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 ‘History of Access and Visitation Legislation

Federal Designer Families: How Californians got their “CFCC,” CRS Year 2000 Report on Access Visitation

with 4 comments

This post is about 10,000 words.  Enjoy!

I have about six posts in the pipeline, all of them timely to some recent indicators (developments) in the “protective mothers” field. All of them, as usual continuing to emphasize a functional vocabulary in discussing the family courts, and pointing out a few significant historical developments affecting them that those IN them rarely point out to clients, which I find strange.

By contrast, the developments in the “responsible fatherhood” field seem to be moving ahead with the usual momentum, and under-reported among “the commoners,” i.e., the general public and most family-court reform groups, who, apparently, don’t consider worthy of notice that this network even exists, or is a priority to understand.

However, it does.  In fact, if you check some of the post-PRWORA-propped up nonprofits, centers, institutes, programming and the “same old, same old” hotshots, there is apparently nothing more important to talk about than what they have done, are doing, and how much HHS is going to pay them this time (sometimes that refers to a five-year, multi-million-dollar grant) to further strengthen and extend their communications, technical support, outreach/ recruiting and funding pipelines already set up in the “Fatherhood” network. (Recent example) Using federal funding to a university. One of team members historically associated with AFCC, another thing family court advocacy groups are averse to talking about.

There are also certain chronic weaknesses and vulnerabilities within this “HMRF” field (but also present, to a degree, in the domestic violence prevention field also), which would be excellent leverage to address some of the problems protective mothers are having in the courts, and I have yet to hear any legitimate (if indeed any) explanation why no significant protective mothers organization, or their featured professionals, has seen fit to raise the topic seriously with a view to DOING something about it, for at least the past dozen years, even when after a certain point, the leadership surely became aware that “outside” information on the responsible fatherhood field, HHS grants and AFCC was somehow “leaking” into the field of vision of some of the “fix the courts” promoters.  One whitepaper did come out over a year after I, literally, did several posts (on two blogs) naming names of the “Let’s JUST not talk about it!” groups and proving which personnel at least knew the whole time.


Nearly two days of technical (keystroke processing speed almost at a standstill) problems with my computer slowed getting them published.  Meanwhile, working out that situation, and concerned about output at this time, I decided to re-publish a 12/5/2009 FamilyCourtMatters post which is STILL more relevant than the average conversation I see on the family court reform in 2016, original title While You Were Sleeping,… How Congress got into the Family Law Business.”  

I have not yet extended the “Table of Contents” back to 2009, so “While You Were Sleeping” was probably missed by most people who may read or follow this blog.  It is not the kind of information one tends to stumble across in general search terms on the family courts or its handling of situations and allegations of criminal behavior such as domestic violence or child abuse. Last month, I felt this post was important enough to clean up (formatting) and link to it, now I am actually re-posting.

It references by name key elements in networks I am blogging consistently on — public/private partnerships, and HOW does the federal government got its hand in into the state-level cookie jar without quite getting caught at it, and vice versa, while the courts themselves contribute to an ever-expanding and increasingly dependent on social services population.

**Mostly, these posts-in-the-pipeline again review some basic vocabulary with which we can talk about things which both the protective mothers’ perspective, and definitely in the fathers’ rights perspective have for years resisted discussing on-line in anything approaching a coherent manner, using accurate and relevant terms to describe the infrastructure and how it networks to promote either their own perspective, or the perspective for which they want “systemic changes” or “a paradigm” change for [divorce law, family courts, child support] because it’s:  unfair to fathers, unfair to mothers, dangerous to children, or gender-biased against men (or women), is destroying the American family, human rights,civil rights, etc.

We who are concerned, afflicted by, or discussing the problems in the family courts, should ALL know and talk what top-level state institutions (such as the California Judicial Council), federal deliberations courtesy of CRS (Congressional Research Service) (“Should the Federal Government get involved in Family Matters which are under State law jurisdiction?”) (unsaid: “HOW can we get our fingers into family and divorce courts without getting caught on it, or held responsible for any negative effects after we have?”) ….. (And “WHO will help us do this?” some of which this post shows who actually did) are actually involved, or, for example, just how one state ends up copying the court (privatization and outsourcing) practices in another.

