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

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Archive for November 2019

Oh, Arizona: Mind Your Behavior! (The Career AFCC Academics’ Dilemma: “To Admit, or Not to Admit?”) Nov. 25, 2019

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My Ten Most Recent Posts, include one on the National Science Foundation (“NSF”) which is actually part of the US government (not a private entity) funding a “Brain Initiative” as well as at least a few recommending, for a starting place, screen for AFCC among authors, references, cites and BOTH sides of any pro/con debate involving the usual topics in the family courts — including domestic violence issues.

[Correcting an image annotation error: My inserted yellow comment on #5 actually belongs with the 10th most recent (not imaged) post. The sidebar widget “More Resources” also links to it, that link is 1. Really Want Systems Change?, |2. ‘LGH. There’s STILL No Excuse. But…,’ |3. ‘To Support and Visually Upgrade,’ and, |4. ‘The “Technical Training and Assistance Excuse” ‘[Started Oct. 3, Publ. Oct. 4, 2019] ( “-bcv”).  Images take a while to make and upload, so I’m correcting it here instead. BMTP/Wellesley narrative and links are on the above Oct. 4, not the Oct. 27, post.  CLICK ON EITHER IMAGE TO ENLARGE AS NEEDED).//LGH]

Speaking of “MINDS, BRAINS and BEHAVIORS”… what about the behaviors of those involved in promoting this field and working for decades in it? Specifically, what about the level of transparency and honesty in disclosing any conflicts of interest while reporting from within the field?

Why such consistent withholding of basic, key affiliations among authors at times taking public funds to write reports and who have resumes also showing public (NIH, NIMH, or NIJ, etc.) grants?

This systemic withholding of disclosing probable conflicts of interest is unlikely to change anytime soon, but it should be noted when reading or consuming the constant information output aimed at policymaking…

This withholding is also predictable in certain fields and when dealing with certain topics.

In ARGUING PAS: For example,  what I call “Arguing PAS” is one of those topics where AFCC affiliations are often unacknowledged by proponents on either side of the argument.


In Parenting Coordination: The presence anywhere** of “Parenting Coordination is another easy “tell” (sign, or should I say “symptom”?) of AFCC affiliation among those promoting it and/or those mentoring those promoting it, often professionals already working in the family court system in any of a few different countries.

** Parent Coordination Instances may include (& I’ve seen throughout the USA, several different states, and for many years):  In judicial administrative policy, as legislated in or out of existence, on websites of nonprofits, and especially where referenced in academic (journals, etc.), and of course in individual divorce, custody, or family court cases involving court-mandated parent coordinators … in these situations, probe the surface; AFCC involvement or leadership in setting it up, administering funds to support it, or running the programs (and training/certifying others to get on on it too) will not be far away or even distant history.

A few images to illustrate more recent PC-promotion here (mini-section with images and explanations).

Notice that three fields covered within these inter-relationships include Reunification Programs or Camps [1], Parent Coordination [2], and Mediation [3] (not only services, but also “training and consulting” in at least the last two).  The “reunification” provider here [not the main topic of this post] was the clearest link to AFCC — if you follow its professionals’ over-arching agenda as reflected in these (and some other) fields…

[1] Families Moving Forward [2] (FLiP), Ltd. [3] Riverdale Mediation (there are other businesses listed in association with its leadership (Riverdale Mediation image caption [below] shows one of the principals(?) also references “Mediate Dispute Resolutions” and “Mediate393.com“) (1) and (3) are in Canada, (2) in the UK.  I have not found (1) or (3) listed as business entities in Canada, but am not really adept at the various places to look there yet. It’d be interesting to know whether they are business names or registered trade names and if the latter, for whom.  As I recall from writing an earlier post on this (but don’t claim perfectly!) Mediate393.com had an arrangement with the family courts for referrals.).

‘UK Parenting Coord (PC) Roadshow’ image (see also pdf) by Jared Norton (AFCC-Ontario Bd Direc?) but @ Riverdale Mediation | Screen Shot 2019-11-25.. (=Image filename: Screenshot taken from pdf already on this blog & previously posted).

I recently publicized how a Canadian-based young man (Jared Norton, AFCC-mentored) took up with two UK-based women (Gillian Bishop, Felicity Shedden) first in Canada, then for a “Parent Coordination Roadshow” to the UK to promote the practice there.  Look for “FLiP” (Family Law in Partnership, Ltd., British) and/or Riverdale Mediation (Canadian) on this blog [Labeled “#3” in image of my Last Ten Posts at the top of this post; published Oct. 31 as “Part 2″…] or my social media.

(AFCC helped sponsor and expand the field and push for legislation to allow judges to order it).  The larger context was probably Board of Directors of AFCC-Ontario; I didn’t recognize the young(er) man so looked him up and found descriptions on both sides of the Atlantic on the trainings and shared purposes. UK Parenting Coordination (PC) Roadshows | Riverdale Mediation (June 19, 2017) this pdf 2019Oct28

“Riverdale Family Mediation Services” (Hilary Linton (Pres), Eliz Hyde (Medius Dispute Resolutions, Mediate393), Clifford S Nelson, Ret’d Judge) Screen Shot 2019-10-27

In Mandatory Mediation with IPV: Another such field and favorite pro/con/what-if topic for public and academic debate for decades! has been on mandatory mediation within divorce where domestic (or intimate partner) violence (or abuse) is alleged and may have occurred. Have you any idea how often those arguing for extra stipulations or trainings within mediation, i.e., showing awareness of the associated problems —  might be or are loyal followers or members AFCC whose careers and resumes have been bolstered by citing to it, but somehow by agreement do NOT typically reference it much in the debates?

