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The Widening Credibility Gap between the Long-Term, Chronic, Family-Court-Beleaguered and the UNbeleaguered FamilyCourtReform/ist + DV Advocates Reporting on (Us) [Publ. May 14, 2022].

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(While published May 14, 2022, this post came from a related one, published May 12 but drafted Fall, 2021).

 

THEME #1:  The BELEAGUERED v. the UNBELEAGUERED.   

(THEME #2 is: UNFREEZE – CHANGE – REFREEZE)

This dynamic,

The BELEAGUERED (first by in-home abuse and violence, then in the Family Courts, as people attempt to exit abuse) vs. the UNBELEAGUERED^ (by the family courts, “the beleaguered,” (their victims),

effectively excludes the former’s voices and with that, valuable insight or feedback (we) have to the field, which is typically dominated by the “Unbeleaguered.” The former are sidelined, and are not taken seriously (regardless of how valid any claims) except when, where, and as it suits the various experts…. to fulfill minimum token “survivor” representation in any organization, testimonies, or at a conferences, etc.

Post Title: The Widening Credibility Gap between the Long-Term, Chronic Family-Court-Beleagured and the UNbeleagured FamilyCourtReform/ist + DV Advocacy Experts Reporting on (Us) [May 14, 2022]. (short-link ends “-eus”)

This ever-widening discrepancy guarantees a bias in the information throughout the field which never self-corrects.  If it were corrected, careers would need to be restructured, people who have invested their lives and reputations in and on it discredited; they would have to find other lines of work in other fields.  I.e., function as the “beleaguered” have had to all along.

The next section is another summary, written May 14… which pushes my footnote (definition of) “Beleaguered” and “THEME #2: UNFREEZE – CHANGE – REFREEZE further down, but both are still there. Scrolling through the post for an overview before reading individual parts may help, or read it (patiently) in order. But understand what you read has been layered in sections over time; many sections simply develop a statement a little further, and reflect many ways to express what I’m thinking. This is a blog, not a fully-developed, complex website with many sub-menus and “portals” to information, so most of what’s on it is linear.

Exposure of major cracks in any form of advocacy potentially exposes even deeper cracks in all forms and if taken seriously by enough people who might act on their understanding could rattle the foundations much deeper. Those for whom such systems is working nicely (i.e., jobs, housing, careers, publications, citations, positions in life, etc.) are pitted against and naturally resist those for whom it isn’t.

Face it:  Advocacy as we understand it has typically meant “public/private partnerships” and involved tax-exempt organizations (with different names and tax processes in different countries).  When criticizing advocacy calls attention to its forms as innately unfair — that has a potential ripple effect.  It could be a subterranean earthquake which triggers a tsunami with far-reaching impact in such an interdependent world.  The categories of economic existence involved the taxed, the tax-exempt (including those working for them), government (the same) and their respective, pooled or allocated assets, either producing income now, (sometimes tax-exempt, sometimes not), or held for possible sale (for profit, is the general idea) elsewhere.  Selling profits to friends below-cost solidifies friendships; selling distressed assets (whether or not people wish to sell) is perceived as rescue.

Right now, distressed PEOPLE, and made so often through court systems, are a known (if unofficial) asset class.  Marketing to their “kind” and managing them is major business.  Those on welfare, those fleeing abuse across borders, OR those fleeing abuse individually (within a country) all create different kinds of opportunities…not just problems.  The question is:  for whom.

The assumption that, among advocates and survivors needing their services “we are all on the same page” is false, when the viewpoint is accounting and accountability.  A constant narrative (public advocacy and outreach) is maintained to encourage the referrals and continual application for help from advocacy organizations, while the same then go appeal for more resources and funding for the good cause/s.

I’ve read too many tax returns, experienced too much (I was never in a shelter, but I could’ve used some shelter and did need help) to mis-read the constant “we, us our — join us” branding from websites, individuals and individuals associated with websites and/or entities where funds ARE going in, but where they go (even as shown on a tax return) can’t really be tracked by the public — and even less so by the “beleaguered” among the public.