For example, I had years of personal encounters through the courts before I became aware of the information in just this excerpt from that 2009 post below.  The publication talking about it came out in the context of a state-level, state-wide evaluation of the ruling body of the courts published around May, 2012.  Take a look at this excerpt, which will be repeated below, without the olive-green background:


THE REPORT on the AOC, with its section on the CFCC Division IS RECOMMENDED READING for understanding many things which may relate to complaints about the family courts nationwide. Information on the AOC’s/CFCC begins on page 81:

(from a 2012 “SEC” CALIFORNIA-SPECIFIC REVIEW Of the Administrative Office of the Courts)

Division Description

The Center for Families, Children and the Courts (CFCC) was established in February 2000 through the merger of the Statewide Office of Family Court Services and the Center for Children and the Courts.

Statewide Office on Families was merged with a Center on Children and the Courts.  Consolidation, Year 2000

The Statewide Office of Family Court Services was created by a 1984 legislative mandate to provide leadership, development, assistance, research, grants, education, and technical support to the state’s family court services programs through direct services and community partnerships.

 …

(Report on the California AOC/CFCC Division, p. 81ff, cont’d.  Link above…)
The Center for Children and the Courts was created by the AOC in 1997 in response to the results of a state-wide needs assessment of California juvenile dependency proceedings conducted by the National Center for State Courts.

Notice input from the National Center for State Courts [NCSC] in 1997, a “needs assessment” and that it was first aimed at JUVENILE DEPENDENCY — not the entire family law system.  Notice the title in 1997 didn’t yet include the words “Family.”  Anyone that is running (sponsoring, calling for) a “needs assessment” may very well already have an intended “solution/fix” in mind.  These are rarely 100% neutral.  [[The National Center for State Courts is a 501©3], technically speaking, in the private sector, despite its name.  It files a Form 990]]

From its inception, the CFCC’s mission has been to improve the quality of justice and services to meet the diverse needs of children, youth, parents, families, and other users of the California courts. The division provides a wide range of services to family, juvenile, and collaborative justice courts.

Collaborative Divorce has been an ongoing theme promoted by AFCC members.  This can be seen in some of the nonprofits formed, by looking at who formed them.  Not the topic of this post….

Did you know that in apparently about Year 1983 (but not continuing, I think), the NCSC also served as the “Secretariat” for the organization AFCC?  I believe it’s on my sidebar in one of the AFCC newsletters of that year.

The formation of a specialized center within AOC’s administrative structure institutionalized judicial branch commitment to improving outcomes for children and families. The CFCC is the only division of the AOC that is dedicated to a substantive area of the law. The multidisciplinary model has since been recommended to other states.

If you’ve gotten this far in this dense post –and are even reading my blog — do I need to spell this out further?…

SUMMARY:  The Courts in the State of California have increasingly centralized control and operations over time, other parts of the report also show.  The timing of some of the special divisions seems to correlate to increased federal funding for programming that these divisions seem to control — from the administrative sector…. Good to keep in mind


But notice, they first set up two separate elements — a division within the AOC, and a Statewide Office.  Then, they combined them.  Then within the State-level office are links to the private, tax-exempt sector encouraging business with it. Any entity (which is to say anyone running an entity) which wants excellent, authoritative, advertising then is helped by connection to a state-level promoter within (here, as an example) the CFCC section of the Administrative Office of the Courts.   “Coincidentally,” it appears that key members of the CFCC (such as Charlene Depner, and I believe, Shelly LaBotte as to the Access Visitation grants management) are also long-time, loyal members of AFCC.  AFCC as an organization has certain interests that not all Californians, or Americans, may necessarily agree with, and in its own website claims responsibility for many so-called positive innovations in the family court field.

They are also pretty good at setting the stage for creating new professions at the expense of the courts (the public) and parents (also, the public), one of the earlier ones pushed was mediation, one of the later, “parent coordination.”

