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

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Posts Tagged ‘Joan S Meier DVLEAP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


‘PRACTITIONERS, RESEARCHERS, TEACHERS, POLICYMAKERS  — in the FAMILY COURT ARENA.’

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORGANIZATION NAME ST YR ending FORM PP TOTAL ASSETS EIN
Association of Family and Conciliationcourts WI 2018 990 37 $4,332,375.00 95-2597407
Association of Family and Conciliationcourts WI 2017 990 38 $4,137,304.00 95-2597407
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts WI 2016 990 33 $3,731,286.00 95-2597407

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

This “Builders and their Blueprints” post

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

….explains a key theme of an earlier one,

Reform, Solutions, Enhancements, Adjudication Improvements Built on WHAT? (Unproven Because Unspoken Assumptions about the Deliberate Design = the Deliberate Purposes of the Family Courts in the USA)., (short-link ending “-9PC” started May 2, 2019, revisited and expanded June 6-8, “sure hope to publish soon” status, Aug. 6-7,  and finally (!) published August 29 ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Written by Let's Get Honest

November 23, 2019 at 7:07 pm

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

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“By Now We Should Know!” (Impromptu Re-cap of Key Players addressing [how to handle] Domestic Violence especially as it impacts Family Courts) (Apr 28 ~> June 22, 2019).

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“By Now We Should Know!” (Impromptu Re-cap of Key Players addressing [how to handle] Domestic Violence especially as it impacts Family Courts) (Apr 28 ~> June 22, 2019).  (short-link ending “-9NU,” post drafted as insert to “More Perspectives” in late April, under 4,000 words, for starters…). (now exactly 6,000 words; latest revisions for clarity and extra links, 6/23/2019).


re: ‘TWO HELPFUL LINKS’ — Image from TopRightSidebar, ‘GO TO POSTS’ widget, shows TOC 2019 & 2018 + ‘Key Posts 2012-2017’ (LGH, @ Sept. 1, 2019)

TWO HELPFUL LINKS added Sept. 1, 2019 (for recent subject matter overview):

 Table of Contents 2019, Family Court Matters’ Posts + Pages: January 1 – August 31 (so far). (Shortlink ends “-ayV.”  About 6,300 words,posted August 5, updated Aug. 31) (You can also link to this TOC post any time from the top right sidebar, under”GO TO: All Posts, incl. Sticky, Tables of Contents..” widget, which holds several boxes for navigating to specific important places (posts or pages, incl. the home page), and, 

(Table of Contents 2018, Posts and Pages.. (publ. 24Mar2019, short-link ends ‘9y7’)


This post (that you’re reading now) prepares people for another post, already written, which asks a hard, “what-if” rhetorical question.  I hope readers on considering that (coming post’s) rhetorical question have the integrity to consider where they may have been radically mis-led about the real purposes of family court reform/fix/correct movements.  Even though it may be embarrassing, confronting, or disturbing.

(WAS FINALLY PUBLISHED LAST WEEK OF AUGUST, 2019).


IF I COULD FIGURE THIS OUT 2006-2010, especially (and subsequently)…

If I could figure this out with what I was going through 2006 through 2010 especially (and subsequently) under the related conditions post-DV, post-overnight-custody-switch and all kinds of family betrayal, amid professional livelihood destruction, repeated stalking over the years, and at this point it seems about every other year, another lawsuit of some sort — when I don’t have the ongoing income to predict a future at times more than a half year, or a quarter-year in advance — then I know other, more consistently employed and less family-court-plagued individuals, including professionals such as lawyers, psychologists, law professors, psychology professors, state court administrators, and politicians could have chosen, IF not in on it, to figure it out and, for mutual public benefit and “out of the goodness in their hearts” share it.

And share it not just among the mutual professional circles within court-connected and cause-related [abuse prevention, etc.] fields, but also with the people they are charged to help, while dealing with the issues named and as reflected in the respective organization’s business names (i.e., “Family” or “Battered Women” or “Violence Prevention” etc.)…

What’s more, outside the professionals, there are plenty of women (and men) who have been in my situation who could’ve figured out and reported (blogged! spoken consistently) about the same things I did as just a human being with (I admit) at most times — some times a lot harder to access than others — access to the internet and (eventually) a laptop so that access wasn’t limited to library hours and time limits (where I lived, generally maximum 1 to 2 hours at a stretch)… And common sense enough to pay attention! 

“BY NOW, WE SHOULD KNOW!”

In fact (looking for a certain reference to include just before publishing this post), about a year ago, I see I went through it again last spring (May, 2018), even though at that time I was being gradually pushed out of temporary housing, and within just two or three months of having to flee the state:

Post title: How Relevant is AFCC — and Who, UNLIKE many ‘Crisis in (or ‘Enhance/Reform’) the Courts’ groups and associated professionals who won’t, in public or on-line — Acknowledges Its Existence and Significance? (started May 7, 2018) (Case-sensitive shortlink ending “-91l”; that’s two numbers, as in the year “1991” and a lower-case “L”) (Posting “as-is” about 5,680 words on Mothers’ Day (USA) May 13.  Subject to later updates for clarity and/or towards bottom of the post).

(I was also active on Twitter today with more links, documentation and as ever, reminder of terms in use in current fatherhood policy, particularly as involves Temple University-housed, Center for Policy Research-organized “FRPN.org” (also previously posted herein).  http://bitl.ly/2KVQHOi) {{<~~may be multi-Tweet/ a thread; see the whole thread if so and I tend to have attachments (media) to Tweets to explain them}}

This post will illustrate both those who won’t (while talking on the same topics) and those who, obviously do acknowledge AFCC when presenting at its conferences or listed among its ongoing board of directors or other activist members (i.e., on individual C.V.s)

That post has has some typos I see but its contents are still relevant.  Some emphases added.

I even found a post written almost exactly EIGHT years ago, featuring the general operations and co-operations among key organizations.  It doesn’t drill-down tax returns so much, but it does show tendencies and business relationships among them (reference, background, cream-colored, inside green borders added one day post-publication here);


Post Title with shortlink and enclosed comments added June, 2019. Post written eight years earlier.(This post came up in a search and I needed to add a “Read-More” link anyway).

OVW + BWJP-FVPF + PRAXIS + NCADV(s) + AFCC = same old, same old (with new names on the grant systems) Here’s why: [Publ. July 6, 2011]

[WordPress-generated, case-sensitive short-link here ends in just two characters, probably because it’s so early in this blog:  “-K7”].  As first published, about 10,800 words, incl. any & all quotes, image captions, tables, etc. //LGH June 23, 2019]

On review of this post, I see that perhaps the final ⅓ is quoting (at length) three sources on Irish Slavery, including “Tangled Roots’ “Barbadosed: Africans and Irish in Barbados” (2008, I think) from GLC.Yale.Edu, a center originally inspired when businessmen/history buffs G&L heard lectures by a Yale history professor David Brion Davis, who I now see died this past April after a long, productive life:”Prizewinning Historian of Slavery Dies at 92” NYT April, 2019.

Professor Davis wrote or edited 16 books, but paramount were the three that examined the moral challenges and contradictions of slavery and their centrality in American and Atlantic history. ~~|~~The first, “The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture” (1966), won a Pulitzer Prize and was a National Book Award finalist. The second, “The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823” (1975), won the National Book Award as well as the Bancroft Prize, one of the most prestigious in the study of American history. ~~|~~The last book of the trilogy, “The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation,” was published in 2014 as Professor Davis approached 90. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award…~~|~~President Barack Obama presented Professor Davis with a National Humanities Medal in 2014 for “reshaping our understanding of history,” as the citation said. ~~|~~The fundamental problem of slavery, Professor Davis wrote, “lay not in its cruelty or exploitation, but in the underlying conception of man as a conveyable possession with no more autonomy of will and consciousness than a domestic animal.”                                                          [ “~~|~~” = para. break omitted]

I was (and still am) pretty irritated at the exclusionary practices of the above-named groups in deciding how to solve “family” problems involving abuse; see concluding paragraph.  And there are many parallels between abuse and slavery.


Most of the July, 2011, post deals with and quotes the entities its title names (starting with the OVW as part of the US DOJ, the associated “entity” here is the U.S. federal government (with DOJ under its Executive, not Legal or Judicial Branch, despite the word “Justice” in the Department name); all other “entities” referenced are either nonprofits, or projects of them)..

I don’t know how many “re-caps” and reminders it’s going to take to sink in….or what it’ll take, but I write (in part) because I know for some, it’s not reminder — it’s news.  On hearing this news, some decisions might need to be made (unless you’re OK continuing to “float” and becoming a “floater” when it comes to effective strategy, or even figuring out what’s going on…. “just go with the closest flow that sounds friendly…  or go against the closest hostile currents around, and hope that’s got some real impact, makes a splash, makes a difference (etc.)….).


(Impromptu re-cap, with attention to the key players addressing “DV” aspect hitting family courts.)

By now people should also be aware of to what extent and HOW the “sleeper organization” Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (“AFCC”), working often in tandem with the better-known “National Council of Juvenile and Family Courts (“NCJFCJ”)## all but runs the family court system as we know it today …  

(I’m referring to in the USA, while aware of a longstanding intention to align practices across country lines, not to mention through private association influence as has already been taking place, across state lines.)

This Impromptu Recap isn’t going to post tax returns or extensive documentation, which are spread throughout the blog and searchable on it (or search even post titles throughout the blog). For the most part here, although there are some links and images, I’m going to just say it.
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Substance-Poor, Repetition-Rich: Parsing ~ Parent Coordination ~ Rhetoric ~ and some Organizations..(Publ. Dec. 14, 2011, updated (format) Oct. 30, 2017)

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POST TITLE IS: 

Substance-Poor, Repetition-Rich: Parsing ~ Parent Coordination ~ Rhetoric ~ and some Organizations..(Publ. Dec. 14, 2011, updated (format) Oct. 30, 2017) (WordPress-generated, case-sensitive shortlink ends “-WN”

My practice of adding borders and listing the post title with shortlink is more recent.

Currently this post is NOT listed on any Table of Contents (my lists only go as far back as Sept. 2012)…I see that many of the logos will not display, and that this post as written was about 10,000 words long. This update made only because a basic search on the blog for an organization I’m writing about again brought it up. (Update this time is only minimal format changes for easier reading; is not in detail and doesn’t include fixing broken links/missing logos, or more recent information on the organizations referenced).//LGH Oct. 30, 2017.


INTRO:

Overall, I seriously doubt that it’s possible to clean up or straighten up the family law system — at all, and I am utterly serious in saying this.  There is too much incentive for fraud, and too much need to “pay the mortgages” in the courthouses by ordering more services, and too little oversight and tracking of the funding.  There are too many public employees forming nonprofit corporations to franchise for-profit curricula (marriage, parent education, etc.) — in the old NonProfit/ForProfit combo.

There are too few tools in many states to track WHO is repeatedly forming corporations that go belly-up, only to have a partner or other person formerly on one board just go forth and from another one — in another state.   Many of these groups, as my last post showed, are membership organizations — membership is charged, conferences run, and we have some evidence from county payrolls or vouchers from court-connected professionals, that the public is billed to fund attendance at nonprofits whose ONE purpose is to expand their services.  Child support is one of the worst of these, but they come in all flavors.

Despite the bleak outlook — I still report and I am going to finish reporting on this field of Parent Coordination until it is CLEAR what the AFCC professionals’ intent is in establishing this field and, if possible, having it legitimized at the state level by establishing standards, or by mandate.

The Association for Family and Conciliation Courts runs many task forces at a time, as part of its strategic plan to expand (itself) and transform the “old” language of criminal law into more friendly-to-its-practitioners concepts.    One of them which they are taking VERY seriously in promoting — and I take VERY seriously in protesting — is Parenting Coordination.

Parents didn’t ask for this — it’s no grassroots movement, and from what I can tell how it’s been (1) advertised (2) pushed and (3) practiced — there’s no genuine NEED for it either.  For that matter, I see no historical record that parents as a sector (both male and female) asked for the family law system, either.

Why I’m addressing it — again:   

(1) AFCC PROMOTED IT – NOT PARENTS.  NO REAL NEED EXISTED, and SERIOUS ISSUES & OBJECTIONS AS THEY DID.

The LizLibrary lists a page of them, and towards the bottom, some legal opinions, too:  Parenting Coordination:  A Bad Idea

Here’s less than half the list — and so far I agree with ALL of them.  Thank you, Liz (Kates, the FL Family Law attorney, not Richards, of NAFCJ.net)
© 1996-2011 argate.net        frcp:

  • Parenting coordination is an inappropriate delegation of the judicial function
  • Parenting coordination is an impediment to court access
  • Parenting coordination is a denial of due process
  • Parenting coordination violates privacy
  • The parenting coordinator concept encroaches on family liberty interests
  • Parenting coordination represents arbitrary dictate by a person, in denigration of rule of law
  • Parenting coordination is a make-work role newly invented by psychology trade promotion groups
  • No studies indicate parenting coordinators make good decisions
  • No studies indicate parenting coordination improves families’ lives or child wellbeing.
  • Nothing qualifies a stranger to make family decisions for other people
  • Nothing qualifies a mental health professional to interpret a court order or legal document
  • Nothing qualifies a lawyer to play at being an unlicensed, unregulated therapist for hire
  • Nothing qualifies any third party to “fill in the gaps” in someone else’s contract
  • There is no definition of what constitutes a successful parenting coordination
  • Parenting coordination does not, in the long run, alleviate court docket congestion
  • It creates additional issues and leaves the door open for return trips to resolve them
  • Parenting coordination provides a new forum for squabbling over petty disputes
  • Parenting coordination is an additional expense that many can ill afford
  • Parenting coordination enables one parent to spend the other’s funds
  • Parenting coordination is time-consuming and tedious
  • Parenting coordination is not confidential
  • Parenting coordination constitutes continuous government discovery, 4th Amendment
  • Parenting coordination constitutes continuous discovery by each parent into the affairs of the other
  • Parenting coordination can never be “voluntary” because it implements unwanted court orders
  • Parenting coordinators demand that the parties sign “consents” that give up constitutional rights
  • Some have demanded that parties give up the right to go to court, contact police, or involve their lawyers
  • They are hired or appointed under shadow of the threat of court sanctions or loss of custody
  • They are agreed to by parties ignorant of the repercussions, in fear, out of funds, or overwhelmed
  • Parenting coordination does not result in increased family well-being
  • Parenting coordination does not make children happier, healthier, or better adjusted
  • Parenting coordination is not therapy but coercion backed by the state’s police power
  • Parenting coordinators tend to be hostile to, and at odds with attorney-client relationships
  • They align with GALs and other court appointees in a pretext of “focus on the children”
  • They encroach on parental-child relationships and decision-making
  • They undermine the parental authority children require for a sense of security and well-being
  • Instead of at least one authoritative parent, children have no authoritative parent
  • Petty tyrants place a premium on the perception of who is cooperating with them
  • Cooperation with the parenting coordinator is court-ordered and
  • They alone decide if a parent is “cooperating” with them

From the same page, a case “Parenting Coordinator Out of Control” — and I have to note that it’s an appeal from an order at the FL (presumably 20th) Circuit Court Level bearing Judge Hugh Starnes‘ name!

The Hon. Hugh Starnes showed up in yesterday’s post, where I was simply blogging an AFCC judge, and also his nonprofit in FL with the initials AFLP (logo on the post).  I also happen to know he was quite active in FL-AFCC Chapter establishment, which seemed to have the primary agenda of getting parenting coordination passed in Florida.  They have since succeeded, I believe, too.
Like I keep saying — sometime others will acknowledge — parenting coordinators are themselves pushy, and AFCC pushed Parenting Coordination, in fact they are one set of bullies when it comes to getting THEIR priorities into practice, then law – citing it’s already in practice anyhow.
This is primarily what AFCC does.  From the organization’s point of view, this is phrased as “innovative” and “helping” and “problem-solving.”  The problem (sic) is always the recalcitrant parents, and the UNFORTUNATE vestiges of separation of powers (legal/judicial/executive branch) and little details like confidentiality in a lawsuit, and legal restraints.
Here’s a link to Parentcoordination.com’s complaint about the legal limits part – and their plan of PC as an end-run around those limits!   {{It looks like I didn’t post that link, or it wasn’t saved to final… unless it’s shown in the DVLeap 2010 brief.}}

“The Court’s parenting coordinator orders unconsitutionally delegate judicial power and violate due process… The Special Master Order’s requirement that Appellant pay for the parenting coordinators to whom she objects violates law and public policy… The Special Master Order requiring Appellant to waive her medical privilege violates her statutory and constitutional rights to privacy…”

AFCC could care less.  They DEMANDED it and are still finishing up trying to get this mandated in every single United State.

  •  Even the brother of the Marriage Promotion President, the “Family” family, George Bush — as Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, FL (2004) had the sense to object based on sound principles.  A newly formed (probably for this purpose) chapter of AFCC strategized, lobbied, publicized, practiced, and finally managed to ram it through, over his veto.  It only slowed them down slightly.

June 18, 2004   

Ms. Glenda E. Hood Secretary of State Florida Department of State

By the authority vested in me as Governor of Florida, under the provisions of Article III, Section 8, of the Constitution of Florida, I do hereby withhold my approval of and transmit to you with my objections, Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 2640, enacted during the 36th session of the Legislature, convened under the Constitution of 1968, during the Regular Session of 2004, and entitled:

An act relating to Parenting Coordination. . .

Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 2640 authorizes courts to appoint a parenting coordinator when the court finds the parties have not implemented the court-ordered parenting plan, mediation has not been successful, and the court finds the appointment is in the best interest of the children involved.

 

  • He lists 5 objections, two of which clearly recognize that it in effect allows a parent coordinator to function as both judge and jury of parents’ or children’s rights, and one of which is that it fails to protect victims of domestic violence.   I also note from the language that it looks like a Committee (not the general legislature) attempted to have this substitute for an existing Senate Bill. . . . . 

(2) The “Termini/Boyan Factor” —

  • The People fixed on training parent coordinators have a terrible track record when it comes to staying incorporated(I found another one today — Seminars for Advanced Interdisciplinary Family Professionals, or “SAIF.”  Formed in 2006, it’s already behind in its filings, in the state of Indiana. And it appears that, again, a nonprofit/for-profit combo, originating not with litigants, but with the professionals, was set up to give (again) some family law attorneys the right to crow about their own parent coordination training seminars they helped run themselves.  By and large, that seems to be the situation in Indiana — which it seems New Hampshire liked a lot, too. Termini/Boyan are Georgia/Pennsylvania — but same general idea.

(3) The language of “parent coordination” is impoverished and repetitive.

Here’s an example, from a family law attorney, a bona-fide certified one  (although the nonprofit membership she cites all over is anything but “bona-fide” when it comes to filing charitable returns in the home state!)

It’s even from an Amicus Brief (I THINK it got filed, although this isn’t the stamped version). Actually, this is where the title to my post came from:

 

CASE NO. C064475

SUPERIOR COURT CASE NO. 34-3009-80000359

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL FOR THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

THIRD APPELLATE DISTRICT

__________________

RANDY RAND, ED.D. Plaintiff and Appellant, v. BOARD OF PSYCHOLOGY, Defendant and Respondent. __________________

BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE

ASSOCIATION OF CERTIFIED FAMILY LAW SPECIALISTS __________________

Face sheet as posted at CaliforniaParentingCoordinator.com (using link from this 12/14/2011 post).

[Three images, inside blue borders, added in 2017 update.  See also their list Table of Authorities].

 

In the statute of authorities for this brief, bearing the name “Leslie Ellen Shear” and “Stephen Temko” (although the certificate of interested parties form bears the name Shear, and is dated 1/27/2011), after the legal and rules of court list, comes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents from Amicus Brief (source url shown on gray window-frame at top of image).

 

 

 

“Treatises, Law Reviews and Other Authorities” – and on reading it, I see it quotes, among others:

  • The nonprofit ACFLS (which she’s head of Amicus Brief Committee on, or was)
  • AFCC itself (at least twice)
  • A host of people, known to be AFCC professionals anyhow, for those who pay attention — such as Ahrons, Coates, Deutch, Greenberg, Kelly, and who knows about some of the others.  These quotations include those from the AFCC publication, Family Court Review (joint with “Hofstra Univ. School of Law”) and AFCC newsletters, etc.
  • Herself, like 3 times, in:
    • Shear (2008) In Search of Statutory Authority for Parenting Coordinator Orders in California: Using a Grass-roots, Hybrid Model Without an Enabling Statute 5 Journal of Child Custody 88…………………………………………..5, 18, 25  (cited on page 5, 18 & 25).

(I’m also adding this quote in 2017 update, from the Amicus Brief):

ACFLS’s purposes in appearing as amicus are to protect and perfect the parenting coordination service model in California family courts, discuss the implications of the issues raised in this case for the future of parent coordination in California, and address the implications of those issues for other family court appointed neutrals including but not limited to child custody evaluators4, minors’ counsel appointed per Fam. Code §3150 et seq., mediators, therapists, members of collaborative family law teams, and other court appointed or connected quasi-judicial dispute resolution professionals.

In other words, to protect her own kind….

 

Note title — trying to legislate parenting coordination.

Another set of professionals tried to write “Kids Turn” into law around 2002, right? (see my “Kicking Salesmanship Up a Notch post.”) then-Governor Gray Davis (properly!) vetoed even the version of it put out which didn’t overtly say “Kids’ Turn” on its face.

So here’s a sample section of this Amicus:

On page 4, quoting AFCC person Greenberg (whose writing I also ran across) cites who came up with the idea, vaguely characterized as:

In 1994, the concept of parenting coordination was spawned by a concerned group of professionals in California and Colorado who realized that some high conflict families remained chronically mired in conflict and required something different. . . For these families, the traditional tried and true approaches to containing familial conflict such as litigation, mediation, forensics, and therapy had not worked. Thus, the concept of parenting coordination was conceived as a different and needed dispute resolution intervention.

(Tried and True?  [is that really an appropriate phrase for use in an amicus brief?]

Try “Tried and found seriously wanting.”  Don’t believe me?  Look here.  I’ve already mentioned the Seal Beach (CA) massacre enough times, so here’s one fresh off the press — like YESTERDAY, in Florida.  Actually, it seems there’s an acquiescent mother in this one: even after Dad murdered the son, the surviving children (including one witness to that murder) miss their Daddy.  And they shouldn’t even be supervised, but be able to go to events like church, sports, etc.

Sounds like perhaps this is a stepfather (or second family) situation here, judging by age of the children.  And the shooter was a retired police officer!

Dad accused of killing son wants custody rights to surviving kids; judge lets him have unsupervised contact (Orlando, Florida)

POSTED: 5:56 pm EST December 13, 2011
UPDATED: 6:45 pm EST December 13, 2011

ORLANDO, Fla. — A former Orlando police officer accused of killing his son was back in court, arguing for custody rights to his other children. 

Timothy Davis Sr. won a victory of sorts Tuesday when a judge granted him the ability to pick up his younger children from school, including his 9-year-old daughter who authorities said witnessed the killing.

The retired police officer is accused of shooting his son, 22-year-old Timothy Davis Jr., to death at their Apopka home in what he said was self-defense after his son attacked him, injuring his knee in October.

Here’s another involving 3 children, and a custody hearing, plus prior assaults on the child and wife.

Dad managed to get himself shot (to death) after apparently attacking a state trooper.  I do not call this ‘tried and true.”  This was an American military, married in Germany, but the divorce action  appears to be HERE. He also was Marine Corps.

Here’s one from Texas; 40 year old father, who apparently had custody? (or certainly unsupervised visitation), emails nude pictures of his 12 year old daughter.   This man was living with his mother who, thankfully, was honest enough to do something about her pervert son, although somehow the courts weren’t alert to this in custody decisions:

by KHOU.com staff

khou.com
Posted on December 8, 2011 at 8:58 PM

KATY, Texas – A 40-year-old father is facing charges for allegedly distributing nude photos of his 12-year-old daughter online.

According to court documents, the suspect was living with his daughter at his mother’s house in Katy when the offenses occurred.

Investigators said that in August of 2011, the suspect’s mother found emails sent from the suspect’s gmail account that contained nude images of children.   Some of those images were of the suspect’s daughter, the grandmother said.

Sorry to bring up this very unpleasant reality-check, but when in Amicus Brief a parent-coordinator pusher talks about previously tried methods that work — the definition of “works” or “tried and true” apparently / generally just means “tried, sometimes resulting in death, physical or sexual abuse of minors post-separation, or having minor children showing up in child pornography in father’s possession.”  All of these were from December 2011 news articles, only.

Keep these incidents for a point of reference while I quote from p.12, a whole chapter on how parent coordinators have such difficult parents to deal with, “poor them”:

 

III. Parenting Coordinators Work With the Most Difficult Family Court Population – Those Most Prone to Assert Grievances and Challenge Decisionmakers

… cases are usually referred to parenting coordination because they are chronically litigious and difficult to manage.** These parents have often had several attorneys, evaluators, and mediators — professional hopping and shopping is rampant. Their court files are thick with motions, court appearances, and allegations of wrongdoing by the parents.

Coates, Deutsch et al. (2004) Parenting Coordination for High-Conflict Families 42 Fam. Ct. Rev. 246, 252

**Difficult-to manage parents are the bread and butter of the family court.  They are the income producers.  Assigning them to parent coordination is yet one more source of income for the professionals, taken from either the parents, or (looks like there’s some effort to make even broke parents participate in this too — AFCC-CA has a workshop or presentation, on the 2012 hearing on this).

