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

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?' (See March 23 & 5, 2014). More Than 745 posts and 45 pages of Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

Posts Tagged ‘CPR

Reader Quiz — What Decade Were These Stories? About Fathers..

with 2 comments

My last post (Luzerne County) was at least a triple-header, ending with some emotion over a mother of three who has taken her case to the international level in disgrace at the U.S. treatment of her civil rights.

I am changed as I blog also. Maybe it’s just another bunch of incidents to you, but to me, I learn and expand the context of this system, look at its history, reflect when compared with my immediate reality and acquired readings.

What I learned — yesterday — is this: Restraining orders are not enforceable, and probably never were. IF a police officer wishes to arrest, or needs to, the RO may make his job easier. But if he or she witnessed a violation of it, and does NOT wish to arrest, the protected person has no entitlement to that arrest, no matter whose life is at risk. Now that “Castle Rock v. Gonzales” has gone to the Supreme Court and been turned back, it is being quoted in similar cases to protect the officers (not the women or children). While most of government’s operations are self-justified on providing services and protection to the populace, who they are diligently training to expect this from them (and not from within or their local communities). This is closer to feudalism, serfdom, and monarchy.

U.S., Rome, or the British Empire?

It’s time to expose the truths that in the United States of America, and have moved from being “the colonies” (with the colonized populations that came along, or were removed from their lands during westward expansion) to being colonized (if not virtually cannibalized) by our own elected leaders, many who have some real “bad attitudes” towards those they are supposed to represent and serve. Power tends to congregate with power, and unless it’s kept in check, will simply continue to do so, justifying it with manipulation and manufactured “needs.”

  • (#1) we are closer to monarchy then ever before, and willingly/passively in more denial of it also, and
  • (#2) that this emperor has no clothes has been known for a long time; but the tacit “Bread-and-circuses” agreement to pretend we don’t know, is wearing as thin as the “social services” provided by the superstructure. and
  • (#3) in a country such as the U.S., with this Constitution elected officials are sworn with an oath to uphold, the pretense that in practice we are actually OPERATING as a republic (not democracy) is even more deceptive.

Who has the bread, the weapons, and the supply lines to the decision-makers? Who’s issuing the propaganda? That’s the power base. As of about 1980, 1991 (creation of the Health & Human Services/Administration for Children and Families Dept./Operational Div. in the Executive Branch of Government of which the CEO is our President), the fields of propagation (family design) and the downward to Head Start & Home Visitation (education) up through university (foundations sponsoring studies and institutes, often regarding fatherhood and marriage, and the entire work force) have gone from idolizing motherhood (while tolerating beating mothers) and, in response to mothers getting OUT of some of that (feminism/violence against women movement, battered shelters, etc.) to scapegoating single mothers on welfare (for being on welfare), (see bottom of my post), to simply eliminating the word mother from association with the word “family” or “children.”

This is starting to resemble the planned production of human beings from womb to tomb, with the aide of pharmaceutics, apparently, and mental health professionals to categorize and drug the dissidents, which any mother in her right mind would be when she’s been beaten in the home, or terrorized there (or for attempting to leave it) and has noticed — which is what mothers do — the effect of this on her children. They are educated to subjugation and only to the level of their intended place in a fully managed society.

When I say “womb” to “tomb,” I do mean just that . . . . It’s being studied and categorized, and one major database is at ICPSR below. Fertility, lethality, and population studies in 3 urban centers (Chicago, Boston, San Antonia, TX).

Those “in” and cooperate on the planning and distribution of this will prosper, while the supply lasts, and receive government grants and contracts in abundance, which will then compromise them from informing the subject matter (human beings) what the overall plan is. For example

  • HQ in Denver: PSI (“policy-studies.com” is the URL, “Performance, Services, Integrity” is the motto)
    • Under Child Support Enforcement (one of the 3 major “solutions” area they outsource):
      • Noncustodial Parent Programs (“Through our innovative approach, PSI can help increase your collections and improve results for families. Our NCP program expertise extends across the following areas”)
        • Case management and community resource referrals
        • Enhanced child support services
        • Employment and training assistance
        • Peer support for NCPs
        • Parenting and conflict resolution classes
        • Access and visitation services
        • Mediation services
        • Mental health and substance abuse referrals
        • Legal referrals
  • HQ in Los Angeles: AFCC (“Association of Family & Conciliation Courts“)
    • AFCC brings together members of multiple disciplines in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, from all over the world. As a nonprofit professional association, AFCC is unique because members do not share a common profession. Instead, AFCC members share a strong commitment to education, innovation and collaboration in order to benefit communities, empower families and promote a healthy future for children.
    • “History of Innovation and Positive Change”For more than 45 years, AFCC and its members have served as a catalyst for generating major reforms. Dispute resolution processes such as child custody mediation, parenting coordination, and divorce education are just a few of the innovative ideas developed by AFCC members. AFCC developed Models Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediators, Child Custody Evaluators and Parenting Coordinators. Task forces and special projects address the ongoing challenges faced by AFCC members and the families they serve. AFCC actively disseminates innovations and ideas {“Parental Alienation, anyone? Mandatory mediation, anyone? Shared parenting, presumption anyone?”} to its members. The ripple effect can be seen in courts and communities throughout the world. {ONE of those stories I copy at length, below, in blue. The ripple effect was most definitely felt, and you can read about it, below.}
  • HQ in Denver: what I call “CPR” (Center or Policy Research) [Since 1981, 6 women, only!]


Did I mention that Jessica Pearson is also (per some sources) a founding member of the AFCC, if not also CRC?

  • In fact AFCC, CRC, CPR, PSI, HHS funded studies, and conclusions that MOST of our nation’s real poverty, inner-city, crime & juvenile delinquency problems is simply the ration of sex/conception/marriage, i.e., too few fathers (as opposed to, poor-quality fathers) in the home, and that the solution to this is through seamlessly blending mental health services with child support services, with the legal process — tend to congregate around similar key players.
  • Don’t believe me? See RandiJames’ “The List or Liz Richards pointing this out in 1993 “Fathers Rights and corrupt judicial cronies,” or again, in 2010, to the House Ways & Means Committee (found at House.gov, this committee, June 17, 2010 hearings, on left side), or an indignant “Fathers Battling Injustice” 2001 complaint “Liz Richards Hates Fathers with a Passion, which provides (if you scroll down) a good listing of key players and their interrelationships — including those on the CRC (Children’s Rights Council) 501(c)3 incorporation papers, and tying into others pushing mediation and Gardner’s “PAS” philosophies through the courts. I’ll try to upload that listing….

Around 1998, a disgruntled grandfather — and CPA — started tracking some of the founding documents of this AFCC, and has something to say about the money trail related to Jessica Pearson of CPR, and AFCC, who weems to be (with others) women of some real foresight and planning, and ingenuity in desgining systems — and evading tax accountability. THIS is listed UNDER “Is Justice for sale in L.A.” a.k.a. at “johnnypumphandle.com”

    • :Mr. Bryer’s Tort Claim of 1998. You can hear his tone of indignation and upset, and he flat-out calls this Mafia, RICO, money-laundering, etc. The people he is talking about are listed in part, above. I doubt if he ever got justice, or compensation (let alone more discovery), but at least me blew the whistle!. People who want to “reform” the courts ought to at least read the material. OR, they could go back and try to reason more with a professional that may or may not be one of these type of conspirators from long ago. The system remains, I’m pretty well deducing at this point.
  • Another take on AFCC et al.: He’s not talking psychology or sociology, but money, IRS, EIN#s and incorporations…
    • DESCRIPTION: The ACCUSED ( by this complaint) are part of an underground of white collar criminals who are involved in the theft of CITY, COUNTY, STATE, and FEDERAL money. The scheme started before their time as an organization known as the CONFERENCE OF CONCILIATION COURTS. That organization changed its identity and assumed the name ASSOCIATION OF FAMILY CONCILIATION COURTS. Using various identity changes, the organization was listed in the LOS ANGELES SUPERVISORS DIRECTORY in 1993 as JUDGES TRUST FUND ACCOUNTING.The crime ring is an underground Mafia that posed as the COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES – by using the FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT IDENTIFICATION NUMBER 95-6000927. In recent dramatic announcements, the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE has informed me that the EIN or FEIN number assigned to the latest version of the organization – the – LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES ASSOCIATION – is an EIN that was not assigned to the organization. It Is a COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES EIN!

      I previously attempted to get this discovery – in the lawsuit BRYER vs PENTONEY – but 298 judges and commissioners in LOS ANGELES were disqualified on a ruse orchestrated by JUDGE GARY KLAUSNER – a ring leader of the scheme. JUDGE GARY KLAUSNER’S name is on the signature card of BANK OF AMERICA account listed under the name LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES ASSOCIATION EIN 95-6000927.