Another reason I would question any advocacy group who, knowing about this organization, didn’t talk — and keep talking — about it.
Read the rest of this entry »

Can You Tell the “Tells” of the DV (so to speak) CARTEL? It’s Show-and-Tell Time.

leave a comment »

Can You Tell the “Tells” of the DV (so to speak) CARTEL? It’s Show-and-Tell Time. w/ case-sensitive short-link ending “-3eF,” published April 3, 2016 at about 17,500 words. Length?  Well, it’s showing important parts of the whole, and I’d call it a key post.

ABOVE: New, Improved HHS Grants Database “TAGGS” image accompanying the label “DECISIONMAKING.” (?!!). I understand the trend towards “actuarial-based data-analytics” justifying (or, replacing personal accountability for) human decision-making, but it’s still weird… See also (on this blog or separately) NCCD (Oakland, CA nonprofit) and its’ various trademarked decision-making software for use in public institutions worldwide….

Much of my reporting on this blog comes from tracking HHS grants and grantees via http://TAGGS.HHS.gov.  After all, Marriage/Fatherhood funding (<== almost one billion dollars?) through HHS grants was $150M in theory — annually — since 1996.   So, that database just got a “facelift” and this image characterizes the “new, improved” ==>

“Since its launch in 1995, TAGGS has supported 
Federal financial transparency initiatives by providing 
reliable  and consistent grant award data to the public.”


KEY ASSERTION:

Evidence is practically slapping us in the face that the domestic violence field, while organizations named after stopping or being against domestic violence still involve plenty of women and what may looks like some truly feminist ones, has still been co-opted by, in fact, groups favorable to fathers’ and mens’ rights & programming FIRST, and “if we can get some safety added on to it — through technical assistance and training the judges, law enforcement, professionals– =so much the better for the PR,” despite all the rhetoric, as an afterthought.

POST SUMMARY & “GUIDE to CONTENTS”

This post is over 16,000 words, a “two-for-one.”  I decided to keep the dense-verbiage section near the top because of relevance, even though it moved the more colorful, visually fun and “higher curb appeal” logos of various organizations (see sampler here) lower down on the post.

 


 

 

 

I also, regrettably, felt it necessary to separate a discussion of key responsible fatherhood timeline events which anyone concerned about domestic violence ought to, by now, know by heart — but I doubt most do.


RE:  “SHOW and TELL.”  I tell first, but then near top of the post, show a certain California judge promoting Domestic Violence Coordinating Councils, plus some background on the Administrative Office of the Courts and its timing to increasing federal involvement in state-level family court jurisdiction and subject matter … THROUGH the Child Support sector (access & visitation public laws) of the 1980s and 1990s.

Further down, after showing more of the DV Networks (colorful logos of key some key groups, echoes a recent post on them) and another on “Strong Field Project” representing one health-foundation-funded Statewide DV network..and some of the PRIVATE-sector DV Industry collaborations (networking).

…you’ll see a logo for the MCBW —

and below that, discussions of the “TREATMENT AGENDA” response to domestic violence, as well as evidence of a Minnesota-based “DV Coordinating Council.” In looking at one of the Supervised Visitation Providers involved (?) with this one, I also noted form the tax returns that they are keeping $290K of assets with a certain “community foundation.”  I couldn’t find that Community Foundation as a separate business, but did run into the larger one it’s under.

It’s a general reminder to  continue to pay attention to COMMUNITY FOUNDATIONS as FUNDING POWERHOUSES which attract and can incubate programs without clear awareness by the public of these programs’ funding.

 I also show that one of the key people at MCBW, who is also a lawyer, has strong connections to both the Battered Women’s Justice Project (which is to say, “Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, “DAIP” and with this connection, again, a focus on treatment/supervised visitation/trainings, etc.) and AFCC. 

In fact, here’s that quote (but to link to a person’s name, read the post!):

____has served as faculty for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence, the Center for Court Innovation, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and the Minnesota Judicial Branch.