I’d love to post more Forms 990 and audited financial statements (including — again — ALL of the (corporate) entities and for each, most recent tax returns within the DV Advocacy field USA, and the DVRN regionalized networks), but between new developments (in this field, i.e., NationalSafeParents.org “coalition” website teaming with the National Family Violence Law Center at George Washington University Law School, (literally, Law.GWU.Edu/(description) pushing hard for the VAWA Reauthorization with “Keeping Children Safe IN Family Courts” (Kayden’s law) tweak), (as I recall about ten posts in late February/March on this, and a few more in April), my  NOT being on the same page as these (and hence getting not referrals or cites from them), and my private life events — I cannot out-produce or out-publicize solo when even top producers and websites (pick some and look at the publication “Acknowledgements” front matter, even for an annual report) which require many specialists for the output, and other sponsors to distribute. Case in point, why the post title.  See “Tactics: Divide and Conquer” below.  As a tactic, it works.  I still hope it may work both ways when enough people get sick of being mentored, monitored, lied to and betrayed — but this won’t be seen without looking outside the mainstream that is, looking to the accounts and accounting infrastructures.  Start SOMEWHERE to take those repeated snapshots and get a picture!)

Oh– and did I mention, most of these websites (USA) decline to post BOTH Forms 990 (reliable and current) AND audited financial statements.  I don’t even know whether or not the IRS even requires that they do post the latter — it just asks how they make them available.  I’ve seen responses such as “not available” (View IRS Form 990 Part VI.C. ‘Disclosure’; it’s near the bottom of a page). But I DO know that transparency and a sense of duty to the supporting public would’ve posted this information voluntarily (not shelter addresses of course, but the financials of those running the shelters, etc.)


Tactics: Avoid and distract:  rather than starting by considering ALL possible causes and choosing the most likely, advocates constantly raise and publicize less fundamental ones (such as “unsound psychological theories,”).

Tactics: Divide and Conquer: Manage Quarantine/Isolate veteran survivor dissidents, then emphasize “Solidarity” first for whoever is left, especially newcomers, and mentor them. Anyone, especially survivors, who’ve seen through that strategy and remain vocal about it, could potentially “contaminate” the ongoing fresh-blood of headlines and horror stories, which is a currency in this field.  Speaking of currency, almost any survivor who brings up and looks at the topic of “finances,” and calls attention to resources for investigating tax-exempt organizations (which the field is peopled by), becomes and is treated as a threat to its stability.

Major energy and money is poured into publicity claiming concern, advertising “progress” in problem-solving, ensuring those politically advantageous get a seat at the decision-making tables. How is that really the best use of public resources?

Tactic: Ignore the National: ALWAYS talk and go Global.  Within my country, you will not find any systematic discussion or “reveal” among advocates of their own funding and reporting policies, of welfare reform, of the potential of negative nonprofits (tax-exempts or trade associations) as an issue.  The focus is to be kept away from “accounting literacy” and a specialized shared language of “cause literacy” is the unifying force for system change.

What if the accounting systems locally, within any single country, are THE major facilitator of abuse, at the national, local and (guess what, also) familial/individual abuse? Are not access “resources” often what people (and countries) fight over most in the first place?

“The game seems to be not proving (actually, anything much) but persuading whoever “matters” to accept and invest, and casting a few crumbs to those who evidently don’t…

Persuade, publicize, legitimize, legislate, reproduce…. when problems surface, leverage that to further embed more investment — thus solidifying the same foundations.  That’s how reformISTS think and operate. (Cambridge Dictionary:”reformist” noun, verb; Wikipedia “reformism” as a movement within socialism, referring to gradual change rather than revolution — but the end goal is the same. At least read the “Overview”).

(Post title, and my related one just published are shown again below):

Post Title: The Widening Credibility Gap between the Long-Term, Chronic Family-Court-Beleagured and the UNbeleagured FamilyCourtReform/ist + DV Advocacy Experts Reporting on (Us) [May 14, 2022]. (short-link ends “-eus,” which seems appropriate to the topic here: EU vs. US… combined, is it “EUs?” (except for Brexit….).  Published imperfectly at about 12,000 words, the latter situation I hope to correct eventually, the former, “in my dreams..”  Any writer knows it takes longer and is harder to write a good short post than a halfway decent longer one.  

This weekend and next week I’m packing up a household and relocating (no new residence obtained yet, but a temporary safe place has been offered). If this post helps you and you can, please use the DONATE button and/or let me know. I’m not relying on Donations (or, a tax-exempt) but IF you appreciate it, small amounts help, and for those who might not, the DONATE button is not the forum. Read the fine print here:  

NB, Recently,  a certain man whose name appeared ONCE in this post in 2016 or 2017 as I recall, chose to use the “Donate” button (a second time) to, this time, threaten (or attempt to threaten) to defame me unless I removed his name. The name was mentioned — not featured, just mentioned — appropriately in context as a board member of a charity.  Via a second PayPal Donation of $20 (after I’d belatedly, saying why and with an apology for the delay, refunded his first one of $10) note to me, and a link was provided to a ‘substack” to threaten me with further publication if I didn’t comply.  His (rant) used the word “tarnished” several times and “conspiracy” (some form of it) even more, without proving I’d either tarnished the charity’s or his name, or proving that I was a “conspiracy theorist” (I’d quoted one). …. In the protest he at least included a link to my post complained about, showing that even the section on the charity was only the bottom half, and quoting none of it.  I.e., anyone who compared what he summarized to what was said, could see a difference. The guy actually started a “newsletter” to discredit the blog, based on his experience with me responding to a complaint about one of my posts (representing about 1/870th of the posts published). (this was the first and only post shown). Other than a street address he sent me (for which I found no direct connection to that name) and the association with the charity, very little about him shows on-line.


I posted a single response (yesterday), asked him to grow up (or prove his point, if he could), said I was returning the ($20) and did so.  I’m also looking into how I might block any further donations to deliver notes to (attempt to) bully me at the PayPal level.  FYI, in the post in question, I was looking at another individual (now deceased) who did talk “Conspiracy Theory” and asked for donations to an entity.  I looked up the entity, posted, and talked about it — as this led to other interesting topics. My post also mentioned that I’d done this on the suggestion of a friend (not as a normal part of my blogging).  People who join boards of any public charity which must file tax returns should understand that strangers, not only friends, may be reading those returns: it is public access information. The alternative if privacy is more important is to not join such boards. For example, so far, my privacy is important, and so far, I haven’t…


Therefore this notice is my way of saying:  if you want have issues with this blog, or any post on it come at me with something that holds water, but don’t use PAYPAL messaging to come at ME personally as its author or complain about it; I will return that donation and seek to block you. Substituting name-calling for a process that involves proof trying to get me to retract something truthful and (in that context, it was also innocuous) reflects more on the individual.  It’s also made me want to look even more into a single nonprofit he was on, based on what I’d found back then:  why is it even so important for this individual to have privacy, but not me? If you want the text of those exchanges, ask and I’ll provide links or full texts. For “defamation” the guy doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on and failed to state any falsehood I’ve posted about him; in fact it was disturbing to speculate, given no legitimate cause, why it was even worth a protest: but I if this keeps up, I may have one for harassment. RE: Donations:  I’ve made it plain in and around that Button that I have not organized a nonprofit (formed one or joined one) and FYI, historically Donations have been mostly inactive, year after year.  Occasionally someone who knows me may send $20 or $40, for example, on a birthday or otherwise.//LGH, May 14, 2022.

If people wish to debate either my facts or my conclusion from the facts (links, quotes, etc.) which result, mostly, from years of looking into things in this manner, go ahead:  PROVE me wrong, or mis-guided somehow.  I’d especially appreciate this from anyone with a background and mindset to understand the difference between proof and supposition.

^^BY THE “UNBELEAGUERED” IN THIS CONTEXT, I’m REFERRING* (but not deferring!**) TO:

Refer/Defer: (*meanings 1,2 or 3) (**to defer to” references to a person, i.e., out of respect for him or her as a person, his/her  authority and his/her more expert qualification. It’s a firm of submission. See vocabulary links.  Here, I indicate but decline to submit.)

By “UNBeleaguered” in this context, I mean:

^A category with a long label: FamilyCourtReformists and Domestic Violence/Child Abuse Advocates including their (respective) associated, sponsored^^ think tanks, and university centers, which feed them policy and ‘best-practices’ info and technical assistance and training, certifying courses, curricula, webinars, programs, etc. 

Typically the category of “advocates” (here) is meant to be at the state level, a series of 56 (as to DV) private (but public-funded) tax-exempt coalitions, ONE per jurisdiction, with funds (for how much or what percent — find and read ALL their financials, which typically aren’t even posted on their websites) along with sexual assault coalitions.  These are coordinated by specific “national” (so-called) websites, sometimes equated 1:1 with an identifiable nonprofit entity, but not always.

^^Such sponsorship includes both private and public funding where the universities (or the involved nonprofits) are also public-funded. For example, the DV advocacy field USA is essentially controlled by the federal government’s decisions how to redistribute (its) wealth state by state and regionally to special issue resource centers, which I’ve blogged (for years, i.e., repeatedly) elsewhere.  Tax-exempt anything in the USA (and I”m sure elsewhere) is also a form of public sponsorship: it’s a privilege.

(Again, the context is USA, because this post is an appeal to those NOT dealing with the consequences of [their] supporting and public endorsement of this crowd from afar).


To these, I say (and it’s a rhetorical question:  So many already have the answer):

Will you ever hear us, on the basis of common sense, reason, and that country economic and government differences exist for a reason and should not be set aside or undermined lightly?

To uninvolved observers, inside and outside the USA, ask yourselves:

Does our [the beleaguered] often less slick presentation and fewer social networking connections really mean we are less credible?

Are we ALL talking only anecdotal evidence/our horror stories, thereby becoming only “survivors” (unless we’re selling books or consulting services the existing field endorses), not real “experts”… or do many of us have other and possibly at least equally credible bases (than the ones you’ve fed us) for understanding the situations, appropriately labeling the situations, and recommending what to do about these situations?

Regarding the attempts to internationally align policy through privatized (but government-endorsed) nonprofits and charities backed by major wealth, or civil servant leadership (i.e., trade associations with judges, or as seen in CAFCASS), I challenge you:

Why is having good country boundaries as a country considered “bad” if not extremist and a danger to society — while poor personal boundaries is discussed cross-border as “healthy” and in the public interests — generating sponsored education and public awareness campaigns about healthy relationships vs. bad ones (coercive control, domestic abuse, etc.)?

My complaint and opinion:

–>I’m reporting and getting REAL tired of significant boundary violations (of the United States of America, the country I live in) which have nothing to do with a wall on our southern border (48 contiguous states) with Mexico or blocking truckers’ protests on the northern border with Canada based on vaccine status.

–>I am talking policy-setting, public-purpose boundaries being set from outside the reach of the people living here and without regard to circumstances long-documented to be occurring here, which are not and cannot be openly discussed in a common language with other countries where so many integral facets are not common:  our tax systems, our laws, and (after a few generations past welfare-reform) the forces driving social policy through our welfare system, parts of which derived from the UK to start with.

Briefly, some World War II-era history: “When so much infrastructure is wiped out, and resources depleted, how to rebuild?” (Did the USA ask to apply the UK model?  If not then, why now?)

(See “1942 Beveridge Report” (William Beveridge lived 1879-1963) and The Beveridge Report and the Foundations of the Welfare State” (75th Anniversary, 17 Dec. 2017 from UK National Archives).  Quote is from the second source (and from its cover page / summary only, all emphases added):

Now, when the war is abolishing landmarks of every kind, is the opportunity for using experience in a clear field. A revolutionary moment in the world’s history is a time for revolutions, not for patching..

Churchill received a copy of the report on 11 November 1942, but was no doubt quite busy conducting the war, so instructed the chancellor Kingsley Wood to ‘have an immediate preliminary, brief report made on this for me’. He soon received Wood’s ‘critical observations’, as well as comments from his close friend and adviser Lord Cherwell.

These two reports sum up the initial reception Beveridge’s ideas received from the Prime Minster’s inner circle. Wood described the plan as ‘ambitious’, but worried it involved ‘an impracticable financial commitment’. Wood said that ‘the abolition of want’ was an admirable objective that would have ‘a vast popular appeal’, but he was concerned that Beveridge’s plan was ‘based on fallacious reasoning’.

…Wood, as well as Cherwell, also raised concerns about how the United States (who were by and large bankrolling Britain’s war efforts at this point) would react to such bold proposals for state provision by a country brought so financially low by an all-consuming war. Cherwell pointed out that the US population might take umbrage at financing the creation of a far more generous welfare state than their own. Wood worried that it would appear that Britain was ‘engaged in dividing out the spoils while they [the US] are assuming the main burden of the war’.

Concluding, Wood expresses the cautious attitude the Report initially provoked

I say, the Social Welfare State USA and UK are NOT identical, nor should they be.

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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)

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ANY post may be further edited (as in, condensed, or expanded, or both) after publishing.  Blogger’s privilege, and at times, necessity!

You are reading:

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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