Here’s another “case in point” of withholding (though shown in other contexts) an author’s AFCC affiliation I ran across on that sub-specialty within the family courts.

Post Title: Oh, Arizona: Mind Your Behavior! (The Career AFCC Academics’ Dilemma: “To Admit, or Not to Admit?”) Nov. 25, 2019 (short-link ends “-bzx”) (#1 one in a pipeline with, so far, 3 and probably there will be 4 more posts). Tags  added later.  This is a long post and there are some internal section/explanation overlaps.  Read with patience (last update Nov.26, total 12,400 words includes a few extended footnotes)!


Maybe a public task force should be appointed to convened a private roundtable on behalf of conflicted (bipolar?) AFCC-loyal — and AFCC-conference/trainings-sustained — career PhD’d psychologists (or lawyers, but the example here features a psychologist working at a public university) to establish model practice guidelines for in what context it’s “OK” (safe for the future of the field) to acknowledge one’s close affiliation with and dependency (for citations) on AFCC.

I’m thinking based on more evidence I discovered recently here, among the membership it must be either a tacit group dynamic just absorbed through association or perhaps the result of previous explicit group tactics. Did some roundtable already meet? Were private guidelines circulated to warn AFCC-affiliated academics: “When writing for even potential public consumption, don’t disclose AFCC — it might lead to questioning your neutrality, of possible conflicts of interest and it would alert more non-professionals to our existence?”

“Especially if that writing involves any federal funding…”

Not being a member, I don’t know, I just know what I’m seeing of the pattern of withholding in some contexts, and featuring openly in others, something I’ve observed for years now.

Let’s compare an NIJ-funded report on a certain topic with the lead co-author’s own faculty page and resume to see whether the AFCC influence is submerged (visible only if key authors or verbiage is already known to readers as “AFCC” standard) or featured as a credit to the individual’s career curve and expert status.  I’ve provided both links and images so you can.

In doing this I also show how and why I ran across this information through basic follow-up practices which illuminate family court function/dysfunctions and the behaviors of academics and/or professionals writing constantly about them.

These professionals are often focused on researching and developing practices to modify it seems everyone else’s behaviors when it comes to handling criminal behavior (acts)** which the family courts continue to handle and which family court-focused professionals continue for decades to research and to report on conditions under which it might continue be handled, allegedly appropriately in that forum (jurisdiction, venue, etc.) — with better trainings, screenings, and modifications to accommodate them. (** reference is below the next image; look for the blue font).

The NIJ report admits (claims) that mediation was mandated in one jurisdiction specifically so they’d have some data to study its impact on domestic violence when there was no grassroots or voluntary demand for it

“Why is mediation often legally mandatory?”

In other words, in order to test a theory, if subjects wouldn’t volunteer for the study, they should instead just be forced to participate, facilitating the study (!!).  (Nearby annotated image from the NIJ report; this image is also posted below in context).

Is that not a high-risk, potentially lethal situation to socially engineer? For the sake of more reports like these to fund, build resumes, and speculate on “what works better IN the family courts” when lives are at risk?

Is it possibly relevant that those helping run the courts are part of a membership association (<~link) which, from the 1970s and 1980s focused heavily on promoting mediation, and that in California by 1981 mediation became basically mandatory for modifying (not just “establishing”) any child custody /access or visitation order, and that by 1984 the U.S. Congress had enacted into legislation the “access and visitation” concept, to then be funded starting 1988, and substantially increased in 1996 with authorization of “welfare reform” PRWORA, to ten million dollars a year nationwide, an amount continued to this day, i.e., for a full generation (about 23 years now).  

And that by definition grants go to a specified single agency at the state or territory level within each state’s or territory’s government — never directly to any private nonprofit? (However, once there said agencies can certainly subcontract to private organizations). 

How might exposing the presence of this association (and the lead (first listed) author’s long-term involvement in the same association) in a report offering answers on why mediation legally mandatory (and how to adjust for the related criminal behaviors which somehow continue to be involved) shed a different light on those explanations offered?

**Specifically the criminal behavior labeled “IPV” or “IPA” “DV” or “DA” where “IP” means “intimate partner,” “D” means “Domestic” (with no reference to partner, spouse, relative, or the other parent), “V” means “violence” and “A” in the context, “Abuse.” In other words, usage and terminology varies.

In looking at this situation, and from the cover page of this report, another topic comes up: the behaviors of major foundations and leading personalities which chose and are still choosing to sponsor (in a collaborative, coordinated, regionally-planned manner where tracking the private interests becomes a major maze) such things as “Schools of Mind, Brain and Behavior” in — for this example — Arizona. I say this up front because without a network and backing, a single faculty member (or four Ph.D.s and an M.S.) would not have that much influence. I’ve done some drill-down and have two (or three) posts in the pipeline on those funders within Arizona.

