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Posts Tagged ‘CA SB-557 Just Say No!

CA SB-557, and U.S. H.R. 2193 — Family Justice Center & Fatherhood pending legislation

with 2 comments

This post first published 6-25-2011.  Being formatted/broken-links checked in prep for a 3-2017 quote, as this font and the border, plus posting title with link, indicates.   In 2011, I didn’t know how certain formatting techniques which would’ve made for easier viewing…//LGH.

CA SB-557, and U.S. H.R. 2193 — Family Justice Center & Fatherhood pending legislation (case-sensitive, WordPress-generated shortlink ends “-L3”)


AN Ex-NOW (California Chapter) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:

Just a little reminder of an old 2006 missive on the use of Fatherhood Funds from HHS

[“http://www.now.org/issues/family/law/HHSletter.pdf” no longer valid.  The letter was found under Internet Archive, and was only saved in a single snapshot SIX YEARS after its writing.  This version is now uploaded as a pdf and will not disappear; it’s only 2 pages long. //LGH 3-30-2017]

WayBackMachine (Internet Archive) showing that as of March 2017, there was only ONE screenshot of this ltr (in all years). It apparently was not a high-traffic site, or was taken down after being posted earlier.

For broken or missing links, sometimes Internet Archive may have the answer (I used it this time…)

(Click to read; I’m also posting the two full-page screenshots below): 2006 to CalifMembersCongress re HHS (ltr fr CA NOW (signed HGrieco) per WayBackMachine (sole snapshot only 3-22-2012),re-loaded 3-30-2017byVEnglund 2pp




Click here for both pages full-sized (no annotations other than to label the URL (p1 top) and filename (p1 bottom, yellow).

See link in above caption to view this page full-sized.

There are some developments that I report on (and some others) which are not covered in this letter, but it sure has the basics.  I am not (FYI), a NOW member and never was.  However, I do endorse this letter.  Because California NOW is moving its pages around and appears to have dropped or eliminated some of its Family Law Links, I’ll also post the entire letter, below.

Just a little reminder, the origins of the “fatherhood”movement were in part to counteract the perceived threats of feminism and NOW.

Every “now” and then someone trumpets that they have got a reformed or converted feminist in their ranks.  Warren Farrell, Ph.D. is one, and another one I discovered recently (although the activities were in the previous century) is a Karen DeCrow, who is a member of the Family Advisory Task on the Children’s Rights Council, which the author of the 2006 letter cites as a fathers’ group (which it is).  I have blogged far more on AFCC than CRC, but they are related, have personnel in common and as the next link will show, are Richard Gardner-favorable.



A reminder:  this is not a Republican/Democrat issue.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as in “It takes a Village to Raise a Child,” back in 1997 endorsed this group.  In looking into WHY, I ran again into the network of secretive meetings around “The Family” which have involved many U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, among them senators which are definitely pushing fatherhood funding (Santorum, Brownback, Grassley).

(OK, here is that 2007 Mother Jones article:  Hillary’s Prayer: Hillary Clinton’s Religion and Politics )(and another one detailing how Hillary got involved, under the title The Family:  Hillary Clinton’s Fascist Spiritual Guide)  The Family’s connections with anti-Communist dictators (the key word being “dictators” and racist groups mentioned in 2008 article by Barbara Ehrenreich.)(<==hover cursor over the second link for summary text).

Just because someone is a powerful woman doesn’t mean she is in favor of doing something to remedy the family court situation, in which people are dying around exchange of children after or during divorce, or even a rumour of divorce sometimes.  The system is unfair to both men and women because it is indeed “fascist” — it ties systems of control together and holds them at the top policymaking levels.  This is why such organizations are so focused, perhaps, on training judges and training workers and training practitioners of this and that.


(All these images from the CRCkids.org “About us” page — thank you).



Family Board has some familiar names:

Although without governing authority, the Family Advisory Board plays a vital role in helping to recommend advocacy initiatives, strategic planning and policy development to the Board of Trustees. Serving members include:

Karen DeCrow is a nationally recognized author and attorney specializing in Constitutional law, gender and age discrimination, and civil liberties. Her long involvement with the National Organization for Women goes back to 1967; from 1968 to 1974 she served as National Board Member of NOW, and from 1974 to 1977 as its President.
Many of the difficulties in the divorce system date to the 1990s, not the 1970s — and they were legislative reactions to feminism and divorce itself in the 1970s.  We tend to forget this.  As a woman who had her children in the 1990s, not 1960s, I find that the feminist movements are not always on the same page with the situation in the family law courts of the United States.

In 1988 she co-founded (with Robert Seidenberg) World Woman Watch. Karen is based in upstate New York (picture to left)

Being nosy, like I am, about these things, I googled, and found Ms. DeCrow presenting — alongside David Levy (CRC Board) and Richard Gardner, Sanford Braver, etc. at a 1998 conference by the On Step Institute,* a 1992 nonprofit in NY founded by Mental Health (practitioners  Ph.D.’s):

[*2017 UpdateThat link gone without a redirect, Internet Archive Results Screenshot show who are the founders and early discussions of  men’s rights in divorce.  The bottom entry of that 2nd “Conferences” screen shot may have been the same 1998 conference but (clicking on it), no screenshot of that page was taken:]

ONStepInstitute Mental Health Rsrch (NY) 2 FOUNDERS fr WayBackBachine (Karen DeCrow~ see FamilyCourtMatters’ORG 6-25-2011 post) (Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 3.27PM

(Other links below that look like “ONStep Intitute” filenames are to one of the images (screenshots) on ONStep provided below, all from the WayBackMachine).  I didn’t find any specifically referencing Karen DeCrow, but they do give an idea of the discussions professionals (such as the two founders profiled) were having during those years, under the label of “Mental Health.” (The links are separated by “|x|” this time but click the filename, not the “|x|”))


Conferences (1998 one on Divorce at bottom)

OSi (OnStep Institute) past conferences, 1999-2011 (frm WaybackMachine)


Update (as I’m getting ready to reference this post in 2017 because it refers to that SB 557 Family Justice Center).  In the interim, Karen DeCrow (nee Lipschultz), the third President of N.O.W. and longtime also supporter of men’s rights, died in 2014.  Some of her obituaries characterize her position including, as some feminists are (but at the time apparently absolutely were not) in favor of shared custody for men, and de-emphasizing the male violence against women | domestic violence factors as exaggerated or somehow over-emphasized.

Speaking as a formerly battered (while pregnant and married) wife, I obviously do not agree.

However some updated images and texts FYI; this first one is from Warren Farrell:

“In the early 70s, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Karen and I  would often say, “what the world needs is more women at work, and more dads at home.” This was N.O.W.s position until about 1973. However, as divorces increased, NOW started hearing from moms who were dropping their memberships because, as the complaint usually ran, “I know my child best; I know what she or he needs. If I don’t want the dad involved, it’s for a reason—he’s either a bad dad or we’ve had a bad experience and I just need to take my children away and start a new life.”

N.O.W. was caught between supporting equality versus jeopardizing its base. It chose to not jeopardize its base. Gloria and Betty, while not changing their position rhetorically, looked the other way as NOW intensified its efforts to portray men either as deadbeats or self-interested (“they just want the money”) or prone to domestic violence. Karen was the only other leading feminist who not only spoke differently, but agreed to speak at fathers’ conferences. Karen’s courage marginalized her from the feminist leadership and the millions of dollars of speaking fees she could otherwise have obtained.

[2017 comment, “Ahem — fathers’ conferences have speakers’ fees too…!”]

I knew what Karen was enduring, because I took the same road she took. While my break was cleaner, Karen tried to walk the tightrope of the balance between integrity and retaining feminist colleagues and friends.

When she agreed in 2005 to write the foreword to my Why Men Earn More: the Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap–and What Women Can Do About It, she shared with me some of her lifetime of worries about losing feminist support. It wasn’t just the lost speaking fees. It was the isolation. It was desiring to lead, but being kept at arm’s length by feminist leadership.

