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Fathers-4-Justice Sault Ste. Marie: Ontario Children’s Aid and Misandry

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Brainwashed Children, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Feminism, Fit Parent, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, Michael Murphy, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Single Parenting on January 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ontario Children’s Aid and Misandry

Many men will attest to have seen a bias by CAS Protective Workers who are, it would appear, 95% female and some stridently feminist in their ideology. I can certainly speak to it, and can also say the local Algoma CAS and its sister organization Algoma Family Services, who deal with child mental health issues, have both shown me they care little about fathers. In one case a worker completely ignored my requests for help on the telephone and declared a conflict of interest so she could get out of providing service to me. I went over her head and finally got a supervisor to do her job.MJM

By Susan Longley


Please note concerns regarding  upcoming Ontario conference. (see OACAS web site).

A frightening trend in North American child welfare practice  is the growing alliance between child welfare services and those promoting anti violence against women (i.e. VAW sector).

This alliance has resulted in an increased denigration of male parents and general deterioration in efforts to address the best interests of children. The deeply rooted gender biased ideology of the latter sector remains deeply troubling and in complete  contradiction to male parents attempts to engage with child welfare services involved with their  children. This concern needs to be urgently addressed, partly to maintain service integrity but also to maintain an ethical stance towards families in general.

Male parents are frequently already marginalized from participating in services for their children. There is now an  increased propensity to isolate men even more so from their children’s lives. There remains a blatant contradiction between child welfare services who adopt the polemic and platitudes of the VAW sector. The child welfare mandate remains to enhance family life VAW sector is completely contradictory and opposed to such values.

It has become recently popular for child welfare services and VAW services to adopt certain kinds of inter agency protocols. These protocols are an embarrassment to child welfare practice in Canada. Blatantly unprofessional and academically dishonest theses protocols reflect misandric nonsense rather than legitimate protocol. These so called protocols must be abandoned and exposed for what they are. There are least two CASs in the Toronto region (see Peel CAS protocol with VAW sector)) have adopted such protocols. These agencies are allegedly family service agencies with no endorsement to promote such anti male rhetoric.

A review of these protocols disclose an incredulous gender bias which can only be described as sexism of the worst order. These professionally distasteful protocols are  written in total sympathy with VAW expectations with no accountability to the general public or their respective agency mandates. They contradict not only good social work practice but remain contradictory  to ethical guidelines established by their governing body  OASW.

These so-called protocols allege to address issues related to inter agency service provision and cooperation between public agencies but are in fact nothing more than an ideological treatise intended to alienate men further from appropriate child welfare practice.

These protocols refuse to acknowledges domestic violence in families other than that of men against women. Women remain the perpetual victim and men always the perpetrator. Any mention of domestic violence refuses to acknowledge  women ‘s violence against men. Programmes sponsored by child welfare services for children exposed to domestic violence ultimately define the perpetrator as male.

These protocols never hold women accountable for any acts of child abuse or inter personal violence. The identification of child abuse only mentioned in regard to men.  Any child welfare programmes delivered to “children exposed to family violence” refer to men only. Women are never identified as initiators of any domestic violence even when a so-called family agency is involved.

The suggestion that women may make false complaints regarding domestic violence in order to gain an upper hand on custody and access matters is not acknowledged. That women may fabricate or even lie is considered anathema.  The fact that women account for the majority of child abuse in not even mentioned. That VAW services and child welfare services advocate becoming increasingly involved in controversial custody and access matters remains extremely repugnant. The suggestion that child welfare services become more intrusive regarding access arrangements between children and their fathers is an outright abomination.

Please find a copy of a recent letter sent to Jeanette Lewis, Director of  the provincial OACAS (see web site) outlining my concerns regarding an anticipated conference involving Provincial Child Welfare Services and Violence Against Women Services. The purported agenda is to build understanding and cooperation between the two sectors. My cynical view, as previously suggested, indicates an alternate agenda. The VAW sector is given a further opportunity to impose a particular ideological gender politic on child welfare services.

“I notice with trepidation an anticipated 2010 Toronto conference co sponsored by Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies , The Ontario Women’s Directorate and various Violence Against Women programmes. The theme of the conference being the “Intersection of Women Abuse and Child Welfare Services.”

I was immediately troubled by the tone and wording of the conference details included in the call for papers especially given the propensity for child welfare services in Ontario and in general North America, to adopt a value preference embracing the practice of a certain feminist political and ideological agenda. A social work practice that has increasingly marginalized services to men and boys and a priori assumptions regarding male perpetrators and female victims.

I have outlined a few  of my concerns.
As many researchers have pointed out gender feminist theory has its limitations and family service agencies in particular must always be ethically accountable in providing services to both men and women especially where “best interests” of children are involved. One can already anticipate the usual presenters invited to provide discourse at such matters. It would be extremely naive to expect genuine debate or rational presentation between the sectors involved.  I will assume the usual feminist rhetoric and platitudes will rule the day.

Some academic  integrity needs to be maintained  and that the conference must reject any ideological and gender biased, misandric unbalanced research which has tended to place a certain anti male spin on issues related to woman abuse, child custody and other such politically charged issues.

There has been a long term feminist advocacy in this province (highlighted in proposals of the provincial domestic violence death review  panel and its recommendations ) to have child welfare services acquiesce to the values and political ideology of the violence against women sector.

This is viewed by many as a regressive and extremely ill advised road to go down. It is appears regressive for child welfare services in general, especially since their services have already become suspect for aligning themselves with principles that reject a family orientation and men in particular. Any child welfare services must be dispensed with fairness and remain gender neutral in practice.

I am concerned that any dialogue between CAS and VAW sectors becomes a mere “smoke screen” for advocating CAS become more feminized in their social work practice at the expense of academic and social work integrity. Not that the two sectors cannot collaborate on occasion and cooperate when appropriate in providing in shared client advocacy.


It seems vital and important to acknowledge the value differences between the two sectors and reject the propensity to gloss over the obvious political and ideological conflicts. It is imperative that these conflicts be clearly acknowledged and identified. This remains especially so in reference to mutual  protocols regarding advocacy and support of woman’s issues especially those issues related to custody access and the interaction between service providers regarding male clients and families in general .  It appears to me that the mandates of  the two sectors are severely different and are grounded in often opposed ideological principals. Just a few issues regarding the two sectors come to mind.

Definitions of Abuse and Victimization:

More stringent definition of abuse and victimization in general are required by both sectors. The CAS social workers remain accountable not only to the clients, the best interest of the child but also the court system especially when wards of the court are involved. What is considered abuse in the VAW sector cannot always be validated in the CAS sector.


CAS are obliged to involve male fathers and partners regardless if they have been identified as so called perpetrators or offenders.

Validation

The feminist principle of “validating” the “stories” of violence against women and children has always been troublesome for social workers in the CAS sector. Not to deny supportive advocacy for all clients (a basic social work value)  CAS social workers have always had to depend on not only “clients narratives” but also collaboration efforts to seek alternate sources of  information. The VAW sector do not require such gender neutral language of exploration and context for service. It appears that a higher standard of accountability and transparency is required.

Gender Bias / Male Clients and Partners:

Gender biased practice has been generally the order of the day. Given the long history of feminist advocacy many would argue that CAS have acquiesced far to willingly to certain  feminist theory at the expense of gender neutral practice. This must be recognised and the matter dealt with in an honest and forthright manner. Children’s best interest require addressing issues with both parents where possible.

CAS social workers when in court regarding children’s interests must prove that they have attempted involved both parents (and even other partners as defined as parents ) Fathers and or partners in a parenting role can never be ignored in CAS social work. The issues regarding custody and access assessments during divorce remains a highly contentious one, as do the issues related to counselling of couples where violence has occurred. Protocols regarding children’s access to both parents where domestic violence is disputed also remains highly contentious. These issues must be debated within the reality of both male and female experience.

Academic Research and Domestic Violence Findings:

The academic literature regarding domestic violence has and continues to be long dominated by a certain type of feminist ideology and both the  CAS and VAW sectors have been very much influenced in their practice by certain political views. This must change. The literature is much more divergent in findings and recommendations for practice than previously acknowledged. This is particularly so when discussing woman abuse and domestic violence. The divergent literature has always been available but to many practitioners who accepted certain dissident views were quickly rejected ostracized or threatened.

A modest appeal to Richard Gelles article January 2007 Family Court Review sums up these concerns regarding academic integrity with succinct clarity. Need I mention Don Dutton’s “Rethinking Domestic Violence.”


These are some of my concerns regarding the two sectors having authentic dialogue. This can only be achieved with honesty and respect. Some would also claim an appeal to rational discourse mixed with a modicum of intellectual integrity can also help.

Regards Susan

Fathers-4-Justice Sault Ste. Marie: Ontario Children’s Aid and Misandry.