      I was forced into the corrupt county – ORANGE COUNTY – where a co-conspirator named JAMES P. GRAY told me he would throw me in jail if I tried to make any more discoveries. FEARING FOR MY LIFE in a county that is FOREIGN to me – I dismissed my case without prejudice and continued to seek discovery away from the strength of ORANGE COUNTYCONCLUSION: My family and myself have been robbed of our money and our rights by a conspiracy that has operated since 1962. In 1962 a JUDGE NAMED ROGER ALTON PFAFF and his cohort – MEYER ELKIN. The association was called the CONFERENCE OF CONCILIATION COURTS. This association routed money through the LOS ANGELES COUNTY CONCILIATION COURT -111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles California, 90012, ROOM 241. In 1969 – the association incorporated and has NEVER PAID taxes. Assuming they used EIN 95-6000927 – then duping the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT was easy. In 1979 the corporation was suspended. There is no record that they surrendered their bank account or the EIN. In California – the organization filed as a CIVIC LEAGUE – Revenue and Tax Code 23701g. A CONCILIATION COURT is NOT A CIVIC LEAGUE. The exemption certificate was mailed to a lawyer named Michael Aaronson at P.O. Box 1055, San Carlos California 94070. The STATE 3500 papers states the organization was to improve marriage counseling. However, conciliation court is a STATUTORILY mandated function of the COURT – not a private corporation for lying and thieving judges and their court staff. The income was alleged to be derived from dues and contributions. In reality, the funds came from laundering legal education money through the COURT CONCILIATION DEPARTMENT through the FINANCE DEPARTMENT.

      In an incredible BREACH – a Judge from Detroit Michigan was listed as the Second Vice President His name is Victor J. Baum. The corporation number is 576876. I have no record of what EIN they used.

      In 1981 – I presume their bank account was still open and they created a new identity called the Association of Family Conciliation Courts. [CPR, above, dates to 1981 also as a nonprofit] This time – Margaret Little – FAMILY COURT SERVICES for LOS ANGELES, and a Colorado individual named Jessica Pearson orchestrated yet another version of the LOS ANGELES COUNTY COURTHOUSE SCHEME. Pearson borrowed the EIN of the WISCONSIN AFCC and claimed her office was in Colorado as an ILLINOIS corporation. The LOS ANGELES COUNTY COURTHOUSE became PEARSON’S and Dr MARGARET LITTLE’S California – FOREIGN – CORPORATION.

    • (WI, Colorado, L.A. and IL if you can keep up with that…)
    • I just found a strange, but possibly corroborating 1986 document, the “February 1986 Newsletter of the Alabama Court News, “Newsletter of the Alabama Judicial System” On page 3, it reads, under headline: “Federal Grant funds Sexual Abuse Study:
    • The Research Unit of the …(AFCC) and the American Bar Association have been awarded a grant from the federal dept. of Human Development Services* to study sexual abuse allegations in divorce cases. The goal of the study is to find how court officials [such as…?] are presently handling such matters, identify preferred procedures, and develop educational materials on the subject.” “Court officials [sic] desiring to participate in the study should contact AFCC at the following address:

    • [Wow… Preferred procedures for handling sexual abuse allegations in divorce cases, such as — Gardner’s theories? They want to educate judges how to rule?] Also – it says since 1981 — at that address:]
    • [*Note: the HUGE “HHS that now dispenses welfare, child support, medicare, head start funds, and sometimes is the largest (as to expenses) Exec Branch Dept — was formed in 1991, as I recall. This is 5 years earlier).

  • In fact the information arm is one of the most important, to quell rebellion before it gets going.

Maybe Rome went down because of lead in the pipes, or maybe some “karma” (or god) just got sick of all the slaughter for entertainment. Ever read about what happened in that Colosseum?

Back to this millennium — and the last decades

of the last one (1980-2010). In re: marriage, abuse, divorce, custody..

And the concept of “protection from abuse” or “restraining orders” as if they were NOT certifiably insane, as to fulfilling their supposed purpose of protecting or restraining.

While the literature tends to focus on, “it’s just a piece of paper and can’t stop a bullet,” the ones we REALLY can’t count on are the arresting officers. It’s an additional component of Russian Roulette that a woman can’t afford. And suing for any sort of damages on the basis of, they had a duty to protect, a procedural due process right to the victim, a substantive due process right to the victim, or in short, any consequences that “absolute judicial immunity” or the 11th amendment wouldn’t make LEGALLY protected (let alone the practical aspects) — they don’t, and probably never did.

Some judges are crooked — I don’t know how many. Some attorneys are also, and get nailed on RICO like the Luzerne judges did, RICO (“Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations“) being a criminal enterprise. There’s a case I may post out of suburban Chicago (older) where the husband (an attorney) did murder for hire, but not until he’d conspired in advance to wire-tap (jealous), someone had been prepared to dispose of the body (i.e., of his wife) and someone had been prepared to obstruct the investigation. (Alan & Dianne G. Masters, West Suburban Chicago, 1982 she disappears~ 1988 RICO charges)

As RICO does require some organizational skills, and Masters had already been engaged in other forms of crime, all the players to add murder-for-hire to this were in place, and he didn’t resist the temptation to engage, showing us to drop our illusions that every person in public office, or in positions of power, influence, and with access to streams of $$ isn’t per se there for service. Some are, some aren’t. And the ones that aren’t would be normally attracted to people in compromised situations (like a troublesome traffic ticket, an illegal enterprise of their own, or divorcing with children from a frighteningly dangerous spouse who’s already committed some crimes against your body, or your child’s). This attorney was acting more like a pimp with a stable, and some affiliate marekting reps in uniform. Maybe he liked the thrill of the danger and risk (one sees definite business skills that migh twork just as well in legal activities) or maybe it was simple greed.

It didn’t save her life, and no one was ever charged for murder, but the three “perps” got caught on racketeering and put away for a good many years, and fined. Oh yeah, and he had a $100,000 life insurance policy on his wife also.

So are some officers. And some are good. – – – – that’s just life. Why, then, (though) when women come for help, were they then (1990s) and now (2000s) doling out protection from abuse orders as if they were reliably enforceable? They aren’t. They’re real good at getting men angry though.

~ ~ ~ ~I can’t put my story up (or too much of it). But it’s been so many years in this system here. My infrastructure is repeatedly broken down, year after year, and access to things like transportation, (sometimes food), internet, health care (uninsured presently) just shouldn’t be.

~ ~ ~ ~If you have not been in a situation similar to the one I’m about to post (the part below is summary of her judicial proceedings after deciding to leave– having gotten a real severe beating (while naked), a threat for another, having had a young daughter molested by a visiting stepson, her husband was no inner city young black male, but a nasty computer analyst who’d (it turned out) abused his first wife, too.

~ ~ ~ ~Sleep deprivation is a factor and technique of weakening someone (I know). Attack on personal private parts (ditto). Rules almost uniformly designed to remove one’s humanity, with severe punishment for falling short (and they’re impossible to fulfil) with no rule for him. . . . .Having to choose which child you can do more to protect, potentially sacrificing something important for the other. Having your strength or skills as a professional work against you post-divorce. Historic revisionism (no remorse or acknowledgement of injury, and of course the father was the real caretaker all those years). Health care professionals treating injuries and not really asking questions. Your kids watching the assaults.

I’ll pick up this story mid-stream. See if you recognize the characters: judge, psychologists, attorneys (#1, 2, and 3), theme of supervised visitation, and her knowledge that if she requested it, he’d go for custody, professionals continually minimizing the situation and playing their own games . . . all too familiar.

I want to say something about “stories.” THEY HELPED ME while I was in the abusive relationship. One of the cruelest things is the isolation and dealing with the man’s anger when he perceives you may be connecting with someone who might validate or connect with you, and to whom you might report. You might get out, but there also may (or may not) be retaliation for doing so. Or you might be put through hell beforehand, so you get out, in public, in trauma, shaking, or in shock. One trick pulled frequently in our home (with kids) was I’d have enough gas in the car to get there (when a car was available) but not enough to get back. Hearing of women who got out HELPED me. If nothing else, to feel less guilty.

I pick up the story mid-stream, and admit that I am exhausted today.

Overall, I found the lawyers and psychologists very self–promoting and egotistical. It seemed as if everyone was having a good time, playing the game of litigation and psychology. All the while, my life was on the line. My children and I did not matter. I also felt like the lawyers and psychologists were running a cash register business at my expense. They were a lot more interested in my money than my welfare. The first two years of my divorce proceedings cost me more than twenty–five thousand dollars.

As incredible as it might sound, the judge who heard my custody case had an outstanding protective order against him by his ex–wife. I also sensed very strongly that the judge did not like me. For these reasons, I told my lawyer I wanted to seek the judge’s recusal. My lawyer dismissed me, saying, “You’ll just get someone worse.”

@ @ @ @ @Z

I probably never would have gotten Daniel back, except that Russ’s live–in girlfriend (with whom he is still living) contacted the children’s psychologist to report that he was abusing Daniel. This was four or five months after Russ had gained custody of Daniel. I think the girlfriend made her revelation partly because I had told her that Russ was planning to seek full custody of Elizabeth, too. Russ was not really taking care of the kids; the girlfriend was. When she learned that he would be going after Elizabeth too, she said, “WHAT???!!!” I think she cared about the children and knew that Russ’s having custody would be harmful and dangerous for them, plus, I doubt she was interested in being the caretaker for both kids.

