Familycaught Open Marketplace
Submission regarding Open Marketplace Conversion of familycaught by Murray Bacon
This submission will propose an open marketplace, as a higher decision quality, lower cost replacement for familycaught. Incidentally this should also ensure reductions of longer term prison cost and social costs resulting from criminals. By giving the public the basic tools to manage their own separation decisions, they can do most of it themselves, to best protect their interests and their children’s futures. This submission is based on the existing Care of Children Act 2004 and Family Court Rules, the difference merely being setting up a responsible personnel system that allows them to work.
The present review follows on from Government concern at the rampant increase in the costs to Government for running familycaught, far out of proportion to outputs and activity levels. This being against a background of slow response and serious public concern about the quality of what was occurring in the familycaught.
Although politicians generally did not want to get involved, the failure of the legal-workers to respond constructively to calls to improve their quality and cost effectiveness, has resulted in an intolerable situation for Government and society, that must be resolved almost immediately.
This is against a background, through the last 30 years, of NZ experiencing slowly falling terms of trade, self created costs to Government and society of leaky buildings, increasing prison costs, increasing benefit costs, falling number of taxpayers in population, earthquake costs and national and international financial fraud crises.
Although the caughts have mechanisms for the control of devoting Government resources to ignorant, worthless or very low priority activities, through the last 50 years, these mechanisms have ceased to work. This has been due to values of people working within the system, who have been self told that justice is beyond any price and therefore there is no need to exercise judgement of social value, when deciding whether an application will be allowed to proceed through the system. These dangerous decisions did not need to be challenged, when NZ Government was in a strong financial position, but now the pressure to act is unavoidable and immediate.
This submission will show that social damage has been a far larger needless cost to society, than the financial costs to Government of the caughts and legal-worker’s-aid. Also, for every dollar wasted by Government in familycaught, there is either a taxpayer paying a legal-worker or self representing, either way wasting time and money.
Similar cost management problems have also been being experienced in all aspects of the caught system, in particular the criminal caughts and the associated legal-worker’s-aid scheme. Although there has been much public discussion about fraud by legal-workers, in my opinion the root cause is the failure by “judges” to discipline legal-workers, as these frauds occur and more importantly, direct similar actions by these “judges”, to wrongly prolong hearings, for the benefit of all of the legal-workers involved.
Similar cost management and fraud problems have also been experienced with social welfare benefits, in particular related to the number of people unemployable due to mental health or unsupported care of young children.
There is concern in industry and commerce about the performance of the education system, not so much for costs, but mainly for the quality of outputs, in terms of workers. Specifically, the poor employability of the lowest quintile of the workforce. The Government has made good use of its monopoly position as employer (or purchaser) within the education system to control costs and apply quality control measures. Knowledge about how children learn and how best to teach children has developed dramatically in the last 50 years. This knowledge has been well taught in Teacher Training.
The Government hasn’t been able to ensure that the children entering the education system meet minimum standards for educatability, ie attention, stability, motivation to learn and generally the mental health of children. This is particularly problematic, as minimum acceptable standards for children entering schools is critically important, now that workers minimum standards have risen so much and there is little demand for a large number of unskilled workers in the NZ economy.
Although many $billions have been poured into supporting beneficiaries, with the intention of helping their children too, the outcomes have been a mixed bag of some success and an unacceptably high number of low level successes and failures. Perhaps this is not surprising, as the way we provide these benefits has included a large number of perverse and destructive incentives, so the outcomes have reflected the incentives forced onto these people. Focussing more on the children, than the parents, the degree of failure is even higher.
There has been no effective quality control or accountability, on how Government support to parents has been spent. When parents lack essential parental and household management competences, then the children’s development opportunities and outcomes will suffer. In the longer term, this seriously impacts costs onto Government. There has been discussion about supplying benefits as a EFTPOS card, that would only allow expenditure on worthwhile expenses. In the real world, even such controlled benefits can be traded, to bypass the intent of the controls. Clearly, much tighter supervision of beneficiaries and their performance is required.
Government responses, to develop mental health, stability and work skills into unemployed adults are horrifically expensive and typically only marginally economic, even when the full costs of saving prison costs and reduced criminal injuries to the public are included.
Government responses for school age children are expensive, moderately effective and moderately cost effective.
To turn around these social problems, we must protect all children from less effective parents, in particular parents with psychiatric problems, even if these are only intermittent or low level.
Smaller, more nuclear families has made it much more difficult to develop parenting skills in our children. Through this same time period, our expectations on parents are much higher. It seems that we have to put a bit more of our children’s time into people/parenting skills. This is no dead loss, these skills help in the workplace too and also in boosting mental health (wellness) through our society.
Although this enquiry into the familycaught has been triggered by the financial costs, I respectfully suggest that the wider social costs resulting from poor quality decisions made by rich familycaught “judges” is the critical issue.
Substantial improvement of parental performance will only come about by frequent measuring of performance and some alignment between Government incentives and the measured outcomes. Accountability drives improved performance and also helps to drive incompetents out of the marketplace.
Interestingly, performance improvement in familycaught will only come about, when the Government closely monitors performance and ensures that the incentives that it gives staff in the familycaught encourage them to perform to serve their customers and funders.
“Judges” have been very aggressive in their restriction of effective public access to information about what occurs in familycaught. This has seriously disserved Government and consumers, in particular children’s outcomes. This shows up years later in criminal statistics and prison costs. Our investments in low quality caughts are now paying back, to our horror.
Alas, the present incentives to workers in familycaught, reward them for featherbedding, poor performance and outright fraud of the Government and consumers. Accountability drives improved performance and also helps to drive incompetents out of the marketplace.
In the same way that it is important for Government to consider incentives and carefully align magnitudes of social welfare benefits with desirability of various outcomes, ie to avoid perverse incentives, it is important for Government to constructively manage the incentives that it offers staff in caughts, or else Government is just paying staff to screw it’s policies and bank-balance.
In familycaught, “judges” break apart families and let the children drift into dark destructive unsupported lives, more wages to “judges”. In the criminalcaughts, ineffective judgements and sentences stimulate crime, rather than incentivise people to go straight and pay tax, more wages to “judges”.
Similarly, the Care of Children Act 2004 puts duties onto “judges” to manage the incentives that the familycaught gives to parents, to work together respectfully and constructively, to protect each other and serve their children.
In sacrificing this duty, to serve their personal financial paramount interests, the “judges” are sacrificing the long term interests of these children. Although the Kay Skelton example is iconic, tens of thousands of children live impoverished, reduced opportunity lives, as a result of familycaught “judges” refusing to put incentives for parents to work together. Their inability to judge responsibility ends up reflecting their personal lack of responsibility about how they are treating their employer, as well as the children. This is not just children missing out on skiing, overseas travel and restaurants, but going to sleep alone, when their other parent is denied contact to maximise “child support payments”. End result is sad, insecure, lost children and at the end of the bell curve, more than a few unnecessary child suicides. More money for “judges”, or safe children? I would rather protect the children’s interests.
When a “judge” rewards relationship destructive behaviour between parents once, there is a major risk that this will be repeated many, many times. When a judge sets down constructive incentives, for parents to act responsibly together, in addition to giving the child better and safer access to both parents, the future need for familycaught hearings is suddenly diminished or prevented! Many examples are given in the appendices, with wasted costs in dollars, hours and deaths of young parents and children.
Introduction only, so far. Many examples with names will be detailed, in the confidential appendices.
More importantly, I hope you are at least half way through writing your own submission.
A bit more help is available in back pages of MENZ:
Fatherless America by David Blankenhorn
Lots of love, MurrayBacon – axe-murderer.