The NIJ-Funded Report on IPA in Divorce Mediation:

Intimate Partner Abuse in Divorce Mediation: Outcomes from a Long-Term Multi-Cultural Study (<~link to this doc’t. “236868”) found at NCJRS, described as NIJ-funded, Grant 2007-WG-BX-0028; Report is 2011)  

This small-ish grant was awarded to the Regents of the University of Arizona (& Cal State Fullerton?). Four of the five authors occupied at the time different two places within the University of Arizona and a fifth was from California State University, Fullerton. All those with PhDs at the time (four out of five) seem to be psychologists.

From what I can see, one only is most closely citing AFCC on c.v. and faculty page, however, that person was the lead author.  In addition (on the faculty page) her sole “community” contact person listed was the daughter of another well-known AFCC individual (Philip Stahl’s daughter Rebecca Stahl). What struck me most was the absence of references to AFCC in the long report, and the presence in the (also long — but not THAT long!) c.v., both linked to below.

This seems to be just a belated 2018 description of the 2011 study; the page (several paragraphs long) contains no other links. As the older study shows, they’ve been debating this topic since the 1980s (!!)..”Are we done yet?”

About seven years later a single, short (about 2-page) review of this long (238pp) study shows up at the NIJ.

See Footnote: “Incredible How Gullible” (Why is there no functional public-access & publicized to us USDOJ Database of Grants Awarded?)

Apparently two other shorter (17pp, 19pp) reports were written off the same NIJ 2007-WG-BX-0028 grant award for about $319K.  One is only available through SAGE now (expensive!) and for the other one, I found no actual link on the part of page labeled “Download paper”), which leaves us with a few abstracts, the long one, and the short summary seven years later….

The lead author’s cv shows another NIJ grant, similar theme, over twice is large (over $700K), has been awarded since.


From three authors [Image, FN1] at the “School of Mind, Brain and Behavior…” under the Department of Psychology, one [image, FN2] at a (named after sponsor or other respected figure) “Institute for Children, Youth and Families” at a (named after sponsor or other respected figure) School of Family and Consumer Sciences all at the University of Arizona, and one author [Image, FN3] at simply “Department of Psychology”, California State University (“CSU-Fullerton”)…

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“AFCCnet.org/About/About-AFCC” is (Still) Long on Labels, Short on Content, Cleverly Obscuring What Its (Only Eight) Featured  Collaborators Have in Common… (Publ. Nov. 23, 2019).

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BAs a blogger, I more typically referenced the “History” page of the AFCC.  This time I’m talking about another, shorter, secondary page accessible from its “About” page drop-down menu.

Per The Wayback Machine (Archive.org : “archive” is singular), this “About-AFCC” page has been around in its present format  and with it seems the same text since at least August 26, 2014.  It easily may have been around earlier, unnoticed by the WayBack machine. That page was crawled by The Wayback Machine 31 times since 2014, the “History page 48 times since 2012, and the main page (AFCCnet.org) only 488 times since 1998.  That’s (488/21 yrs) an average of only 23 times a year, less than two times a month.  Somehow I think the website isn’t being publicized much to family court litigants!

AFCC Website, WayBackMachine (EARLY!) ~~>2019Nov22 Fri PST #1 of 3. Notice the street address at the bottom!

Here are three AFCCNet.org images from  the very early years. From looking at the earlier versions, I also saw that the original “Family Court Review” (produced then and now by Hofstra University but controlled by, and it is the journal voice of, AFCC, not the university) was at first called, like the organization AFCC and like my own blog “motto”, The Family and Conciliation Courts Review (“FCCR”).

Of these three images my only annotated one (#3, mostly text not pictures) is from a very early FCCR.  Those facts and features can be found at Archive.org by copying in the url as a search string; they are time-consuming to display, and being such fine print don’t display well, so, except for these three images, I leave it up to readers to repeat the search if they are curious. Along the very top of the images you can see a sideways bar graph and time-line.  That’s from the Archive, not the old web pages. I happen to think the theme “Kids COUNT on Us” is a bit narcissistic, and a call to a “rescue / intervention” mentality.

AFCC Website, WayBackMachine (EARLY!) ~~>2019Nov22 Fri PST #2 of 3 (redirect to Hofstra.edu upon click on previous link to ‘AFCC Journal’ as shown in Image #1

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE.   AFCC Website, WayBackMachine (EARLY!) ~~>2019Nov22 Fri PST #3 of 3 (I annotated with 3 comments in yellow, two others not highlit, and any arrows, underlines or ovals you may see! About “Family and Conciliation Courts Review” (See Image #2).

I trust this post’s breakout of labels and claims from AFCC’s self-description on its own website will reveal some less obvious traits of the organization, as judged by having allowed this type of self-description to be posted on-line for now at least five years with the same words.

