What California societal woes are directly related to our family and juvenile dependency courts?

What California societal woes are directly related to our family and juvenile dependency courts?

Suicide, mental health disorders, physical illnesses (see Kaiser’s ACES study on the CDC website), substance abuse, parental alienation, isolation, climate control (families living apart, parties of one, no shared resources), loneliness, poverty, homelessness, etc. We have a created a society of adults who were damaged as children by our own “family” court systems and now we are in the third and fourth generations of victims of these “family” courts. The organization that told us “children are resilient”, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts also told us that we shouldn’t be concerned about separating a child from his/her primary caregiver. These AFCC “professionals” now get to treat the broken and lost adults whom they harmed  as children AND make even more profit off of the damage they created. Parents need jury trial rights to #ResolveConflictQuickly and we need to stop AFCC members from profiting off of breaking up our families.

In stark contrast to California’s societal woes are those of our neighbor, Mexico. Mexico’s family court system is not their problem, it is their criminal court system.  The family court judges in Mexico keep “patria potestad” or parental authority, with both parents, and also extend it to family members (uncles, aunts, grandparents, etc). A Mexican family court judge rarely takes a parent’s legal custody of their child away from him/her.  “Guarda y custodia”, or the care of very young children, usually stays with their mother. 

Mexico’s societal woes do not come from breaking up their families in their court system. Instead it comes from not having enough money to protect families from criminals due to the lack of money given to their  criminal court system.

The U.S. federal government gave a measly $300 million to Mexico to equip its courthouses, train police, and train attorneys, in order to help Mexico overhaul their criminal judicial system. It failed miserably. Why? That’s not enough money. “The problem is not that people are getting out of prison,” said Guillermo Zepeda Lecuona, a law professor at the University of Guadalajara who was an expert on the US plan for Mexico’s judicial system. “It’s that they are not going in.” The family unit in Mexico is of utmost importance because the country lacks sufficient law enforcement outside of all of its court system. 

We have it backwards in the United States. We need to take lessons from Mexico’s family court system and Mexico needs to take lessons from our criminal court system.  If we learn the lesson we need to from Mexico’s family court system, which is to stop separating children from their parents and extended family members, then our resources can once again be directed at helping parents turn their children into caring, responsible and respectful adults.

California’s judicial system needs to concentrate on the damage it is causing to society in our “family” and juvenile dependency court systems so California can make strides to reduce the incredible amount of money we spend on our criminal court system. For the 2020-2021 year, $13.4 billion is earmarked for the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (aka jails).  That doesn’t include the cost for local law enforcement, state law enforcement, etc. 

Mexico has it right, California has it wrong and we have all the resources.