Perhaps the professionals in question should re-think the business of “managing parents” to start with.

So, the opening quote to this chapter is from two long-time AFCC professionals (Coates/Deutsch) in an AFCC publication?, although it’s only 2004, using an AFCC-originated concept and term, “high-conflict families” (although I hear Bill Eddy now says they are high-conflict individuals — see my post on “yet another AFCC wet dream.” and his High-conflict Institute….)

The child custody cases referred to parenting coordinators are the most complex, acrimonious, difficult and demanding cases. Most parents regain their perspective and bearings within two years of separation, and do not need this kind of intensive and ongoing service model. Parents who continue to re- turn to court with enforcement and modification requests after completing co- parenting educational programs,* and after a child custody evaluation are can- didates for parenting coordination,

* perhaps this speaks to the quality of the co-parenting educational programs, more than the parents.

* or perhaps they are pissed at being forced to take co-parenting classes to start with, not mentioning affected if they also have to pay.

Parents who need a PC intervention are typically a special group for whom the passage of time has not reduced the rage and angry behaviors of at least one if not both parents.

A casual dismissal of whether it’s just one — or both — parents here.  We KNOW that many of these cases — not just some — are in fact cases involving danger, abuse, and etc.   These cases do NOT belong in family court at all — but they are there because of greed of professionals, and because of the fatherhood movement (backlash to feminism) that incentivizes and insists that single motherhood is bad for kids.  For that matter, even if Mom remarries happily, it’s still supposedly bad for the world if biological father isn’t in his kids’ life.

In short — Ms. Shear and Mr. Temko (whoever drafted this) — are, with their colleagues — unable to literally distinguish between one parent and another when discussing “parents” in front of others who have some privilege (like a statutory justification) or grant to give them.

BUT — their own handbooks, and some appellate cases already involving parenting coordination, show clearly that they are QUITE able to distinguish one parent from another, and not only do, but literally plan how to, target mothers, specifically, for badmouthing and possible intervention in the form of getting the kids away from her.  (I have two links to parent coordination handbooks on this post, you can check them out.).

The 10–20% of parents who remain in entrenched and high conflict two to three years after separation/divorce are significantly more likely to have severe personality disorders and/or mental illness (Johnston & Roseby, 1997).

You can’t see it here, but on the pdf it shows:  in this quote, we have a triple-layer AFCC site.  I believe Johnston is probably Janet Johnston (AFCC Board, or was).  Kelly, (below) who’s being quoted in the section, if it’s Joan B. Kelly, has been called the “grande dame” of AFCC and mediation promotion in the family law courts.  She runs a Northern California Mediation Center, and obviously publishes too.   And Shear is AFCC.  So — if so — that represents:

AFCC Shear quotes AFCC Kelly quoting AFCC Johnston, as to parent coordination, which is an AFCC idea.  (this is FAR more common than most people — who are less obsessive about looking things up than me — realize.  I have labored through some pretty detailed writings (NYState) where when they ran out of ideas, they simply restated them, and I literally read ALL the footnotes too, most of which were “ibid.”   

Understanding the characteristics of parents with severe borderline, dependent, narcissistic, and antisocial personality disorders, why these parents react so strongly to rejection and loss, how the child is used in attempts to re-stabilize their functioning and punish the other parent, and how personality disorders are exacerbated by stress, conflict and the adversarial system will facilitate more effective work with these difficult clients.

Kelly (2008) Preparing for the Parenting Coordination Role: Training Needs for Mental Health and Legal Professionals 5 Journal of Child Custody 140,149-150

I don’t know how to state this clearly enough.  The difficulty any professional has — who by definition holds an option to quit the profession (which they chose) in dealing with a ‘difficult client” is no comparison with the difficulty of dealing — year after year thanks to policies — with an “ex” who has threatened to kidnap or kill, who has beaten one before, or who may be and/or has molested children, possibly one’s own (dep. on the case) before.   Suppose the shoe was on the other foot?  Again, if professionals don’t like the difficulty they have an option — find another line of work.

But thanks to their insistence on THIS line of work, i.e., at public AND private expense, and explicit danger to the communities — almost no parent — and I’m going to say mother, specifically– can actually get free from real criminals they’ve had children with, even when he’s already in jail.

I know of one case where the person has already done time in an unbelievably severe situation, and this mother/daughter who already went through hell — is being stalked again.  Until she’s safe, I’m not naming names, but once she is/they are, I will – because this case was high-profile and has been in the news.

One point of view is dealing with comfort, and potential burnout, in the performance of one’s duties that have internationally networked, federally-funded, county-judicial-level endorsed, and more — support groups.  The other is of staying alive, housed, and after that, functional and employed at all.

If one continues to read the Amicus, it continues to complain and blame.  The next quote by Shear is of Shear.  Here’s a little further on in the Amicus:

Parenting coordination is a very intrusive model, inserting state authority into the daily family lives of parents and children. With those intrusive powers comes a duty to exercise restraint, discretion and wisdom.

This work often creates the perfect storm. Parenting coordinators struggle to avoid being triangulated into the family’s conflicts.

Well, they triangulated themselves in there to start with, intentionally!   Which shows a lack of:   “restraint, discretion, and wisdom” per se.

From page 18 (“just one more”!) – This chapter complains that California hasn’t legislated parenting coordination by stipulation (i.e., authorizing it by force)  yet:

The only thing that is clear about appointment of parenting coordinators in California is that family courts are without jurisdiction to make them without a stipulation. Moreover, no published case has upheld orders resulting from a stipulated appointment of a parenting coordinator.

The quote from Greenberg in this Amicus acknowledges that professionals in California & Colorado (two hotspots of family law leadership; Center for Policy Research/Jessica Pearson et al. are in Denver) “spawned” the concept.  Or rather, it “was spawned” — we can’t name an individual father, so perhaps it was a sort of psychological gang-rape that produced the idea (just kidding).  Unlike “collaborative law” which actually names a father, “Stu Webb” out of MN. . ..      And that this began in the 1990s.

We are now in 2011.  Perhaps it’s time to admit that it’s a bad idea to start with; if even in California — where AFCC originated — they can’t get it into law!

The text continues — and understanding that I don’t know the underlying case, have not read the entire brief and am not an attorney, I’m to add a comment to the next section:

Of course, courts have no power to modify statutes. Statutes prescribe and proscribe what courts may do.

Damn right they do! On the other hand, has that really slowed down AFCC initiatives, has it?  I think there’s been a track record of resounding success, if getting around constitutional and statutory limits pending changing the statutes to accommodate more income streams to court-connected (or formerly court-connected, like retired judges) professionals… is what’s intended.

The California Constitution (art. VI, § 22) prohibits the delegation of judicial power except for the performance of subordinate judicial duties. A trial court lacks either statutory or inherent power to require the parties to bear the cost of a special master’s services, even where it may have the authority to make the appointment. (People v. Superior Court (Laff) (2001) 25 Cal.4th 703)

The Court of Appeal reversed trial court orders delegating authority over the visitation schedule to a child custody evaluator, requiring one of the parents to participate in psychotherapy and requiring that all future custody mat- ters be heard before the same bench officer in In re Marriage of Matthews (1980) 101 Cal.App.3d 811, 816–817 because there was no statutory authority supporting such a delegation.

Just GUESSING here, but perhaps if over a 21-year period (in one state), it’s still being stated that there are Constitutional limits on delegating Judicial power, and three years later the Governor of Florida (Jeb Bush) brings it up in a reason for vetoing a parent coordination stipulation — there just MIGHT be a good reason!   Parent Coordination is hardly an Occupy San Francisco (or anywhere else in California) grassroots protest or demand, is it, either?

We’re third generation fatherhood programs out here, we are also probably at least second-generation post-TANF (1996), post fatherhood (i.e., about 15-16 years since they passed), and perhaps– just perhaps — the last thing this state needs is more ideas originating from this nonprofit and all its collaborators in therapeutic jurisprudence great ideas.

Perhaps — just perhaps — it’s a good thing if constitutional and statutory limits on out-sourcing the judicial function mean something around here, for a change! Be content with what you got so far, as authorized by access/visitation (three categories of potential program fraud enabled) and all the marriage promotion money too, plus lots of the nonprofits — like ACFLS — not even bothering to report into the state Registry of Charitable Trusts (OAG) anyhow!

