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Thursday, January 20, 2011

State Audit Questions Qualifications of Family Court Personnel

Posted By on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 5:13 PM

click to enlarge courtgavel1.jpg

The California State Auditor released a report today questioning the qualifications of experts who make child-custody recommendations for the family courts in Marin and Sacramento counties.

The report, which you can read in full here, found that neither county's family court system could produce adequate documentation of the competence of the psychologists and social workers who make critical recommendations to judges in disputed custody cases.

The audit noted, among other findings, that seven of the Sacramento family court's 20 mediators "appeared not to possess the minimum qualifications and training requirements" for their jobs and and that the Marin family court "did not verify that the mediators had met the initial training requirements" when hiring them.

The audit also found that neither court was keeping track of complaints from families.

"We finally have credible government data to back up the many years of

horrific complaints we've received from parents and children whose lives

are being destroyed by a family court system run amok," Kathleen

Russell of the Marin County-based Center for Judicial Excellence, which has pushed for

reform of family courts across the country, said in response to the

audit.

Policy matters regarding the state's family courts are emotionally charged, given the nature of the cases and and their life-altering outcomes. Activists have criticized the system for poor custody decisions and a lack of transparency.

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Peter Jamison

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