Same individual, being interviewed as faculty over at the “Center for Court Innovation” shows her BWJP/AFCC value systems — use kids as bait for ordering behavioral modification services for batterers because, after all, the “Coordinated Community Response” (courts + service providers in loco parentis) really, if trained by the right groups (=”us.”), will be wise and powerful enough to protect the children and persuade the children — and the primary care-taking parent attempting to limit the influence of abusive role models on growing children s/he is supposed to raise into upstanding citizens and participants in a law-abiding society — into accepting what’s best for themselves (link provided lower in the post):

[MCBW Interviewee]: Some judges, some court practitioners do see that perpetrators will be motivated by their kids, and access to their kids. So family court judges and family courts have this opportunity, and the proper motivation, to get perpetrators into services and into programs, to keep an eye on that perpetrator—to be like a mentor, to be a coach, to be a motivator to keep that perpetrator from using coercive and controlling violence, and they can order graduated visitation, graduated parenting time.

[CCI Interviewer]:  So the judges can use this leverage—access to the children, basically: “You can get thus and such visitation under these conditions if you receive these services, if you engage in this particular program?”

Kids as Bait for Violent (the focus being on primarily male) Offenders. What a “great” idea for kids and the nonviolent parent too. Great or not, it’s an idea that the DV Cartel has “bred into” the response to domestic violence.

[MCBW Interviewee]Yes, and it’s not only that it is an effective motivator for change, but its also completely logically tied to what is best for the children. We do want children to be able to have healthy relationships with both parents and it’s in the children’s best interest if we are able to figure out how to work with the perpetrator over time and help them develop their [[“his or her”] parenting capacity.

The steady money, moral “prestige,” and social/professional connections in the “working with the perps” fields, not to mention the conference circuits, must just be coincidental.


Finally, or close to finally, I show the MCBW discussion at a New York-based influential organization, “Center for Court Innovation,” how highly she values batterers intervention and co-parenting (despite the presence of domestic violence individual families) as best for all involved.


 I spent a few days attempting to make this one SHORT post of 8,000 words, but some of this information belongs in one place.  Dedicate some reading time, be prepared to bookmark some of the links for future reference, and you will not be disappointed.  Here goes….

What are the footprints, the TELLs

of the coordinated DV Industry Cartel?

TELL:  I use the word “tell” in its poker sense to make my point.  There are many gambling idioms in common speech.  Click here to see some.

I don’t play poker, but in case the term isn’t familiar, check here: Do you know what is more powerful than a poker tell? Understanding the difference between poker tells and behavioral information can have a profound impact on your game.” … [they describe the need for an accurate language to describe the tells]

Let’s define a “poker tell.”

A poker tell is a behavior that is correlated with a specific piece of information. This information can pertain to the quality of a player’s hand, the emotions a player tends to experience during a particular action, or even the coping mechanism a player uses to hide his behavior.

…This is a perfect example of how the way we describe behavior can significantly alter our reads  Without using the proper descriptive language we lose a lot of vital information.

…What we just described is a practical way of expressing tells at the table and is something every single player can do by approaching the identification of tells in a systematic and ordered fashion.

It’s my belief that every single player has a some sort of tell, some tells just take longer than others to identify. Tells can be found in many places on the human body, it’s just a matter of time before you hone in on the right place to look.

Key phrases for this context being “identifying in a systematic and ordered fashion” and “honing in on the right place to look.”  If you are forced into a high-stakes poker match where the outcome is life or death, how well would you focus?   Would you want to “hone in” on indicators of which way the outcome might go?

Meanwhile I am “telling” readers (in the common usage of that word) that there appears to be a “cartel” of corporations and individuals working with and for them, organized around this field to restrict outside participation or confrontation of the protected turf.  I am identifying the turf and the tells that I have become aware of  through long-term exposure (not participation!) as systematically as possible.


 DV:  DV obviously is short for “domestic violence.”

The DV cartel (my term) can be identified by key players and organizations, their networking, and their shared jargon, i.e., “tells.”   I’ll show these three, below:

  • Insisting on the Multidisciplinary Response to Domestic Violence  
  • Coordinating the Community (of professionals, anyhow) Response [“CCR”]
  • Coaching others to form local “Domestic Violence Coordinating Councils* organized at the County level.

*DV Coordinating Councils as a Concept:  Pushed since 1992 by an AFCC/ NCJFCJ well-known Judge: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/Domestic_VIolence_Council.pdf  “REDUCING FAMILY VIOLENCE:  THE ROLE OF THE FAMILY VIOLENCE COUNCIL” by Judge Leonard P. Edwards (Juvenile & Family Court Journal, 1992). A brief resume shows that in 2002-2003 he was also President of NCJFCJ.   (In fact that resume was posted at NCJFCJ, and gives the link for his fuller one).