Feminist Gulag: No Prosecution Necessary

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Fit Parent, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on January 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm
Feminist Gulag: No Prosecution Necessary | Print | E-mail
Written by Stephen Baskerville
Thursday, 07 January 2010 00:00
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proseutionLiberals rightly criticize America’s high rate of incarceration. Claiming to be the freest country on Earth, the United States incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than Iran or Syria. Over two million people, or nearly one in 50 adults, excluding the elderly, are incarcerated, the highest proportion in the world. Some seven million Americans, or 3.2 percent, are under penal supervision.

Many are likely to be innocent. In The Tyranny of Good Intentions (2000), Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence Stratton document how due process protections are routinely ignored, grand juries are neutered, frivolous prosecutions abound, and jury trials are increasingly rare. More recently, in Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent (2009), Harvey Silverglate shows how federal prosecutors are criminalizing more and more of the population. “Innocence projects” — projects of “a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing” — attest that people are railroaded into prison. As we will see, incarcerations without trial are now routine.

The U.S. prison population has risen dramatically in the last four decades. Ideologically, the rise is invariably attributed to “law-and-order” conservatives, who indeed seldom deny their own role (or indifference). In fact, few conservatives understand what they are defending.

Conservatives who rightly decry “judicial activism” in civil law are often blind to the connected perversion of criminal justice. While a politicized judiciary does free the guilty, it also criminalizes the -innocent.

But traditionalists upholding law and order were not an innovation of the 1970s. A newer and more militant force helped create the “carceral state.” In The Prison and the Gallows (2006), feminist scholar Marie Gottschalk points out that traditional conservatives were not the prime instigators, and blames “interest groups and social movements not usually associated with penal conservatism.” Yet she names only one: “the women’s movement.”

While America’s criminalization may have a number of contributing causes, it coincides precisely with the rise of organized feminism. “The women’s movement became a vanguard of conservative law-and-order politics,” Gottschalk writes. “Women’s organizations played a central role in the consolidation of this conservative victims’ rights movement that emerged in the 1970s.”

Gottschalk then twists her counterintuitive finding to condemn “conservatives” for the influx, portraying feminists as passive victims without responsibility. “Feminists prosecuting the war on rape and domestic violence” were somehow “captured and co-opted by the law-and-order agenda of politicians, state officials, and conservative groups.” Yet nothing indicates that feminists offered the slightest resistance to this political abduction.

Feminists, despite Gottschalk’s muted admission of guilt, did lead the charge toward wholesale incarceration. Feminist ideology has radicalized criminal justice and eroded centuries-old constitutional protections: New crimes have been created; old crimes have been redefined politically; the distinction between crime and private behavior has been erased; the presumption of innocence has been eliminated; false accusations go unpunished; patently innocent people are jailed without trial. “The new feminist jurisprudence hammers away at some of the most basic foundations of our criminal law system,” Michael Weiss and Cathy Young write in a Cato Institute paper. “Chief among them is the presumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty.”

Feminists and other sexual radicals have even managed to influence the law to target conservative groups themselves. Racketeering statutes are marshaled to punish non-violent abortion demonstrators, and “hate crimes” laws attempt to silence critics of the homosexual agenda. Both are supported by “civil liberties” groups. And these are only the most notorious; there are others.

Feminists have been the most authoritarian pressure group throughout much of American history. “It is striking what an uncritical stance earlier women reformers took toward the state,” Gottschalk observes. “They have played central roles in … uncritically pushing for more enhanced policing powers.”

What Gottschalk is describing is feminism’s version of Stalinism: the process whereby radical movements commandeer the instruments of state repression as they trade ideological purity for power.

Path to Prison
The first politicized crime was rape. Suffragettes advocated castrating rapists. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who opposed it for everyone else, wanted rapists executed.

Aggressive feminist lobbying in the legislatures and courts since the 1970s redefined rape to make it indistinguishable from consensual sex. Over time, a woman no longer had to prove that she was forced to have non-consensual sex, but a man had to prove that sex was consensual (or prove that no sex had, in fact, happened). Non-consent was gradually eliminated as a definition, and consent became simply a mitigating factor for the defense. By 1989, the Washington State Supreme Court openly shifted the burden of proving consent to the defendant when it argued that the removal of legislative language requiring non-consent for rape “evidences legislative intent to shift the burden of proof on the issue to the defense” and approved this blatantly unconstitutional presumption of guilt. The result, write Weiss and Young, was not “to jail more violent rapists — lack of consent is easy enough for the state to prove in those cases — but to make it easier to send someone to jail for failing to get an explicit nod of consent from an apparently willing partner before engaging in sex.”

Men accused of rape today enjoy few safeguards. “People can be charged with virtually no evidence,” says Boston former sex-crimes prosecutor Rikki Klieman. “If a female comes in and says she was sexually assaulted, then on her word alone, with nothing else — and I mean nothing else, no investigation — the police will go out and arrest someone.”

Almost daily we see men released after decades in prison because DNA testing proves they were wrongly convicted. Yet the rape industry is so powerful that proof of innocence is no protection. “A defendant who can absolutely prove his innocence … can nonetheless still be convicted, based solely on the word of the accuser,” write Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson in Until Proven Innocent. In North Carolina, simply “naming the person accused” along with the time and place “will support a verdict of guilty.” Crime laboratories are notorious for falsifying results to obtain convictions.

The feminist dogma that “women never lie” goes largely unchallenged. “Any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes,” says Craig Silverman, a former Colorado prosecutor known for zealous prosecutions. Purdue University sociologist Eugene Kanin found that “41% of the total disposed rape cases were officially declared false” during a nine-year period, “that is, by the complainant’s admission that no rape had occurred.” Kanin discovered three functions of false accusations: “providing an alibi, seeking revenge, and obtaining sympathy and attention.” The Center for Military Readiness (CMR) adds that “false rape accusations also have been filed to extort money from celebrities, to gain sole custody of children in divorce cases, and even to escape military deployments to war zones.”

In the infamous Duke University lacrosse case, prosecutor Michael Nifong suppressed exculpating evidence and prosecuted men he knew to be innocent, according to Taylor and Johnson. Nifong himself was eventually disbarred, but he had willing accomplices among assistant prosecutors, police, crime lab technicians, judges, the bar, and the media. “Innocent men are arrested and even imprisoned as a result of bogus claims,” writes Linda Fairstein, former head of the sex-crimes unit for the Manhattan District Attorney, who estimates that half of all reports are unfounded.

Innocence projects are almost wholly occupied with rape cases (though they try to disguise this fact). Yet no systematic investigation has been undertaken by the media or civil libertarians into why so many innocent citizens are so easily incarcerated on fabricated allegations. The exoneration of the Duke students on obviously trumped-up charges triggered few investigations — and no official ones — to determine how widespread such rigged justice is against those unable to garner media attention.

The world of rape accusations displays features similar to other feminist gender crimes: media invective against the accused, government-paid “victim advocates” to secure convictions, intimidation of anyone who defends the accused. “Nobody dependent on the mainstream media for information about rape would have any idea how frequent false claims are,” write Taylor and Johnson. “Most journalists simply ignore evidence contradicting the feminist line.” What they observe of rape characterizes feminist justice generally: “calling a rape complainant ‘the victim’ — with no ‘alleged’.” “Unnamed complainants are labeled ‘victims’ even before legal proceedings determine that a crime has been committed,” according to CMR.

Rape hysteria, false accusations, and distorted scholarship are rampant on university campuses, which ostensibly exist to pursue truth. “If a woman did falsely accuse a man of rape,” opines one “women’s studies” graduate, “she may have had reasons to. Maybe she wasn’t raped, but he clearly violated her in some way.” This mentality pervades feminist jurisprudence, precluding innocence by obliterating the distinction between crime and hurt feelings. A Vassar College assistant dean believes false accusations foster men’s education: “I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration.… ‘If I didn’t violate her, could I have?’”

Conservative critics of the Duke fiasco avoided feminism’s role but instead emphasized race — a minor feature of the case but a safer one to criticize. Little evidence indicates that white people are being systematically incarcerated on fabricated accusations of non-existent crimes against blacks. This is precisely what is happening to men, both white and black, accused of rape and other “gender” crimes that feminists have turned into a political agenda.

The Kobe Bryant case demonstrates that a black man accused by a white woman is also vulnerable. Historically, this was the more common pattern. Our race-conscious society is conditioned to remember lynching as a racial atrocity, forgetting that the lynched were usually black men accused by white women. Feminist scholars spin this as “the dominant white male ideology behind lynching … that white womanhood was in need of protection against black men,” suggesting fantastically that white “patriarchy” used rape accusations to break up a progressive political romance developing between black men and white women. With false rape accusations, the races have changed, but the sexes have remained constant.

Violent Lies
“Domestic violence” is an even more purely political crime. “The battered-women’s movement turned out to be even more vulnerable to being co-opted by the state and conservative penal forces,” writes Gottschalk, again with contortion. Domestic violence groups are uniformly feminist, not “conservative,” though here too conservatives have enabled feminists to exchange principles for power.

Like rape, domestic “violence” is defined so loosely that it need not be violent. The U.S. Justice Department definition includes “extreme jealousy and possessiveness” and “name calling and constant criticizing.” For such “crimes” men are jailed with no trial. In fact, the very category of “domestic” violence was developed largely to circumvent due process requirements of conventional assault statutes. A study published in Criminology and Public Policy found that no one accused of domestic violence could be found innocent, since every arrestee received punishment.

Here, too, false accusations are rewarded. “Women lie every day,” attests Ottawa Judge Dianne Nicholas. “Every day women in court say, ‘I made it up. I’m lying. It didn’t happen’ — and they’re not charged.” Amazingly, bar associations sponsor seminars instructing women how to fabricate accusations. Thomas Kiernan, writing in the New Jersey Law Journal, expressed his astonishment at “the number of women attending the seminars who smugly — indeed boastfully — announced that they had already sworn out false or grossly exaggerated domestic violence complaints against their hapless husbands, and that the device worked!” He added, “The lawyer-lecturers invariably congratulated the self-confessed miscreants.”

Domestic violence has become “a backwater of tautological pseudo-theory,” write Donald Dutton and Kenneth Corvo in Aggression and Violent Behavior. “No other area of established social welfare, criminal justice, public health, or behavioral intervention has such weak evidence in support of mandated practice.” Scholars and practitioners have repeatedly documented how “allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage” in custody cases and “become part of the gamesmanship of divorce.” Domestic abuse has become “an area of law mired in intellectual dishonesty and injustice,” according to the Rutgers Law Review.

Restraining orders removing men from their homes and children are summarily issued without any evidence. Due process protections are so routinely ignored that, the New Jersey Law Journal reports, one judge told his colleagues, “Your job is not to become concerned about the constitutional rights of the man that you’re violating.” Attorney David Heleniak calls New Jersey’s statute “a due process fiasco” in the Rutgers Law Review. New Jersey court literature openly acknowledges that due process is ignored because it “perpetuates the cycle of power and control whereby the [alleged?] perpetrator remains the one with the power and the [alleged?] victim remains powerless.” Omitting “alleged” is standard even in statutes, where, the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reports, “the mere allegation of domestic abuse … may shift the burden of proof to the defendant.”

Special “integrated domestic violence courts” presume guilt and then, says New York’s openly feminist chief judge, “make batterers and abusers take responsibility for their actions.” They can seize property, including homes, without the accused being convicted or even formally charged or present to defend himself. Lawyer Walter Fox describes these courts as “pre-fascist”: “Domestic violence courts … are designed to get around the protections of the criminal code. The burden of proof is reduced or removed, and there’s no presumption of innocence.”

Forced confessions are widespread. Pennsylvania men are incarcerated unless they sign forms stating, “I have physically and emotionally battered my partner.” The man must then describe the violence, even if he insists he committed none. “I am responsible for the violence I used,” the forms declare. “My behavior was not provoked.”

Child-support Chokehold
Equally feminist is the child-support machinery, whereby millions have their family finances plundered and their lives placed under penal supervision without having committed any legal infraction. Once they have nothing left to loot, they too are incarcerated without trial.

Contrary to government propaganda (and Common Law tradition), child support today has little to do with fathers abandoning their children, deserting their marriages, or even agreeing to a divorce. It is automatically assessed on all non-custodial parents, even those involuntarily divorced without grounds (“no-fault”). It is an entitlement for all divorcing mothers, regardless of their actions, and coerced from fathers, regardless of their fidelity. The “deadbeat dad” is far less likely to be a man who abandoned the offspring he callously sired than to be a loving father who has been, as attorney Jed Abraham writes in From Courtship to Courtroom, “forced to finance the filching of his own children.”

Federalized enforcement was rationalized to reimburse taxpayers for welfare. Under feminist pressure, taxpayers instead subsidize middle-class divorce, through federal payments to states based on the amount of child support they collect. By profiting off child support at federal taxpayer expense, state governments have a financial incentive to encourage as many single-mother homes as possible. They, in turn, encourage divorce with a guaranteed, tax-free windfall to any divorcing mother.

While child support (like divorce itself) is awarded ostensibly without reference to “fault,” nonpayment brings swift and severe punishments. “The advocates of ever-more-aggressive measures for collecting child support,” writes Bryce Christensen of Southern Utah University, “have moved us a dangerous step closer to a police state.” Abraham calls the machinery “Orwellian”: “The government commands … a veritable gulag, complete with sophisticated surveillance and compliance capabilities such as computer-based tracing, license revocation, asset confiscation, and incarceration.”

Here, too, “the burden of proof may be shifted to the defendant,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Like Kafka’s Joseph K., the “defendant” may not even know the charge against him, “if the court does not explicitly clarify the charge facing the [allegedly?] delinquent parent,” says NCSL. Further, “not all child support contempt proceedings classified as criminal are entitled to a jury trial,” and “even indigent obligors are not necessarily entitled to a lawyer.” Thus defendants must prove their innocence against unspecified accusations, without counsel, and without a jury.

Assembly-line hearings can last 30 seconds to two minutes, during which parents are sentenced to months or years in prison. Many receive no hearing but are accused in an “expedited judicial process” before a black-robed lawyer known as a “judge surrogate.” Because these officials require no legislative confirmation, they are not accountable to citizens or their representatives. Unlike true judges, they may lobby to create the same laws they adjudicate, violating the separation of powers. Often they are political activists in robes. One surrogate judge, reports the Telegraph of Hudson, New Hampshire, simultaneously worked “as a radical feminist lobbying on proposed legislation” dealing with child support.

Though governments sensationalize “roundups” of alleged “deadbeat dads,” who are jailed for months and even years without trial, no government information whatever is available on incarcerations. The Bureau of Justice Statistics is utterly silent on child-support incarcerations. Rebecca May of the Center for Family Policy and Practice found “ample testimony by low-income non-custodial parents of spending time in jail for the nonpayment of child support.” Yet she could find no documentation of their incarceration. Government literature “yields so little information on it that one might be led to believe that arrests were used rarely if at all. While May personally witnessed fathers sentenced in St. Louis, “We could find no explicit documentation of arrests in St. Louis.” In Illinois, “We observed courtrooms in which fathers appeared before the judge who were serving jail sentences for nonpayment, but little information was available on arrests in Illinois.”

We know the arrests are extensive. To relieve jail overcrowding in Georgia, a sheriff and judge proposed creating detention camps specifically for “deadbeat dads.” The Pittsburgh City Planning Commission has considered a proposal “to convert a former chemical processing plant … into a detention center” for “deadbeat dads.”

Rendered permanently in debt by incarceration, fathers are farmed out to trash companies and similar concerns, where they work 14-16 hour days with their earnings confiscated.

More Malicious Mayhem
Other incarcerations are also attributable to feminism. The vast preponderance of actual violent crime and substance abuse proceeds from single-parent homes and fatherless children more than any other factor, far surpassing race and poverty. The explosion of single parenthood is usually and resignedly blamed on paternal abandonment, with the only remedy being ever-more draconian but ineffective child-support “crackdowns.” Yet no evidence indicates that the proliferation of single-parent homes results from absconding fathers. If instead we accept that single motherhood is precisely what feminists say it is — the deliberate choice of their sexual revolution — it is then apparent that sexual liberation lies behind not only these newfangled sexual crimes, but also the larger trend of actual crime and incarceration. Feminism is driving both the criminalization of the innocent and the criminality of the guilty.

We will continue to fight a losing battle against crime, incarceration, and expansive government power until we confront the sexual ideology that is driving not only family breakdown and the ensuing social anomie, but the criminalization of the male population. Ever-more-repressive penal measures will only further erode freedom. Under a leftist regime, conservatives must rethink their approach to crime and punishment and their unwitting collusion with America’s homegrown Stalinists.

Stephen Baskerville is associate professor of government at Patrick Henry College and author of Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family.

Feminist Gulag: No Prosecution Necessary.

Has the American Family Court System Become Totalitarian?

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on October 29, 2009 at 7:11 pm

by

A Promise to Ourselves:
A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce

Alec Baldwin
St. Martin’s Press, 2008; 240 pages, $24.95

Taken into Custody:
The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family

Stephen Baskerville
Cumberland House, 2007; 368 pages, $24.95

IN 2007, THE MEDIA HAD A FEEDING FRENZY around a voice-mail message actor Alec Baldwin left his daughter. He screamed at her for not answering her phone. The public was shocked: many assumed that he was yet another self-absorbed celebrity, with neither control over himself nor regard for his daughter. But in fact, Baldwin had been caught in the web of the totalitarian nightmare known as the American family court system. His book, A Promise to Ourselves, tells his particular story, while Stephen Baskerville’s book, Taken Into Custody, presents the general problem of which Baldwin’s story is a particular case.

Alec Baldwin is a divorced father, who had been fighting for six years to have some semblance of a normal relationship with his child. Baldwin’s estranged wife, actress Kim Basinger, had been using the family court system to prevent him from doing what most fathers take for granted: seeing his child, talking with his child, and watching her grow up. A Promise to Ourselves chronicles in sickening detail how the court system serves the most vindictive and ruthless parent.

Even without the book, astute observers of this case realized that something was slightly strange about the claims that Baldwin should be denied access to his child. For instance, who released the tape of the call to the public? None other than Basinger and her attorney, in an attempt to smear Baldwin. What kind of mother would use her daughter as a pawn in a spiteful power game with the child’s father? And, what was the “back story” to this particular phone call? Despite having court authorization for phone contact with his daughter, her cell phone would be turned off for long periods of time. On this particular occasion, she was on spring break with her mother and her phone had been turned off for ten days. Moreover, isn’t this odd all by itself that a father who has committed no crime has to have court permission to speak to his own child?

Now, what the media made Baldwin out to be is conceivable: an abusive, out-of-control father who has inflicted irreparable harm on his daughter through verbal abuse. Yet even if the worst about Baldwin were true (by the way, he offers no excuses for yelling at his daughter), his portrait of the Los Angeles County Family Court remains imminently valuable, as it reveals the extent of power that family courts wield over ordinary citizens. His account cannot be easily dismissed, given the extent of detail that he provides and the fact that it accords with too many other reports of family courts. As he tells his story, the leading character and the true villain is the Los Angeles Family Court system, Lady Macbeth, Iago, and Shylock all rolled into one. Even from the viewpoint of a wealthy and famous man, Baldwin generates plenty of sympathy for the obscure and the less wealthy of both sexes who are caught in the grip of the family court.

He first noticed the financial intrusion. During “financial settlement conferences,” both husbands and wives must reveal all their assets. While Baldwin accepts the necessity of preventing people from hiding their true net worth, he noticed this side effect: “The lawyers on both sides now know, inarguably, how much money you have and, therefore, how deeply into this hole you can go. And they do not hesitate to throw you down as deeply as they possibly can.” Throughout the rest of the story, the lawyers extract as much money as possible from him.

But money isn’t the half of it. Baldwin had to continually look over his shoulder at the court and its representatives to ensure that he did not run afoul of their requirements. He tells of the menagerie of minions appointed by the court to manage the divorcing process and the inevitable post-divorce conflict: forensic accountants, custody evaluators, therapists, visitation supervisors, parenting class instructors, anger management instructors. These are all professionals that most people normally never see, but who have abnormally large impacts on the lives of divorcing families. Think of this: the courts and their appointees are controlling the day-to-day lives of a man innocent of any wrongdoing. A negative report from any one of these professionals can jeopardize a father’s chances of having more time with his own child.

Baldwin does not discuss the ease of divorce ushered by the no-fault divorce revolution. Like most Americans, Baldwin has probably made peace with no-fault divorce, believing easy divorce to be an enhancement of individual liberty. But Baldwin’s story of his life after Basinger decided she had no use for him illustrates that the opposite is more true. Easy divorce opens the door for an unprecedented amount of government intrusion into ordinary people’s lives. This unacknowledged reality is the subject of Taken Into Custody, by Stephen Baskerville. With penetrating insight, the political scientist exposes the truly breathtaking consequences of no-fault divorce for the expansion of state power and the decline of personal autonomy.

First, no-fault divorce frequently means unilateral divorce: one party wants a divorce against the wishes of the other, who wants to stay married. Kim Basinger dumped Baldwin for no particular reason, unleashed the power of the Los Angeles Family Court system to inflict pain on him and, in the process, inflicted untold damage on their child. Second, the fact that one party wants to remain married means that the divorce has to be enforced. Baldwin wanted to stay married and to continue to be a husband and father. Yet, the coercive and intrusive machinery of the state must be wheeled into action to separate the reluctantly divorced party from the joint assets of the marriage, typically the home and the children.

Third, enforcing the divorce means an unprecedented blurring of the boundaries between public and private life. People under the jurisdiction of family courts can have virtually all of their private lives subject to its scrutiny. If the courts are influenced by feminist ideology, that ideology can extend its reach into every bedroom and kitchen in America. Baldwin ran the gauntlet of divorce industry professionals who have been deeply influenced by the feminist presumptions that the man is always at fault and the woman is always a victim. Thus, the social experiment of no-fault divorce, which most Americans thought was supposed to increase personal liberty, has had the consequence of empowering the state.

Some might think the legacy of no-fault divorce is an example of the law of unintended consequences in operation. That assumes its architects did not intend for unilateral divorce to result in the expansion of the state. But Baskerville makes the case in this book—as well as his 2008 monograph, “The Dangerous Rise of Sexual Politics,” in The Family In America—that at least some of the advocates of changes in family law certainly have intended to expand the power of the state over the private lives of law-abiding citizens.

Who are these people? They are the Marxists, who call themselves advocates of women: the feminists. Unbeknownst to the general public, the Marxists have had marriage in their cross-hairs from the very beginning. Frederick Engels, Karl Marx’s closest collaborator, dreams of the mythic, pre-historical, pre-capitalist time in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884). Not only was there primitive communism in which property was owned in common, but there was also group marriage, in which the collective raised the children. Men and women lived together in harmony in groups, having sex without becoming possessive and without caring about the biological relationship between parents and children. Sin entered this Garden of Eden, not through a serpent and an apple, but through the rise of private property and capitalism, monogamous marriage, and patriarchy.

This background ideology explains why the Left—whether the Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917 or the Socialist government of Spain in 2005, both of which placed the liberalization of divorce law among their first items of business—has spent so much effort attacking the family in general and marriage in particular. The goal is to return women into “social production” outside the home, where they can be completely independent of the oppression of men. This of course, requires the collective rearing of children. It also requires the obliteration of the distinction between the private sphere of the home and the public reach of the law. Many conservatives, who otherwise are very alert to Leftist ideology, have no idea about this entire effort at centralizing power and insinuating the control of the state into the lives of ordinary people.

Baldwin closes his book with an interview with Jeannie Suk, author of an important 2006 Yale Law Journal article, entitled, “Criminal Law Comes Home.” In this article, Suk expresses second thoughts about some consequences of feminist jurisprudence. For this reason, Baldwin thought the young Harvard law professor would have some sympathy for his situation. Nonetheless, even this relatively sensible law professor has drunk deeply from the feminist fountains. As Baldwin comments after his discussion with her family law class of eighty students:

I was surprised to hear a number of women and men—many more than I would have expected—say that women generally are at risk of male violence. A few students, male and female, even thought the law should view the sex act as subordinating of someone and should assume that sex is rape unless women explicitly and verbally give their consent.

Note the Marxist undercurrent here: the sexual act is a special case of class conflict, with the man as the presumed oppressor and the woman the presumed victim.

More troubling is what Professor Suk admits in her interview with Baldwin:

  • Governance feminism is the idea that feminism, which once criticized the law from the outside, is today actually in charge in many places in the law—among police, prosecutors, lawmakers, judges and other legal actors. The feminism that often ‘governs’ today is that strand developed by legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon and that focuses on the subordination of women by men, particularly in intimate and sexual relationships. Her influence on our legal system’s understandings of men and women cannot be overstated.
  • The overwhelming majority of domestic violence arrests are for misdemeanor crimes, which, by definition, do not involve serious injury . . . . The definition of violence itself has expanded to include a lot of conduct that is not physical violence.
  • Family law is an area where we’ve seen feminist developments that prefer wives over husbands and mothers over fathers . . . . The legal vision of the home has increasingly become that of a man being violent toward his wife.
  • The legal system has little means to distinguish (protective) orders that actually protect endangered women from those sought for strategic reasons.
  • Suk doesn’t seem to realize how indicting these statements sound to someone outside the Feminist Legal Theory Game Preserve. In fact, her Yale Law Journal article reveals that feminists specifically attack the lines between public and private in the interests of protecting women from domestic violence.

    She at least recognizes that the law has gone too far. But her principle complaint is that women’s autonomy interests are compromised. Once the Domestic Violence Machinery has been set into motion, even the victim herself cannot stop it. She reports that approximately 80 percent of domestic violence victims recant or refuse to cooperate after initially filing criminal charges. But she can’t bring herself to point out the injustice to men of being excluded from their own homes, often with minimal evidence. She has absolutely nothing to say about the harms done to children from being pawns in their parents’ quarrels with each other and with the state. The inertia of forty years worthy of Marxism posing as champions of women is so strong that even someone like Professor Suk cannot bear to distance herself from the term “feminism.”

    Likewise, despite the explicit ideological position of the Harvard law students, Baldwin cannot bring himself to be angry:

    I was fascinated to hear some of these law students talk about the world as though men inevitably have the upper hand in relationships and women’s fear of sexual violence is prevalent and normal, not unusual. This picture was so interesting and so foreign to me. In my own experience, women have lots of power of various kinds, and sexual power works both ways.

    Baldwin seems reluctant to conclude that the feminist worldview is not based upon verifiable facts or empirical evidence. The strongest description Baldwin can conjure against the law students is “fascination” and “interesting.” So mesmerized by the terminology of “feminism” that he cannot see that the attitudes of Suk’s students are the very toxins that poisoned his life.