(REASON 4)

(4)

Moreover  — like most AFCC promotions — the language promoting parent coordination continues to refuse to think or talk in terms of legal rights to INDIVIDUALS as the Declaration of Independence asserted, which helped kickstart the USA, claims they are.   The language of parent coordination is continually pluralized, or group-talk.  It does not, really, acknowledge that a person could be a member of a family (like “parent” “father” or “mother”) and yet really have — and deserve — equal standing as an individual in any matter, before the law.

Here’s an example from ParentCoordinationCentral.com (Termini/Boyan site).  These are the supposed GOALS OF PARENT COORDINATION:

  1. Educate parents regarding the impact of their behaviors on their child(ren)’s development.

    [supports my thesis that AFCC members are often frustrated teachers.  They want to teach EVERYONE, and if people don’t agree, they are clever about figuring out ways to force this, and be paid for it, too.]
  2. Reduce parental conflict through anger management, communication and conflict resolutions skills. 
    [increasing the expense of divorce, treating parents like kids, undermining judicial authority, & due process, and invading one’s privacy sure will “reduce parental conflict”!! . .. And I haven’t even got (this post anyhow) to the training manual which has an openly hostile attitude towards mothers, it’s unbelievable).
  3. Decrease inappropriate parental behaviors to reduce stress for the child.
    [goes with AFCC goal of switching from a legally defined set of prohibited behaviors to an arbitrary, subjective, and personalized version of what is appropriate or inappropriate parental behavior.   Instead, how about just accept the basic definitions in the law, and as to court orders, compliance with them?]
  4. Work with parents in developing a detailed plan for issues such as discipline, decision-making, communication, etc.
     [Good Grief! — Go have your own children, and raise them — well.  Let’s see what fine examples they are, then parents can judge FREELY whether Mr. , Ms. & Mrs. Parent Coordinators are competent to make these plans.  I mean — the concept is ridiculous!  What about various cultures and family values, so long as they are not child abuse, domestic violence, or otherwise illegal?] [Even then it probably wouldn’t be a comparable situation, because the psychologists involved with the court, and AFCC professionals can usually drum up plenty of high-paying business, whereas a lot of the parents they are dealing with probably, by the time they are on the scene, absolutely cannot.]
  5. Create a more relaxed home atmosphere allowing the child to  adjust more effectively with the new family structure.
    [You want to have a more relaxed home atmosphere with children/  Again, go have your own and show it to us.  Then we can, awestruck by your competence – – and if we want to — copy it!]
  6. Collaborate with professionals involved with the family in order to offer coordinated service.
    [that’s closer to the real reason for it — more business referrals to colleagues]
  7. Monitor parental behaviors to ensure that parents are fulfilling their obligations to their child while complying with the  recommendations of the Court.
    [Children need due process, and they need an active, and respected Bill of Rights, for when they grow up.  One purpose of the Bill of Rights was to keep snoops out of one’s private business, so long as that business didn’t ramble over into the criminal arena.   It’s called LIFE, LIBERTY and PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.  How can one pursue anything with the thought police on one’s heels?. . . . .
    Anyone who’s trying to function as a parent coordinator, and talking about children’s needs constantly (to justify it) apparently doesn’t comprehend what long-term dedication to one’s family AND country entails.  It entails respecting its laws.  I have before blogged an SF-area parent coordinator and family law attorney, who posted on his own site that the Constitution needs to be scrapped and rewritten, why revere it like Christians revere their Bible (guess he’s not one, and doesn’t understand how few Christians actually practice what’s in their Bible — or Constitution — to start with…)]
  • The NH “Parent Coordinators” Association of 2009 “FAQs” suggest a benefit is:
  • Q. What are the benefits of Parenting Coordination?

Parenting Coordination offers a much better way of resolving parenting plan issues than returning to court. And the resolution comes much faster than waiting for a court date and then the court decision. The Parenting Coordinator educates the parents about the harm to the children of hostility between parents, mediates issues as they arise, and if the parents are unable to resolve minor issues, makes the decision.

As ever, when selling their services, AFCC professionals see themselves as the mature adults on the scene, and the parents as a “plural,” and refuse to assign responsibility where it’s perhaps due.  They seem to utterly lack curiosity in fact-finding as to that matter.  This is understandable, because they deal in “psychology” more than law– which is the culture of the association.  While two individual parents are often involved, in the marketing prose, it’s always “the parents” v. “the helping professionals”

However, once in the door, and in practice — then they are quick to blame ONE parent, often the mother, and recommend severe intervention, often removing of contact with the children to counter supposed “alienation.”   In other words, they are hypocrites — professing neutrality and to be helping, but planning in advance (in this case) to do harm to one gender — the female, should she as a parent (mother) counter them.

I blogged this earlier, but again (from the same site) — here is their “sample” report from the handbook:

Handbook

A handbook for the purpose and practice of parenting coordination prepared by PCANH.

 Parts of this were credited (fn1 inside) to “Families Moving Forward, Inc.” in Indiana.  This is a nonprofit formed in 2005, EIN# 432074631 with principal listed c/o “Gloria K. Mitchell.”

So of course I looked this person up — she is a Rising Star Super Attorney, member of National Association of Counsel for Children, and works in a four-woman firm.  The nonprofit, however, is categorized as “exempt — earning under $25,000).  website’s “Divorce and Parenting Research Links” is typical, plus a direct link to the Children’s Rights Council” (hover URL).  CRC is pretty big in Indiana…  Six years after passing the bar, Ms. Mitchell was on the Executive Committee of Family Law Section of Indiana Bar Assoc., and chaired it in 2005.   The articles of incorporation show it’s a 501(c)4 (not “3”) and by address its place of business is another law firm in Noblesville, Indiana:  Holt, Fleck & Romini.  If the image (showing org.’s purpose) doesn’t show, it’s viewable for free on the site below.

Entity Name Type Entity Type City / State
FAMILIES MOVING FORWARD, INC. Legal Non-Profit Domestic Corporation INDIANAPOLIS, IN

Gloria K. Mitchell, and the four attorneys in the law firm, 
Though only incorporated in winter (February) 2005, by summer (July) 2005,  Indiana, “Families Moving Forward”** already had a “Parent Coordination Committee” and presented the following report in this context:

Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum

3rd Annual Family Law Summer Institute

and Family ICO Training Session July 28-29, 2005*

 *Note:  the Nonprofit to present this was incorporated 2/14/2005, in time for this, 3rd Annual Family Law Summer Institute agenda (see link) doesn’t show anything about parent coordination, although certainly it could’ve happened.  Law firm page for Ms. Mitchell notes that she was “Executive Committee of the “Family Law Section” 1994-2005 and its chair in 2004-2005.     So it would make sense that her nonprofit would have a good shot at presenting at that summer institute.
I note that at Ms. Mitchell’s office, one of her associates began as Parent Coordinator in 2006.
Another very smart attorney with stellar credits is Amy Stewart  (valedictorian of her law class) is president of this nonprofit (FMF):  notice also collaborative law emphasis, plus an AFCC affiliation.   In 1999 she had an article published on “Covenant Marriage:  Legislating Family Values”  Good summary of the issues of religiosity in marriage by a UK author, here  Actually, it’s a good summary and a timely read of marriage/divorce, and role of rising religiosity (UK/America) in the mix.
But it was a search for “Families Moving Forward, Inc.” that brought her name up.
Here’s Ms. Stewart’s bio (notice “Collaborative Law”); she works at Bingham McHale, LLP, a large firm with locations in 3 Indiana counties.  She is a partner.

Amy concentrates her practice in matrimonial and family law matters. She was one of the first Indiana attorneys trained  in collaborative law, and she has been instrumental in introducing the approach in Indiana. She has practiced collaborative law since 2007, has attended several conferences of the International Association of Collaborative Professionals,* and has been trained by collaborative law founder Stuart Webb. In addition, Amy also practices traditional litigation.   

*Readers probably may not remember, so I’ll remind us.  the “IACP” is another incarnation, membership association — out of many — formed by AFCC-type professionals, as you can see by the description:

iacp,collaborative law,collaborative practice,collaborative divorce,international academy of collaborative professionals

ACP is the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, an international community of legal, mental health and financial professionals working in concert to create client-centered processes for resolving conflict.

I probably blogged it, too.  I remember looking up the various websites, corporate registrations, etc.   Here’s their About Us/History narrative.  I notice a good chunk of it (after inspiration by “Stu Webb” in MN) took form in the Northern California family court association nonprofit factor, aka the SF Bay Area, including Oakland (East Bay) and other well-known cities:

In May of 1999, the first annual AICP [=American Institute of Collaborative Professionals] networking forum was held in Oakland, California. The following year, a meeting was held in Chicago to discuss the state of Collaborative legal practice across the country. The nearly 50 practitioners who attended this meeting agreed that AICP should serve as the umbrella organization for our rapidly-growing movement. At the same time, they recognized that since Collaborative Practice was also developing exponentially across Canada, the organization needed a broader, more inclusive name and mission. Thus the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals was born in late 2000, officially changing its name in 2001.

The Collaborative Review has been published continuously since May, 1999. The work begun by initial editors Jennifer Jackson and Pauline Tesler. . . 

Jennifer Jackson (FYI, I’ve never met, spoken to, or dealt with her in court) is kind of branded in my mind as having helped start up Kids’ Turn (SF):

FYI — here is another Super Lawyer, high-profile, longstanding success.  Her “about” page lists many accomplishments. Notice which comes first; notice also the variety of terms which are basic to the field:  I’ll bold them:

About Jennifer Jackson

Before becoming a family lawyer in 1985, Jennifer Jackson was an illustrator and photographer, raising three children.

A LITTLE LOCAL COMMENTARY relating to this Super-Productive/Super Attorney and her many Nonprofits:  

I know artists, including photographers and illustrators.  It’s not that easy to make a living at; this speaks of either a good prior divorce settlement, (or not marrying) or some substantial education somewhere along the line, undergrad plus law school.  That’s quite a set of accomplishments, but I don’t think represents an indigence.  See Resume:

  • BA with Honors in 1966, became family lawyer (passed bar?)
  • 1985, with Professor’s Assistanceships (in law school) on child-related and mediation topics.  Maybe I can assume that almost 20 year gap is called “Mom” and “Wife” time.
  • In 1987, she helped found Kids’ Turn and was simultaneously involved in PTA Board at “Campolindo High School” where her kids probably attended.   Campolindo is — well, its site describes it well:

“Located in the hills east of the University of California, Berkeley, Campolindo serves the professionally-oriented and well-educated suburban communities of Moraga and Lafayette. Students, teachers and parents work together to provide a positive climate for learning where mutual respect, trust and esteem are valued. ” . . .”In statewide API (Academic Performance Index) ratings, for the fifth year in a row, both the Acalanes District and Campolindo are ranked in the very top percentiles of all public high schools in California with an API score of 919. Nationally, Campolindo is recognized regularly in Newsweek magazine as one of the “Best High Schools in America”.  The Association of Californa School Administrators honored Campolindo’s Principal, Carol Kitchens, as the Secondary Principal of the Year in 2009

This is my way — as is this demographics piechart** of saying, as fantastic as these achievements are for Ms. Jackson — something had her living (presumably) in Moraga around the time she passed the bar — and that’s a privileged community.   A neighboring one, Orinda, shows has a 2009 median household of $156K, and more than half the town earning that much, and the largest sector earning over $200K.
To get a general feel for housing in the area — this is my tactful way of saying that until the 1960s, some of these communities did not allow African-American housing loans, or greatly restricted them — read this thoughtful summary of Berkeley, including a lot on demographics and migration.
Essentially, people that might work as professors, or other high-paying jobs in SF or Berkeley (or even Oakland) would then leave those urban areas and commute straight past (on highways like as not) the dangerous and darker-skinned areas, right on back to the suburbs.  Just keep this in mind when someone from this area (however s/he got there) is all excited about helping poor kids, single mother or no single mother. And I don’t know specifically that Jennifer Jackson was; although no mention of a husband is made, or the children’s father.
(**scroll down to see race (total African Americans:  166, Hispanic, invisible — they are living elsewhere and working on the lawns and in the retail & domestic sectors no doubt (wikipedia, though, says 7% in 2010) — how few single parent households, and almost NO violent crime).  As of 2010, Moraga had a total population of 16,016 people.  As of the 2000 census, Moraga was the 79th wealthiest place in the US with a population above 10,000.   The median income for a household in the town is $98,080, and the median income for a family is $116,113. Males have a median income of $92,815 versus $51,296 for females.[almost 2:1!!] )

Blending this background of creativity, caring and flexibility with her legal training enhances her practice of family law and expands the options for her clients.

Jennifer believes that a lawyer must be actively involved in her professional community, and that life is about making a difference. Jennifer is one of the founders of Kids’ Turn, a program for separating families begun in San Francisco which has expanded exponentially in size and in quality of service to children and families.

(If you know my blog, you know EXACTLY why and how Kids’ Turn “expanded exponentially in size” — see family law attorneys, evaluators & judges on the board, see access/visitation funds “facilitating” parent education programs. . . . .As to the quality of service?  That’s debatable, but as I haven’t sat through any of the classes — except to note they use the word “parental alienation” a lot in stating benefits, i.e., “reduces parental alienation” type claims.  I’ll withhold judgment on this, as should others who haven’t  !!)

She is one of the founders of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and served for eight years as co-editor of its journal, The Collaborative Review. She has had leadership roles in her professional organizations at local, state national and international levels, and is a past president of the Northern California chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Within five years of passing the bar, she is serving as a judge pro tem– how common is that? Or this?

Standing Committee on Custody, North: Chair 1988-1990

San Francisco Bar Association

Executive Committee, Family Law Section: Chair, 1992; Member: 1987-present
Fee Arbitration Panel: 1988-1990
Barristers Club, Co-Chair, Family Law Committee: 1988-1990
BASF Delegate to the State Bar Convention: 1989, 1990
Volunteer Legal Services Program Volunteer Attorney: 1986-2000  

[[This is almost another topic — I’ve footnoted it [VLSP* at bottom of post, a section in itself….]

Expert: Temporary Restraining Order Clinic

Jennifer has been given an “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubbell and has been named one of the top 50 female lawyers (“Super Lawyers”) in Northern California in all areas of practice by Law and Politics Publications for the past five years in a row. Jennifer practices alternative dispute resolution exclusively; she has trained extensively in mediation and collaboration, and is committed to keeping clients out of court and at the negotiating table.

The IACP has created Standards for practitioners, trainers and collaborative practice trainings. It has promulgated Ethical Guidelines for Practitioners, and continues to support excellence in collaborative practice through resources, training curriculum, practice tools, mentoring and a comprehensive website, allowing collaborative practitioners to continue our tradition of sharing and learning from one another.

Where we are going…

Today, the IACP has over 4,000 members from twenty four countries around the world. We are dedicated to educating the public about the Collaborative alternative. We are committed to fostering professional excellence in conflict resolution through Collaborative Practice. We invite you to peruse this site to learn more about IACP, our services and initiatives.

Amy is the past-chair of the Family Law Section of the Indianapolis Bar Association (2003) and is president of Families Moving Forward, Inc., a multi-disciplinary non-profit organization devoted to developing healthy approaches to family transitions.. . .[Law Degree summa cum laude Indiana Univ. School of Law, 1999; admitted to IN bar same year, graduate “with high distinction” in 1986. ]

5 years of work and/or law school, and within 4 more years she’s charing the Family Law Section of Indianapolis (that’s one city, not the whole state’s) Bar Assocation.  What a nice nonprofit and what accomplished professionals, and how successful they are.  As such, we should believe what they say, especially as the nonprofit “Families Moving Forward, Inc.” is DEVOTED to a HEALTHY APPROACH to “Family transitions.” (typically called divorces or custody matters).
 ** a name in other states used for purposes such as helping with homelessness, or infants with fetal alcohol syndrome, other issues, here it’s referring to divorce:

FAMILIES MOVING FORWARD, INC., is an interdisciplinary organization of attorneys, mental health providers, accountants, and other professionals committed to improving the process of family transition in Indiana, by reducing conflict and cost, creating healthier outcomes for children, and enhancing the satisfaction of professionals serving families.

(However, notice the articles of incorporation say it’s there to serve the families as well as the professionals serving the families)
This report is on-line at “SAIF” where it probably was presented:

Seminars For Advanced Interdisciplinary Family Professionals


This For-Profit group incorporated as below in Indiana, with the address “9000 KEYSTONE CROSSING, STE 600, INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46240 (which is “HuirasLaw,”  Wm. E. Huiras, although the Registered Agent is another attorney, Robin Brown Neihaus (LinkedIn)

Date Name (Type)
7/27/2006 SEMINARS FOR ADVANCED INTERDISCIPLINARY FAMILY PROFESSIONALS, INC. D/B/A SAIF  (Assumed))
(the entity filed one report in 2008, file notes, it owes 2010/2011 – perhaps IN is only every 2 years).

Segments from the Indiana 2005 Sample PC report (handbook):

The sample report begins with a situation between father and stepfather which was hostile.  Both wanted to coach on Little (10) Joey’s baseball team.