Given the high level of authority in decision-making over families’ lives AFCC’s “interdisciplinary” membership taken as a whole holds (individual types shown in an image below), the sloppy, incomplete list, incomplete description of activities, and poorly sorted single-paragraph summary of “Collaborative Leadership” organizations is disturbingly “off”  which my post title reflects:

AFCCnet.org/About/About-AFCC. (This time I’m focused on the fourth heading, although only the first one shows in expanded” format. I do quote “History” paragraph, but my interest is “Collaborative Leadership”)  LGH 2019Nov20.

TITLE: “AFCCnet.org/About/About-AFCC” is (Still) Long on Labels, Short on Content, Cleverly Obscuring What Its (Only Eight) Featured  Collaborators Have in Common… (Publ. Nov. 23, 2019).. (short-link ends “-bFi“). Publ. at about 10,000 words; tags (should) be added later; none now though). [Tags and AFCC’s latest (available, that is) Forms 990 added w/ commentary Nov. 24, now it’s about 11,700 wds (incl all captions for its many images).

See nearby image with “The AFCC Membership Network” as the first of the four headings expanded to show its two paragraphs.  The image caption holds link to the same page (url also as shown in the post title).

These headings all presumably refer to “in the family courts” or (judging by the organization’s motto) anywhere internationally “family conflict” needing resolution may exist, worldwide… providing substantial business opportunities for AFCC’s membership.

My post focuses on the single paragraph under the fourth section, describing  its “Collaborative Leadership.” That paragraph basically just lists with whom AFCC collaborates “To Improve (sic) Practice and Policy.“##  

To Improve” or do anything else indicates only intent, not necessarily accomplishment!  Like many other public policies, in a nonprofit organization such as AFCC’s home page no actual improvements seems necessary, just statements of shared good intentions to do so.  That’s implicit in the word “to,” which indicates purpose (as in “in order to _______”).

I noticed this from other descriptions of legislated public policy for some of the family courts programs (such as “increase noncustodial parent contact” or “prevent abuse before it occurs” etc.  Policymaking and public funding of each policy is full of such phrases which show intent but are not held responsible to produce results as a condition of continued appropriations…).  Here, AFCC on its self-description page takes credit for the good intentions behind its collaborating in order to lead behaviors. It also in the motto claims intent to “improve the lives of children and families.” (See Footnote “To Improve” or do anything else indicates only intent, not necessarily accomplishment at the bottom of this post, the first one there.  Each Footnote has light blue background, orange borders.)

The Mission History and Values page, though short, also uses the word “collaborate” in three different forms (adjective, adverb and noun) to describe how it intends to “improve the lives of children and families…”  (Collaborative approach, work collaboratively, collaboration and respect — among the professionals involved if not particularly with the parents themselves…)

For this post I also quote but don’t focus on the one-paragraph “History of Innovation and Positive Change.”  Both sub-titles (the second and the fourth on “About-AFCC” page) embody claims some of us parents subjected to that leadership and aware of these changes believe might well be challenged as being neither positive nor improvements.  To some of us parents (aware of AFCC) the means used to justify this “improvement” compromises due process, legal rights, and — the results seem clear — personal safety where violence and/or abuse have been involved. It is a form of “therapy” as in “threat therapy” (coercive control by the court-connected networked professionals) very much reminiscent of what we refused to put up with, at some point, from the other spouse, partner, or parent.

Whether or not it was “positive” or “improvement” dodges the obvious: both those words are broad, vague and subjective: the opinion rests in the eyes of those making value-judgments against a standard without openly stating the standard in plain words, where it might be compared with existing law and any rights under (typically, for the USA) state constitutions — which handle such matters, not federal.  Basically it’s just self-promoting “PR.”

The “About-AFCC” page is so short — five very short paragraphs and the following short introduction — that subtitles aren’t really needed:

AFCC is the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – the premier interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict.  AFCC members are the leading practitioners, researchers, teachers and policymakers in the family court arena.


I’ve added this next part post-publication.  I was going to add it at the bottom, but might as well remind us of it here:

True as this is, AFCC is a private business corporation with limited funds, limited (through international) representation on its board of directors (compared to entire states, regions, or countries) and operating tax-exempt, meaning it is required to file tax returns the public can read with the Internal Revenue Service to give an account of itself.  These can (and should) be found, but the entity certainly doesn’t make it easy.  AFCC functions like many other tax-exempts as a “society.”  Private societies and corporations should be clearly differentiated from any forms of legitimate government to which any people are by agreement as willing (naturalized) or (born-there) citizens subject for mutual benefit and welfare.

As usual, it took two searches at Candid.org to get three results because the two most recent tax returns for AFCC had been, somehow, mislabeled (a function more likely of Candid.org than AFCC).  My three screenprints here show that.**  Always locate the EIN# and repeat a search for this particular database, although it’s a pain in the neck.  The three images** are followed by an interactive table which I create (throughout, on this blog) by simply selecting the table (which picks up the links to underlying tax returns) and copying it into the blog so I can discuss or at least show it for readers:

(**The second/by EIN# search I marked up a  lot, so I provided a clean copy as well to show the typos, probably by Candid (not AFCC) which complicate even the most basic look-ups on this database, at least for non-subscribers which I am… I wonder if a paid subscription would result in greater accuracy, but don’t feel like taking that chance, and I doubt it). 

AFCC NameSearch (its EIN# is 952597407) at Candid.org brings up older return only ~~> Screen Shot 2019-11-24 (see two nearby images of EIN# search)…

Total results: 3Search Again.  AFCC is EIN# 952597407.  After some preliminary comments.

The latest year’s tax return shows only 7 employees, but 19 board members.

There are some internal inconsistencies between supporting details page and statements (Part VIIA total vs. Part VIII).  The 7 employees, judging by total “Salaries” would be paid about $100K each except Exec Director (ONLY Pt. VIIA Paid person) got $230K (+ benefits) for FY2017 (top row).  Also, as I’ll continue to point out, it claims to be, but most likely still isn’t, a Wisconsin legal domicile entity, nor did this particular entity start in 1963.  That’s two, continuing, wrong claims on the Header alone.  One mis-states geography as out of state, the other exaggerates by about a dozen years when it actually started.  Again “it” means the reporting entity — not a predecessor entity which was suspended for non-filing and skipped legal domiciles to start up again elsewhere before it got caught (non-filing) again.  

This aspect of the current entity AFCC has been researched  and documented before I came around and is one very disturbing character trait, i.e., lying to the public about itself and maintaining the lie for decades.

I’ve post that before on this blog, but this last time I went to look and found the CyberdriveIllinois.com has been set up differently and is missing a link to search exclusively the business registry (which I complained about on Twitter and posted as a footnote below, yesterday Nov. 23).

Another minor (?) detail I’d like to mention is that it’s listing substantial income (as I recall $913K) on its “Statement of Revenues (also reflected on Page 1 summary, and reflected historically on “Schedule A” making Line 2, “Program Service Revenues” appear to be about double what it really is — for the past five years (which Schedules A show).  Line 1, “Contributions” has a category for “Membership Dues.”

There may be a legitimate excuse for this practice (I’ve seen it before), however it makes the organization overall seem as though it’s main function is providing services, as a 501©3 when in fact its main function is charging fees to its members and charging (next big expense) fees for its conferences, which include trainings for some of its members and others of similar professions (i.e., lawyers, judges, psychologists, etc.).  AFCC is not claiming tax exempt as a “Business and trade” organization (501©6?) which it probably should, but a 501©3 non-private foundation (i.e., public charity).  Entering such a large source of revenues as “Program Service Revenues” rather than what it is, Member Contributions in exchange for privileges of membership, I believe imbalances the profile and is misleading.  That said, I’m not an accountant.

Given WHO its members tend to be, most of these fees are going to be passed on to the public one way or another anyhow…

Total results: 3Search Again.  AFCC is EIN# 952597407 and its fiscal year ends June 30.

Association of Family and Conciliationcourts WI 2018 990 37 $4,332,375.00 95-2597407
Association of Family and Conciliationcourts WI 2017 990 38 $4,137,304.00 95-2597407
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts WI 2016 990 33 $3,731,286.00 95-2597407

(My copied table’s different color scheme, besides being irrelevant (it doesn’t change the numbers), just comes from an older version of the same provider color scheme which I made boilerplate html to add the (same, i.e., older) colors, making these tables easy to identify no matter what year’s post on FamilyCourtMatters.org you’re reading.

From its tax returns (the “mother ship” with a Madison, Wisconsin, USA address) one can see that it basically runs conferences and trainings, and promotes the interests of its members.  The conferences switch locations (even countries) from time to time, meaning that interested parent litigants for the most part couldn’t afford to attend most or all of them, unlike our representative forms of government which have elected persons and must maintain local offices. As such it’s intentionally elitist and offering privileges to its members that people who are forced (often by the judges or by administrative rules of practice) to sit through its programs and sometimes PAY its professionals (beyond any pay they may already have a civil servants), cannot partake in.  This encourages arrogance among the membership and group loyalty while building relationships with each other and those in power locally, not “constituents.”  (Parents run through the courses and courts aren’t AFCC’s “constituents” either; it does not own us — just seeks to exercise ownership control over us and our youngsters and extended families in the name of a particular blend of shared values.  

AFCC may have members in every state but it certainly doesn’t have a chapter or a street address in every one…

It seems like they have also, with outside help from other nonprofit associations and to a degree, government funds, figured out an arena where they are “premier” and on top of the decision-making heap – – – the leaders.  Given that AFCC represents a limited number of professions compared to the number of professions, practices, and “arenas” people operate in nationwide (and worldwide), I’d say that designating or facilitating this subset of people with a shared mindset does NOT represent the best interests of society as a whole, or any nation in particular, based on that shared mindset that “we are the ones…”   When it comes to kids or individual citizens with civil rights — no they aren’t!

If somehow the acronym “AFCC” representing the business name “Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Inc.” is unfamiliar to you, you’re a very new reader of this blog!  Go back to my front page, sticky posts, or blog sidebar for more information on it; some recent links  here:

For more on who/what is AFCC from this blog:

Several sidebar links (further down on it) also feature  earlier (1980s – 2003) newsletters across the organization’s history and in a few recent posts I mentioned how it’s been claimed in a document commissioned by the Ohio Supreme Court (1997, in surveying) as a contributor and possible creator of the family courts themselves in the first place, which document also shows how the family courts as separate jurisdictions and dockets are still a recent development.

Here’s that Sept. 15, 2019, post and a related one addressing current “family court reform” movements and buzz-words, key themes, specifically the “protect children.”  They ask, if family courts were designed with the purpose of “protecting children” then what was the purpose of dependency/child welfare courts (and legislation to go with)?  Why criticize family courts’ failure to do things they weren’t initiated and never claimed to be organized to do in the first place?

This “Builders and their Blueprints” post

Builders and their Blueprints: Who, Really, Designed the Family Courts, How, and Since When? (“The Evidence Speaks”) [Started Aug. 17, 2019, Published Sept. 15].(short-link ends “-aI6” — the middle character is capital “I” as in the personal pronoun or “Idaho; with post-publication addition, 8,800 words.

….explains a key theme of an earlier one,

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)., (short-link ending “-9PC” started May 2, 2019, revisited and expanded June 6-8, “sure hope to publish soon” status, Aug. 6-7,  and finally (!) published August 29 ,

i.e., common sense says, before choosing Reforms, Solutions, Enhancements or Adjudication Improvements, ask, and find out who were the builders and show the blueprints which show purpose/design, intent.

(end, mini-section “For More on Who/What is AFCC from this blog.*”

(*My blog consistently provides links to sources outside the blog, so what I say will not be just opinion or hearsay, i.e., unsupported.)

One of my key exhibits in my ongoing assertion what family courts were NOT designed to do for historically in this blog came from the entity Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Inc.’s own “About Us/History” web page, along with ongoing publications of its own prominent or not-so-prominent but devout  excuse me, devoted and loyal members.

The History page features sections “Divorce with Dignity” and “Mediation Explosion,” and commented on the improvement of introducing the new words of “behavioral science” to replace the old words of “criminal law,” although the family courts aren’t designed to handle or prosecute criminal behavior.  As I recall this is shown on the Front Page or linked to from that page.

In fact one unique quality of family courts (USA at least) is that being accused IN them (unlike when accused of crime and being prosecuted for it by the state) a litigant is NOT appointed a defense counsel when he or she cannot afford one — after all, it’s a problem-solving, dispute-resolving conflict between citizens, not “the state and the accused.”

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Written by Let's Get Honest

November 23, 2019 at 7:07 pm

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

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Blurring Boundaries Between: Nations, Sacred and Secular, Public and Private; Continually Infusing More Social Science into (=Diluting) Law. For example ℅ Nuffield Fndt’n, or Oxford Univ. Press’s ‘International Journal of Family Law, Policy and Social Science’ (Nov. 8, 2019)

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Blurring Boundaries Between: Nations, Sacred and Secular, Public and Private; Continually Infusing More Social Science into (=Diluting) Law. For example ℅ Nuffield Fndt’n, or Oxford Univ. Press’s ‘International Journal of Family Law, Policy and Social Science’ (Nov. 8, 2019).” (Short-link ends “-bxq”), as moved about 2,500 words, as published, about 7,000).

Lifted verbatim from a footnote at this Sticky Post (currently third from the top of this blog):

Acknowledgements, Executive Summary (Current Projects | Rolling Blackouts) and What Makes This Blog “What You Need to Know” (July 31, 2019). (Shortlink ends “-auh”, marked sticky, this is currently 9,900 words.  That includes two lengthy footnotes, one of which I expect to remove to its own post.)

There, this section was a second footnote, labeled:


“…resulting from my curiosity about a journal I’d just discovered and the specific USA “Overseas Advisors,” —  “FOOTNOTE: NUFFIELD FOUNDATION (involvement in Family Law-related projects, UK).”  The second footnote** I hope to off-ramp to its own post in the near future. (Hope =/= Guarantee, however….).

and, within that footnote:

WELL, I CERTAINLY LEARNED A FEW THINGS IN JUST LOOKING UP THREE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS HERE!  (Aug. 2, 2019). Probably going to move this section soon to a new post.

(**The first footnote dealt with pending Family Court-related legislation in Pennsylvania in which, “surprise, surprise,” the same professionals had managed to get their [pages] words in, somehow, despite not being listed even as witnesses on the testimony hearings at the time…For details, see originating post shown above).

This material stems from simple search results which led to a journal article.   International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family (Oxford Academic) (Introducing Social Science Evidence in Family Court Decision-making and Adjudication: Evidence from England and Wales.  (John Eekelaar is one of its two editors listed)

(Editors: Mr John Eekelaar Pembroke College, Oxford, UK and Professor Robert Dingwall, Dingwall Enterprises/ Nottingham Trent University, UK).  Quick look at the latter: shows a career academic, now a consulting sociologist (and professor):

Robert Dingwall draws on more than forty years’ experience as an academic researcher studying health care, legal services, and science and technology policy at the Universities of Aberdeen, Oxford and Nottingham. Over that time, he has held grants and contracts worth more than £6 million (at 2016 prices) in total from the Leverhulme and Wellcome Trusts, ESRC, NERC, MRC, EPSRC, BBSRC, the EU, the UK Department of Health and various NHS/NIHR programmes, the Ministry of Justice, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Food Standards Agency. These have resulted in 30 books and more than 100 scientific papers. Robert Dingwall is also an experienced manager: he served for five years as head of a large social science department and founded and directed what was one of Europe’s leading research institutes in science and technology studies for 12 years. He retains an academic association as a part-time professor in the School of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University.