As Karen shared that, I recollect envisioning a devil and angel fighting inside her. In the case of the foreword and in other cases I witnessed, Karen almost always chose the angel of integrity.

That was by Warren Farrell, In Memoriam of (A Karen DeCrow Appreciation), image here (to read the 91 comments, click that first link).  Also the closing sentence (next to last sentence is in the quote above):

With Karen’s death passes a feminist who, were her leadership allowed to be the guiding light, would have allowed millions of children to have a dad to guide them and love them.

Image by Karen DeCrow
Editor’s note: This article is also available in Italian.

To claim this in 2014 after both the 2006 and 2011 rounds of $150M/year “marriage/fatherhood” HHS funding (CFDA93086) as though it didn’t exist, is really a testament to the power of pretend exercised by Farrell at this time.  This type of funding began as welfare diversions back in 1996, too….and as I said, CA NOW was reporting on it, at least a few public attempts, as of 2006….

Karen DeCrow Appreciation in AVoiceforMen by WarrenFarrell *6-14-2014) with 1 comments (Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 8.42PM)

K Decrow 2014 Obituary (from funeral service LLC) Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 8.41PM shows affiliations: NOW, Chamber Music (in Syracuse), Planned Parenthood, Central NY Women’s Bar Association, or NY Chapter of ACLU.

[[picking up the post from before 2017 updates and inserted images on OnStep Institute and Karen DeCrow…]]
Richard Gardner’s presentation was on.  “Criteria for Differentiation between True and False Sex-Abuse Allegations in Child Custody Disputes (Part II)”  The entire conference (I am looking at the pdf but can’t get the computer to copy the phrasing) is about “changing the paradigm”   The conference was “in invitation to [note order of professions listed] mental health professionals, legislators, attorneys, mediators (an AFCC emphasis) and members of the judiciary to discover solutions in the new reality of dual-provider families.  Shared primary care responsibilities (i.e., that was the goal) require a new developmental paradigm for families in the 21st century.

Shattering Fictions and Myths in Divorce
Stern Auditorium, Mount Sinai College of Medicine, New York City
Video available  June 6, 1998

[I see this was from the On Step Institute, “OSi” — see images above]

Invite the mental health professionals in to fix the paradigm — perhaps not the best idea, but it’s definitely a going operation at this point.   Again — what about law?  Mental health norms + legalizing them?  Frightening concept; who gets to say what’s normal, and what happens to creativity in a country when that power is centralized through a national (and in fact, international) network of rhetoric dispensers, with funding through IRS and wage garnishments (Child support system) — and with power to commit people who disagree to jail for being mentally incorrect?  Sounds like a Gulag to me — and has felt like one in practice.  Where is the feedback loop here?

[This list is continuing from the CRC Family Advisory Board, started above, after taking time out to discuss Ms. DeCrow)..

  • He’s all over my blog, primarily for the egregious act of having snuck in the Access Visitation language at the 9th hour into the Welfare Reform (Title IV-D) bill which is to this day making divorce a long-term, hell hole — because it undermines due process and informed consent on basic legal processes.  Through incentives.  Ah well…
  • S. Richard Sauber Ph.D., author;
  • Ms. Vicki Lansky, author and columnist; (Child Support connection, I THINK, though am not sure).
  • Ms. Lola Bailey, President of the National Committee of Grandparents for Children’s Rights;
  • Larry Gaughan J.D., Professional Director for Family Mediation of Greater Washington DC;  {AFCC, though probably not the only one on here who is}
  • James Levine Ed.D., former director of the Family and Work Institute;
  • Chief Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, Washington Hebrew Congregation of DC; and
  • Elliott H. Diamond, co-founder of the Children’s Rights Council.

Well to the main topic of today’s (6-25-2011) post:

CA SB-557

Search CA SB-557.  First result I found was a comment from Survivors in Action asking for a slight revision to it.

The next several results were me, saying ‘WHOA! — Just say NO!” etc.

Below that was an “Open Government”link which says this:

At the moment, we’re finding no mentions of the search term “California SB 557” in our daily automated search of the Web (viaGoogle News and Blog Search). There may be relevant news articles & blog posts outthere on the Web that refer to this bill by a slightly different name or title — in which case, they’re not included here, but our goal is to aggregate as much relevant info as possible. If you know of any, contact us with the specific links, and we’ll display them here for everyone to access.

It’s only a bill to repeal part of the California Penal Code, which in part decides who does and doesn’t get punished for (or protected from) crimes.  Penal / Penalty, etc.  Breaking the Penal Code subjects one to potential prosecution by a local (i.e., county-based) District Attorney, or not.  California has 58 counties, and the author of this bill (Christine Kehoe) comes from San Diego, one of the counties that was characterized as “Enron by the Bay” in the New York Times.  So, what exactly, is being sold here?

California Senate Bill

SB 557

An act to add and repeal Title 5.3 (commencing with Section 13750) of Part 4 of the Penal Code, relating to family justice centers.

A portion of this fill encourages victims (likely to be uninformed and highly traumatized and/or injured) to OK a sharing of confidential information among partners (in the justice system) in the assurance that this will help provide the victims better access to justice:

Staff members at a family justice center may be comprised of, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Law enforcement personnel.
(2) Medical personnel.
(3) District attorneys and city attorneys.
(4) Victim-witness program personnel.
(5) Domestic violence shelter service staff.
(6) Community-based rape crisis, domestic violence, and human
trafficking advocates.
(7) Social service agency staff members.
(8) Child welfare agency social workers.
(9) County health department staff.
(10) City or county welfare and public assistance workers.
(11) Nonprofit agency counseling professionals.
(12) Civil legal service providers.
(13) Supervised volunteers from partner agencies.
(14) Other professionals providing services.
(d) All family justice centers are encouraged to maintain an informed consent process to authorize any sharing of confidential, privileged, or protected information between individuals or agencies working within a center. “Informed client consent” shall refer to a process established by a family justice center to inform the victim of all applicable confidentiality provisions of state and federal law, inform the victim of the implications of waiving of these confidentiality provisions, and a written process for authorization to share information within a center. A victim may authorize the disclosure and sharing of information among partner agencies for the
purposes of providing enhanced services.


Just to play the opposite side:  What about issues where there has been police violence, or DA simply tossing cases inappropriately?  More to the point, what about some of the indications that like all other agencies, law enforcement is subject to undue influence and corruption — hence what are the checks and balances?

This is in a recent San Francisco Bay Area County — and the 2nd Family Justice Center (Alameda, containing the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Alameda, etc.) was in neighboring county.  D.A. Nancy O’Malley [helped appoint the CEO, a political crony, helped obtain I heard the initial $3 million grant — and was recently found in Washington D.C promoting SB 557) of the 2nd Family Justice Center here is from a well-established family, the O’Malleys.  The Contra Costa District Attorney metioned here (Mark Peterson) here ran against an O’Malley, and it was a close run, hear tell:


FBI and U.S. Attorney Take Over Alleged Police Corruption Cases

Contra Costa County District Attorney says the feds have more resources to conduct investigation

by BAY CITY NEWS SERVICE on June 3, 2011 – 8:46 p.m. PDT

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/12ANZ)

Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson announced that as of today the U.S. Attorneys’ Office and the FBI will be taking over the investigation of a case involving three allegedly corrupt law enforcement officers and a private investigator.

He said his office was not, however, dropping the 38 criminal charges filed against the four men, Norman Wielsch, Christopher Butler, Stephen Tanabe, and Louis Lombardi.

Those charges include conspiracy and the sale and possession of marijuana, methamphetamine and steroids. The charges also include possession of assault weapons, embezzlement, receipt of stolen property and bribery, Peterson said.

So, can I indicate a degree of caution in just assuming that all law enforcement officers, such as those who will be in the family justice centers, are free from corruption, undue influence, or ulterior motives?  Not to mention that none of them are personally abusing their own wives or kids (it happens).

The case began in January as a state Department of Justice investigation into alleged criminal activity of Wielsch, who was at the time the commander of the state-run Central Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team, known as CNET, and Butler, a private investigator and former Antioch police officer.

The state charges, however, will be set aside while the federal case is being tried and will likely be resolved when the federal case is resolved, Peterson said.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Wielsch, 50, and Butler, 49, in February, accusing Wielsch of stealing drugs from law enforcement evidence lockers and working with Butler to have them sold back out into the community.

Within the next three months, investigators uncovered evidence that Tanabe, 47, who was a Danville police officer at the time, and Lombardi, 38, who was a San Ramon police officer at the time, were also involved in some of Wielsch and Butler’s alleged criminal activities.

Some of the crimes were allegedly committed while the men were serving as law enforcement officers.

Wielsch, Tanabe and Lombardi have all since resigned from their positions as law enforcement officers and Butler has surrendered his private investigator’s license.

According to Peterson, the case has consumed hundreds of hours in investigation and prosecution efforts and there are still some matters that need further investigation, including allegations involving a possible brothel and possible marijuana growing farms.

A possible brothel.  Other indicators of sensitivity towards violence towards women, not to mention that Casey Gwinn (of the San Diego / first “Family Justice Center”) was sued by one of his own employees for ignoring a clearcut and potentially lethal domestic violence situation with one of his own employees (I blogged it) and simply giving another female employee, (Josie Clark) the task of cleaning it up — but only after the victim had gotten herself arrested for threatening to kill her spouse.  (The spouse that was beating her up — was he arrested?)

Wielsch’s attorney Michael Cardoza said federal investigators would likely also be looking closely at the Antioch Police Department, since at least three of the defendants are former Antioch police officers.

That’s encouraging, especially in the context of a brothel.  The Jaycee Dugard / Phillip & Nancy Garrido case was in Antioch; she was imprisoned and repeatedly raped in a set of backyard sheds, and raised the two girls that the rape led to the birth of.  Some of the local news at that time (less highly publicized, although the case was definitely international) from neighbors said they were concerned it was being used as a brothel also.  Of course, neighbors are neighbors, but at least ONE had attempted to get help and reported people living in the sheds back there — in Antioch.

Peterson said his decision to turn the investigation over to the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI will bring more resources to the case.

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/12ANZ)


They are talking potential RICO in this case, and it has a divorce component also, private investigator allegedly on the take, cooperating with police officers to set up men in divorces with DUIs.  However, unless they were actually injecting the liquor into the men’s mouths, they still did allegedly drive drunk and were in the wrong place with the wrong women at the wrong time.  BUT, a setup is still a setup:

Article by Cecile Vega:

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) — New allegations are surfacing after the arrest of yet another officer linked to the Contra Costa County narcotics team scandal.

The investigation now claims that female decoys were used to trap men, a private investigator plotted it all, and a police officer was on the take. 47-year-old Stephen Tanabe of Alamo was contracted by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department to work patrol in Danville. He is now in a Martinez jail on $260,000 bail.

A popular Danville wine bar was one of the locations where decoys, usually attractive women, plied unsuspecting men with liquor. Almost as soon as they left the parking lot, they were reportedly stopped and arrested for driving drunk by Contra Costa Sheriff’s Deputy Stephen Tanabe.

(Copyright ©2011 KGO-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
Other bills have already been passed by state assemblies (about 10 years ago) establishing commissions on responsible fatherhood.  Violence Against Women groups hardly mentioned it, that I can recall (locally), despite complaining loudly about their treatments in the courts.  Here’s one from 2001 in Washington State.  It regurgitates the same National Fatherhood Initiative rhetoric, the NFI having itself been started by an INAPPROPRIATE, non-competititve $500,000 fund steered to it by an involved (can you spell conflict of interest?) person in authority in HHS.  The rest is, as we say, “history” and still being written — in state and national legislatures.
Fathers, commission on responsible fatherhood: SB 6801

6801 Sponsor(s): Senator Kastama

Brief Description: Creating the Washington state commission for responsible fatherhood.

SB 6801 – DIGEST

Establishes the Washington state commission for responsible fatherhood.

I’m not a Washington State resident, but for the record, it dates to 2002.  It reads like the boilerplate stuff we hear over and over and over again:

AN ACT Relating to the Washington state commission for responsible fatherhood; and adding a new chapter to Title 43 RCW.


NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The legislature finds that:

(1) Children living in single-parent households are more likely to be living in poverty;

(2) The overwhelming percentage of children residing in poverty reside in homes where fathers are not present;

(3) Children living in poverty are at a significantly greater risk for drug and alcohol abuse;

(4) Children living in poverty are twice as likely to drop out of school;

(5) The vast majority of homeless and runaway children are from homes where children live in poverty;

(6) Washingtonians recognize that children are more likely to thrive with support, guidance, and nurturing from both parents;

(7) The absence of one parent from a child’s life can place that child at a greater risk of health, emotional, educational, and behavioral problems associated with the child’s development;

H.R. 2193

Federal Interagency Initiatives

The White House Interagency Responsible Fatherhood Workgroup, led by the White House Office of Faith- Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is working to increase awareness of the importance of fathers in the lives of their children and to integrate fathers into family services throughout the government.

• The HHS Incarceration and Reentry Work Group is part of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, which has partnered 18 federal departments and agencies to leverage resources for reentry, remove barriers to reentry, and clarify federal policies. (Take a look at the Council’s interactive map for major federal reentry initiatives and active reentry grants in each state.)

The Child Support and Fatherhood Initiative, part of President Obama’s FY 2012 budget, proposes continuous emphasis on program outcomes and efficiency, and provisions to help further encourage fathers to take responsibility for their children and to promote strong and safe family relationships.

• The Department of Labor’s Transitional Jobs Initiative is funding grants to support transitional job programs, as well as other activities and services, to increase the workforce participation of low-income, hard-to-employ populations, specifically noncustodial parents and ex-offenders (who may or may not be noncustodial parents) reentering their communities.

• The Homeless Veteran’s Project partners HHS, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the American Bar Association to work with homeless veterans and their families to address challenges (such as old fines, child support debts, and other legal judgments) that compromise their ability to move into permanent housing.

• As part of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities, HHS released two strategic plans to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity in the Nation.

(in the original, these are all links);
Julia Carson Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2011 – Amends part D (Child Support and Establishment of Paternity) of title IV of the Social Security Act to condition continued approval of a state plan upon state assessment of its policies with respect to barriers to employment and financial support of children. Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to states for an employment demonstration project involving a court- or state child support agency supervised-employment program for noncustodial parents who have barriers to employment and a history of nonpayment, so that they can pay their child support obligations. Directs the Secretary of Labor to award grants for transitional jobs programs and for public-private career pathways partnerships. Amends part A (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) (TANF) of title IV of the Social Security Act (SSA) with respect to: (1) funding for responsible fatherhood programs, (2) activities promoting responsible fatherhood, and (3) elimination of a separate TANF work participation rate for two-parent families. Prohibits a state from conditioning receipt of TANF or certain other benefits on: (1) participation in a healthy marriage or responsible fatherhood program, or (2) assignment to the state of certain support rights. Amends SSA title IV part D (Child Support and Establishment of Paternity) to prohibit a state from collecting any amount owed it by reason of costs it has incurred for the birth of a child for whom support rights have been assigned. Requires a state to make a full distribution of collected child support to the family. Amends the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 with respect to: (1) deductions from family income for child support received in order to qualify for food stamps, (2) verification of child support payments, and (3) inclusion of economic opportunities programs in qualifying work programs. Amends SSA title IV part A with respect to: (1) grants to healthy family partnerships for domestic violence intervention and prevention, and (2) grant recipients and their procedures for responding to the risks of domestic violence. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to increase the credit percentage under the earned income tax credit for eligible individuals with no qualifying children.
[In 2017 March update, I added the images and a link to the full (2-page) document, closer to the top of this post.//LGH]]
This excerpt highlights what I’m concerned about in the above legislations (both of the) pending in Washington, and California:

In addition, CA NOW believes that Wade Horn, current Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, has a major conflict of interest in his role overseeing such programs, given his past affiliation as president of the National Fatherhood Initiative. Horn, as President of National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), promoted (in collaboration with fathers rights groups) during 1999 and 2000, “Fathers Count” legislation, which would have mandated $10,000,000 in total annual funding to fathers organizations. According to the legislative language, only NFI and the leading fathers’ rights group, Children’s Rights Council, would have qualified for the grants. The bill passed the Congress, but was stalled by the Senate Finance Committee.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way:

In March 2001, NFI received a $500,000 non-competitive grant, shortly after Horn became “Acting” HHS Assistant Secretary ( February 2001), while he was still NFI President (not resigning until July 2001). This grant was authorized by a December 2000 Congressional “ear-mark” inserted in an appropriations bill after the “Fathers Count” bill failed to pass the Senate Finance Committee. NFI refuses to disclose how this money was used. Also, Horn conceals he has on-going conflicts-of-interest with NFI and the implementation of the fatherhood programs.

