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

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Posts Tagged ‘“Outflanking the Nation-State: David Mitrany and the Origins of Functionalism”

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

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

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

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

There, this section was a second footnote, labeled:

THIS FOOTNOTE IS LIKELY TO BECOME ITS OWN POST (IDEALLY, SOON…)

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

and, within that footnote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This post is about 10,000 words.  Enjoy!

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Division Description

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

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

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

 …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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