After learning about Russ’s abuse of Daniel, I immediately went to my lawyer (Lawyer #3), demanding an immediate petition for a change of custody. He said we could not seek a modification of custody because it was too soon. He said, “Let the ink dry on the judge’s custody order.” That was the last straw and I fired him.

I got a new lawyer and a new psychologist. I recorded a telephone conversation with Russ’s girlfriend about the abuse of Daniel. Russ’s girlfriend was subpoenaed, and because of the recording, I knew––and Russ knew––that the abuse of Daniel would come out. Even if Russ intimidated her into changing her testimony, I think he knew that the tape was credible.

Faced with a situation he could not win, Russ folded. He agreed to a modification and I regained custody of Daniel. I grabbed at the chance to get custody back, even though I had to agree that Russ could have unsupervised visitation with the children. I knew Russ would never agree to supervised visitation. I did not want, and could not pay for, another long, drawn–out battle in court. Besides, based on what I had seen, I did not want to risk what a judge might do.

As far as I am concerned, Russ agreed to the change of custody to save face. No one in authority ever held him accountable for his abuse. People in authority, like the judge and the psychologists, always supported him and held a good opinion of him. Russ wanted to maintain his good image at all costs. By giving up custody of Daniel without a fight, he could avoid the public humiliation of being outed as an abuser.

He portrayed the custody change to the children as a sacrifice he was making because he loved them so much. “This is what’s best for you,” he said. Once again, he took no responsibility for doing anything wrong in abusing Daniel. He showed no remorse.

Even after I had custody of both kids, Russ continued to engage in repeated violations of my protective order through phone harassment and stalking. Additionally, his son, Chip, was there unsupervised when the kids visited Russ. Apparently, though, Chip did not abuse either child further.

@ @ @ @

C. Attitudes Need to Change More than the Law

Domestic violence law is certainly far better than it has been in the past. We have seen progress in the legislative, [77] judicial, [78] and executive [79] arenas. Positive legislative reform is on–going, though there is a backlash as well, driven primarily by the Fathers’ Rights movement. [80]

Changes in the law are important. With better law, good people (judges, police, etc.) can do more and bad ones are limited in the harm they can cause. Law can also have an educational effect. A judge or police officer who initially resists laws and policies that are appropriate for domestic violence cases may ultimately come to see their value.

Mary’s story shows, however, that the primary problem is not with the law but with the human beings who interpret and administer it. The legal system betrayed Mary, but not because it lacked the power to act differently. The judges, psychologists, and lawyers could have protected Mary and her children. They could have understood woman battering, or made a point of educating themselves about it. They could have let go of their stereotypes about what batterers and their victims “look like” and how they act. They could have reexamined their values, under which abuse of Mom is irrelevant to Dad’s fitness as a parent. The list continues indefinitely.

Mary’s custody judge easily had the power to find that full custody with Mary was in the children’s “best interest” [81] and that Russ’s visitation had to be supervised. [82] The judge could have warned Russ, not Mary, that he had to be on his best behavior or he would lose even supervised visitation. The judge could have ordered Russ to undergo batterers’ counseling as a precondition for even supervised visitation. [83]

My point is simple: this did not have to happen. Without in any way ignoring or bending the law, Mary, the children––and Russ––could have been dealt with appropriately. Mary and her children, especially Daniel, may pay for the system’s sexism, ignorance, and indifference for a lifetime. And, as Mary says, society pays too when the aftermath of abuse spills out, as it often will, beyond the family.

@ @ @ @

F. Any “Solution” Not Based on Battered Women’s Experiences
Is Doomed to Failure

We cannot know what to do about domestic violence unless we listen to survivors’ stories. In them are the keys to solutions. Battered women and formerly battered women are telling us what works and what does not. People with professional training can help, but only if their actions and recommendations are based on what battered women and formerly battered women say. [116]

Women like Mary tell us that mediation, joint custody, and couples counseling can be terrible for battered women, [117] yet certain professionals continue to advocate for these things in domestic violence cases. [118] Their arguments, however, are from the viewpoint of the mediator or the system, not the battered woman and her children. [119] Women’s safety concerns are either not addressed or minimized. [120]

Proponents of mediation in domestic violence cases express a near–magical belief in mediation and mediators. They believe that the mediator can tell when mediation is not appropriate or when it should be stopped [121] (another example of the helper’s ego surfacing). Sadly, the only expertise that seems to count is the mediator’s. Battered women’s expertise does not seem to matter. [122]

Sometimes, it seems that battered women’s voices are getting more and more lost. The field has become professionalized, [123] semi–respectable, [124] and partially funded. [125] There has been a parallel tendency to turn the focus away from the victims and toward the professionals. [126]

I do not want to be misunderstood here. I have absolutely no nostalgia for the “good old days” when shelters did not exist or led threadbare existences, and when a professor who wanted to teach Domestic Violence would have been laughed off campus. I have been doing domestic violence work far too long for such foolishness. I relish the voice, the power, and even the respectability that our movement has achieved. But people who really care about battered women must remain ever vigilant against those whose solutions come from their own professional experience and not from victims’ lives.

@ @ @

As a mother and wife, I absolutely agree that families need rules. Nothing is sadder than a house where “anything goes” and there are no rules; everyone is unhappy, especially the children. [131] Nor do I think that every rule, even if somewhat imposed by one family member over others, is abusive.

But rules are different in a batterer’s house. They are never negotiated; they are always imposed. [132] And rulemaking is a one–way street: the batterer sets rules for other family members, while he does exactly as he pleases. [133] Russ ordered Mary not to watch comedies on television, just as he announced that he was quitting his job. Mary knew that even suggesting alternatives might result in violence. But Russ could be away for days at a time, and Mary was not to question his actions.

The rules in a batterer’s house are not just for his comfort and enjoyment. They are an integral part of his plan to control and isolate his partner. [134] As Mary said, the rule about no comedies on television meant she could not exercise her sense of humor, an important part of her self–image. Batterer’s rules also control matters such as whether and when she can leave the house, and how she can spend money. [135] Many rules reinforce the victim’s isolation, such as rules about not having any of her friends over or going out with other people after work. [136][137] She might hear something that made her feel good while listening to the radio, or she might hear a description of domestic violence and recognize herself and start planning her escape. Looking out at the world from her kitchen window (or having someone else look in and see what was going on) might decrease her isolation. Even “little” rules, like “don’t play the radio when I’m gone” and “keep the curtain in the kitchen down” are part of an overall pattern of isolation.

In the functional family, rules are negotiated and renegotiated. [138] One partner may give in to the other, but both partners engage in some give and take. The rules may not fulfill everyone’s needs, but they do not destroy family members’ self–esteem either. [139] In functional families, people are basically satisfied with the rules. [140]

Second, the batterer’s list of rules is ridiculously long and ever expanding and changing. [141] While his partner and children are struggling to comply with his existing demands, new and often contradictory rules are added. [142] This again is in marked contrast with the non–abusive “dinner at six” dad. We have all known non–abusive families where one member (usually, but not always, the father) must be catered to, but his demands are limited and stable. Further, the demanding but non–abusive family member is capable of being satisfied. “Just feed him on time and he’s a happy man” is not something an abused wife would say.

Finally, there is the punishment imposed for non–compliance with rules. [143] The non–abusive man does not beat or rape his wife or children if dinner is not on the table at six. He may pout for a while, or whine, he may even occasionally yell. His reaction may be unhealthy, but the other family members do not live in terror of what will happen if the rules are not met.

Identification protocols for battered women should include questions about rulemaking. [144] Something like this would be good: “Every household has rules under which it operates. Tell me about the ones in your house. What are the rules? How are they established? What happens when they’re not met?” With a sympathetic ear and a little prodding, a battered woman may quickly identify a long list of onerous and changing rules, imposed by the abuser and ruthlessly enforced by him. [145] If she is still in the relationship, or just getting out, she may describe the rules matter–of–factly, and may consider them normal. [146] One advantage of asking about the rules is that she may talk about them much more readily and with less shame than about the violence she has experienced. [147]

H. How Physical and Non–Physical Abuse Work Together:
Why Do We See It as Torture When [XxxxxXxxx] Generals Do It,
But Not When It’s the Guy Next Door?

People are still very ignorant about domestic violence and how it works. If you talk to people and read news reports, the emphasis is always on physical violence. [148] Mary encountered this ignorance when the psychologists, judges, and lawyers minimized her danger because the last severe beating occurred a year and a half before Mary left Russ for good.

~ ~ ~ ~

In other settings, we are well aware of how torturers combine physical and mental abuse to get and keep power over their victims. [154] Appendix B is one of my favorite charts, adapted from Ann Jones’s book Next Time, She’ll Be Dead. [155] In the left–hand column are non–physical torture methods that Amnesty International has recognized and cata

logued. [156] Totalitarian regimes often use these techniques against political prisoners. [157] In the right–hand column are battered women’s descriptions of how their batterers used these same techniques to control them. [158] I have added some examples from Mary’s story to what appears in Jones’s book.

Those who work with battered women must understand the interplay of physical and non–physical abuse. When seen in context, a “slap” is not just a “slap”; it is a warning that the victim must comply with the batterer’s demands “or else.” Repeated phone calls to her at work are not just a sign of a little insecurity. They are part of an overall scheme of isolation and control. Busting up the furniture at home, or throwing the cat against the wall are not unfortunate temper tantrums; they say, “you could be next.” [159]

We should recognize domestic violence as the human rights violation it is. [160] We should draw analogies between domestic violence and torture, [161] to kidnappers and hostages. [162]

READER QUIZ: WHAT YEAR WAS THAT STORY ?

(hover cursor above to find the copyright and which attorney related the story).

Hover over THIS and I’ll tell you when this woman married & got her RO.

It could’ve been a decade later, and wouldn’t have read much different. I found this story after, with curiosity, searching on the man who wrote the article below. I hope readers may go back (click on this link, the “READER QUIZ” link) and actually read Mary’s Story, which was an actual case (name changed), and too damn typical. I doubt a person who has experienced abuse would respond the same as one who hasn’t.

NOW, for comic relief, of the monotous drone of fatherlessness being the nation’s crisis (and we have JUST the solution to fix it . . . . ).

Fall of marriage seen linked to decline in domestic murders Drop in homicides called ‘ironic benefit’ of change

The decline of marriage and the breakdown of stable relationships have produced a paradoxical benefit: Domestic murders have declined, with the most dramatic reductions among African- Americans, a University of Missouri criminologist reported yesterday.

“We’re living at a time of dramatic changes in marriage, intimate relationships and family structure,” said Richard Rosenfeld, speaking in Baltimore at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “Those changes have had an ironic benefit in reducing the number of intimate-partner homicides.”

Dr. Rosenfeld’s findings are the flip side of the much-reported increase in young men killing young men, which he said may be attributed in part to similar factors — family instability and lack of supervision by harried single parents

READER QUIZ — WHAT YEAR WAS THIS ARTICLE (ABOVE)?

(author date & cite show when cursor hovers over link)

OK, now that you know when Dr. Rosenfled (a criminologist, not a PSYchologist) found out that the decline in marriage rates among African Americans meant reduced DV homicides among African Americans (although young men were killing each other more, they weren’t apparently killing so many wives or “intimate partners.” )

Let’s say what the head-honcho elected mostly white men were saying about the same year:

I searched the 104th Congress (1995-1996) for the word “fatherless.”

As we know, fatherlessness has been for so long blamed on the nation’s troubles that you can barely walk somewhere in a government agency, or any social service community agency (after you come back from either a Catholic church, where the (celibate?) priests are called “Father” in direct disobedience to Jesus’s command in the gospels, “call no man Father.” Or, an evangelical Protestant, not quite mainline (or, megachurch) where, after the ranks were being drained to women, they are adding testosterone to the doctrine, and teaching men to be more sensitive (in men’s groups, of course).

If you want to go without the straight-up religious variety, there’s always “The Mankind Project” and one can get a seminar of the Robert Bly type. There are fatherhood practitioners everywhere one looks, practically.

All I really wanted was the conversation where a legislator expresses shock and dismay that African American boys and girls are waking up on homes without their fathers. (NOTE: The “Mary” story above happened in the late 1980s, and HER 3 kids were waking up with their father in the home. In fact, her little girl Elizabeth, at age 3, had gotten an early introduction to sex when her stepbrother came there for the summer and molested her, after which her mother had another job of making sure they weren’t left alone together. (That couple were white and suburban, so maybe they didn’t count in this topic).

I got a little more than I expected in this 104th Congressional record:
Beginning
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND WORK OPPORTUNITY RECONCILIATION ACT OF 1996–CONFERENCE REPORT

 

I met a man who was an administrator of one of the hospitals in my community in the 15th District of Florida, and this gentleman told me that, before he had moved to Florida, he had lived in Oklahoma, and he had taken part in a program where he would go into inner city housing projects and read to young children in those projects. This program started because it has been shown in research studies that, if you read to a child, you can improve their reading score. Actually there are some studies that show that, if you read to a child, you may actually be able to raise their IQ slightly, {{Noble cause. Some Oklahoman going to raise inner city kids’ IQs}} and he told me something that I will never forget.

So this anecdotal evidence of an unnamed Florida Hospital Administrator, about (how many years previous?) that administrator going into the projects (hence, he wasn’t from them) was not 2nd-hand but 3rd-hand hearsay — if the event ever indeed happened. The impassioned delivery is to state how Welfare is Cruel — listen up how this is done:

He was going into those projects and reading to those kids, and those children were, by and large, children of single parents on welfare, and he would ask, many of them 5, 6 and 7-year-old children, `What do you want to be when you grow up?’ And, yes, some of them would say I want to be a fireman or a nurse, but some of them would say:

`I don’t want to work. I want to collect a check.’

Not all of them wanted to be firemen or nurses (separate by gender; I don’t know how many female fire”men” there are these days, but we know there are lots of male nurses… And probably were in 1996, too..)

Mr. Speaker, a program that does that to millions of children is not a program of compassion and caring to children. It is a program that is cruel and mean spirited to children.

Here’s the process — a man in Florida heard a man in Florida talk about his experience trying to improve the iQ of little kids in the projects (did he talk to their Mamas?) in Oklahoma, and concludes that (although even in the story some WANTED a profession, others wanted a check) FEEDING such children was mean-spirited and cruel…

Today a young male being born to a mother, a single mother on welfare in the United States, has a greater likelihood of ending up on drugs or in the penitentiary than graduating from high school.

I showed in “Luzerne County” that you don’t have to be poor or (presumable here) black to be a crook. There’s a difference between being a crook and actually being jailed for it. It should be common knowledge now, and I bet then (1996) that America, being the largest jailor (per capita) has those jails disproportionately filled with black males. Some of them got their assaulting their mother’s attacker, too. He’s taking two statistics (if that) and creating a CASUAL connection rather than a CAUSAL one. Of course, how many poor black males — or females of any social status or color — were there in Congress in 1996 to comment on his reasoning process?

And the young females, (single mothers have both boys and girls, right?) — are THEY ending up on drugs or in jail?

The problem that we have with illegitimacy in our Nation today is a problem that has been created by the program that we are trying to change, and you cannot fix this problem by tinkering around the edges. The illegitimacy rate in this country has gone up from 5 percent to almost 25 percent in the white community. In the black community it has gone from less than 25 percent to, in some areas, as high as 70 percent.

If you look at what correlates best, what correlates in communities with problems like teenage pregnancy, drug use, illiteracy, juvenile crime, the thing that correlates best in those problems in those communities, Mr. Speaker, is the amount of illegitimacy, the amount of fatherlessness in those communities. A program that perpetuates and cultivates things like this is a cruel and mean-spirited program, and that program needs to be changed, and our bill makes a serious attempt at doing that.

We are not talking about tinkering around the edges. We are talking about promoting family unity, discouraging teen-age pregnancy and illegitimacy.

The fact that this program perpetuates it, Mr. Speaker, was driven home to me when I was a medical student working in an inner-city obstetrics clinic, and I had a 15-year-old girl come in to see me who was pregnant, and I had never seen this before, and I was so upset. I was grieved to see this. I looked at her and said her life is ruined, she cannot go to college, and I said to her, `How did this happen, why did this happen,’ and she looked up to me and told me that she did it deliberately because she wanted to get out from under her mother in the project, and she wanted her own place and her own welfare check.

Again, on the outside looking in, and one anecdote.

This program needs to stop. The people have asked for it; we are trying to deliver.

WHICH people? I mean, these are elected representatives, are they really speaking for their constituents?

Mr. Speaker, I encourage the Members of the minority to stop their partisan rhetoric and join with us in reforming welfare and creating a program for the poor and the needy that strengthens family, does not undermine them, that strengthens the bonds of marriage, because it is strong families that make strong communities that makes strong nations, and our Nation cannot survive with a perpetuation of a program like this.

Is it the lack of marriage, or the lack of fathers that counts? Because I tell you one thing that makes lack of fathers — WARS. Another thing that previously, broke up families in a callous manner is called slavery.

Who created ghettoes? Who created the two-tier school system, good for some lousy for others (a factor to this date). Who directed one populace into “jobs” and the others (elite ones) into how to run businesses and understand investments, political connections, foundations, and skills that would go along with that goal?

So if you want to know how much we (we WHO???) have invested in the old welfare program over the past 30 years, it is roughly the equivalent of the value of all buildings, all plants and equipment, and all of the tools of all the workers in the United States of America. No society in history has ever invested more money trying to help needy people than the United States of America has invested.

Yet, what has been the result of all of those good intentions? What has been the result of that investment? The result of that investment, 30 years later, is that we have as many poor people today as we had 30 years ago. They are poorer today, they are more dependent on the Government today, and by any definition of quality of life, fulfillment, or happiness, people are worse off today than they were when we started the current welfare system.

When we started the War on Poverty {{and another war in Southeast Asia to follow up on the Korean war I guess}} in the mid-1960s, two-parent families were the norm in poor families in America. Today, two-parent families are the exception. Since 1965, the illegitimacy rate has tripled.