The passing of this legislation was preceded by a conflict of interest grant ear-marked.  The man allocating the grant was a member of the nonprofit to which the grant was directed.  This practice is STILL going on today, and viewed in its proper (economic, legislative) light — without the jargon — it is basically dedicating public funds to pursue what is really a private dream of a self-styled group of “prominent thinkers.”  Yes, the NFI site at one time characterized NFI as having been started by “prominent thinkers.”  A more appropriate term might have been “pushy self-promoting egotists.”  These people should be allowed to undermine due process, target services to one half the US population on the basis that there is a crisis in fatherlessness.
As I like to say, two other institutions which promote fatherlessness are wars, and slave-like human conditions, a spinoff from the institution of slavery, the backbone of the US economy.  If the MEN who don’t like too many fatherless children littering the streets are so concerned about this, then let them vote us into fewer wars.  The US Congress is nowhere close to half women, and yet the leaders are ever afraid we are going to take over, especially the browner populations with more babies.  I’m getting, frankly, tired of this language all over the internet, and in government circles.  Houston, we have a serious problem.
Here’s the entire letter before I say any more:

California Member of Congress, 8/02/06

California National Organization for Women (CA NOW) is respectfully requesting that you join the call for a federal investigation, by the U.S. Government Reform Committee, into the operations of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration of Children and Families’ Access/Visitation and “Responsible Fatherhood” programs, including those operating in California.

CA NOW believes that these fatherhood programs misuse funds, do not account for their spending nor evaluation of their programming, and encourage illegal court practices that result in harm to women’s safety and well-being. We believe that fathers’ child support arrears are frequently abated by these groups, in violation of the Bradley amendment. We also believe that Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration of Children and Families, has a conflict of interest serving in this capacity, and operates from a dangerous political ideology that actively favors fathers’ rights and seeks to minimize mothers’.

CA NOW believes an investigation would expose serious system failure and fraud in these fatherhood programs. They are funded with federal money intended for resolving parental disputes, but instead give legal representation to fathers, which often results in high conflict litigation against perfectly fit mothers. CA NOW believes many fathers use these resources in order to avoid paying child support, and that many batterers do so in order to continue to abuse and manipulate their spouses and children through financially draining and emotionally devastating litigation, that often stretches on for years and years.

Fatherhood programs operate on the false premise that there is a “crisis in fatherlessness,” which is contradicted by Census data. CA NOW asked HHS, and the National Fatherhood Initiative (the most cited program on the HHS website) to justify this claim of crisis, and to date have not received an answer from them. We believe the entire premise for the programming is erroneous, and that mothers and their children are suffering harm from the consequences of such a focus.

Through political connection, legal trainings, and funding diversions, these fatherhood programs emphasize false syndromes, such as Parental Alienation Syndrome as a technique to remove children from their mothers. Fatherhood groups train court appointed minors’ attorneys, mediators and evaluators to discriminate against mothers, and create a vacuous draining of mothers of funding, faith in the system, and ability to fight to protect their children. These are primary caregiving mothers. Single mothers whose children’s fathers come back after years without contact, and demand and receive full or partial custody. Mothers are losing custody to their abusers, to men who have abused or neglected their children, and men with criminal backgrounds. Often fathers are awarded custody based on frivolous justifications, such

as insufficient cooperation with the father, while documented evidence of domestic violence and abuse, even sexual abuse, goes ignored.

In 2002 California NOW analyzed 300 complaints from California mothers who believed family courts ignored laws, procedures and evidence in their cases. We used this analysis as the basis of our report, the CA NOW Family Court Report 2002. The report shows that in these particular cases, where women had lost custody of their children, there was a high correlation between grounded evidence of child abuse by the father and the mother losing custody. 86% could prove that their children’s father had a history of domestic violence, child abuse, or a criminal record. In many cases, illegal maneuvers, such as the labeling of mothers with false syndromes, as well as the use of ex parte hearings, and biased and unqualified extra-judicial personnel, were used to remove children from their primary care-giving mothers, thus violating the woman’s parental rights and injuring the child(ren) by loss of contact with their non-offending mother. Other professional comprehensive studies show similar results, including the Wellesley Women’s Center Battered Women’s Testimony Project, and sociologist Amy Neustein, PhD and attorney Michael Lesher’s book, Madness to Mutiny: Why Mothers Are Running from the Family Courts—and What Can Be Done About It.

In addition, CA NOW believes that Wade Horn, current Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, has a major conflict of interest in his role overseeing such programs, given his past affiliation as president of the National Fatherhood Initiative. Horn, as President of National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), promoted (in collaboration with fathers rights groups) during 1999 and 2000, “Fathers Count” legislation, which would have mandated $10,000,000 in total annual funding to fathers organizations. According to the legislative language, only NFI and the leading fathers’ rights group, Children’s Rights Council, would have qualified for the grants. The bill passed the Congress, but was stalled by the Senate Finance Committee.

In March 2001, NFI received a $500,000 non-competitive grant, shortly after Horn became “Acting” HHS Assistant Secretary ( February 2001), while he was still NFI President (not resigning until July 2001). This grant was authorized by a December 2000 Congressional “ear-mark” inserted in an appropriations bill after the “Fathers Count” bill failed to pass the Senate Finance Committee. NFI refuses to disclose how this money was used. Also, Horn conceals he has on-going conflicts-of-interest with NFI and the implementation of the fatherhood programs.

California NOW has HHS evaluation reports that show that the “Responsible Fatherhood” program is used for unauthorized practices such as soliciting fathers through the child support system with offers of abatements on their child support arrears (in violation of the Bradley Amendment) and free attorneys for their custody litigation. Some litigating mothers have provided us with county payment records that show the attorney of the litigating farther was paid from these programs. These unauthorized practices are so common that flyers soliciting fathers into ‘litigation assistance’ groups have been found displayed in county court buildings, while some state court web sites display links to their fatherhood programs. This practice violates the mission of the judicial system, as it provides special litigation assistance to one-side of a legal dispute.

While being funded by federal money, these court-based fatherhood services do not admit non-custodial mothers into their programs. (In fact, a search of the HHS website includes 286 references to “motherhood” and 824 references to “fatherhood.”) California NOW has copies of internal HHS e-mail showing Wade Horn’s staff have obstructed investigations of mothers’ complaints about the Responsible Fatherhood and related programs

California NOW is asking for you to join the call for a thorough investigation by the Government Reform Committee into the fatherhood programs—including those in California– and HHS Assistant Secretary, Wade Horn’s conflict of interest in these programs. We implore you to support the Government Reform Committee’s investigations–already now underway–by contacting the staff investigator and urging that California be included in the investigation. The staff director is David Marin, phone number 202-225-5074, address c/o Government Reform Committee, 2157 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515.

Thank you for your time and immediate attention to this matter.