And in referencing (this is a sub-menu on the website) how he ran across the “sociology of law” — when ran into John Eekelaar, a family lawyer; “very crudely” summarized as …everything to do with the law that is not criminal, although there is some overlap in areas like regulation….

I (Dingwall) stumbled into this field because the Oxford Centre for Socio-Legal Studies wanted to develop some research on court decision-making in cases of child abuse and neglect, led by a family lawyer, John Eekelaar. My PhD research on health visitors had given me a detailed knowledge of the agencies with whom the legal system interacted in these circumstances. Together, John and I developed one of the largest ethnographic studies ever carried out in the UK, tracing child protection cases from the initial sifting of families by frontline workers in various health and social service organizations through to the disposals reached in court hearings. In contrast to many activist claims at the time, we showed that the system had a strong bias against compulsory interventions, like the removal of children. This reflected the fundamental tension between child protection and family privacy at the heart of liberal democratic ideals. Our work had a strong impact on the Children Act 1989 and key concepts like the ‘rule of optimism’ continue to be employed – often inaccurately – by reports on the deaths of children as a result of maltreatment.

At the end of this project, I became involved in three other lines of work that occupied me for much of the next decade: a conversation analytic study of the emerging practice of divorce mediation; a study of asbestos disease litigation, led by WLF Felstiner of the American Bar Foundation; and a programme of studies on law and health care…

Google search link for one of only six “sample publications” shown, I copied from this website: “(D. Greatbatch and R. Dingwall) ‘The marginalization of domestic violence in divorce mediation’, International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 1999, 13; 2: 17490. This shows the journal goes back at least to 1999.  I also found one (publ. 1989) published in  AFCC’s  mouthpiece, “Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 1990“, as seen on this page (not including my emphases):

(D. Greatbatch and R. Dingwall) ‘Selective facilitation: some preliminary observations on a strategy used by divorce mediators’Law and Society Review, 1989, 23; 4: 61341.  Reprinted in abridged and edited form in Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 1990, 28; 1: 5364.  Reprinted in C. Menkel Meadow, ed., Mediation: Theory, Policy and Practice, Aldershot, Ashgate, (2001).

Theme from my originating July 31, 2019 (Sticky) post (-auh) for Nov. 8, 2019 post (-bxq)

I knew while writing the original material as a post footnote that it should be featured more directly, soon.  Here it is.

While this post has images, they’re mostly screenshots of other printed documents (websites). If as a reader your need and desire today is for brighter colors, catchy icons, big logos cartoons, or photographic head-shots, to grab or hold your attention, pick a different post: this one features almost exclusively words, most of them assembled into long sentences.


The situation illustrates that journals (here, published by Oxford University itself — Oxford University Press is a Department of the University) can and do pick and choose their “international” experts according to shared value systems, whether or not in the home countries these individuals might be considered fair, neutral, or unbiased. At the time (last summer) I looked up every single one of the “overseas advisors” (shown below)… but have only posted here on those from the USA.

“Oxford University Press Is” statement at bottom of Journal page..

The post also references a sponsoring foundation (Nuffield), and in passing, the Wellcome Trust (archives of influential group psychotherapist and his wife, which directly connects to establishment of child psychiatry in Canada, to family law, domestic violence prevention, and (as this one turned out) the Association of Family and Conciliation Court (“AFCC”)’s role in all of the above) but the main focus here is on the journal and its USA editors.

Here, out of all professors sharing an interest in this topic across the United States, they have chosen three (two men and one woman) who share specific beliefs about fathers’ rights, at least two a shared religion, and the woman, with powerful prestige (you’ll see), also openly anti-feminist and who:

was named to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences by Pope St. John Paul II in 1994… [cite, below on this post]

PASS (Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences) Wiki (top summary), viewed Nov. 8, 2019

I see that “PASS” (its acronym) was established only in 1994 (see nearby image) and that this woman was listed among (very few women) “Former Academicians” some of which have Wikipedia pages, some which do not.  Of those which do, Nußberger from Germany (doctorate obtained 1993), …

From 1993 to 2001, Nußberger worked at the Max Planck Society Institute for International and Comparative Social Law, including a period as visiting researcher at Harvard University from 1994 to 1995. From 2001 to 2002, she worked as a legal adviser at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

In 2002, Nußberger achieved her habilitation, the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve in Germany, with a thesis on public international law.

A few “former academicians” seem to have been women.  Of the current 27 ‘Academicians‘ listed alphabetically on PASS’s own website, I found only three women. They were from (in alpha order) England, Spain, and Norway (a Dame of Malta).  Also of interest, the American Joseph E. Stiglitz (b. 1943) at Columbia University.  The provision is for no less than 20 or more than 40, total.  Some (not many) are from the USA.

