th Anniversary
  • The 1990s: Complex Family Issues
  • 1993—AFCC’s 30th Anniversary
  • Second World Congress on Family Law and the Rights of Children and Youth
  • The Turn of the Century
  • Celebrating 50 Years 
  • The AFCC Legacy Continues

As you can see above, there’s no mention of children in any of the section titles until pretty far down the line, the 1990s, first, “complex family issues”   and by that time it’s in the context of a “Second World Conference…on Family Law and the Rights of Children and Youth” in the 1990s.  For that matter, this is the first time the word “law” even comes up in a section title describing the organization AFCC itself (!).


However before the 1980s, there was a “Mediation Explosion” — implying it just somehow happened.  I’ve seen (through blogging) this was not exactly a grassroots pressure built up until the ground cracked open — not a natural occurrence like, say, a volcano.  There were lobbying groups which collectively decided (at least in California, which I’ve posted on) to designate a unified collective voice for control of this field, as well as pushing it through.  IN CALIFORNIA, by 1981, mediation became mandatory.  Look at the subtext in that section and notice how “domestic violence” is barely mentioned — yet how active AFCC (a membership association which includes mediators, judges and family lawyers, and seems to have from the start) — was in documenting and standardizing the field of mediation at that time.


From other sources, eventually, I learned that it was 1984 when “access visitation” law was passed (supporting such fields as AFCC believed to be so essential to “divorce with dignity”) and 1988 when first funded.  Look for the reference to “HEW” in this passage (from “The Mediation Explosion” section):

In 1981, AFCC offices moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, when Nova Law School Professor Laurence Hyde was named executive director (1981-1983). In 1983, the National Center of State Courts in Williamsburg, Virginia, was contracted to serve as secretariat of the organization, and Stanley Cohen, a sociology professor at the University of Oregon Health Sciences and a founding member of AFCC, was named executive director, serving in that role until 1988. AFCC’s headquarters moved back to Portland, Oregon, in 1984, when the university and Dr. Cohen assumed the administration of the association.

Publications and pamphlets such as Parents Are Forever and Guide for Stepparents were being developed and offered for sale. Through Dr. Cohen’s efforts, the association secured a grant to produce an award-winning film, A Family Affair, narrated by actor Edward Asner, on family violence. The Children’s Bureau of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare awarded AFCC a research grant to study the effects of mediation on custody and visitation disputes in courts in Connecticut, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.

Notice right after “family violence” (glossed over) the next sentence is about custody and visitation “disputes” and the reference to a federal agency’s grants TO AFCC to study (how so?) “the effects of mediation” — their particular association’s interests — on such “disputes.”  No explanation of how HEW officials knew to contact AFCC to run such programming, but it does imply they were active in running the family courts, or at least somehow involved in settl?ing (“adjudicating” custody and visitation disputes.

Interest in court-connected reconciliation counseling was diminishing, and joint custody, mandatory mediation, domestic violence and stepfamilies were becoming central issues. The legislation boom had begun, and it was moving in a strong wave from California across the United States.

The AFCC Mediation Committee hosted three national symposia on mediation standards between 1982 and 1984. Representatives of more than thirty organizations participated in developing the first set of Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation. By the late 1980s, mediation of custody and visitation disputes was mandatory in jurisdictions in 38 states.

(etc.)

[TOPIC TO BE CONTINUED!]

To go to the top of this post, click on its title again:

Reform, Solutions, Enhancements, Adjudication Improvements Built on WHAT? (Unproven Because Unspoken Assumptions about the Deliberate Design = the Deliberate Purposes of the Family Courts in the USA?) [Started May 2, 2019, Publ. Aug. 29]., (short-link ending “-9PC” started May 2,  revisited and expanded June 6-8, “sure hope to publish soon” status, Aug. 6-7, [all dates listed~>] 2019…, just under 8,000 words).

~ | ~

 

Written by Let's Get Honest

August 29, 2019 at 6:22 pm

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