For Justice, Helen Grieco

Helen Grieco Executive Director California National Organization for Women (CA NOW)

This is not going to happen voluntarily.  Through the internet, interested parties (after they’re done purchasing, promoting, and interviewing the authors of THIS book:


Legal Strategies and Policy Issues

Edited by Mo Therese Hannah, Ph.D. and Barry Goldstein, J.D.

...should start using their heads, hands, and mouths to consider and investigate the HHS grants system and its conduit, the Child Support System (see links above) which this book simply chose to ignore — wrongfully.  
As  nice a disbarred person has Mr. Goldstein is, he has totally ignored that in the case that helped GET him disbarred (Genia Shockome), one of the agents, a supervised visitation person, Viola Stroud, was later convicted of embezzlement.  
There are issues with the supervised visitation field, and serious problems.
Nor does the book talk about the stupendous proliferation of parenting education nonprofits, and how little account of the funds going to them (i.e., double-billing concerns) even after this has been identified.
To not even mention child support agencies, AFCC, CRC, or the basic people (personnel) involved in some of these movements, is simply to me, unconscionable.  Any honest person who has had exposure to some of this would be motivated to expose and publicize it, as I have been.
No “legal strategy” in a custody case is likely to defeat a situation where extortion or RICO influences are at play within that court.
I regret how so many protective mothers groups have really drained people’s energies away from more productive — and friendly to both Dad and Moms overall — solutions to these troubles brought upon many people by just a few sets of people, primarily in the late 1980s through about 2001 (Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives).  From that point on, we have seen only expansion and multiplication from the original themes, spawning profession after profession that the rest of the country who contributes to the IRS has to prop up, whether or not they were responsible for the problems.
I also will continue to report on the coalitions against domestic violence and the “Family Violence” sectors which dominate the conversations on stopping violence against women — without actually doing so, and who prefer taking “technical assistance” grants to reporting on their fellow-crooks in other nonprofit organizations doing the same thing.
[[2017 March interjection.  Read the Table of Contents.  I kept my word on this!]]
Although the symbol on the US$ includes a pyramid, these activities are stacking the burden on the lowest economic sector higher and higher — as more people have jobs in the government, or government contracts (grants) based industries.  This is supported FORCIBLY through collection of taxes and FORCIBLY through child support wage garnishment, all supposed to be wonderful institutions we should support indefinitely because the average human being can’t raise or educate a child (or connect with someone else who can), or alleged tell his _ _ s from a hole in the ground.
This is sheer population management, and brings out the passive in the people farmed, and the aggressive in the leaders.

[Apart from formatting the quotes (adding boxes) and adding some color and bold to the latter part of the post, the wording has remained the same.  As I said in early 2017 (Feb “Retrospective” post), I also basically said in 2011 — and “I told you so!”]  Certain people chose NOT to report on certain things, to this day, allowing the infrastructure of the system to become entrenched and from there just keep expanding.]]
You just read an updated June 25, 2011 post, CA SB-557, and U.S. H.R. 2193 — Family Justice Center &amp; Fatherhood pending legislation (case-sensitive, WordPress-generated shortlink ends “-L3”).

Evaluate, Coordinate, Prepare to Call “Alienator!” — Pt. 2: CFCC and AFCC people Nunn, Depner, Ricci, Stahl, Pruett(s), and others DV groups fail to talk about

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And how this dovetails with purpose of  Access Visitation Grants grants…

The last post (or so) discussed practices in Pennsylvania and Indiana, with side-trips to Kentucky and California, where they originated from anyhow.

(If you read it, I meanwhile confirmed that KidsFirstOrange County Gerald L. Klein & Sara Doudna-Klein, yes,are married.  I forgot to include how much they charge for services ($300 per parent, $120 per kid) in teaching about parental alienation and conflict…..  I wonder who was the first Mrs. Gerald L. Klein… and whether these two have children together or not.

In context, Kids Turn, or Kids’ First, or steering cases to certain mediators, certain GALs, etc. — is the habit.  And then, to top it off, extorting parents into participation through the child support system (Kentucky), or changing the civil code of procedure AND even the Custody Complaint form to name ONE provider of ONE parenting education course (Libassi Mediation Services) which is already being marketed elsewhere — outrageous.

This was tried in California, to standardize judge& attorney-originated nonprofits through the California Judicial Council, but our then-governor vetoed it (though both houses of the legislature passed it).

Now pending — Probably still — is another one that is legitimizing a practice already established, the Family Justice Center Alliance out of San Diego, like Kids’ Turn and financial fraud at the City Attorney’s office level, and so forth.   Why stop while you’re ahead?

This has currently flown through House & Senate and as of June 9th was referred to  Location: Assembly Committee Public Safety Committee  and I think, Judiciary.  Here’s some analysis from the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Senator Christine Kehoe (who sponsored the bill) just so happens to be chair of the appropriations committee and from one of the cities involved in expanding the Justice Center concept (actually the city that started it:  San Diego).


(link gives the bill’s history; the following is accessible through it)

Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary

Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair

Hearing Date: 05/26/2011

BILL SUMMARY: SB 557 would authorize the cities of San Diego and Anaheim, and the counties of Alameda and Sonoma, until January 1, 2014, to establish family justice centers (FJCs) to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, human trafficking, and other victims of abuse and crime. This bill would require each FJC to maintain an informed consent policy in compliance with all state and federal laws protecting the confidentiality of the information of victims seeking services. This bill would require the Office of Privacy Protection (OPP), in conjunction with the four pilot centers and relevant stakeholders, to develop best practices to ensure the privacy of all FJC clients and shall submit a report to the Legislature no later than January 1, 2013.

2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 (thereafter, the FJCs are to be locally funded)

Fiscal Impact (in thousands)   Establishment of FJCs Unknown; potentially major local costs for operation and services
Major Provisions  
 Report to Legislature $17 to OPP (Office of Privacy Protection) in advisory role General


…This bill would require the Office of Privacy Protection (OPP), in conjunction with the four pilot centers and relevant stakeholders, to develop best practices to ensure the privacy of all FJC clients and shall submit a report to the Legislature no later than January 1, 2013.

…Should the specified cities and counties opt to establish a FJC, there will be unknown, but major local costs for operation and the provision of services to FJC clients.  Costs would be dependent on the number of clients, FJC procedures, staffing, and the availability and cost of local treatment and service providers.

…The OPP has indicated a cost of $62,000 as the lead agency to develop best practice privacy recommendations and coordination of the report to the Legislature.

To reduce the costs of the bill, staff recommends an amendment to have the four pilot centers reduce the OPP to an advisory role over the development of best practices. The OPP has indicated reducing their involvement to oversight and review of the report would result in costs of approximately $17,000.    (WELL, the OPP is slated for elimination anyhow, this report notes).

I’m posting the SB 557 updates for California residents.   Information from:

TotalCapitol home


Recently, I posted on:

  • Kids Turn (Parent education curriculum, nonprofit started & staffed by family court personnel, with wealthy patrons AND gov’t sponsorship through federal Access/Visitation Funding)
  • Family Justice Centers (origin in San Diego; Casey Gwinn, Gael Strack) and their background.  INcluding a boost by Bush’s OFCBI initiative in 2003 — adding the faith factor to violence prevention.  Sure, yeah..
  • Family Justice Center #2, Alameda County — see “Dubious Doings by District Attorneys” post.
  • Also, remember the Justicewomen.org article on the importance of District Attorneys in safety (or lack of it) towards women.  A D.A. decides whether to, or NOT, to prosecute individual cases.  It’s a huge responsibility.
  • What’s Duluth (MN) got to do with it?
  • What’s Domestic Violence Prevention got to do with this California-based racket?  I questioned what a Duluth-based group spokesperson (Ellen Pence) is doing hobnobbing with a Family Justice Center founder (Casey Gwinn).
  • I have more unpublished (on this blog) draft material on this.
  • The elusive EIN of  “Minnesota Program Development, Inc.” which gets millions of grants (around $29 million, I found) but from what I can tell doesn’t even have an EIN registered in MN, although its address is 202 E. Superior Street, Duluth, MN, and it definitely has a staff.
  •  I have more unpublished (on this blog) draft material on this.  
  • Toronto Integrated Domestic Violence Courts
  • This was intended to be a “break” on SB 557 and Family Justice Centers, but thanks to the internet and international judges’ associations, and downloadable curricula, this is simply (it seems) another AFCC-style project.  (Kids Turn knockoffs, talk of high-conflict & parental alienation, and modeled after several US states).  The intended “global” reach (UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, etc.) is happening, and makes it hard to “take a break” from California basic corrupt practices by looking at another country’s handling of the same issues. The world is flattening — Internet, I guess.
  • Last post, I addressed some partner-type organizations:  AFCC/CRC, or CPR/PSI (in Denver), and personnel they have in common.