I know that we have colleagues on the other side of the aisle who are going to lament the passage of this new welfare reform bill. But I do not see how anybody with a straight face, or a clear conscience, can defend the status quo in welfare. Our current welfare program has failed. It has driven fathers out of the household. It has made mothers dependent. It has taken away people’s dignity. It has bred child abuse and neglect, and filled the streets of our cities with crime. And we are here today to change it.

Grammar: Is this guy going to “own” the welfare program, or objectify it? First it was guilt trip, “we have created” and net thing it’s got an independent life, like a disease, perpetuating itself of its own accord, where it can be separated from the rhetorical bosom of the speaker, and be viewed running around tearing up the place. As an “it” it can now have stones thrown at IT first. And after the vivid picture of 5, 6 , 7 year olds wanting to collect a welfare check (“millions of them”) (Seriously, that’s the subliminal message — guilt trip first, it’s ours” and then relieve the guilt by blaming the same thing “we” created, and QUICK, call to action.….) Some action is needed to take away

Let me outline what our program does. I think if each of us looks back to a period when our ancestors first came to America, or back to a time when those who have gone before us found themselves poor, we are going to find that there are two things that get individuals and nations out of poverty. Those two things are work and family. I think it is instructive to note that those are the two things that we have never applied to the current welfare program of the United States of America.

This man seems totally unconscious of the fact that SOME ancestors came to America in the bottom of a slave ship; that a lot of wealth, including likely some of the wealth that helped put people in Congress, came from came from businesses that included plantation labor, sweat shops, and some very, very hard work. When he says “us” as to doling out benefits, he also seems to have forgotten that those taxes came from employees’ wages, courtesy a few reforms dating back to 1939. He seems to have forgotten everything about “Jim Crow” and era of attempting to turn back the clock on some serious industriousness by freed slaves.

The bill before us asks people to work. It says that able-bodied men and women will be required to work in order to receive benefits. It sets a time limit so that people cannot make welfare a way of life. It seeks to change the incentives within the welfare system. And I believe the time has come to change those incentives within the welfare system.

I admit I’m maybe sensitive to this because I know HOW HARD I worked over the years, and none harder than while in a battering relationship that could’ve been a variety of the one above (but a decade later). This relationship, within marriage shouldn’t be happening any more in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, or 2000s, but it is.

Family Court Systems Purposefully Mask Abuse and Abusers

(SEPARATE TOPIC, above)) just saving the link).

How many foundations, acronyms (CPR, MDRC, PSI), Federal $$ and Ivy League hotshots does it take to “screw” . . the Poor?

leave a comment »

INTRO (added 07/17)

For international visitors, or others who may not get the pun in the title:

There’s a common joke used to degrade people of certain ethnic — or professional — profiles, usually to insult the intelligence of the target group. It refers to screwing in a a lightbulb, something a child can do, and goes “How many ______s does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” and the answer is a clever twist on why it takes so many. ”

The word “Screw” has another off-color connotation, pun intended here.

In this case, it’s NOT a joke; the more I look, the more I feel the USA is screwed. By whom — read on. I experienced total devastation through this system, so far, and without committing a single crime. My “social” crime was not taking the low road, but the high road, out of a marriage that probably shouldn’t have happened, but did, and then my misplaced value on marriage (exactly what these people are promoting) resulted in my staying in just short of us becoming a statistic. There weren’t real other options, that I saw — welfare, and a battered women’s shelter with one toddler, and pregnant with another child? That wasn’t in my vocabulary or background – we were a WORKING family.

We didn’t fit — at all (nor do many women affected by religious-based violence) the target profile of these programs — AT ALL. I was full-time employed while pregnant, and gave birth to very healthy children, fully covered by insurance provided by my work, not his. By the second child, almost every infrastructure was shut down — for me — and came only through him, and he wasn’t very forthcoming.

Women are NOT going to be safe in their marriages, if the marriage goes sour or violent, or OUTSIDE them unless we can be safely independent without excommunication from our communities.

Society has to handle its love/hate relationship with the PAID wages of employed mothers (meaning, child care, school system, after care, a certain scenario. Because the public school system in this country discriminates against the poor, that also impacts their future) AND the UNPAID benefits nonworking mothers provide to their familis and children.

CORPORATIONS historically have cared about their profits first, and their employees second, until forced to do differently. This splits up families, obviously. SCHOOLS in the US are also a jobs basis and designed on the corporate model, the “employer” being the government (although that government gets its wages from the very parents and non-parents it claims to be serving and educating).

CHURCHES, MOSQUES and SYNAGOGUES also must deal with money matters, and typically exist (from what I understand) in the US as “nonprofit” tax-exempt corporations. They have mortgages and typically pay their leaders (although not always). Therefore when a financial conflict of interest arises because a prominent — or even just attending — father begins assaulting a daughter or a wife, the temptation will be to cover it up for the “greater good,” i.e., continuing the community, but sacrificing the individual’s rights or safety. Some readers will remember, this was attributed to why Jesus Christ had to be sacrificed – – because if he “rocked the boat,” the Romans might come in and make it worse for the Jews. Which, later, obviously happened.

=======

As a woman who has seen the best and worst of a religion I adopted as a young woman because my own family was destitute of one, of a personal family identity outside one father’s professional profile (for the most part), I am quite willing to reject “religion” when it fails to practice what it preaches as I see my government, and its institutions have also utterly failed the people they preach about “serving.”

These foundations have utterly forgotten what the Declaration of Indepencence declares, and are mostly concerned about their own positions in life, and structuring a society to preserve their right to run others’ lives without their informed consent, and at their expense, too.

When a president cannot say the word “mother” along with the word “father” when describing “Families and Children,” and this president is held up as a role model and leader, women, and mothers of children, and the children ARE “screwed.” Linguistically, they are just sperm incubators, a delivery system for kids. We also get to now be scapegoats for society by either declining to marry, or leaving a marriage, yet the actual scapegoats are the society’s engineers, not the people who have become simply the gas in its (think) tanks or the blood in its veins.

It takes time to gestate and raise a child, and I think we are approaching the time when women are going to start saying NO! We will NOT produce babies for you to abuse, waste, or box up and become half-human order-takers and low-wage laborers, or young men and women to go fight your wars over land, oil, and the global economic system. If I participate in this happening, perhaps I will have in part helped compensate for having been unable to stop domestic violence they witnessed growing up, or divert and protect them from the INSANITY that took place the moment some professional, probably on the take either literally ($$) or by business referrals, knew how to “let the games begin” by getting our case into a custody battle.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MARRIAGE/FATHERHOOD COIN – –

SUSPENDING CIVIL RIGHTS MAKES NO $$SENSE$

This dates back 5 years.

2005

(DOLLARS and SENSE logo here)

29 Winter Street, Boston, MA 02108 USA
T:(617)447-2177

F:(617)447-217

Copyright © 2010 Economic Affairs Bureau, Inc.

Dollars and Sense logo

Marriage Promotion, Reproductive Injustice, and the War Against Poor Women of Color

BY SARAH OLSON

(1/05/2005)

On December 22, at the stroke of midnight, Renita Pitts became a single woman. Renita is 44 years old, a mother of five with 14 grandchildren. She has been on and off of welfare for most of her life. After she had her fifth child, her husband brought crack cocaine into their house, telling her that it would help her lose weight. She became addicted and struggled for 13 years with that addiction. Throughout her marriage, Renita says, she was afraid to leave her house. “I couldn’t trust my husband with our children long enough to go to school. If I left for even an hour, he would have a full-fledged party going on when I came back,” she says. In addition to being a drug addict, Renita’s husband was verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive. She says they fought frequently, and she had to call the police again and again.

Renita and her husband separated shortly after she stopped using drugs and returned to college. She had also begun attending church. According to Renita, her husband “was insecure because of my security.” He gave her an ultimatum, saying she must leave school and stop going to church. When she refused, he left.

Despite the abuse and the drugs, Renita says, she felt many social pressures to stay married. Regardless, she says, “it was important not to have him in my life, constantly pumping me full of drugs.” She says the relationship had become so abusive that if she had stayed in it any longer, “someone would have ended up dead.”

With the help of California’s welfare program, Renita is currently enrolled in the African American Studies and Social Welfare departments at the University of California at Berkeley and works on social justice issues at the Women of Color Resource Center. She was happy to see her divorce finalized in December.

The life stories of Renita and many other women like her are not on the radar screen in Washington, however. Legislation that would promote marriage among low-income people is currently wending its way through Congress. The so-called “Healthy Marriage Initiative” includes a range of provisions designed to encourage women on welfare to get and stay married: providing extra cash bonuses to recipients who get married, deducting money from welfare checks when mothers are living with men who are not the fathers of their children, increasing monthly welfare checks for married couples, offering marriage and relationship education classes, and putting up billboards in low-income communities promoting the value of marriage. Several provisions specifically target Latino and African-American communities. So-called marriage promotion policies, such as those in the Healthy Marriage Initiative, have been touted by the Bush administration and enjoy wide bipartisan support in Washington. Many advocates, however, are concerned that, if the bill passes, it would become more difficult for Renita and domestic violence survivors like her to get a divorce and to survive without a husband.

Married Good, Single Bad

The administration’s point man for marriage promotion is Dr. Wade Horn, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services {HHS}, whose Administration for Children and Families {ACF} would run the initiative. In July 2002 Horn wrote, “On average, children raised by their own parents in healthy and stable married families enjoy better physical and mental health and are less likely to be poor. They’re more successful in school, have lower dropout rates, and fewer teenage pregnancies. Adults, too, benefit from healthy and stable marriages.” Critics say Horn sees the wedded state as a cure-all for society’s ills, while ignoring the difficulties of promoting something as intensely personal as marriage. Horn and others in the ACF refused repeated requests for comment.

Marriage promotion legislation has its roots in the 1996 welfare reform act. This legislation ended welfare as an entitlement–it allowed states to deny assistance to fully qualified applicants, and resulted in the abrogation of some applicants’ constitutional rights. It also created a five-year lifetime limit for welfare recipients, denied aid to many immigrant communities, created cumbersome financial reporting requirements for welfare recipients, and set up work rules that, according to many recipients, emphasize work hours over meaningful employment opportunities and skill development. The legislation explicitly claimed promoting marriage as one of its aims.

When welfare reform was passed, Congress required that it be revisited in five years. The Healthy Marriage Initiative that Congress is considering today was introduced in 2002 as part of the welfare reform reauthorization package. Welfare–now known as Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF)–was set to be reauthorized that year, but that reauthorization is now two years overdue.

In September, Senators Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) introduced a bill to reauthorize welfare for six months without overall changes, but with $800 million for marriage promotion and fatherhood programs over a two-year period. Sen. Santorum has been a strong proponent of marriage promotion. In an October 2003 speech to the Heritage Foundation, he promised to aggressively press for legislation that supported marriage between one man and one woman. “The government must promote marriage as a fundamental societal benefit. … Both for its intrinsic good and for its benefits for society, we need marriage.

{{Did these men, Senators, not take an oath of office similar to the President’s, to uphold and defend the constitution? If these Senators are so concerned about marriage, why don’t they socially shun, and hold conferences about, some of their cheating-on-their-wives colleagues, let alone former Presidents (let’s hope Obama has better sense than Clinton in that category)..?? ONE nation under God, and ONE set of Federal laws, and ONE set of the Bill of Rights for all. Government designing family life is the same as Government deciding religion, and as such is prohibited…}}

And just as important, we need public leaders to communicate to the American public why it is necessary.” The reauthorization bill has died in the Senate, but because of its strong bipartisan support, it is likely to be re-introduced. Sen. Santorum refused repeated requests for comment for this story.

Diverting Dollars

Although the debate about marriage promotion has focused on the Healthy Marriage Initiative, this is just one piece of the Bush administration’s pro-marriage agenda. The Department of Health and Human Services has already diverted over $100 million within existing programs into marriage promotion. These are programs that have no specific legislative authority to promote marriage. Some examples: $6.1 million has been diverted from the Child Support Enforcement Program, $9 million from the Refugee Resettlement Program, $14 million from the Child Welfare Program, and $40 million from the Social and Economic Development Strategies Program focusing on Native Americans, among others. Plus, another nearly $80 million has been awarded to research groups studying marriage.

One beneficiary is in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Healthy Marriages Grand Rapids received $990,000 from the federal government in 2003 to “facilitate the understanding that healthy marriages between parents is [sic] critical to the financial well-being of children, increase effective co-parenting skills of married and non-married parents to improve relationships between low-income adults who parent children, increase active, healthy participation of non-custodial fathers in the lives of their children, increase the number of prepared marriages among low-income adults, and decrease the divorce rate among low-income adults.” The program coordinates local public media campaigns plugging marriage as well as relationship counseling classes, many offered by faith-based providers.

It is precisely this emphasis on marriage as a cure for economic woes that worries many welfare recipients and advocates. According to Liz Accles at the Welfare Made a Difference National Campaign, “Marriage promotion is problematic for many reasons. It is discriminatory. It values certain families over others. It intrudes on privacy rights. The coercive nature of this is lost on a lot of people because they don’t realize how deeply in poverty people are living.” Accles says that adequate educational opportunities, subsidized child care, and real job skills and opportunities are the answer to the financial concerns of women on welfare. She joins many domestic violence counselors in saying that marriage education funded by government coffers and administered via faith-based providers and welfare case workers is at best a waste of taxpayer money, and at worst pushes women deeper into abusive relationships that may end in injury or death

{{including sometimes to the kids. I’m still waiting for someone to explain to us how THAT helps the welfare of children And now that’s it’s known this happening, why hasn’t the policy changed??!}}

In Allentown, Pa., a program called the Family Formation and Development Project offers a 12-week marriage education course for low-income, unmarried couples with children. Employment services are offered as part of the program, but only to fathers. In its application for federal funding, the program set a goal of 90% of the participating fathers finding employment. No such goal was set for the mothers. According to Jennifer Brown, legal director at the women’s legal rights organization Legal Momentum, which filed a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services, “What we fear is that this kind of sex stereotyped programming–jobs for fathers, not for mothers–will be part of marriage promotion programs funded by the government.”

Experts at Legal Momentum are concerned that the administration is diverting scarce funds from proven and effective anti-poverty programs and funneling the money into untested marriage-promotion programs. They say there is little information about what is happening on the ground, making it difficult to determine what activities have been implemented.

Feminist economists point out that the mid-1990s welfare reform law served larger economic interests by moving women out of the home and into the work force at a time when the economy was booming and there was a need for low-paid service workers. Now that the economy is in a recession, the government has adopted a more aggressive policy of marriage promotion, to pull women out of the work force and back into the home. According to Avis Jones-DeWeever, Poverty and Welfare Study director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “We are talking about putting $1.5 billion into telling women to find their knight in shining armor and then everything will be okay.”

Jones-DeWeever says the view that marriage creates more economically stable individuals is not grounded in reality. She notes that individuals are likely to marry within their own socioeconomic group, so low-income women are likely to marry low-income men. According to author Barbara Ehrenreich’s estimates, low-income women would need to have roughly 2.3 husbands apiece in order to lift them out of poverty. Jones-DeWeever points out that in African-American communities, there are simply not enough men to marry: there are approximately two and a half women for every African-American man who is employed and not in jail. In addition, many social policy analysts are quick to point out that in general, poor people are not poor because they’re unmarried. Rather, they may be unmarried because they’re poor: the socioeconomic conditions in low-income communities contribute to a climate in which healthy marriages are difficult to sustain.

Another criticism of marriage promotion comes from survivors of domestic violence and their advocates. Studies consistently show that between 50% and 60%–in some studies up to 80%–of women on welfare have suffered some form of domestic violence, compared to 22% of the general population. In addition, between 3.3 and 10 million children witness domestic violence each year. Domestic violence survivors say their abuse was often a barrier to work, and many have reported being harassed or abused while at work. Most survivors needed welfare to escape the relationship and the violence. Any policy that provides incentives for women to become and stay married is in effect coercing poor women into marriage. Many women on welfare, like Renita Pitts, say that their marriages, rather than helping them out of poverty, set up overwhelming barriers to building their own autonomous and productive lives.

According to Kaaryn Gustafson, associate professor of law at the University of Connecticut, policies that attempt to look out for women’s safety by restricting or coercing their activities are paternalistic and misguided. “The patriarchal model is really troubling. The gist is that if there isn’t a man in the house there isn’t a family. The studies of family well-being are all very problematic because you cannot parse out the issues of education, socioeconomic status, and other emotional and psychological issues that are tied up in who gets married and who doesn’t.”

Domestic violence ITSELF often is a reflection of a paternalistic attitude, and this DOES stem at least from faith communities. Moreover, we have to look at this United States which used to legalize slavery. Slavery is abusive and a paternalistic attitude justified it. I’ve “just” had enough of this! So, in effect, promoting marriage — both undermines individual civil rights, and duplicates the same attitude which justifies such violence towards a woman because she is a woman!

Reproductive Straitjacket

While marriage promotion as a federal policy began in 1996, many say it is only one part of a much larger system of control over, and sanction of, the sexual and reproductive freedoms of poor women and women of color. Another part of this system is child exclusion legislation, which has been adopted by 21 states. Child exclusion laws permit states to pay benefits for only one child born to a woman on welfare. Social policy experts say it is a response to the myth that African-American welfare recipients were having more children in order to get larger benefit checks. Such laws push women either deeper into poverty, or into abortions. In some states, a woman who chooses to have another child instead of an abortion may end up trying to raise two or more children on less than $300 a month.

Christie, who would like to use only her first name, is a single mother of two. She has been working, supporting her children and herself, and going to college. Since her first child was born, she has also been receiving welfare. While on welfare, she fought to get a college degree in general education; now she hopes to get a job as a Spanish language translator. During her time in college, her welfare caseworker told Christie to quit going to school and instead report to a welfare-to-work program. She says, “I felt that it was a punishment. Just because I was on welfare, they could make me quit school and come and sit in a room and listen to people talking about the jobs I should get. Most of the jobs that they wanted you to have were geared towards the lower poverty level where you stay in poverty and you can never climb the socioeconomic ladder. It’s like that’s your position and that’s where you have to stay.”

When Christie became pregnant with her second child, her caseworker told her she could not receive an increase in her benefit. This forced Christie into some tough choices. “My religion kept me from having an abortion. I worked after I had my daughter, because I felt like it was a mistake that I made, and so I tried to do what I could for my daughter.” Christie says this legislation penalizes women for having children, and creates an overwhelming sense of guilt that permeates low-income families. Rather than celebrating the birth of her daughter, Christie felt that she needed to work twice as hard to make up for her “mistake.”

When states began adopting child exclusion policies in the early 1990s, they were implemented under federal scrutiny. States were required to keep data about the financial status of affected families. These data showed that child exclusion policies resulted in women and children being thrust further into poverty. One of the more sinister effects of the 1996 welfare reform law is that it did away with the requirement that states monitor the outcome of child exclusion policies. Since 1996, states have been able to impose sanctions on families without paying any attention to the results.

According to a July 2002 report by the Children’s Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program (C-SNAP), a research and advocacy collaborative, child exclusion policies are directly correlated to a number of risks to the health and well-being of children. Infants and toddlers in families that have been sanctioned under the child exclusion provisions are 30% more likely to have been hospitalized than children from families who have not been sanctioned, and these children are 90% more likely to require hospitalization at the time of an emergency room visit. In addition, child exclusion sanctions lead to food insecurity rates that are at least 50% higher than those of families who have not faced sanction. The negative health and welfare impacts reported in the C-SNAP study increase dramatically with each year that a family experiences sanctions.

Proponents of child exclusion legislation, including many members of the Bush administration and a bipartisan array of senators and representatives, claim that women on welfare have no business bringing a new child into the world whom they cannot support financially.

The United Sates has a long history of regulation of poor women’s reproductive activities. From the forced sterilizations performed in low-income communities of color in the 1940s, 1950s, and even later, to state child services departments appropriating poor Native American children and giving them to upper-class white foster parents, many U.S. historians say that sexuality among lower-income communities of color has traditionally been viewed as something that should be controlled. The University of Connecticut’s Gustafson responds, “There is this idea that if you pay taxes you have the right to control those who don’t, and it smacks of slavery. There should be some scope of liberty that should be unconditional, and that especially includes sexuality and family formation.”

There’s no such respect for freedom and privacy under TANF. The program requires women to submit to a barrage of invasive questions and policies; TANF applicants must provide private details about every aspect of their lives. In California, for example, the application asks for the names of up to 12 men with whom a woman has had sexual relations on or around the time of her pregnancy. In San Diego county, before a woman can receive a welfare check, she must submit to a “surprise” visit by welfare case workers to verify that there isn’t an unreported man in the household, among other things.

One of the problems with all of these sexual and reproductive-based policy initiatives is that, according to Gustafson, they distract people from the actual issues of poverty. While TANF accounts for less than 2% of the federal budget, the hysteria surrounding whether and how to assist poor families with children has created an uproar about whether low-income women should even be allowed to have children.

Because the 1996 welfare reform law eliminated the concept of welfare as an entitlement, welfare recipients lack certain protections other U.S. citizens have under the Constitution. In effect, when you apply for welfare you are signing away many of your constitutional rights

Similarly, when a woman receives cash aid and food stamps after leaving a violent relationship, she signs over her right to collect child support to the local county. She is NOT, however, openly told that the U.S. Government is promoting marriage and some of the monies used to collect her child support are diverted into programs that may eventually help the man she just left get back into her life, or even get her children. In other words, we aren’t given full information to make a good decision at the time. This is VERy manipulative and in essence treat as her like less than adult.

For this reason, many advocates today are critiquing welfare through the lens of human rights rather than constitutional rights. International human-rights agreements, including the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, afford women many universal human rights. “Those include access to education, access to reproductive choice, rights when it comes to marrying or not marrying,” says Gustafson. “When you look at the international statements of human rights, it provides this context, this lens that magnifies how unjust the welfare laws are in the United States. The welfare system is undermining women’s political, economic, and social participation in society at large.”

On September 30, Congress passed another extension of the 1996 welfare legislation. This extension contained no policy changes–for now. When Congress does finally reauthorize welfare, child exclusion policies and marriage promotion are likely to be hot-button issues that galvanize the debate. According to Liz Accles at the National Welfare Made a Difference Campaign, there are three steps to a successful welfare strategy. “Access. Adequacy. Opportunity. All three of these hold equal weight. You cannot have benefits so low that people live deeply in poverty. You can’t have good benefits that only a few people get access to. You also need to have opportunity for economic mobility built in.”

Although the marriage promotion bill was defeated this time, it continues to enjoy strong bipartisan support–including support from the White House now that George W. Bush has a second term. Welfare recipients and social policy experts are worried that whenever welfare reform is debated, politicians will deem regulating the reproductive activities of poor women to be more important than funding proven anti-poverty measures like education and meaningful job opportunities.

Sarah Olson is a contributing reporter for Free Speech Radio News and the National Radio Project’s “Making Contact.” She is also a mentor and journalist at the Welfare Radio Collaborative.

RESOURCES Joan Meisel, Daniel Chandler, and Beth Menees Rienzi, “Domestic Violence Prevalence and Effects on Employment in Two California TANF Populations,” (California Institute of Mental Health, 2003); Richard Tolman and Jody Raphael, “A Review of the Research on Welfare and Domestic Violence,” Journal of Social Issues, 2000; Sharmila Lawrence, “Domestic Violence and Welfare Policy: Research Findings That Can Inform Policies on Marriage and Child Well-Being: Issue Brief,” (Research Forum on Children, Families, and the New Federalism, National Center for Children in Poverty, 2002); E. Lyon, “Welfare, Poverty and Abused Women: New Research and Its Implications,” Policy and Practice Paper #10, Building Comprehensive Solutions to Domestic Violence, (National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, 2000)

I looked up “Children Families and the New Federalism,” and on its database googled “domestic violence mediation” and found this:

Domestic Violence and Welfare Receipt in Maryland (unreviewed)
Strategies for Addressing the Needs of Domestic Violence Victims within the TANF Program: The Experience of Seven Counties (unreviewed)
Assessing Effective Welfare-to-Work Strategies for Domestic Violence Victims and Survivors in the Options/Opciones Project (unreviewed)
Psychiatric Disorders Among Low Income Single Mothers: Mothers’ Well-Being Study (unreviewed)
CalWORKs Project (unreviewed)
Study of Screening and Assessment in TANF/WtW (unreviewed)
Women’s Employment Study (reviewed)
San Bernardino County (CA) TANF Recipients Study (unreviewed)
Multiple Impacts of Welfare Reform in Utah: Experiences of Former Long-term Welfare Recipients (unreviewed)
Tracking Closed Cases Under The TANF Program in Massachusetts (unreviewed)
Supporting Healthy Marriage (unreviewed)
Welfare-to-Work, the Private Sector and Americorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) (unreviewed)
Parents’ Fair Share Demonstration (reviewed)
Welfare-to-Work Grants Program Evaluation (reviewed)
Connecticut’s Jobs First: Welfare Reform Evaluation Project (reviewed)

Let’s look at who’s behind Parents’ Fair Share Demonstration, which project took place over a 10-ear period, it says:

MDRC
Investigator(s) Fred Doolittle (MDRC)
Virginia Knox (MDRC)
Earl Johnson (MDRC)
Cynthia Miller (MDRC)
Sponsor(s) US Department of Health and Human Services
MDRC
Funder(s) PEW Charitable Trusts
Ford Foundation
AT&T Foundation
US Department of Health and Human Services
US Department of Labor
McKnight Foundation
Northwest Area Foundation
US Department of Agriculture
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Subcontractor(s) Abt Associates, Inc.
Domain Income Security/TANF
Status Completed (final report released)
Duration Jun 1991 – Jun 2001
Type Research and/or Program Evaluation
Goal To implement and evaluate the Parent’s Fair Share Demonstration (PFS).
Program/Policy Description PFS centers on four core activities: employment and training services, peer support through group discussions focused on the rights and responsibilities of non-custodial parents, stronger and more flexible child support enforcement, and voluntary mediation services to help resolve conflict between the custodial and non-custodial parents. PFS is required for non-custodial parents (usually fathers) who are unable to meet child support obligations and have been referred to PFS by the courts.
Notes No notes reported.

And the findings, in brief:

Recent Findings in Brief

12/01/01: Parents’ Fair Share Demonstration: The Challenge of Helping Low-Income Fathers Support Their Children: Final Lessons From Parents’ Fair Share

Final Descriptive/Analytical Findings

As a group, the fathers were very disadvantaged, although some were able to find low-wage work fairly easily. PFS increased employment and earnings for the least-employable men but not for the men who were more able to find work on their own. Most participated in job club services, but fewer than expected took part in skill-building activities. PFS encouraged some fathers, particularly those who were least involved initially, to take a more active parenting role. Many of the fathers visited their children regularly, although few had legal visitation agreements. There were modest increases in parental conflict over child-rearing decisions, and some mothers restricted the fathers’ access to their children. Men referred to the PFS program paid more child support than men in the control group. The process of assessing eligibility uncovered a fair amount of employment, which disqualified some fathers from participation but which led, nonetheless, to increased child support payments.