Therapy for both TOGETHER is recommended:

5. Mr. Smith and Mr. Doe should attend counseling sessions together to attempt to resolve their(For example, the mother did not want the father to volunteer on Fridays at school any longer. She maintained that the children were emotional and upset on those mornings and did not want to go to school. The teachers were contacted and reported that the children looked forward to and enjoyed their father’s presence.

AFCC CLAIMS CREDIT FOR HAVING DEVELOPING PARENT COORDINATION:

From their 5-year prospectus:

AFCC Guidelines for Parenting Coordination

In 2003, AFCC President George Czutrin appointed a Task Force to develop Model Standards of Practice for Parenting Coordination, following the first Task Force on Parenting

Coordination that conducted research and published the 2003 Report on Parenting Coordination Implementation Issues. The Task Force determined that the Parenting Coordination process was too new to use the term “Model Standards” and, in May 2005, proposed to the Board of Directors the AFCC Guidelines for Parenting Coordination. The Guidelines passed unanimously and are available on the AFCC Web site at http://www.afccnet.org/resources/standards_practice.asp.

AFCC Parenting Coordination Task Force: Christie Coates, J.D., M.Ed. (Chair), Linda Fieldstone, M.Ed., (Secretary), Barbara Ann Bartlett, J.D., Robin Deutsch, Ph.D., Billie Lee Dunford-Jackson, J.D. , Philip Epstein, Q.C., Barbara Fidler, Ph.D., Jonathan Gould, Ph.D., Hon. William Jones (ret.), Joan Kelly, Ph.D., Matthew J. Sullivan, Ph.D., Robert N. Wistner, J.D

. . . .

The following new publications have been developed since 2002 while dated products were been eliminated:

• Parenting Coordination: Implementation Issues

There are scholarly articles galore about this.  One by matthew Sullivan, Ph.D. (and a parent coordinator) uses the phrase repeatedly in the abstract — but to access the article one-time costs $34 and permanently $155.  Needless to say, not many people who have parent coordinators in their lives can afford to read up on it….

“In 1994 the concept of parent coordination was spawned by a concerned group of professionals in California and Colorado who

WHILE PROMOTION EFFORTS TEND TO PHRASE PARENT COORDINATION PASSIVELY (as if a natural development), IN PRIVATE PUBLICATIONS, IT TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PROMOTION OF THE FIELD:

AFCC STAYS FOCUSED ON IMPLEMENTING AND PROMOTING PARENT COORDINATION:

And I am going to show you what apparent frauds some of the prime “trainers” are in this field too.     But first, let’s look at the upcoming 2012 conference called:

The New Frontier

Exploring the Challenges and Possibilities of the Changed Landscape for Children and the Courts:

This is an upcoming (Feb. 2012) meeting of the California Chapter of the AFCC.  An entire day is dedicated to a workshop on Parenting Coordination, and a secondary one talks about how to get it in there — even if parents are indigent.

Here are the presenters’ bios (please scroll through).  Some are more than a page, others short.  Notice the types of professionals involved (typical), Judges, Attorneys and Psychologists, Mediators, etc.    Some have been around forever (Joan B. Kelly, Dianna Gould-Saltzmann) others seem newer:

Abbas Hadjian, JD, CFLS

Graduate of Tehran University School of Law and Harvard…

Abbas Hadjian, Esquire devotes a substantial part of his family law practice to educating the Farsi‐speaking community on the comparisons between the American and Iranian legal system and recently published “Divorce in California,” which is written in Farsi. He is an expert on Iranian culture and laws.

(from his website, partial description of an amazing background):

Mr. Hadjian was born, educated and lived in Iran until 1980. Between 1959 and 1968 Mr. Hadjian was a professional journalist in Iran, with positions including editor, writer, reporter, translator and commentator in major Iranian publications and news agencies. His profession a journalist required and helped Mr. Hadjian’s foundational understanding of the Iranian legal, social, economical and political structure. Between 1962 and 1966, Mr. Hadjian attended the School of Law, Political Science and Economics in Tehran University. Among others, he received courses in Iranian Constitution, Civil, Family and Probate law, furthering his understanding of the legal, social, economic and political infrastructure of his native country.

Upon graduation. Mr. Hadjian became a political appointee in the Office of the Governor General, Iranian Southern Ports and Islands (Persian Gulf), where he acted as a ranking civil officer in the region until 1978, the year of the Iranian Revolution. As deputy to the Governor General in social and economic affairs, Mr. Hadjian relied heavily on his legal studies and implemented them in real life situations. In 1975, Harvard University accepted him to the renowned Edward S. Mason Program for Public Development on full scholarship, acknowledging five years of Mr. Hadjian’s services in developing the Persian Gulf region as one year of post-graduate studies. He was awarded a Masters Degree in Public Administration

A related site from “Culture Counts.net” (site has three diverse professionals) has a page about fatherhood, the new normal, which “surprisingly” reminds readers about:

Positive Effects of Father Involvement on Children

  • Children display increased self-confidence.
  • Better able to deal with frustration and other feelings.
  • Higher grade point averages.
  • More likely to mature into compassionate adults.
  • Paternal emotional responses to sons were associated with a 50% decrease in sons’ expressions of sadness and anxiety from preschool to early school age

Positive Effects of Father Involvement on Men

  • Helps men reevaluate their priorities and become more caring human beings who are concerned about future generations.
  • May reduce health-risk behaviors.
  • Decreases psychological distress as emotional involvement with children acts as a buffer against work-related stress.
  • Happiness and increased physical activity.
  • Sense of accomplishment, well-being, and contentment.
  • Men tend to be more involved with extended family and others in the community.
  • Over time, fatherhood increases marital stability.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Here is the rather short blurb of a long-time attorney in California, who in this conference is presenting an all-day workshop on Parenting Coordination:

Leslie Ellen Shear, JD, CFLS, CALS

Ms. Shear is a graduate of UCLA School of Law and admitted to the California Bar in 1976 and maintains her practice in Encino, California. A frequent lecturer in custody matters, she has been involved in a number of high-profile custody cases over the years – most recently, Marriage of LaMusga and Marriage of Seagondollar.

I note she was admitted to the bar fully 20 years before welfare reform and almost as much before VAWA.
These three are going to present on Parenting Coordination — an all-day institute.  It must be important:

9:00am – 5:15pm

All Day Institute (2)

(I2) Inside Parenting Coordination Practice in California: Managing Roles, Responsibilities, and Risks

  • Lyn Greenberg, Ph D
  • Alexandra Leichtner, JD
  • Leslie Ellen Shear, JD, CFLS, CALS
Apparently even indigent people need parent coordination — there’s a workshop on how to get it to them:
  • W1 Establishing a Local Parenting Coordination Program Including Pro Bono PC Services to Indigent FamiliesHonorable Lorna Alksne// Charlene S. Baron, JD, MA // Shirley Ann Higuchi, JD  // Lori Love, Ph D


http://www.link.cs.cmu.edu/link/submit-sentence-4.html

III. Parenting Coordinators Work With the Most Difficult Family Court Population – Those Most Prone to Assert Grievances and Challenge Decisionmakers

… cases are usually referred to parenting coordination because they are chronically litigious and difficult to manage. These parents have often had several attorneys, evaluators, and mediators — professional hopping and shopping is rampant. Their court files are thick with motions, court appearances, and allegations of wrongdoing by the parents.
Coates, Deutsch et al. (2004) Parenting Coordination for High-Conflict Fami- lies 42 Fam. Ct. Rev. 246, 252

The child custody cases referred to parenting coordinators are the most complex, acrimonious, difficult and demanding cases. Most parents regain their perspective and bearings within two years of separation, and do not need this kind of intensive and ongoing service model. Parents who continue to return to court with enforcement and modification requests after completing co- parenting educational programs, and after a child custody evaluation are can- didates for parenting coordination,

Parents who need a PC intervention are typically a special group for whom the passage of time has not reduced the rage and angry behaviors of at least one if not both parents. The 10–20% of parents who remain in entrenched and high conflict two to three years after separation/divorce are significantly more likely to have severe personality disorders and/or mental illness (Johnston & Roseby, 1997). Understanding the characteristics of parents with severe borderline, dependent, narcissistic, and antisocial personality disorders, why these parents react so strongly to rejection and loss, how the child is used in attempts to re-stabilize their functioning and punish the other parent, and how personality disorders are exacerbated by stress, conflict and the adversarial system will facilitate more effective work with these difficult clients.