REMINDER — in CALIFORNIA — Three accepted purposes of the A/V funds system remain:

Supervised Visitation is an idea from that became an industry spawned and sprouted by some of the above groups, and watered by the US federal funds to the states. The link cites the supporting 1996 legislation…    For a reminder

California’s Access to Visitation Grant Program (Fiscal Year 2009–2010)


Federal and State Program Goals

The congressional goal of the Child Access and Visitation Grant Program is to “remove barriers and increase opportunities for biological parents who are not living in the same household as their children to become more involved in their children lives.”3 Under the federal statute, Child Access and Visitation Grant funds may be used to

support and facilitate noncustodial parents’ access to and visitation [with] their children by means of activities including mediation (both voluntary and mandatory), counseling, education, development of parenting plans, visitation enforcement** (including monitoring, supervision and neutral drop-off and pick-up), and development of guidelines for visitation and alternative custody arrangements.4

The use of the funds in California, however, is limited by state statute to three types of programs:5

  • Supervised visitation and exchange services;
  • Education about protecting children during family disruption; and
  • Group counseling services for parents and children.

(This report has been prepared and submitted to the California Legislature under Family Code section 3204(d).Copyright © 2010 by Judicial Council of California/Administrative Office of the Courts. All rights reserved.)

**isn’t it interesting — if a court order exists, but is not being complied with, wouldn’t “visitation enforcement” be the simplest solution?  Dad, Mom — obey your visitation court order.  But somehow California wasn’t interested in that aspect, but wants the A, B, C, of Supervised Visitation & Exchange Services; of “Educating Parents about “protecting children during family disruptions” {the Kids Turn component) and getting people into group counseling, parents and children both.
If the whole concept sounds like AFCC, it is.   In 2000, I see a report planning how to use “court-based mediation” for child custody.  (California Judicial Council, Administrative Office of the Courts, “CFCC” (Center for Families & Children in the Courts).   This shows Isolini Ricci, Ph.D. under this CFCC:

Report 12 Executive Summary (Sept 2000)

Preparing Court-Based Child Custody Mediation Services for the Future

As of 2010, the top two personnel (Director, Assistant Director) of this Center for Families & Children in the Courts are AFCC, I’m pretty sure (Nunn/Depner).
I notice Diane Nunn (attorney), Isolini Ricci (Ph.D., and AFCC leader, author, etc.), and here, Charlene Depner was “Supervising Research Analyst,” but by 2010 (above) was Assistant Director of the entire CFCC.  Depner is an AFCC member.  AFCC members are coached to, or at least always seem to, talk about “Parental Alienation” and ‘High-conflict” parents, or divorces, usually in the same breath, for example:
     -by Mindy F. Mitnick, EdM/MA  {search my blog, she’s AFCC.  Note degrees — a professional educator….}


with emphasis on Criminal Justice
“The Many Faces of California’s Courts”
Diane Nunn, Director, Center for Families, Children & the Courts,
California Administrative Office of the Courts, “She supervises projects related to family, juvenile, child support, custody, visitation, and domestic violence law and procedure. Ongoing projects include training, education, research and statistical analysis.”  (Note, presenting alongside Bill Lockyer, then California Attorney General, whose wife Nadia ran (til recently) the Alameda County Family Justice Center).
Diane Nunn listed as not just “AFCC” but “AFCC Advisory Council” in an inset column — alongside some well-known names, such as Janet Johnston, Joan Kelly, Philip Stahl (all Ph.Ds), and — please note — Jessica Pearson.  (See yesterday’s post, or search my blog).  Plus a passel of judges, including from other countries. I count ten (10) Judges, just a few J.D.s and Ph.D.’s (I’ll bet, several in psychology or psychiatry), some unlabeled, some educators (M.Ed.D.) and social workers, I presume.
About this Newsletter, let’s notice the “Thanks!” list:

AFCC wishes to thank Symposium sponsors and exhibitors for their support:

Children’s Rights Council, Hawaii (that’s CRC)

Christine Coates, JD, Dispute Resolution Training Complete Equity Markets, Inc.

Dr. Philip M. Stahl, ParentingAfterDivorce.com (alienation promoter)

Family Law Software, Inc. J.M.Craig Press, Inc. LifeBridge

The LOGO for the newsletters shows children and has the subtitle “KIDS COUNT ON US.”
It’s an eyeopener to start seeing the AFCC conference and newsletter material.  For example, among the Parent Educators, in fine print it lists “Kids First, Chet Mukliewicz, Dunmore, PA”  (more on him, in this post if I get to it.  Kids First is a Kids Turn knockoff, it sells publications by AFCC personnel, including Isolini Ricci, Philip Stahl, Richard Warshak, and of course himself.  In addition, it takes referral business from at least one other state court besides the one where he lives, and he holds a contract with Lackawanna County, PA, which court is being compared (in print) to the Luzerne County, PA “Kids for Cash” scandal. ….       This is product positioning and marketing, basically.      Janet Johnston, Ph.D. (in this 2004 letter) is welcomed as Associated Editor of the “Family Court Review” (which AFCC puts out) and is revealed as to having previously worked as executive director of “Protecting Children from Conflict,” itself an affiliate of Judith WallersteinCenter for the Family in Transition in California .
3 Pruetts — one on Board of Directors (C. Eileen) , 2 (Kyle & Marsha Kline) as main presenters.    Is Eileen related to the other Pruetts from California?  (I don’t know — it’s not an usual name.  But I’d like to know!).
That’s handy….   C. Eileen Pruett lists on Jigsaw as “Dispute Resolution Program Coordinator” under the Hon. Francis Sweeney (Columbus, Ohio).  AFCC pushesmediation as a solution for custody disputes, even though most custody disputes are acknowledged to have elements of violence and/or abuse, including child abuse.
A 1999 Supreme Court of Ohio Task Force Report called “Family Law Reform:  Minimizing Conflict, Maximizing Families” on Reforming the Courts from Ohio lists her as:

Eileen Pruett and the Supreme Court of Ohio Office of Dispute Resolution Special Committee on Parent Education for the material on parent education, which is replicated in Appendix D.

In Ohio, “To achieve this goal, the Task Force recommend(ed, in 1999): 1) All parties in proceedings that involve the allocation of parental functions and responsibilities should attend parenting education seminars……Sixty-seven Ohio counties currently mandate parent education seminars for all divorcing parents;
Note on this Task Force:  The Executive Director of it (Kathleen Clark), was AFCC Board of Directors at least in 2004 (see newsletter) and acknowledges AFCC allegiance. In fact, a search of both “AFCC” and (AFCC written out) totals 11 references to this task force report — which also details how (besides lifting the parent education segment from an AFCC board of directors) also relates how as part of OHIO’s task force, they flew to Arizona and attended what appears to be presentations at AFCC, including by some members on the task force who were AFCC presenters.
In fact, in its own (1999) words:

More than two dozen experts from around the state and across the country presented testimony to the Task Force over a six-month period. Representatives from a variety of parents’ organizations, as well as a panel of teens who had experienced their parents’ divorces, brought their unique concerns to the Task Force. Staff members obtained research articles and statutes from around the nation and the globe to find the latest policies and practices. Members of the Task Force traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, to meet with staff at the Maricopa County Court system, a nationally recognized leader in court services and pro se programs, and to conferences sponsored by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, an internationally acclaimed organization which provides research and programs for professionals dealing with families in conflict.

Given who was on the task force, and what it did, this kind of conclusion is a little predictable:

The following report and recommendations are the result of this extensive research effort and debate and have been unanimously approved, without any abstentions or dissents, by official action of the 17 members of the Task Force present at the final meeting on June 1, 2001.

That’s OHIO flying to Arizona (which has its own chapter of AFCC, and where Philip Stahl happens to live, now that he’s left Northern California) to meet with a Court Administrator to coach themselves how to be GOOD AFCC members and make sure not to swerve from the policy of talking about “conflict” more than criminal issues or domestic violence issues.
Here’s another (undated) AZ supreme court, what looks like Domestic Relations training committee (of some sort) which is heavily AFCC laced, Just click on it and search for “Association of Family and….” and see…  Arizona also happens to be where Sanford Braver, Ph.D. practices.   Philip Knox, that they went to visit (from Ohio Task force)  also worked (it says) with the California AOC (on which Nunn & Depner sit, under CFCC) on promoting a Unified Family Court.

The OTHER Pruetts (I’m still on that 2004 AFCC flyer which mentions Diane Nunn as AFCC “Advisory Task Force”) include Dr. Kyle (child psychiatrist from Yale) and his wife Marsha Kline (also a Ph.D.).  They have three daughters and one son and have naturally dedicated themselves to promoting fatherhood, as a search on “Marsha Kline Pruett, Kyle Pruett Fatherhood” will readily show, at a glance.  Dr. Marsha Kline even got an award for “Fatherhood  Initiative Community Recognition Award, State of Connecticut (2002), and   Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award, Awarded by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.   She is definitely (with I gather her husband, Dr. Kyle) on the Grants stream for investigation:  “University of California, Berkeley: Supporting Father Involvement 7/1/09-6/30/12: Total (T) $176,924 Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Co-InvestigatorUniversity of California, Berkeley: Supporting Father Involvement 7/1/04-6/30/09: Total (T) $353,849 Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., Co-Investigator

The Pruetts, being a double-Ph.D. married family with academic connections to Yale, Berkeley, Tufts, Smith, etc. and on the conference AND grants circuit would of course have first-hand experience and understanding what it’s like to be on welfare, and forced to litigate for years in the family law system, whether a father (to chose between child support issues, or litigate, allowing more business to be driven to the professionals) or a mother (struggling to retain custody, or for survival, or (foolishly, given the state of the field nowadays) for child support enforcement.  AND, they are AFCC.   One psychologist & MSL, and one Psychiatrist.
Basically, if you browse family law reading lists, literature, or establishments, you will run across AFCC members referencing each others’ publications.  These publications may say “domestic violence” but will juxtapose it with “Parental alienation” and then talk about “conflict” which in the case of DV, is a euphemism.  Many of the lists still reference Richard Gardner.  “Reading Materials for Parents and Children Going Through A Divorce


Now (just for the heck of it), more on “Charlene Depner, Ph.D.”  First of all, Ph.D. in what?  the answer — per LinkedIn, is Social Psychology at U Michigan

Assistant Division Director,  Cntr for Families, Children & Courts, CA Administrative Office of the Courts Govt. Admin. Industry  1988 – Present (23 years)/ Education:  U Michigan,   PhD, Social Psychology 1972 – 1978

So it appears, about 10 years, if any, in private practice or employment of some sort?

Yesterday, I ran across a comment (I believe I know who its author is) on an “AngryDadBlogspot” which related some more (Nepotism?) in San Diego between a supervised visitation provider (already found to be practicing without a license) and the family justice center — which started there, apparently, in San Diego.  That’s not today’s topic — but here it is:
2006 NCJRS study of families at supervision centers in NY reads:

A. Does the history of violence in the relationship predict whether the visits are supervised or unsupervised?

We found no statistically significant relationships between the history of physical and psychological abuse or injuries and court orders to a supervised visitation center, family supervised visits or unsupervised visitation. More than three quarters of the participants had experienced severe forms of physical and psychological abuse from the father of their children. One can surmise that these pervasive experiences provided no useful information to the court to determine which fathers might pose a current and ongoing danger.

The one exception was severe injuries, which had been experienced by less than half the participants (46%). Nevertheless, fathers who had severely injured their former partners were no more likely to be ordered to supervised visitation than unsupervised visitation.

A 1996 report (issued by this CA Judicial Council AOC)  on “Future Directions for Mandatory Child-Custody Mediation Services:….”

” notes:

Court-based child custody mediations affect the fate of nearly 100,000 California children each year. Many of them are already at risk when parents come to court. Currently, one- third of all mediations address concerns about a child’s emotional well-being. Child Protective Services has investigated a report about children in 33 percent of all families seen in mediation. Children in half of all mediating families have witnessed domestic violence. Today’s Family Court faces the serious challenge of protecting the best interests of the next generation.

Well, pushing mediation does not appear to be the solution!

Joan Meier, of DV Leap writes on this, and most any battered women’s advocate without AFCC collaboration in the bloodstream, might say the same thing — it’s counter-indicated!  Whatsamatta here?  Joan Meier, of “George Washington University Law School” (and ‘DVLEAP.org”) as posted in a noncustodial mother’s blog. NOTE:  She quotes both Janet Johnston, Ph.D. (AFCC leadership) and Depner, who both acknowledge that MOST of the the high-conflict cases entail child abuse or domestic violence.  This has been known since the 1990s….

Most Cases Going To Court As High Conflict Contested Custody Cases Have History Of Domestic Violence  

By JOAN S. MEIER, George Washington University Law School

Janet Johnston’s publications

Janet Johnston is best known as a researcher of high conflict divorce and parental alienation. {{NOTE how AFCC often pairs those terms– that’s an AFCC language habit}}.   Not a particular friend of domestic violence advocates or perspectives, she has been one of the first to note that domestic violence issues should be seen as the norm, not the exception, in custody litigation.

Johnston has noted that approximately 80% of divorce cases are settled, either up front, or as the case moves through the process. Studies have found that only approximately 20% of divorcing or separating families take the case to court. Only approximately 4-5% ultimately go to trial, with most cases settling at some point earlier in the process.

– Janet R. Johnston et al, “Allegations and Substantiations of Abuse in Custody-Disputing Families,” Family Court Review, Vol. 43, No. 2, April 2005, 284-294, p. 284;
– Janet R. Johnston, “High-Conflict Divorce,” The Future of Children, Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1994, 165-182, p. 167 both citing large study by Maccoby and Mnookin, DIVIDING THE CHILD: SOCIAL AND LEGAL DILEMMAS OF CUSTODY. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U. Press (1992).

Johnston cites another study done in California by Depner and colleagues, which found that, among custody litigants referred to mediation, “[p]hysical aggression had occurred between 75% and 70% of the parents . . . even though the couples had been separated… [for an average of 30-42 months]”. Furthermore, [i]n 35% of the first sample and 48% of the second, [the violence] was denoted as severe and involved battering and threatening to use or using a weapon.”

Mediation is an easy way to increase noncustodial parenting time without the protections that facts & evidence, without the disclosure of conflicts of interests a judge has to abide by, without the attorney-client work product relationship, and much more — in short, without the PROTECTIONS — that a regular trial might afford, and finish.   Mandated mediation is bad enough.  Some counties (in Calif) also have what’s called “recommending” status to the court-appointed mediators, meaning, their reports are taken more seriously by judges.  I have seen how this works year after year (from being in the courtroom) — the mediator’s report is often delivered IN the courtroom, and NOT prior to the hearing, if then.  It is typically a shocker, and this really violates due process, but it’s accepted practice.  Mediation is the poor-person’s “supervised visitation  / custody evaluation.”  If no private family member can be made to pay for the latter two, or then the quick & dirty custody hearing is going to involve mediation.

Guess which organization is heavily composed of mediators, and ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution services) and emphasizes this to unclog the courts?  You betcha — AFCC.