United States concerned citizens should notice how academics whose views run contrary to basic concepts of law and individual rights under it have sought publication abroad, while welcoming editors from abroad to lead (in a similar-themed journal) journals labeled American (specific example in this post, I’ve mentioned it before on blog).

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Bonus Content (Illustrations, More In-Depth Details) by Post, from Certain 2019 Posts, ‘Oct. 3 Clarifications’ and my FNAQs (Publ. Nov. 4, 2019).

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This post was assembled and written and published (about 5,000 words only) within one day, then tweaked the day after.

POST TITLE: Bonus Content (Illustrations, More In-Depth Details) by Post, from Certain 2019 Posts, ‘Oct. 3 Clarifications’ and my FNAQs (Publ. Nov. 4, 2019).  (Short-link ends “-bvP,” with last update to add headings and reformat some images, Nov. 7, now  about 6,500 words)

The top part (Pt. I, My FNAQs) is freshly written; the bottom two-thirds (now, Pt. II, Oct. 3 [2019] Clarifications and Pt. III, Extra Content) were moved/reallocated from another post, to air the content again, as explained below.  Pt. III has the most images and may be the longest.  I have a brief footnote, commentary on a previous “find” on the blog which only asking the FNAQs would’ve unearthed.  And an important one, too…

Pt. II, “Clarifications” summarizes my approach to this blog and links to footnoted content on  “Acknowledgements, Executive Summary” (Sticky Post #3 now).  I think those footnotes will be my next post.

Comments fields are open; let me know if this post raises questions you had, but hadn’t found answers to yet or questions you do not routinely ask when evaluating, assessing, or simply deciding whether to follow (read, support, engage with) a cause featured on a website or referenced in the media, but might consider asking from now on.  Or any other relevant question.

Going after the answers to certain basic types of questions for even ONE organization* immediately starts building [your] transferable skills in reading and assessing basic life situations and government, philanthropy, causes.  It’s a good habit!  I believe identifying certain basic facts (and using the vocabulary to express them: entity/non-entity; public/private; registered for-profit/not-for profit; home legal domicile (country, province, state or territory (if USA)…) should also be basic citizenship skills, necessary in keeping government honest. **when you hadn’t asked or even wondered about these things/asked yourself such questions before.

If you still think that’s someone else’s job, so long as you vote and read/listen to the news, please reconsider!

I haven’t been back to high school recently (or teaching in them), but I don’t see that asking these questions or providing the skills to answer them (or even the websites where they might be) is taught as basic part of “critical thinking” skills in at least (USA) public schools who are often the testing grounds for privatization of behavioral transformation efforts (etc.).

How could they be?  Public schools (categorically) are projects of the government specialized school districts which are government entities; finding their financial statements (CAFRs) would shed light on the entire assets to liabilities, revenues to expenses status of government itself, and how a Budget =/= a Balance Sheet, and how convoluted, in fact, are the programs contracting with and run in the entire operational infrastructure, often targeted by private collaborating foundations (tax-exempt, nonprofit, etc.) testing new technological, psychology, behavioral modification tactics, how to turn schools into social service centers, and at times, sad to say, also drugs.  (Texas TMAP, replicated, later whistleblower, in Pennsylvania, etc.).Many people may think public school financials come under county governments but typically they do not, and are reporting separately.

This also relates to the major asset investment platforms, i.e., institutional funds.

Meanwhile, locally, people are often encouraged to fund-raised for (separate) foundations (tax-exempt 501©3s named after the school districts without having ever looked to see what resources are actually available, and how they are being handled. I’ve seen this in both urban (inner-city) and wealthy (SF Bay Area suburban) areas.  Real estate values tied to quality of schools conceal how much extra money poured into them from outside supplements education quality, or how much extra effort parents (who can, often, afford this) put in to bring their own children’s performance levels competitive (for college…) with those in private schools in the same communities.  I’ve seen this as both a parent and a service provider to for what a public school budget, typically, eliminates, even in “good” school districts.

A few years ago I  wrote a series of posts (out of my own curiosity and where it overlapped with Family Court matters) on organizations focused on running programs for and through public schools, USA to close income and wealth gaps.  The same collaborations also pushing, heavily, for starting schooling at age ZERO; this will continually blend public and private revenues to places untrackable…

All this has to do with attention:  what you pay attention to, and notice when that information is absent in a presentation.   Much of this can be looked up on a cellphone.

Pt. I., My FNAQs

I decided to start with my persistent “FNAQs,” which Pts. II and III reminded me about).

FAQs are Frequently Asked Questions, according to whoever designed a particular website.  They are commonplace.

Here are many FNAQs (Frequently NOT Asked Questions) which I asked and sought answers to time and again over the years during my blogging, to the point most of them became a basic checklist and (when answers were not found) a mental note about the missing information to that entity (or, non-entity) as well as (verall) an ongoing irritant and motivator to keep looking.

I think they are good questions but sad to say, not routinely asked by the public regarding organizations they deal with, seek help from, donate to, or become aware their (respective) government entities fund.  In fact the first question is about identifying “Entity or Not?” when faced with these circumstances.

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