Kelly (2008) Preparing for the Parenting Coordination Role: Training Needs for Mental Health and Legal Professionals 5 Journal of Child Custody 140,149-150

+ + + + = = = + + +  = = =

[VSLP*].  This footnote comes from a fragment of attorney Jennifer Jackson’s resume, which itself came from a bio of another nonprofit, Families Moving Forward, Inc. in Indiana.  I was following up in another nonprofit, “International Association Collaborative Professionals” and I guess you can see about how curious I am about the inter-relationships of various nonprofits.

I looked at the staff.  This one caught my attention — because of the specialties, not him personally:

Chris Emley (in 2011, or at least now on the website.)

Chris is a certified family law specialist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, with 41 years of experience focusing on child custody litigation.  He has been included in Best Lawyers in America since 1991.  He has helped to govern VLSP since its inception in 1979.  He received the State Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award in 1983, the Legal Assistance Association of California’s Award of Merit in 1989, and two Awards of Merit from The Bar Association of San Francisco (1977 and 2004).  He was a BASF board member from 1979 through 1981, and chaired the Lawyer Referral Service Committee.  Chris was Vice President of the San Francisco Child Abuse Council, Chairman of the Board of Legal Assistance to the Elderly, and Chairman of the Board of Legal Services for Children, Inc.

There happens to be one pro bono group in the SF Bay area which used to help women leaving violence and eventually in the news (and had I known at the time to check all these 990s, I’d have seen the notation that it specialized in helping NONCustodial, low-income fathers, I’d have realized why this group refused to help so many mothers stuck in the family law system.).   The presence of a Certified Family Law Practitioner on the board of VSLP, with his emphasis being on children’s rights, and without question, children in ANY institutional system these days need help and representation, does make me wonder who is helping with women’s rights when it comes to actual mothers who aren’t in jail for killing their batterers (which have some groups advocating) — but actually dealing with the horrors of year after year in a custody battle with a violent or abusive ex, and doing so without even a grasp of how it works, or who pays its bills.

General Comments:

I don’t see anything in VSLP which remotely deals with the situation, and was able to get no actual help (legal representation of any sort, pro bono) in my case either, not past the initial restraining order, and a perfunctory (and NOT in court) attempt to renew it, which I was told would be a non-issue, it’s often granted automatically!  No one came to court where I, like many, many other “custodial” mothers after leaving abuse, was blindsided by a prior ex parte movement consolidating renewal with a divorce and custody matter, thus shifting the case into the family law system, where it remained, and where the actual topic of ongoing DV was drowned by the type of talk we see in these realms — psychological states, not literal deeds!

The moral is, every program and every nonprofit has its target clientele.  As the target clientele (for keeping in their proper place) in so many federal grants to the states are fathers (when it comes to custody matters), it would make no “sense” for the government to also pay the opposing side, the protective mothers!

[[Interesting program, project of SF Bar: its family law person Chris Emley also on Board of “Legal Services for Children” which (as of 2001) got funding from City & County of SF, SF Dept. of Public Health, and SF Dept. of Children, Youth & Their Families.

Its address seems to be a few doors down from Kids Turn:  1254 Market vs. 1242 Market Street.  “Legal Services for Children” (2010) shows no Chris Emley on the Board, but its main purposes are:  1.  Guardianship for children wanting it; 2.  Helping kids dealing with expulsion and school-related issues; 3.  Immigration. . ..It also represents children in foster care and helps support LGBT youth.  200 Volunteer attorneys gave over $1mil worth of their help.    The group received over $1 mill. of contrib& grants, and gave $65,000 to a DC nonprofit, National Juvenile Defender Center (EIN# 02060456.  On “Foundation Finder” this EIN doesn’t pull up a tax return…..for any year.  Nor does a name search! However from NCCSdataweb, I see that it was incorporated in 2002 (legal services for children, in 1975).  This “National Juvenile Defender Center” interests me:  2002 income, 0.  A 2007 letter from Andrea Weisman, signed DC Dept of Youth Rehab. Services (“DYRS”)  (shares address with a Board member of NJDC, Mark Soler, 2002) expresses the serious problems of Youth in Adult Facilities.  Weisman and Soler (again, board member of the group which got $65K grant from the West-Coast “Legal Services for Children,” which takes funding from various depts. of SF and its city & county) worked together (1999?) on “No Minor Matter:  Children in Maryland’s Jails.”  Weisman notes she got a $1.6mil grant from OJJDP.   ]]

National Juvenile Defender Center:  

2002– income is zero.  By 2009 — they are into Technical Training and Assistance.  And ExDir. Patricia Puritz as only paid director, gets $134K salary) — and have landed over $5 million of grants, and earning $10K from investment income and have some serious program income in 2010 ($119K= almost (but not quite) enough to pay their own Exec. Director:.  Check it out.  So why, in the following year (revenues down to $405K — but probably some leftovers, wanna bet?) did a group in SF just grant them $65,000?  Or was that a sort of tax equalization between them both.  I live in the same state as “Legal Service for Children, Inc.” and we know that our K-12 schools are taking a serious hit?  Why should enough money to feed, clothe and house three families in this area for a year, be given to a nonprofit out of DC that just got $5 million the year before?

http://njdc.info/about_us.php

The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) was created in 1999 to respond to the critical need to build the capacity of the juvenile defense bar and to improve access to counsel and quality of representation for children in the justice system. In 2005, the National Juvenile Defender Center separated from the American Bar Association to become an independent organization. NJDC gives juvenile defense attorneys a more permanent capacity to address practice issues, improve advocacy skills, build partnerships, exchange information, and participate in the national debate over juvenile crime.

They operate 9 US Regional Centers; the California one is in SF and among its projects is:

MacArthur Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN)

In 2008, California was selected by the the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as one of four sites in the nation to participate in the foundation’s Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN).  The four JIDAN sites, Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey and California, join the four MacArthur Models for Change “core” states of Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Washington to form an eight-state network.

The California team is led by the Youth Law Center, and includes members from the Center for Families, Children and the Courts of the California Administrative Office of the Courts; the Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law & Policy; the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office; theSan Francisco Public Defender’s Office; the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office; andHuman Rights Watch.

The eight-state network is coordinated through the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC), and engages juvenile defenders, policymakers, judges and other key stakeholders in designing strategies to improve juvenile indigent defense policy and practice. California was chosen as a result of its demonstrated ability to achieve measurable reform on juvenile indigent defense issues.  California’s JIDAN work will be centered in the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center.

The Exec. Director of this “NJDC.INFO” nonprofit (inc. 2002) was in 2003 appointed by the Governor of Virginia to a Board of Juvenile Justice:

This bio/blurb places Ms. Puritz Professionally, prior to here, she was ABA Juvenile Justice Center, etc.

Much of this relates to the “OJJDP” and the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act.  This is an entirely different category than “Parenting Coordination” through the family law center; it is dealing with things such as the US being the world largest per-capita jailor, that those in jail are disproprotionately minority, that horrible things are happening to youth while in confinement, etc.  By comparison, the “Parent Coordinator” issue seems like kids’ play unless one begins to wonder how many of the youth in detention had parents stuck in the family law system, which definitely cuts down on actual parenting time and focus!

p://www.americanbar.org/groups/child_law/policy/juvenile_justice.html

Written by Let's Get Honest

December 14, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Posted in 1996 TANF PRWORA (cat. added 11/2011), AFCC, After She Speaks Up - Reporting Child Sexual Abuse, After She Speaks Up - Reporting Domestic Violence and/or Suicide Threats, Bush Influence & Appointees (Cat added 11/2011), Business Enterprise, Cast, Script, Characters, Scenery, Stage Directions, Designer Families, Domestic Violence vs Family Law, Lackawanna County PA Corruption Protests, Lethality Indicators - in News, Organizations, Foundations, Associations NGO Hybrids, Parent Education promotion, Parenting Coordination promotion, Psychology & Law = an AFCC tactical lobbying unit, When Police Shoot / Shoot Back, Where's Mom?, Who's Who (bio snapshots)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SENATE BILL 557

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

Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary

Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair

Hearing Date: 05/26/2011

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

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

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

_________

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

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

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

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

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

TotalCapitol home

RECENT POSTS:

Recently, I posted on:

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

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


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

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

REPORT TO THE CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE MARCH 2010

Federal and State Program Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report 12 Executive Summary (Sept 2000)

Preparing Court-Based Child Custody Mediation Services for the Future

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

DIANE NUNN


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHARLENE DEPNER, Ph.D., AFCC, etc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

” notes:

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

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

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

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


By JOAN S. MEIER, George Washington University Law School

Janet Johnston’s publications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What “DVLEAP” does in its own words:

A STRONGER VOICE FOR JUSTICE

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

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

(photo also from this site):

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

The Leadership Council’s:

Mission Statement

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

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

Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued .  . . .

@@@

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