Because I happen to be familiar with the contractor “MDRC” through prior research (i.e., looking around on the web….), I went to CPR (Centerforpolicyresearch.org) and simply typed in “Parent’s Fair Share.”

This is how many links came up:

Search Results

1 Projects – Parents’ Fair Share Demonstration ProjectRelevance: 3006
Assist MDRC in design and implementation of a mediation component in the Parents’ Fair Share Demon…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/Projects/tabid/234/id/284/Default.aspx12/17/2008 4:09:47 PM
2 PovertyRelevance: 2008
Many of CPR’s projects involve identification and assessment of programs to reduce poverty and…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/AreasofExpertise/Poverty/tabid/262/Default.aspx1/19/2009 1:33:25 PM
3 Incarceration and ReentryRelevance: 1004
CPR has done seminal work on child support and incarceration. As a result of CPR’s studies of …
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/AreasofExpertise/IncarcerationandReentry/tabid/263/Default.aspx1/19/2009 1:20:48 PM
4 Projects – Child Support Strategies for Incarcerated and Released ParentsRelevance: 1003
Publicize information on the child support situation that incarcerated and paroled parents face an…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/Projects/tabid/234/id/378/Default.aspx12/18/2008 10:51:44 AM
5 Court ServicesRelevance: 1003
CPR’s Jessica Pearson and Nancy Thoennes have pioneered the development, implementation and ev…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/AreasofExpertise/CourtServices/tabid/256/Default.aspx1/19/2009 1:15:59 PM
6 Projects – Evaluation of Parents to Work!Relevance: 1002
Evaluation of a program to utilize TANF funds to deliver services to noncustodial parents involved…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/Projects/tabid/234/id/375/Default.aspx12/18/2008 10:46:52 AM
7 Child SupportRelevance: 1002
CPR personnel have been leading researchers and technical assistance contractors for nearly ev…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/AreasofExpertise/ChildSupport/tabid/255/Default.aspx1/19/2009 1:09:46 PM
8 Projects – Task Order 38: An Assessment of Research Concerning Effective Methods of Working with Incarcerated and Released Parents with Child Support ObligationsRelevance: 1002
An analysis of child support issues concerning offender and ex-offender noncustodial parents. The …
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/Projects/tabid/234/id/382/Default.aspx12/18/2008 10:54:07 AM
9 Projects – Texas Access and Visitation Hotline IIRelevance: 1001
Evaluation to assess the effectiveness of a telephone hotline offering parents in the child suppor…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/Projects/tabid/234/id/294/Default.aspx12/17/2008 4:21:13 PM
10 Publications – When Parents Complain About Visitation.Relevance: 1001

http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/Publications/tabid/233/id/427/Default.aspx12/18/2008 3:46:12 PM
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

They do things like this:

Multi-Site Responsible Fatherhood Programs

Subcontract with Policy Studies Inc.

Contract with Office of Child Support Enforcement

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

1999 – 2001

Close Abstract

Multi-site evaluation of eight responsible fatherhood projects to assess various methods of outreach, client intake and service delivery to noncustodial parents in an effort to promote their financial and emotional participation in the lives of their children, and to assess the effectiveness of a management information system developed to for use at the sites.

or “MEDIATION INTERVENTIONS” (based at the Child Support Location) to get them more ACCESS to their children. . .. A whole other set of funding (HHS) is the “access visitation grants system.”

(CFDA 930597, I believe on TAGGS.hhs.gov) another thing I wasn’t told about in my custody issues.

MDRC, like PSI, like CPR, and others, are many of the organizations contracting out these programs. LESS highly publicized (but it’s out) is the court-based organization, AFCC giving awards to Ms. Pierson (of CPR), this organization also pushes mediation.

We are all in all moving quite towards a “planned economy,” whether or not we personally approve of it, or comprehend in just how many ways. LOOKING UP ONLY “Parent’s Fair Share” on the web, these came up:

Promising Practices Home

Operated by the RAND Corporation

http://www.promisingpractices.net/program.asp?programid=43

For this amazing summary, with so many government agencies, quite an assemblage of persona (and backed by several foundations), done in 8 different areas, the bottom line is, it didn’t affect anyone’s bottom line! No significantly increased child support payments, and not much more involved fathers. Says so right here!:

  • Overall, from the perspective of the custodial parents, the net result of PFS did not produce a detectable change in their total income as a result of child support payments.
  • With respect to child contact, PFS did not lead to increases in the frequency or length of contact that noncustodial parents had with their children.

In fact, kind of the contrary:

  • For more-employable men, the program had little effect on average earnings and somewhat reduced employment among those who would have worked in part-time, lower-wage jobs.

Back to topTop

Hrere’s the MDRC site report on the Parent’s Fair Share:

The Parents’ Fair Share (PFS) Demonstration, run from 1994 to 1996, was aimed at increasing the ability of these fathers to attain well-paying jobs, increase their child support payments — to increase their involvement in parenting in other ways. These reports — one examining the effectiveness of the PFS approach at increasing fathers’ financial and nonfinancial involvement with their children and the other examining the effectiveness of the PFS approach at increasing fathers’ employment and earnings — provide important insights into policies aimed at this key group.

What it doesn’t say — we failed at both goals…

By the way, MDRC stands for Manpower Development Research Corporation. These Corps are sprouting up to work with the government (and foundations behind the government policies) to manage society.

From April 2010, Still coming up with “astounding” revelations (for how much$$?) about how life works:

Policies That Strengthen Fatherhood and Family Relationships

What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?

{{that depends on who “WE” is. One thing seems evident — that the four authors to this paper, below, are employed, or at least have some nice sub- sub-contracting work… Another thing “We” (women in my position) would have LIKED to know is that organizations like MRDC and CPR and PSI and others are (through HHS) making our lives harder, “for our own good” because we dared to collect child support at one point in time. In retaliation for this, our “exes” will be helped by the United States Government to stay on our tails for the rest of time, possibly.}}

No, SERIOUSLY now, as of April 2010, after a decade plus of family/fatherhood programs, what bright conclusions can be drawn?

As described in earlier articles, children whose parents have higher income and education levels are more likely to grow up in stable two-parent households than their economically disadvantaged counterparts.

WHO IS THIS MDRC? Now that some poor folk actually have internet access, we can find out who’s studying (us):

Created in 1974 by the Ford Foundation and a group of federal agencies, MDRC is best known for mounting large-scale evaluations of real-world policies and programs targeted to low-income people.

The Board of Directors are the Cream of America, as follows:

Board of Directors
Robert Solow, Chairman
Institute Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mary Jo Bane, Vice Chair
Professor of Public Policy
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University
Rudolph G. Penner, Treasurer
Senior Fellow
Urban Institute
Ron Haskins
Senior Fellow, Economic Studies
Co-Director, Center on Children and Families
Brookings Institution

RON HASKINS SOUNDED FAMILIAR TO ME. HERE HE IS:

Ron Haskins

Ron Haskins

Senior Fellow, Economic Studies
Co-Director, Center on Children and Families

A former White House and congressional advisor on welfare issues, Ron Haskins co-directs the Brookings Center on Children and Families. An expert on preschool, foster care, and poverty—he was instrumental in the 1996 overhaul of national welfare policy.

(SEE MY TOP ARTICLE, THIS POST – some people are not too happy about it!)

Encouraging Marriage Helps Everyone

Children & Families, Marriage and Family Formation, Social Issues, Social Norms

Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies

Business Week

Higher marriage rates among the poor would benefit poor adults themselves, their children, and the nation. Although I do not support coercive policies to achieve higher marriage rates, I do favor marriage promotion programs conducted by community-based organizations such as churches and other nonprofit civic groups. The activities these groups should sponsor include counseling, marriage education, job assistance, parenting, anger control, avoiding domestic violence, and money management.
The LAST PLACE I WOULD GO TO GET SOME HELP AVOIDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WOULD BE NEAR A CHURCH GROUP. ALMOST GOT MY FAMILY KILLED . . ., . . AT LEAST IT BEARS A TOKEN MENTION, NEXT TO LAST, IN MARRIAGE PROMOTION. I DON’T THINK MR. HASKINS PERHAPS MET RENITA PITTS (See top of blog), HE WAS PROBABLY TOO BUSY AT THE LATEST EVENT.
I also notice that creative solutions to making ends meet are not necessarily on the agenda here. For example, instead of funneling the “poor” in to poor jobs, low-wage jobs, how’s about helping THEM to start businesses and run them?
Or to get grants and pursue some of their dreams, possibly filling in a gap that someone from Harvard, MIT, or a sociologist might not see?
Does anyone besides me see the irony in having someone IN government coach someone else about money management ?? ?????
%d bloggers like this: