Hearing to Review Responsible Fatherhood Programs
Investigation of the use of Federal HHS funding of fraud-based child custody litigation. HHS funds used to create fraudulent custody litigation include TANF, Access/Visitation (Child Support Enforcement), Fatherhood Initiatives, and grants to institutions.
HHS programs ignore abuse
GAO Report 05-701, August 2005, TANF State Approaches to Screening for Domestic Violence Could Benefit from HHS Guidance, “Thirty-one states reported using federal TANF funds for marriage or responsible fatherhood programs, and limited research indicates that such programs generally do not specifically address domestic violence.”
CHILD ACCESS AND VISITATION PROGRAMS: PROMISING PRACTICES
Prepared by Center for Policy Research and Policy Studies, Inc.
The Summary and Recommendations confirms that TANF and Access Visitation funds are heavily influential in court litigation, often, they are the driving force. “It seems to us that the most effective programs have staff based in courts where paternity and child support (custody) matters are heard. There appear to be many advantages to this location for services.
- In court settings, judges and hearing officers can make immediate referrals to mediation, and negotiation sessions can be conducted on the spot… the court can instruct the noncustodial parent to file a pro se motion for visitation that will lead to a mandatory referral to mediation at the next scheduled court date. Further, agreements generated in court settings are easily promulgated as legally enforceable court orders by either being incorporated in the child support order or entered as a separate (custody) order.
- Court-based AV programs tend to enjoy subsidies from the court, including access to mediators, administrative personnel, and facilities. This stretches AV program resources and enhances their capacity to serve a greater number of families.”
This same report confirms erroneous knowledge of abuse and how it plays out in custody litigation.
HHS programs are calling abuse “high conflict.” They are forcing victims to “conciliate” with abusers. These programs are blaming the victims for the abuse. They give equal responsibility to the victim for the abuse. Over time, the victim is termed “uncooperative,” “alienating,” “mentally ill,” or abusive themselves, often merely for acting to protect children from abusive Fathers. Leaving abuse out of HHS programs has generated custody litigation that places children with the abuser and even denies access/visitation to the protective parent!! HHS should not be funding pro-abuser counseling, mediation and custody orders
SECTION 3, SERVICES FOR HIGH-CONFLICT FAMILIES, SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
“Families at the high end of the dispute continuum consume a great deal of court time. They also pose the greatest dangers for children who may be exposed to violence, the threat of abduction, and other forms of parental misconduct. For these reasons, many states have used their AV dollars to create or help to support interventions for the most contentious families. A review of state AV grant activities shows that jurisdictions are experimenting with different ways to serve high-conflict families. Some interventions involve generating needed information for the court so that it can make access decisions in a timely manner and refer families to appropriate services. Others focus on monitoring visitation exchanges and actual visits to ensure that visitation occurs as ordered by the court in a safe manner. A few jurisdictions are experimenting with techniques aimed at modeling appropriate parenting and co-parenting behaviors by providing assistance on an as-needed basis in unsupervised settings over a sustained period of time, or taking a more activist approach to visitation in supervised settings by participating in the visits and giving parents feedback on their parenting behaviors.
One limitation with all these programs is that they focus exclusively on parents with court orders concerning custody and visitation. Necessarily, this means that the primary focus is on divorcing and divorced families seen in the family court, and/or never-married parents who have an order dealing with visitation. It is more challenging to identify and serve IV-D populations who have serious conflicts about access and/or safety issues that make visitation questionable. Programs in California try to accomplish this through the state’s mandatory mediation program, which is available in all courts at no charge to litigants. Like their counterparts in Family Court, judges in Support Court can refer couples to court-based mediators for assistance with the development of an agreement dealing with custody and/or visitation. Thus, if a visitation matter is raised in the course of a proceeding dealing with the establishment or enforcement of a child support order, the judge may refer the family for mediation services. And if the mediation plan includes an agreement for supervised visitation, the family can access the court’s high-conflict service mix. If the parents fail to reach an agreement, their case will be heard by a family law judge who can order supervised visitation. Without the ready availability of court-based mediation services, however, it would be impossible to link child support populations who have severe conflicts about parenting with remedial services. Thus, a key requirement to the effective provision of services for high-conflict families is having services like mediation for families with lower levels of conflict.”
“The following describes how states have used their AV funds to promote the enforcement of visitation orders. The range of interventions that we describe below includes providing pro se legal assistance, legal representation, and/or creating a complaint process under the supervision of the court.”
HHS directly funds abusive custody litigation
Research indicates that the majority of cases that go to court as “high conflict” contested custody cases have a history of domestic violence
Many states use Contempt of Court proceedings to incarcerate litigants who become entrenched in manufactured custody cases. Judges are permitted to incarcerate litigants who do not pay the counselors, mediators, lawyers or protect their children from physical or sexual abuse assigned under programs without due process trials. Counselors, mediators and parenting coordinating sessions are conducted off-the-record, without witnesses or transcription. These Court appointees then give hearsay evidence, often favoring the party most likely to continue payment.
Counselors, mediators, parenting coordinators, deny due process, act as an impediment to court access, and abdicate judicial authority to off-the-record proceedings. The outside neutral encroaches on family liberty interests, brings the government behind the closed doors of people’s lives, injects a third party into parents private life without proof that they are more capable to make day-to-day decisions about their own families, values and goals. 
States who use HHS funds for custody litigation are devising plans to increase the participation of counselors, mediators and parenting coordinators in fraudulent cases. As many groups have documented, and as HHS reports confirm, the unethical counselors, mediators and parenting coordinators are receiving federal HHS funds.