    Fortunately, we have Professor Baskerville as the great theorist of the feminist influence within the divorce-industrial complex. He sees Marxist feminism for what it is: a totalitarian movement that seeks power and control over every aspect of people’s personal lives. The claim of its foot soldiers to be the sole authentic advocates for women has been questionable for some time. But until Americans see that the goal of modern feminism is raw power, even its victims like Alec Baldwin will have trouble freeing themselves from its iron hand.

    Dr. Morse, a former professor of economics at Yale and George Mason University, is founder and president of the Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage, in San Marcos, California.

     


     

     

    Even without the book, astute observers of this case realized that something was slightly strange about the claims that Baldwin should be denied access to his child. For instance, who released the tape of the call to the public? None other than Basinger and her attorney, in an attempt to smear Baldwin. What kind of mother would use her daughter as a pawn in a spiteful power game with the child’s father? And, what was the “back story” to this particular phone call? Despite having court authorization for phone contact with his daughter, her cell phone would be turned off for long periods of time. On this particular occasion, she was on spring break with her mother and her phone had been turned off for ten days. Moreover, isn’t this odd all by itself that a father who has committed no crime has to have court permission to speak to his own child?

    Now, what the media made Baldwin out to be is conceivable: an abusive, out-of-control father who has inflicted irreparable harm on his daughter through verbal abuse. Yet even if the worst about Baldwin were true (by the way, he offers no excuses for yelling at his daughter), his portrait of the Los Angeles County Family Court remains imminently valuable, as it reveals the extent of power that family courts wield over ordinary citizens. His account cannot be easily dismissed, given the extent of detail that he provides and the fact that it accords with too many other reports of family courts. As he tells his story, the leading character and the true villain is the Los Angeles Family Court system, Lady Macbeth, Iago, and Shylock all rolled into one. Even from the viewpoint of a wealthy and famous man, Baldwin generates plenty of sympathy for the obscure and the less wealthy of both sexes who are caught in the grip of the family court.

    He first noticed the financial intrusion. During “financial settlement conferences,” both husbands and wives must reveal all their assets. While Baldwin accepts the necessity of preventing people from hiding their true net worth, he noticed this side effect: “The lawyers on both sides now know, inarguably, how much money you have and, therefore, how deeply into this hole you can go. And they do not hesitate to throw you down as deeply as they possibly can.” Throughout the rest of the story, the lawyers extract as much money as possible from him.

    But money isn’t the half of it. Baldwin had to continually look over his shoulder at the court and its representatives to ensure that he did not run afoul of their requirements. He tells of the menagerie of minions appointed by the court to manage the divorcing process and the inevitable post-divorce conflict: forensic accountants, custody evaluators, therapists, visitation supervisors, parenting class instructors, anger management instructors. These are all professionals that most people normally never see, but who have abnormally large impacts on the lives of divorcing families. Think of this: the courts and their appointees are controlling the day-to-day lives of a man innocent of any wrongdoing. A negative report from any one of these professionals can jeopardize a father’s chances of having more time with his own child.

    Baldwin does not discuss the ease of divorce ushered by the no-fault divorce revolution. Like most Americans, Baldwin has probably made peace with no-fault divorce, believing easy divorce to be an enhancement of individual liberty. But Baldwin’s story of his life after Basinger decided she had no use for him illustrates that the opposite is more true. Easy divorce opens the door for an unprecedented amount of government intrusion into ordinary people’s lives. This unacknowledged reality is the subject of Taken Into Custody, by Stephen Baskerville. With penetrating insight, the political scientist exposes the truly breathtaking consequences of no-fault divorce for the expansion of state power and the decline of personal autonomy.

    First, no-fault divorce frequently means unilateral divorce: one party wants a divorce against the wishes of the other, who wants to stay married. Kim Basinger dumped Baldwin for no particular reason, unleashed the power of the Los Angeles Family Court system to inflict pain on him and, in the process, inflicted untold damage on their child. Second, the fact that one party wants to remain married means that the divorce has to be enforced. Baldwin wanted to stay married and to continue to be a husband and father. Yet, the coercive and intrusive machinery of the state must be wheeled into action to separate the reluctantly divorced party from the joint assets of the marriage, typically the home and the children.

    Third, enforcing the divorce means an unprecedented blurring of the boundaries between public and private life. People under the jurisdiction of family courts can have virtually all of their private lives subject to its scrutiny. If the courts are influenced by feminist ideology, that ideology can extend its reach into every bedroom and kitchen in America. Baldwin ran the gauntlet of divorce industry professionals who have been deeply influenced by the feminist presumptions that the man is always at fault and the woman is always a victim. Thus, the social experiment of no-fault divorce, which most Americans thought was supposed to increase personal liberty, has had the consequence of empowering the state.

    Some might think the legacy of no-fault divorce is an example of the law of unintended consequences in operation. That assumes its architects did not intend for unilateral divorce to result in the expansion of the state. But Baskerville makes the case in this book—as well as his 2008 monograph, “The Dangerous Rise of Sexual Politics,” in The Family In America—that at least some of the advocates of changes in family law certainly have intended to expand the power of the state over the private lives of law-abiding citizens.

    Who are these people? They are the Marxists, who call themselves advocates of women: the feminists. Unbeknownst to the general public, the Marxists have had marriage in their cross-hairs from the very beginning. Frederick Engels, Karl Marx’s closest collaborator, dreams of the mythic, pre-historical, pre-capitalist time in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884). Not only was there primitive communism in which property was owned in common, but there was also group marriage, in which the collective raised the children. Men and women lived together in harmony in groups, having sex without becoming possessive and without caring about the biological relationship between parents and children. Sin entered this Garden of Eden, not through a serpent and an apple, but through the rise of private property and capitalism, monogamous marriage, and patriarchy.

    This background ideology explains why the Left—whether the Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917 or the Socialist government of Spain in 2005, both of which placed the liberalization of divorce law among their first items of business—has spent so much effort attacking the family in general and marriage in particular. The goal is to return women into “social production” outside the home, where they can be completely independent of the oppression of men. This of course, requires the collective rearing of children. It also requires the obliteration of the distinction between the private sphere of the home and the public reach of the law. Many conservatives, who otherwise are very alert to Leftist ideology, have no idea about this entire effort at centralizing power and insinuating the control of the state into the lives of ordinary people.

    Baldwin closes his book with an interview with Jeannie Suk, author of an important 2006 Yale Law Journal article, entitled, “Criminal Law Comes Home.” In this article, Suk expresses second thoughts about some consequences of feminist jurisprudence. For this reason, Baldwin thought the young Harvard law professor would have some sympathy for his situation. Nonetheless, even this relatively sensible law professor has drunk deeply from the feminist fountains. As Baldwin comments after his discussion with her family law class of eighty students:

    I was surprised to hear a number of women and men—many more than I would have expected—say that women generally are at risk of male violence. A few students, male and female, even thought the law should view the sex act as subordinating of someone and should assume that sex is rape unless women explicitly and verbally give their consent.

    Note the Marxist undercurrent here: the sexual act is a special case of class conflict, with the man as the presumed oppressor and the woman the presumed victim.

    More troubling is what Professor Suk admits in her interview with Baldwin:

  • Governance feminism is the idea that feminism, which once criticized the law from the outside, is today actually in charge in many places in the law—among police, prosecutors, lawmakers, judges and other legal actors. The feminism that often ‘governs’ today is that strand developed by legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon and that focuses on the subordination of women by men, particularly in intimate and sexual relationships. Her influence on our legal system’s understandings of men and women cannot be overstated.
  • The overwhelming majority of domestic violence arrests are for misdemeanor crimes, which, by definition, do not involve serious injury . . . . The definition of violence itself has expanded to include a lot of conduct that is not physical violence.
  • Family law is an area where we’ve seen feminist developments that prefer wives over husbands and mothers over fathers . . . . The legal vision of the home has increasingly become that of a man being violent toward his wife.
  • The legal system has little means to distinguish (protective) orders that actually protect endangered women from those sought for strategic reasons.
  • Suk doesn’t seem to realize how indicting these statements sound to someone outside the Feminist Legal Theory Game Preserve. In fact, her Yale Law Journal article reveals that feminists specifically attack the lines between public and private in the interests of protecting women from domestic violence.

    She at least recognizes that the law has gone too far. But her principle complaint is that women’s autonomy interests are compromised. Once the Domestic Violence Machinery has been set into motion, even the victim herself cannot stop it. She reports that approximately 80 percent of domestic violence victims recant or refuse to cooperate after initially filing criminal charges. But she can’t bring herself to point out the injustice to men of being excluded from their own homes, often with minimal evidence. She has absolutely nothing to say about the harms done to children from being pawns in their parents’ quarrels with each other and with the state. The inertia of forty years worthy of Marxism posing as champions of women is so strong that even someone like Professor Suk cannot bear to distance herself from the term “feminism.”

    Likewise, despite the explicit ideological position of the Harvard law students, Baldwin cannot bring himself to be angry:

    I was fascinated to hear some of these law students talk about the world as though men inevitably have the upper hand in relationships and women’s fear of sexual violence is prevalent and normal, not unusual. This picture was so interesting and so foreign to me. In my own experience, women have lots of power of various kinds, and sexual power works both ways.

    Baldwin seems reluctant to conclude that the feminist worldview is not based upon verifiable facts or empirical evidence. The strongest description Baldwin can conjure against the law students is “fascination” and “interesting.” So mesmerized by the terminology of “feminism” that he cannot see that the attitudes of Suk’s students are the very toxins that poisoned his life.

    Fortunately, we have Professor Baskerville as the great theorist of the feminist influence within the divorce-industrial complex. He sees Marxist feminism for what it is: a totalitarian movement that seeks power and control over every aspect of people’s personal lives. The claim of its foot soldiers to be the sole authentic advocates for women has been questionable for some time. But until Americans see that the goal of modern feminism is raw power, even its victims like Alec Baldwin will have trouble freeing themselves from its iron hand.

    Dr. Morse, a former professor of economics at Yale and George Mason University, is founder and president of the Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage, in San Marcos, California.

    The Family in America:
    Retrospective and Prospective
    Allan C. Carlson

    The Deconstruction of Marriage,
    Part 1:

    The Law and Economics of Unilateral
    No-Fault Divorce

    George Steven Swan

    The Message in the Meltdown:
    How the Downturn Reveals Forgotten
    Family Assets

    Bryce J. Christensen

    Counting the Cost of Divorce:
    What Those Who Know Better Rarely
    Acknowledge

    David G. Schramm

    BOOK REVIEWS
    The Striking Contradiction of a
    Sociologist Under the Spell of
    Feminism

    The Marriage-Go-Round
    by Andrew J. Cherlin
    Reviewed by Kay S. Hymowitz

    Has the American Family Court
    System Become Totalitarian?

    A Promise to Ourselves
    by Alec Baldwin
    Taken into Custody
    by Stephen Baskerville
    Reviewed by Jennifer Roback Morse

    Reason to Quiver?
    Quiverfull
    by Kathryn Joyce
    Reviewed by William R. Mattox Jr.

    The Marriage Tango
    Bad Girls Go Everywhere
    by Jennifer Scanlon
    Beside Every Successful Man
    by Megan Basham
    Reviewed by Janice Shaw Crouse

    NEW RESEARCH
    Bryce J. Christensen and
    Robert W. Patterson

    The Family in America
    A Journal of Public Policy

    Volume 23 Number 3 Fall 2009

    Founding Editor and Publisher
    Allan C. Carlson

    Editor
    Robert W. Patterson

    Editor-at-Large
    Bryce J. Christensen

    Editorial Board of Advisors
    Stephen Baskerville
    Allan R. Crippen II
    William A. Donohue
    Rod Dreher
    William C. Duncan
    Patrick F. Fagan
    Bruce P. Frohnen
    Kay S. Hymowitz
    Bill Kauffman
    Peter Augustine Lawler
    Phillip J. Longman
    William R. Mattox Jr.
    Paul T. Mero
    Mark T. Mitchell
    Douglas C. Minson
    Jennifer Roback Morse
    John D. Mueller
    Brian C. Robertson
    Lynn D. Wardle
    W. Bradford Wilcox
    Richard G. Wilkins
    Charmaine Crouse Yoest

    The Family in America.

    Spread the Word: Domestic Violence Laws Violate Civil Liberties

    In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents on October 13, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    At her recent keynote address at the annual conference of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Amanda McCormick, an employee of Praxis International, showed overt disdain for male victims of domestic violence. As reported by Trudy Schuett, McCormick announced, I think I know a lot of men who deserve to be beaten.”1

    Praxis International, according to their website, “is a nonprofit research and training organization that works toward the elimination of violence in the lives of women and children…. Since 1996, [they] have worked with advocacy organizations, intervention agencies, and inter-agency collaborations to create a clear and cooperative agenda for social change in their communities.”2

    Over the last fifteen years, in the name of combating domestic violence, an entire area of law has been carved out in which those rights and liberties guaranteed under the Bill of Rights no longer apply. Discrimination against male victims is just one of the many ways domestic violence laws violate civil liberties.

    RADAR has identified that the laws:

    1. Fund education and training programs that stereotype all men as abusers;
    2. Expand the definition of “domestic violence” to include minor verbal disagreements, thus inviting heavy-handed state intervention into private family matters;
    3. Short-circuit due process protections and remove the presumption of innocence;
    4. Provide incentives to file false allegations;
    5. Encourage the issuance of restraining orders, even in the absence of physical violence;
    6. Promote mandatory arrest policies, even for minor violations of civil restraining orders;
    7. Fund “predominant aggressor” policies that profile men as abusers;
    8. Support mandatory prosecution policies;
    9. Refuse legal assistance to persons falsely accused of domestic violence; and
    10. Discriminate against male victims.

    RADAR has prepared a flyer for distribution to help you inform the public. See http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARflyer-DVAM2009-issues.pdf

    Commenting on the flyer, vlogger Bernard Chapin points out that the mainstream media will not cover this story.3 It’s up to all of us who know the truth to spread the word as best we can. Let’s get to it!



    Date of RADAR Release: October 13, 2009

    R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation’s approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org

    The American Conservative » Married to the State

    In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, Family Rights, Feminism, Foster Care, Foster Care Scam, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on September 27, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Married to the State

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    How government colonizes the family

    By Stephen Baskerville

    In 1947, with the baby boom in its infancy and few disposed to hearing of family crisis, Harvard sociologist Carle Zimmerman saw the long-term reality: the family had been deteriorating since the Renaissance and was nearing the point of no return. Whenever the family shows signs of dysfunction, Zimmerman observed, “the state helps to break it up.” During the 19th century, “law piled on law, and government agency upon government agency” until by 1900 “the state had become master of the family.” The result, he wrote in Family and Civilization, was that “the family is now truly the agent, the slave, the handmaiden of the state.”

    Today we might regard 1947 as a golden age for the family. Without perceiving it, each generation has become acculturated to family deterioration and added to it. We now accept as normal what would have shocked our grandparents: cohabitation, illegitimacy, divorce, same-sex marriage, daycare, fast-food dinners. Indeed, shocking the previous generation is part of the thrill of filial rebellion.

    What should shock even the liberal and the young—but today does not much disturb even the conservative and the old—are destruction of constitutional protections and invasions of personal freedom and privacy by the government’s family machinery. Some four decades ago, the Western world embarked on the boldest social experiment in its history. With no public discussion, laws were enacted in virtually every jurisdiction that ended marriage as an enforceable contract. Today it is not possible to form a binding agreement to create a family.

    Few stopped to consider the implications of laws that shifted the breakup of private households from a voluntary to an involuntary process. Unilateral divorce involves government agents forcibly removing legally innocent people from their homes and seizing their property. It inherently abrogates not only the inviolability of marriage but the very concept of private life.

    The most serious consequences involve children. Through involuntary divorce, a legally unimpeachable parent can be arrested for seeing his own children without government authorization. He can be charged with domestic violence or child abuse, without evidence that he has committed either crime. He can be hauled before a judge for not paying child support without proof that he actually owes it. He can even be arrested for not paying an attorney or psychotherapist whom he has not hired. No formal charge, no jury, no trial required.

    To justify this repression, the divorce machinery has generated hysterias against fathers so inflammatory that few dare question them: child abuse, wife-beating, nonpayment of child support. The accused parent simply loses his family and finds himself abandoned, with everyone terrified to be associated with an accused “pedophile,” “batterer,” or “deadbeat dad.”

    Our passivity before repression this serious is stunning and the starkest example yet of the erosion of that civic virtue that has been integral to American political thought since before the founding of the Republic.

    Conservatives have labored this idea into a cliché. We preach that people must be more virtuous, less selfish, and more devoted to the public good. But these exhortations earn us nothing but contempt when we remain silent in the face of real tyranny, which, as usual, has appeared where we least expected it and are least equipped to resist it. Instead of resisting, we lament a decline in “culture” and declare there is very little we can do.

    But as Linda McClain writes, families are “seedbeds of civic virtue” and “have a place in the project of forming persons into capable, responsible, self-governing citizens.” The family is where parents and children learn to love sacrificially, to put others’ needs before their own desires, to sacrifice for the welfare and protection of the whole. If this does not begin with one’s own home and loved ones it, does not begin at all. People unwilling to sacrifice for their own flesh and blood will not do so for the strangers who comprise their country. In the family, children learn to obey authorities other than the state—God, parents, clergy, teachers, coaches, neighbors. By accepting these, some of whom they love, children learn that government is not the only authority and is one that can and must be limited.

    Conservatives have recently been eager to declare marriage and the family to be “public” institutions, largely in response to homosexual insistence that families are purely private and therefore may be defined according to the whims of individuals. But it is more precise to say that the family mediates between the public and the private, ensuring each its proper sphere. In the family children learn to distinguish and defend private life from encroachment by public power. Involvement in public affairs, which is important, begins as an extension of private responsibilities as parents, homeowners, neighbors, and parishioners. Citizens participate in public life as amateurs with a stake in their families, homes, and communities, not as professionals with a stake in a government program or ideology.

    Children raised without intact families do not as readily absorb concepts such as family privacy, sacrificial love, parental authority, limited government, or civic virtue. For their rules and values come not from parents but from government officials, who have ultimate sovereignty over their lives: courts, lawyers, social workers, forensic therapists, public-school bureaucrats, and police. These are the figures they must obey rather than their parents. Thus children whose authority figures are government officials cannot distinguish the private from the public and come to see the public sphere as a realm not of civic duty and community leadership but of abstract ideology, government funding, professional employment, career advancement, and state power, in whose growth they acquire a vested interest.

    It is no accident that the traditional family is described as patriarchal and that civic virtue traditionally suggested masculinity. It is also no coincidence that fathers are the ones marginalized by family decline.

    Enormous attention has been devoted to the crisis of 24 million fatherless children, a phenomenon directly linked to every major social pathology from violent crime to substance abuse and truancy. Because these ills justify almost all domestic government spending, fatherlessness has resulted in a huge expansion of state power. The Obama administration aims to promote virtue with programs preaching “responsible fatherhood” and nagging men to practice “good fathering.” The Bush administration used similar schemes to argue for the importance of marriage. The result is the same: bewailing other people’s moral failings at taxpayer expense.

    There is certainly truth in the connection between fatherhood and civil society. “Fathers play a key role in developing and sustaining the kind of personal character on which democracy depends,” writes Don Eberly of the National Fatherhood Initiative. Government therapy, on the other hand, cannot create virtue because it requires no sacrifice. Federal funding only gives officials incentives to perpetuate problems, so it is hardly surprising that not only have these programs done nothing to improve either fatherhood or marriage, they have exacerbated the breakdown of both.

    Eberly’s point connecting fathers and freedom contains a larger truth. While families require sacrifice from all members, it is fathers whose sacrifice may extend to their very lives. Children deprived of their fathers by state officials therefore lose more than a parent. They lose the parent who connects them with the civic order. When the father protects and provides for his family, he will resist the state’s efforts to assume those roles. Under his leadership, the family is a force for limiting state power.

    The single mother does not resist the state’s encroachment. On the contrary, she is our society’s principal claimant on a vast array of state services, without which she cannot manage her children. When the state usurps the roles of protector and provider and disciplinarian, the state becomes the father.

    This is the story of modern politics: increasingly centralized police, plus the regulatory and welfare states that also promise various forms of protection. These paternal—and increasingly maternal—substitutes brought massive bureaucracies, fulfilling Tocqueville’s prophecy that democracy would lead to increasingly bureaucratic intrusion into private life. These agencies expanded by creating problems to solve. As police functionaries, they had to create criminals and newfangled, nonviolent crimes that most people (such as juries) could not understand and required “experts” to adjudicate—crimes that were safe for female police, crimes that could be committed only by men.

    Fathers whose children are taken away by state officials do not heroically rescue them or organize opposition to the divorce machinery because the enervating power of the bureaucratic behemoth makes resistance pointless. Men are thus politically neutered and, as a result, often despised by their own children and the rest of us.

    That most people do not regard these practices as tyrannical may be the most alarming aspect of all. Government agents seize control of children and property of vast numbers of law-abiding citizens through literally “no fault” of their own, and we accept it because of jargon that makes it all appear banal: “custody battle” and “division of property.” Fidelity to one’s word—let alone one’s spouse—is disdained. Basic civilities become irrelevant because family members can be made to obey through court orders. Family wealth—traditionally used to leverage both obedience from children and limits on government—is useless for both purposes. In divorce it is simply confiscated.

    So vast numbers of children now grow up believing from the earliest age that it is normal for government officials to assume control over their family life, to order their parents about as if they were naughty children. This is causing more than social chaos. It is destroying our freedom and our will to defend it.

    Stephen Baskerville is associate professor of government at Patrick Henry College and author of Taken into Custody: The War Against Fatherhood, Marriage, and the Family. A longer version of this essay will appear in The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy.

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    16 Responses to “Married to the State”

    The American Conservative » Married to the State.

    HHS Child Maltreatment 2007: 1100 Percent Increase by Mom Alone

    In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, due process rights, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Foster Care Scam, Liberty, Marriage, MMPI, MMPI 2, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Single Moms, Single Parenting, Sociopath on September 16, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Fortunately, legislators are now beginning to see the results of what happens to children when they are left in single mom home, and single mom homes, with boyfriends. Child Abuse statistics as reported by the Department of HHS. It is time for legislators to act to protect children by protecting and insuring dads involvement .

    President Obama’s fatherhood initiative bill that failed in 2006 while he was Senator, has been reincarnated by Senator Bayh and it will pass, this time. Although there are some dads that will see this bill as flawed, it is a step in the right direction to bring dads back into relationship with the children and end the cycle of Domestic Violence inflicted on them by the perps who hurt them, Biological Moms and Moms with boyfriends. (BM)

    This group, BMs, combined accounts for 44.4 percent of domestic violence against children.

    The second group Biological Dads and others (BD), account for 18.8 percent of domestic violence against children. The third group is both mom and dad at 16.8 percent. Children are safer in a married parents home.

    The statistics are clear. Children are only marginally more at danger with Biological dad and Other alone by 2 percentage points!!

    But with Biological Mom and BF? These perps go up by a whopping 27.5 percent!!!

    Statistically, that means after divorce dads and new wife and girlfriend account for 2 percent increase.

    On the other hand moms and new husband or boyfriend account for a 27.5 percent increase with biological moms responsible for 22 percent increase!! in violence against their own children!!

    Biological Dads = 2 percent increase !!
    Bioligical Moms = 22 percent increase !!

    Children experience a 1100 PERCENT INCREASE in domestic violence by their biological moms alone.

    It is time for legislators and judges to put dads back in homes, and end the terror that children experience when their daddy is gone……..and it is just mommy!

    Figure 3-6 Victims by Perpetrator Relationship, 2007

    Victims by Perpetrator Relationship, 2007

    Victims by Perpetrator Relationship, 2007

    This pie chart presents victims by relationship to their perpetrators. More than 80 percent (80.1%) of victims were maltreated by at least one parent. Nearly 40 percent (38.7%) of victims were maltreated by their mother acting on her own.

    Child Maltreatment 2007: Figure 3-6 Victims by Perpetrator Relationship, 2007.

    Children’s Rights Challenges Tennessee Law Unconstitutionally Interfering with Children’s Juvenile Court Hearings — Children’s Rights

    In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights on September 11, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    NASHVILLE, TN — Challenging the constitutionality of a new Tennessee law aimed at pressuring local judges to reduce the number of children they commit to foster care — and asserting that the law endangers the safety of abused and neglected kids — the national advocacy organization Children’s Rights today asked a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order blocking the law’s implementation.

    The law, which was proposed by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS), passed as an amendment to the omnibus budget bill that took effect in July. It establishes fiscal penalties for counties whose judges commit more than a prescribed number of children to state custody (300 percent of the state average commitment rate) — and fails to take into account the local circumstances influencing foster care placements in each county and the unique facts of each child’s case.

    In a motion (PDF) filed today with the U.S. District Court in Nashville, lawyers at Children’s Rights and their co-counsel in Tennessee asserted that the clear intent of the law was to save state funds by influencing judges’ commitment decisions with the threat of fiscal penalties to their counties. At hearings about the legislation, DCS officials have stated publicly that the goal was never to collect money from the counties, but to reduce the number of children placed in foster care.

    “This law is unconstitutional and very dangerous to children who have already suffered abuse or neglect,” said Children’s Rights Associate Director Ira Lustbader. “These children have the right to have their cases heard by judges who will decide how best to keep them safe based only on the facts of their individual cases, not whether their counties are in danger of getting fined for exceeding an arbitrary limit on foster care commitments.”

    Before the law was passed, the executive committee of the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges unanimously passed a resolution opposing it, and, after it was enacted, “expressed great concern about the Legislative Branch telling the Judicial Branch how many kids they can or cannot commit to state custody.”

    The new law violates the 2001 settlement of a federal class action brought by Children’s Rights and co-counsel to reform the Tennessee child welfare system, which requires that judges make safety decisions based on the facts before them and that children’s constitutional rights are protected at all hearings in juvenile courts. Furthermore, say attorneys, the law violates children’s constitutional rights to due process and equal protection by preventing those who live in counties with high foster care placement rates from receiving fair hearings.

    “The express purpose of this law is to make judges think about the number of commitments in their counties each time they decide whether to place a child in state custody,” said David L. Raybin, an attorney with Hollins, Wagster, Weatherly & Raybin in Nashville serving as co-counsel on the case. “If you’re a child facing abuse or neglect at home, and you happen to live in a county where foster care placements are running high, this law ensures that you’ll be treated differently than you would if your county’s placements were low. That’s a clear violation of children’s constitutional rights.”

    Today’s challenge to the new law notes that Anderson County, an undisputed target of the law, leads the state in both the number of methamphetamine lab seizures and the number of children committed to state custody due to parental substance abuse. In measuring individual counties’ foster care placements against a statewide average without considering such unique local circumstances, the law “is completely disconnected from these realities,” the motion says.

    Additionally, lawyers at Children’s Rights assert that the state has other, lawful means of reducing foster care placements, including appealing individual judges’ decisions it believes to be unfounded and, most important, increasing family preservation services where necessary to keep vulnerable families together.

    “Tennessee could achieve its goal of minimizing foster care commitments by enhancing the support and services it provides to help families stay together, which would be absolutely the right thing to do,” Lustbader said. “Instead, this law seeks to influence judges’ decisions in individual children’s cases, which is unfair and dangerous.”

    Children’s Rights and a team of Tennessee attorneys have represented all children in Tennessee foster care since 2000, when they filed a class action against the state seeking the comprehensive reform of the state-run child welfare system. Agreements negotiated by attorneys at Children’s Rights to settle the case established court-enforceable reform plans that have produced major improvements — including increases in the number of children moved out of foster care and into permanent homes and reductions in the number of foster children housed in institutions, separated from their siblings, and placed in foster homes far away from their own communities.

    Today’s motion — and a complete archive of documents related to Children’s Rights’ efforts to reform Tennessee child welfare — can be found at www.childrensrights.org/tennessee.

    Related Press

    Child advocacy group wants Tennessee’s new foster-care law blocked (Tennessean, Sept. 10, 2009)

    Advocates Ask Judge To Block Limits On Foster Care (AP, via NewsChannel 5 Nashville)

    //

    Children’s Rights Challenges Tennessee Law Unconstitutionally Interfering with Children’s Juvenile Court Hearings — Children’s Rights.

    Federal Government Freezes County Title IV-E Funds – News Story – WJAC Johnstown

    In children legal status, Childrens Rights, CPS, cps fraud, Department of Social Servies, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam on August 30, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Blair County Commissioners announced Tuesday that they will have to figure out how to survive without $571,000 from the federal government.

    The commissioners were hoping the money would carry them through the next few months, especially since there’s no state budget.Officials have frozen the Federal Title IV-E Funds that allow states to apply for and receive federal matching funds to aid with juvenile probation and child welfare activities.

    Those activities include adoption assistance, foster care maintenance payments, training and administrative expenses.”They’re alleging that our Pennsylvania state government isn’t managing those funds properly,” Commissioner Terry Tomasetti said. “It has to do with record keeping.”

    Blair County is not the only county being affected. Every county in the state has had their funding deferred.Bedford County may lose $348,000. Elk County is looking at a loss of $55,860.Tomasetti added not only will the county lose the federal funding, they may even have to pay back funds if there was indeed problems with state records.

    Copyright 2009 by WJACTV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    Federal Government Freezes County Title IV-E Funds – News Story – WJAC Johnstown.

    NCCPR Child Welfare Blog: The myth of the underpaid foster parent

    In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Family Rights, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, kidnapped children, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment on August 6, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Wednesday, August 5, 2009

    The myth of the underpaid foster parent

    The photo dominated the front page of The Arizona Republic Tuesday. Mom, Dad, their two kids sitting around the table saying a prayer before family dinner. The only nonwhite person at the table (seen from the back): One of the family’s foster children.

    The huge headline above the photo: “Slashed foster payments make it HARDER TO HELP”

    All the usual clichés followed – swipes at birth parents, the incredible nobility of the foster parents who rescued the children – and how it all might be in jeopardy because Arizona’s budget deficit prompted legislators to impose a 20 percent cut in payments to foster parents.

    Then, the story officially certifies this a “crisis,” the reporter declaring that “Foster care advocates worry that the crisis has erased years of improvements to the foster care system.”

    They can stop worrying. First of all, with one tiny, recent exception, unrelated to foster parent pay, there haven’t been any improvements to the foster care system in Arizona. On the contrary, it’s one of the nation’s most regressive. NCCPR issued a report on Arizona child welfare two years ago and, if anything, it’s only gotten worse.

    But also, no great harm is done by cutting payment rates that were, in fact, the second highest in the entire country – rates vastly above the national average. Even with the cuts, Arizona still is paying foster parents far more than most states.

    According to the story, before the cuts, the average monthly payment to an Arizona foster parent was $910 per child. That’s not including special allowances for clothing books education and other expenses. Now, with the cuts, it’s a mere $728 per month per child. The extra allowances have been cut back, but they’re still on top of that $728.

    That was in the story. Not in the story: The money is tax free. And foster children’s health insurance is covered by Medicaid.

    The story did mention Arizona’s second-highest-in-the-nation status, but the reporter got spun, big time, thanks to a study by guess who? Yep – the group that so arrogantly calls itself Children’s Rights. (And yes, it is depressing that over and over this once progressive group reveals itself to have become one of the most regressive forces in American child welfare.)

    Their “study” portrayed the exceptionally-high payments in Arizona and Washington DC as the bare minimum needed to care for a foster child – everybody else, the study said, was falling terribly short. Even a glance at the study methodology shows this is nonsense. But glancing at the methodology requires looking at a separate document called a Technical Report. Labeling something a “technical report” is like putting a great big sign on it that says HEY REPORTERS: DON’T BOTHER TO READ THIS!

    And in this case, it seems to have worked like a charm. Because of all the stories written about this report, I’ve seen none that included the following information:

    CR’s calculation of “minimum” requirements includes far more than food, clothing and shelter.

    It includes the full cost of day care for foster children – even those who were taken from their own parents on “lack of supervision” charges because those birth parents couldn’t afford day care.

    The so-called minimum also includes the increase in the foster family’s electric bill caused by foster children leaving the lights on and opening and closing the refrigerator a lot – even when the children were taken from their birth parents because those birth parents couldn’t afford a decent place to live.

    The so-called minimum even includes every penny spent on movie tickets, amusement parks, games and toys.

    But who in the world would want to place a child with foster parents who demanded government reimbursement every time they bought a foster child a teddy bear?

    These are only some of the bizarre assumptions that make up CR’s definition of “minimum.” More are discussed in NCCPR’s report on Virginia child welfare in which we argued, unsuccessfully, against a big raise for the state’s foster parents.

    I am among those who believe that the overwhelming majority of foster parents are not in it for the money. I’m sure the family in the Republic story, which is continuing to foster children in spite of the cut, deserves the praise it received. But you can’t have it both ways: You can’t say, as some others apparently do, “I’m not in it for the money, but I’ll quit if I stop getting the second highest rates in the nation and have to use my own money the next time I take my foster child to the movies.”

    Similarly, you can’t say, as many foster parents do, “we can’t be in it for the money because there’s not enough money” – and then keep demanding more money. Indeed, paying too much creates the risk that the wrong people will go into fostering.

    And, in fact, precisely because most foster parents do care so much about the children they take in, when they are polled on reasons for quitting, pay actually ranks quite low. (Lack of respect from child welfare agencies – in other words, being treated the same way agencies treat birth parents – ranks much higher.) And that helps explain why, even with the second highest pay rates in the nation, Arizona still claims to have a so-called shortage of foster parents.

    In fact, Arizona doesn’t have a shortage of foster parents. Thanks to a take-the-child-and-run mentality that has left Arizona in a state of perennial foster care panic, Arizona has a surplus of foster children. Stop taking so many children needlessly, and the so-called shortage would disappear.

    That’s also why we shouldn’t be fooled by claims that if Arizona pays foster parents at rates that are merely above average instead of second highest-in-the-nation that would force the state to throw even more children into group homes and institutions.

    All these problems arise before we even reach the fundamental issue of taking so many children largely because they are poor
    and then giving vastly more financial help to the strangers who take those children in.

    All that said, I’m not suggesting that the cuts in pay for Arizona foster parents are a good idea. They would be a good idea if the money was going to bolster prevention and family preservation programs. But those are being cut, too. The cuts are just making one of the stingier states in the nation when it comes to helping children even stingier.

    This whole issue touches on something that doesn’t get nearly as much discussion as it should: What is our “social contract” with foster parents? If foster parenting is an act of compassion, like volunteer work, done for the psychic satisfaction, is it unreasonable to ask that foster parents dip just a little into their own pockets – and shouldn’t we be concerned about those who won’t? I’ve raised that issue on this blog before, but there is a better discussion, by Maine foster and adoptive parent Mary Callahan, in this op ed column from the Los Angeles Times.

    As for the one piece of good news from Arizona, that involves federal, not state money. As this story from Phoenix New Times explains, the state child welfare agency and local housing authorities in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma, did an outstanding job in securing vouchers to help families in which children may be taken from their parents because of housing problems, or housing problems are preventing reunification. The vouchers also can be used for young people “aging out” of foster care. The federal program was restored, after an eight-year absence, thanks largely to the work of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare (the executive director of which is a member of NCCPR’s Board of Directors). You can find out how your state and locality did by checking the NCHCW website.

    NCCPR Child Welfare Blog: The myth of the underpaid foster parent.