· Attempts to leave a violent partner with children, is one of the most significant factors associated with severe domestic violence and death. 
– Websdale, N. (1999). Understanding Domestic Homicide. Boston, MA: University Press.

· A majority of separating parents are able to develop a post-separation parenting plan for their children with minimal intervention of the family court system. However, in 20% of the cases greater intervention was required by lawyers, court-related personnel (such as mediators and evaluators) and judges. In the majority of these cases, which are commonly referred to as “high-conflict,” domestic violence is a significant issue.
– Johnston, J.R. (1994). “High-conflict divorce.” Future of Children, 4, 165-182.

What “DVLEAP” does in its own words:


Despite the reforms of recent decades, battered women and children continue to face unfair treatment and troubling results in court. Appeals can overturn unjust trial court outcomes – but they require special expertise and are often prohibitively expensive.

We empower victims and their advocates by providing expert representation for appeals; educating pro bono counsel through in-depth consultation and mentoring; training lawyers, judges, and others on cutting-edge issues; and spearheading the DV community’s advocacy in Supreme Court cases

(photo also from this site):

They even have a “Custody and Abuse” program, and have taken on the “PAS” theme.  These are specific cases that have been taken to the Appeals or even Supreme Court (state) level.    Here (found on-line) is an Arkansas Case where they took on “PAS” alongside:  Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Justice for Children and The Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence (on which I believe Ms. Meier is a board or advisory member), the NCADV, and National Association of Women Lawyers.   It is an Amicus Brief and will likely go to discredit PAS.

The Leadership Council’s:

Mission Statement

The Leadership Council is a nonprofit independent scientific organization composed of respected scientists, clinicians, educators, legal scholars, journalists, and public policy analysts.

Our mission is to promote the ethical application of psychological science to human welfare. We are committed to providing professionals and laypersons with accurate, research-based information about a variety of mental health issues and to preserving society’s commitment to protect its most vulnerable members.


  • To develop a coalition among professionals within the scientific community, the legal system, the political system and the media to provide professionals and laypersons with accurate information about mental health practice and research which helps insure access to the highest quality of care.  (and several others are listed. . . . . .. )

In the bottom line, the Leadership Council is still talking psychology, acknowledging trauma, and opposing “PAS” — but, who they are and what they do is clear — “Apply Psychological Science Ethically.”  So, if you put this psychological group together with some domestic violence lawyers, or lawyers who recognize that batterers (etc.) are getting custody — you just the opposite of the AFCC   “J.D. & Ph.D.” combo of attorney & mental health practitioners

The problem is — the AFCC, being around longer, and having strategized better — have the judges, too.   

As I look at The Leadership Council’s page on “Child Custody & PAS” and associated “resources” below, I notice that they have said NOTHING about the things I blog on, and some others, individuals, who have simply observed.   There is a striking omission of the organizations promoting “alienation” theory — no mention of AFCC, CRC, or the influence of the Child Support System & Grants Stream on how cases are decided.  While NAFCJ (and a similar Illinois group) are listed — for a change — they are one in a dozen-plus links that a mother in a crisis system could not sort through or wade through in time to help her case — if indeed that information even would.

I appreciate the work these organizations do to “out” that violence does indeed happen in the home.  Of course most people experiencing it know this already….

But how much better might it have been to give TIMELY information on the operational structure of the courts, and who is paying whom.  How in the world can one enter a contest being ignorant of the habits and devices of the opposite side?  What’s up with that?

So, I talk about these things.  And so do a FEW others.

Domestic Violence Nonprofit DVLEAP gets a “Sunshine Peace” award:

“This award is so meaningful to me,” said Professor Meier, “because I have so much respect for others who have received it in the past.    I am also grateful to the Sunshine Lady Foundation for the financial contribution to DV LEAP  associated with the award which will make a significant difference to our small organization that manages to accomplish so much with so few resources.”

According to the Sunshine Lady Foundation (which was founded by Doris Buffett), the Sunshine Peace Award program “recognizes extraordinary individuals who make a difference; those who help to build communities that are intolerant of domestic violence and through whose work peoples’ lives are changed for the better.”
Since Professor Meier founded DV LEAP in 2003, the organization has worked on cutting-edge issues in the domestic violence field, submitting 6 friend of court briefs in the Supreme Court.  In the past year, in addition to lecturing and consulting with survivors, DV LEAP staff have worked on 10 appeals, a remarkable output for an organization of its size

Well,this is all very nice — and certainly I”m sure professional work.  But is it the most important task?  I say:  NO!  Neither DVLEAP nor the State Coaliations (why, I hope to show soon enough), nor the related Leadership Council mention the operational systems of the courts — which is their related professional associations and nonprofits — as well as the grants stream and the child support system.  How hard is that to comprehend?  There are different systems working within to promote more and more work for the marriage counseling and therapy industry, PERIOD.

For example:

They did not mention that in 1999, in Ohio, an AFCC-laced Task Force lifted some AFCC_designed policies for custody, then flew to Arizona to attend an AFCC conference as part of their transformations of the courts.  These groups do not mention, typically, fatherhood funding, or the history of Family Law as an offshoot of a brainstorm between “Roger & Meyer”  (Judge Pfaff and Counselor Meyer Elkin) long ago, or anything at all about the Marv Byer discoveries in the late 1990s.  They don’t mention that around the US, “fatherhood commissions” building of the National Fatherhood Initiative have been formed to legalize some of the policies these very groups say they oppose.   Nor, FYI, do they (for example) broadcast to women that the NCADV and associated alliances are actually collaborating with the father’s groups at the national and financing level, and talking policy with them.

They certainly don’t mention when a local legislator slips in some bill to legalize steering court business to court professionals, as Senator Christine Kehoe (San Diego area) did when an Assemblyperson in 2002 (proposing a bill naming Kids’ Turn in its first draft; see my  “kicking salesmanship up a notch” post), or as She (sponsoring?) did again in SB 557 (with her chief of staff then and now Assemblyperson, Atkins) in legalizing the “Family Justice Center Model with an alliance run out of the San Diego City’s original brainchild.

Nor do they mention how the money keeps flowing in after conferences, for example, as in this 2008 AFCC conference:

Not only does the material itself show (coach) professionals how to be prejudiced against mothers — but it also probably more than breaks even (though aren’t judges paid enough in our states?) by selling the stuff!

READ THIS!  Read every sentence and simply think about it.  This is the pre-game and post-game plan for a custody hearing.  And it’s only one of how many?

These are existing people who decided WHERE kids live (or don’t), whether they see their own parents’ income go to professionals and evaluators, or to the children’s future college funds, or simply survival funds.   This is AFCC conference material:

Your Price: $25.00
Item Number: AFCC-08-011-M
Email this page to a friend

This panel will demonstrate how the judge, evaluator, psychologist performing psychological testing and the childrens therapist work together to complete the evaluation process. The panel will present an actual case in which a family comes to the court with allegations that mother is alienating the children and is clinically depressed. Father is asking for full custody. Mother is making counter allegations that father and his live-in girlfriend are verbally and emotionally abusing the three children. The parents have a history of high conflict and the police have been called many times to keep the peace. The family is referred for a child custody evaluation. The panel will demonstrate how the evaluator relies on the childrens therapist and the psychologist performing psychological testing on the parents, fathers girlfriend, and the child experiencing emotional distress, for information and case consultation in order to give the judge the most complete history and assessment possible. The panel will describe how and why the recommendations were made for this family.

The police were probably called because someone (not both) was being assaulted.  However, a single evaluation of a police call might obtain the cause of the call.  To “keep the peace” is an evasion.  911, or non-emergency police calls have causes.  We all know this.  If the police were called many times to “keep the peace” was no referral made?  Was no restraining order solicited?  Why not get to the bottom FIRST of whether or not a crime was committed.  THEN, if the answer is conclusively, NO, it might go to the next level.

Why do that, however, when a custody evaluation can be instead ordered.

I might just get this product and find out how they frame the situation.

To be continued .  . . .


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