From Another Reader:
"The problem with the CASA involvement is the secretive back room discussions about the family that is really holding court without due process. The CASA assigned to our family had very little involvement except to "catch up" on what all the other CPS stakeholders had to say. She would just parrot what she heard everyone else discussing and that's all she could do because there were no personal observations from which to draw upon yet the judge would stop and specifically ask for CASA recommendations.
Within each group there is usually a personality that leads everyone down a certain path in values and decision making. I did an exercise with groups for many years that dealt with these value differences in a court setting.
I would have a class of about 20 people and would subdivide them up into groups of four. I would then give them a role to play and crimes to discuss. One would be a probation officer and another a chemical dependency counselor. There was also a prosecutor and a defense attorney. I would put on the board all the different services and outcomes that could be decided upon with each case. Well, guess what, with five different groups each deciding the same case, there would be five different outcomes.
Afterwards there would be a discussion about the group dynamics and who emerged the leader and how they contributed their personal values to the overall outcome on the different cases. One strong, yet twisted personality can bring in a negativity that can create a significant amount of chaos for large amounts of people. This produces a ripple effect and needs to be addressed within the family courts. It is the main reason I feel that team decision making is BAD along with all the backroom discussion with the judge that shouldn't be done.
I can't even fathom how many families in our country have been needlessly destroyed because of toxic family team decision making."
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