Pennsylvania is in the process of increasing the funding of custody litigation using HHS funds. TANF funds are given to court appointees without regard for due process, state law, or ethics (http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/Resources/Documents/Pdf/Publications/TANFStatePlan.pdf)
By ignoring abuse in custody litigation and in Fatherhood, HHS supports pedophilia and a network of counselors’ intent on silencing the victim.
“The vast majority of children who appear in child pornography have not been abducted or physically forced to participate. In most cases they know the producer—it may even be their father—and are manipulated into taking part by more subtle means.”
“Physical abusers: Offenders who sexually abuse children and for whom an interest in child pornography is just part of their pedophilic interests. They may record their own abuse behaviors for their personal use, in which case, from a legal standpoint, the possession of pornography is secondary to the evidence of their abusive behavior that it records. They may or may not network. By definition, a physical abuser directly abuses victims and his security depends upon the child’s silence.”
HHS funds counselors intent on deprogramming victims of abuse, forcing them to “love” their abuser and remain silent. These counselors work with Courts to manufacture false records. One therapist is Dr. Barry Bricklin. Dr. Bricklin confers with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, trains other counselors in bogus methodology including the debunked theory of Parental Alienation Syndrome (a legal tactic used by sexually abusive Fathers), and authors “tests” that can be scored improperly to show favorable results. A deprogramming institution is The Rachel Foundation. The Rachel Foundation was given a $50,000 DOJ grant for operation of a deprogramming facility in Texas. Rachel House is not regulated by any state or federal agency. And its approach is rooted in the controversial notion that the kids they see have a mental disorder: parental alienation syndrome.
The former clinical director, California psychologist Randy Rand, is on five years administrative probation for “unprofessional conduct” in child custody cases in Orlando and California.
A former member of the foundation’s advisory board, J.Michael Bone of Orlando, lost his Florida mental health counselor’s license in 2007 for failing to act in the child’s best interest in a custody case.
A Texas psychologist who has worked with the Rachel Foundation was put on probation for failing to disclose a DUI arrest and submitting a custody report with ”numerous inaccuracies.”
And a California psychologist who has been to the Rachel House several times to help the Hochs does not have permission to practice in Texas, state regulators say.
“Some children have reported receiving treatment involving threats and coercion. The child may be told that he or she may not return home until they have accepted a more favorable view of the denigrated parent. Sometimes reunification therapy does not involve confinement and separation from the primary parent, but involves forced therapy sessions with a rejected parent. Many of the same ethical questions apply to this type of therapy as well, as the child is often forced to attend these sessions against his/her will. If the child is being forced to reunify with a parent he has clearly stated was abusive to him or her, the child may react with increased symptoms, suicidal ideation, or even suicide attempts.”
The National Fatherhood Institute (NFI) received HHS grant funds for a media, research, and program development. The NFI has helped develop a network of professionals working in custody whose sole intent is to help Fathers avoid support payments by obtaining custody. Abuse is ignored! The best interests of the children are ignored. Victims are punished by continued abuse by proxy of family court even to the extent of jail. Support incomes are often fictional in order to reward the abusive parent.
HHS has funded the proliferation of profit-motivated court-affiliates who have a vested interest in prolonged litigation e.g. Pennsylvania plan to increase funding of Counselors, Parenting Coordinators, etc. using HHS OSCE and TANF funds.”
There is NO accountability for HHS programs funding Court litigation, at the State or Federal level. Courts are denying appeals for fraudulent cases. Judicial Boards of Conduct do NOT hold Judges to the requirements of due process. State Ethics Boards excuse unethical conduct by counselors, mediators, etc. Pennsylvania has even passed a law forbidding filing of ethical complaints against mental health practitioners involved in custody litigation.
The FBI/DOJ acknowledges that court cases are rigged, yet the FBI claims they have “no resources.” The FBI/DOJ should have a separate department for investigating of judicial color of law crimes (18 USC 241 and 242). Color of law crimes in family court have increased with the increase of HHS funding aimed at helping fathers decrease support payments by obtaining custody and by permitting family courts to have “favorite” mental health practitioners who are NOT held to any legal, ethical or scientific standard.
It is imperative that before any further funding is given to lobbying Father Rights groups that an investigating how TANF, Access/Visitation, OSCE, Fatherhood, program funds are supporting fraudulent custody and support litigation. The investigation needs to occur at a micro-level. Who are the Counselors, Parenting Coordinators or Researchers? Who advises on domestic violence and why are HHS programs NOT relying on qualified experts who refer to unbiased and firsthand experience? Why are mental health practitioners and Judges purposely omitting abuse from custody (and support) records? Has a network of pro-abuse profiteers infiltrated HHS programs aimed at helping families instead created systematic Court abuse of women and children who attempt to dissolve abusive relationships by forcing Fatherhood over protection from abuse?
Why are only fathers and not mothers given access to agencies that receive grant monies? Is it not against the law to discriminate one gender against the other when the same conditions exist for both? What makes our governments believe that fathers and fatherhood more important than mothers?
 See attachment – “RESEARCH INDICATING THAT THE MAJORITY OF CASES THAT GO TO COURT AS “HIGH CONFLICT” CONTESTED CUSTODY CASES HAVE A HISTORY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE,” Compiled by Professor Joan S. Meier, Esq. George Washington University Law School.
 Adapted from “Parenting Coordination” by Elizabeth J. Kates, Esquire, retrieved 6/22/09http://www.thelizlibrary.org/therapeutic-jurisprudence/parenting-coordination.html.
 Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Problem-Specific Guides Series No. 41 Child Pornography on the Internet by Richard Wortley and Stephen Smallbone, supported by cooperative agreement #2004CKWXK002 by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice