Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Divorced Fathers Network

I went to a support group for divorced fathers, the Divorced Fathers Network. The one-hour meeting was run by the founder. His book was available for $10. He tried to get everyone to memorize their mission statement:
The Divorced Father’s Network is a grass roots peer support non-profit founded in 1987. Based in Santa Cruz County, DFN is dedicated to improving the lives of children, fathers and mothers by supporting engaged, effective shared parenting after divorce.
Strangely, the mission statement is not on his web site.

He was a bit defensive about the group; he implied that some people are critical of men attending a meeting with other divorced fathers.

His group does have the respect of the courts. He said that they give certificates to those who attend 12 meetings, and apparently some fathers have to present the certificates to the family court in order to comply with court orders. I didn't think that it was a very productive meeting.

A reader (who calls himself Masculiste) writes:
It's not supposed to be productive. It's supposed to do what the courts want it to do, as long as it wants the funding to continue...
I guess I am a little naive. I thought that it was a genuine support group. When I got to the meeting, the leader asked me why I was there. I mentioned that I was looking for ideas on dealing with the courts, among other things. This seemed to be squarely within the groups charter, as I want the court to let me do more shared parenting. But every time I started to say something in the meeting, the leader rudely cut me off. I couldn't figure out why, as he let others talk.

Now I wonder if the group is funded by the court, on the condition that no one be allowed to criticize the court. I wasn't going to criticize the court, but maybe the leader thought that I might. If Masculiste is correct, then the group is creepy.


Masculiste said...

It's not supposed to be productive. It's supposed to do what the courts want it to do, as long as it wants the funding to continue...

Masculiste said...

An ammendment...

Non-profit groups are funded by the federal government.

Just about all grassroots groups like the one you describe have some sort of guidelines to qualify for fed. revenue that fall within step of what the courts and the government are getting away with regarding fathers, shared parenting, child support enforcement, etc. So when the court refers you to a group like this, it's really not so you can learn what your rights are and how to best attain more involvement with your kids. After all, these guys aren't lawywers and certainly cannot advise you as if they were.

It's just a support group to help you cope with the fact that the court just gave you the hosing of a lifetime.

If a funded group exceeds or otherwise conflicts with those guidelines, they can risk their status as a federally funded, non-profit organization.

For instance NOW and many women's NP groups like them who began the same way, fall exactly in step with the government's political philosophy on issues involving women. And what began as a grassroots, has become a powerful political ally to the government that supported it in the first place, because the government found it to be in their political interest to conform to a feminist agenda. Talk about power.

In the case of men's grass roots organizations however, it's turned around. In order to qualify the same way women's groups began, it is now required that men's non-profit groups CONFORM to the courts and government that are screwing us.