Auditing Our Family Courts

A Family Court Audit: To Identify Institutional Practices and To Develop Recommendations

From The Battered Women’s Justice Project:

CUSTODY PROJECT

Development of a Framework for Identifying and Explicating the Context of Domestic Violence in Custody Cases and its Implications for Custody Determinations

BWJP and its project partner, Praxis International, are expanding recent multidisciplinary efforts to more effectively protect the safety and wellbeing of children and their parents in the family court system by crafting a more practical framework for identifying, understanding and accounting for the contexts and implications of domestic violence in custody arrangements and parenting plans.

BWJP and Praxis staff  have formed a National Workgroup with representatives from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).  In consultation with leading researchers and practitioners, they have begun to examine the institutional processes by which family courts commonly reach and/or facilitate crucial parenting decisions, including the use of auxiliary advisors such as custody evaluators, guardians ad litem and court appointed special advocates.  The intent is to identify the ways in which current institutional practices produce both problematic and helpful results for children and their parents.  The goal of this analysis, which draws heavily from the Praxis Audit Process, is to develop concrete recommendations for producing safer, healthier outcomes for children and their battered and battering parents.

The first meeting of the National Workgroup was held in November to lay the groundwork for this two-year, OVW-funded project.  The National Workgroup will meet again in May to begin exploring the role of auxiliary advisors, the mechanics of the work that they perform, the reports that they produce, the ways in which the institution receives, interprets and acts on those reports, and the safety implications that flow from those complex institutional processes.  Canadian sociologist, Dr. Dorothy Smith, a world renowned expert in institutional ethnography, will facilitate the May meeting.

5 thoughts on “Auditing Our Family Courts

  1. Last year after I had been in the family court wars for over 2 and a half years, I was referred to an organization I would never have known existed. I have always “given” back to others and enjoyed it. I left home at 17 and started my own business at age 25. I have since lost most everything to the courts and the abusive father of my child. An advocate told me about this private sector donation for mothers who are fighting family courts to protect their children. They pay 1 months bills (I am talking thousands of dollars) and with very little information. There is no way anyone would know how to find this resource. Because of this help I received, our Christmas was better than it would have been and I had some relief but still was buried of course. I asked them if I could tell anyone about this and they said they rather I didn’t. I have never been given anything like this in my life and the gratitude I felt/feel is forever. Too many of the underhanded and snakes, know the way to get to these type of angels. I still would never know how to find something like that and I wouldn’t have believed it was there anymore from the corruption I have found in all the supposed places that are receiving government funds. There are plenty of people who help. I know a few very wealthy people who are donating along with their friends to an organization which does very little for the cause they claim to focus on. I received help only after they found out who I was. While I am grateful for this, I didn’t receive anything but more abuse for months after meeting all their requirements. Right after they found out who I knew and am related to, I was treated differently.

    We need to figure this out. Sometimes it would take so little to pull good people up from the hole they have landed in. More often than not, these people are not the kind to ask for a handout and don’t know how to go about getting resources. It is true things are made so complicated people just give up. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to show the IRS, “here’s what I owe in taxes but I have opted out of government but here is where I put this money to use in my community”?? The government is misusing our tax dollars and our judicial system is not abiding the laws. The private sectors donations aren’t stripped to nothing as much as when the government gets their hands on it. Any ideas?

  2. I recently had an investigation through the Audit portion for the court system, there is help…..just keep looking in your states capitol… it seems to be where I am able to find help.

  3. Where are the resources? I find it odd that the even the Internet cannot produce them. Please contact me. I am convinced that even the powers that be have discovered methods to hide their injustice. How do we as ordinary, middle class Americans expose it??? I am particularly interested in the RI Family Court system. Thank you.

  4. Please give us the help to help our children. Please let me know what I can do as my children and I suffer this horribly.

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