RESUME OF JUDGE LEONARD P.EDWARDS (ret)

Judge Leonard Edwards is a retired Superior Court Judge now working as a consultant and teacher. In his work he provides technical assistance to the courts of California and courts across the country, particularly in areas involving children and families. Judge Edwards served for 26 years as a Superior Court Judge in Santa Clara County, California. He sat as a domestic relations judge and as a juvenile court judge. He also served for six years as Judge-in- Residence with the Center for Families, Children & the Courts, a division of the California Administrative Office of the Courts.

The “CFCC” appears to have come into existence around 2000? underneath the AOC.  The AOC (Administrative Office of the Courts) is the staff of the Judicial Council.  The AOC came under fire for being over-bloated and many other things. Strategic Evaluation was commissioned and a May 25, 2012 Evaluation Report written.  This lengthy report, also featured in some of my later 2014 posts and some “sticky” ones, gives some of the history of centralization and “moving up” the responsibility for the state’s courts to the state level.  It also describes delegation of functions.

THE REPORT on the AOC, with its section on the CFCC Division IS RECOMMENDED READING for understanding many things which may relate to complaints about the family courts nationwide. Information on the AOC’s/CFCC begins on page 81:

(from a 2012 “SEC” CALIFORNIA-SPECIFIC REVIEW Of the Administrative Office of the Courts)

Division Description

The Center for Families, Children and the Courts (CFCC) was established in February 2000 through the merger of the Statewide Office of Family Court Services and the Center for Children and the Courts.

An Statewide Office on Families was merged with a Center on Children and the Courts.  Consolidation, Year 2000

The Statewide Office of Family Court Services was created by a 1984 legislative mandate to provide leadership, development, assistance, research, grants, education, and technical support to the state’s family court services programs through direct services and community partnerships.

  • READER ALERT:  I’m interrupting the quote from the report to emphasize events of 1984, 1988 and 1997, quoting other sources.  I will continue in the next yellow-highlit box below those quotes.  This is relevant and “deep” information that shows the timing of the A/V increasing activities, which should be laid alongside whether OR NOT the domestic violence agencies saw fit to inform mothers about them.  There’s no question that, overall, the leadership of the key organizations were reasonably aware of the same…BEFORE passage of the 1994 VAWA (!!!)
  • Larger context, about a key AFCC,NCJFCJ (two private 501©3/nonprofit judicial (and for AFCC, other court-connected professionals) membership associations), and AOC/CFCCconnected & (Santa Clara) county judge pushing certain kinds of programming, including but not limited to Domestic (“Family”) Violence Coordinating Councils…  FYI, In California at least now, judges are state, not county, employees…

Also (federal level) in 1984, the “Access and Visitation” program was enacted. As I went looking for a Congressional Research Service report on this, I found it posted at “Fearless Fathers” who’d picked it up on one of my posts — dated 12/5/2009 (!!).  This has a few other links on the topic.  Note — I’d only discovered what happened in 1984, as posted (summarized) in 2000, in the year 2009….

 You want to know why family courts are harassing you to pay child support (whether or not your job situation has changed) – or unreimbursed medical expenses (that your ex-wife asks family court to recover for her while she is not using your health insurance that covers your kids) and does not give the first dam of your visitation rights? Search not any more. That’s all in Carmen D. Solomon-Fears’s report 97-590 this report titled “Child Support Enforcement and Visitation: Should There Be a Federal Connection?” posted in Let’sGetHonestBlog. And this is to cry.

Read the rest of this entry »

While you were sleeping: How Congress got into the Family Law business…

with 3 comments

2016 BLOGGER UPDATE on this December 5, 2009 post:

In an April 3, 2016 post, I searched for documentation on the history of the Access and Visitation grants back in the 1980s, as part of a time-line of the domestic violence industry. These grants are STILL discussed so infrequently, in general, that my own 12/5/2009 “While you were sleeping” post here (as quoted by “Fearless Fathers” 3 days later) was one of the search results.

That post title and the two short links on it posted as far back as December 2009 (within one year of when I began blogging) and found when I didn’t even have access to a normal laptop, almost “says it all.”

I briefly cleaned up formatting in this older (now over five years old) post, added borders and some background color plus lines around quotes (which I didn’t know how to do at the time), and below that will copy, in different background-color, the text on the same subject matter from 2016 post, “Can You Tell the “Tells” of the DV (so-called) Cartel? It’s Show-and-Tell Time.” That was my 15th post of 2016 — see the Table of Contents here.


It took me longer than a few months (a few years) to put together, from the timeline of major domestic violence prevention groups, that most of them probably knew all along about the influence of the HHS-sponsored (at the time, HEW-sponsored, as HHS only came into being 1990, but some key DV groups were formed in 1980 (“Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs” in Duluth, MN), 1989 (“Futures without Violence”), or earlier) strategically positioned ACCESS and VISITATION GRANTS  of first $4M (1988 dollars) then $10M (1996 dollars)/year and MARRIAGE/FATHERHOOD, about 15 times larger annual appropriations than the A/V.

These domestic violence nonprofits at the leadership level did not inform their “clients,” typically battered and abused women with or without children, about the Access and Visitation grants those clients who were MOTHERS would be up against, by virtue of their not being fathers, and by virtue, as it applied, of their having custody of the children and there even being a (male) “Noncustodial” parent. It was social public welfare policy!

This old post stands as a simple testimony that IF certain information is available, other parts of major systems start to make sense, and if it is not, they simply do not. Therefore, in my opinion, one of the larger “crimes” in responding to domestic violence, and evidence itself of an abusive approach to the target population being helped, is to withhold timely information which, if NOT withheld, might lead to a different strategic decision on the part of that individual parent. For example, SOME individual parents may decide whether or not to go up against the largest grant-making federal agency around in seeking to protect their children and do it by way of the family courts.

I found this on-line yesterday [12/4/2009], it appears to date to JUNE 2000.

Congressional Research Service

Report 97-590

CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AND VISITATION: SHOULD THERE BE A FEDERAL CONNECTION?

Carmen D. Solomon-Fears, Education and Public Welfare Division

Updated June 20, 2000


Found at this link: http://stuff.mit.edu/afs/sipb/contrib/wikileaks-crs/wikileaks-crs-reports/97-590.pdf

Abstract.

From time to time, the issue arises of whether the federal Child Support Enforcement (CSE)program should be actively involved in enforcing visitation rights. Both federal and state policymakers agree that denial of visitation rights should not be considered a reason for stopping child support payments.

AVAILABLE HERE — and I’m going to add it to my bloglinks.  It’s ONLY 7 pages long, and provides a summary background of HOW the Federal Government got to be “in the family way.”  The rationale was TANF/Welfare.  That was the chink in the door.

The question arises, in my mind at least — what major institutions and practices in this nation are creating the welfare population to start with?  The 2 largest areas of expenditure in the government are two agencies:  1.  Health and Human Service, and 2.  Education.  The others, are smaller.  Go to at least usaspending.gov and look at the pie chart, and take a look.  Why are the courts and the child support agencies in the business of education, at which the educational system is already failing, clearly?

 

http://stuff.mit.edu/afs/sipb/contrib/wikileaks-crs/wikileaks-crs-reports/97-590.pdf

Recommended reading for the uninitiated, for example:

Is the Federal Government Becoming Too Intrusive in Family Law Policy?

[[Ya-THINK?  Just perhaps MAYBE?  This shows the rationale…]]

 

Congress does not have general authority to pass laws dealing with family law issues, unless there is a connection or “nexus” between such legislation and one of the areas in which it is authorized to act. In the case of the CSE program, the federal nexus is the …

H.R. 3073, the Fathers Count Act of 1999, would provide $140 million in grants over four years to public and private entities to achieve three purposes: (1) promote marriage, (2) promote successful parenting, and (3) help noncustodial parent improve their economic status. H.R. 3073 was passed by the House on November 10, 1999, but has not been acted on by the Senate.
Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: