March 2022
SNIPPETS is a mini-newsletter designed to bring COAFCC members streamlined, timely information and support.

Revisions to Chief Justice Directives Regarding Child and Family Investigators
Program Plans and Updates

Josh Christian, MA MFTC, CFI, and Katie Hays, JD
Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Boatright has initiated the creation of a Work Group to review and make recommendations for amendments to Chief Justice Directives (CJDs) regarding Child and Family Investigators (CFIs).  The Charge can be viewed here.
The CJD 04-05 and CJD 04-08 Work Group is tasked with making recommendations for revisions to the following:
  • CFI fees, including hourly rates and the cap
  • Complaint process
  • Confusing, subjective, or unnecessary standards
  • E-filing and access to case files
  • Ex parte communication from counsel
The stated timeline for the Work Group is:
  • Draft revisions by March 31, 2022
  • Public Feedback collection through April 30, 2022
  • A final recommendation to the Chief Justice by May 31, 2022
All members of the Work Group are internal judicial personnel (judges, court executives, and other employees of the Office of the State Court Administrator).  CFIs were asked to complete a survey to provide input.  

What is Critical Race Theory?
Katie Hays, JD
Having heard the term “Critical Race Theory” in discussions amongst folks in my community, particularly as it relates to local schools, I was thankful to participate in “Critical Race Theory with Associate Dean Alexi Freeman”, presented by the Center for Legal Inclusiveness.  

This program was held on February 16, 2022.  Alexi Freeman is Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.  She succinctly provided definition, context, and application of Critical Race Theory (“CRT”). 

CRT has been defined as:
  • “Critical Race Theory is an academic concept that originated in legal studies in the 1970s and has extended to other fields of study. The theory serves as a lens through which to evaluate institutions, policies, laws, etc. through the lens of the social construct of race. The theory is not a specific training nor is it a curriculum.”
  •  “Movement by a collection of activists and scholars engaged in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power.”  Delgado & Stefancic, Critical Race Theory, 3, (3d ed. 2017).
  • “…a body of legal scholarship…a majority of whose members are both existentially people of color and ideologically committed to the struggle against racism, particularly as institutionalized in and by law.”  Derrick Bell, Who’s Afraid of Critical Race Theory?, 2018. 

Self Compassion
Barry Lindstrom, PhD
COAFCC Board Member

As part of my work, I provide training and support in Compassion Satisfaction, as an antidote to Compassion Fatigue.  I have found this to be especially important, and difficult, over the last two years of the pandemic.

I recently read A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives, by Thupten Jinpa, PhD.  (To be transparent, I listened to the audiobook!  You can also find him on YouTube.)

Dr. Jinpa was a Buddhist monk from childhood and has been the principal English translator for the Dalai Lama.  As an adult he left the monastery, completed his PhD at Cambridge University, and started a family.  He is a cofounder of The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education Training  (CCARE), at Stanford University, where he developed the curriculum for Compassion Cultivation Training.  The training begins with self-compassion, and expands to compassion for others--who, like us, wish to be happy and avoid suffering.

Dr. Jinpa discusses empathy as the primary tool of compassion.  He suggests we view burnout as “empathy fatigue,” rather than “compassion fatigue.”  He identifies Compassion as the way through, and views Compassion as an empowered state--a wish for others to be free of suffering and wanting to do something about it.  He suggests we strive for a healthy balance between focusing on ourselves and focusing on others; between excessive self-preoccupation and obsessive caregiving. 

Although developed from the Buddhist tradition of mindfulness, Compassion Cultivation Training is equally and easily understood from scientific, secular, or Judeo-Christian perspectives.  This curriculum has been used with professionals in medical, clinical, and educational settings.  I wonder if it might also be useful in our pycho-legal context as well.  Perhaps compassion training for high-conflict parents?

At a minimum, it is a useful addition to my self-care toolbox. 

Jinpa, T. (2015).  A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives.  New York: Random House.

Dr. Jinpa’s Compassion Institute. 

Compassion Cultivation Training- The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education Training  (CCARE) Stanford University
Kristin Neff, PhD 
The Value of Animals as Emotional Support
Marlene Bizub, Psy.D.
Marlene & Riley
We all know how much we love our own pets, whether you’re a dog lover, cat lover, or something else lover.  But we might underestimate the value of animals as emotional support or therapy aids for people going through a traumatic event like divorce.  Especially for the children of divorce, an animal to hold and love can make all the difference in the world.
Eleven years ago, I adopted Riley, a 5-pound long-haired Chihuahua, as my own pet.  On occasion when I first got him, I would have him at the office with me.  I quickly learned that the children of divorce I work with benefitted from holding him, and he was often a welcomed distraction from the losses the children were feeling stemming from their parents’ separation and/or divorce.  I decided to look into having Riley designated as an emotional support animal, and it was one of the best things I ever did for my practice as a mental health professional working with divorcing families.

Riley a good size for the children I work with, as he is small enough for the youngest of children to hold.  Some children seem to need to hold an animal, not just pet them.  A young boy a number of years ago would not talk to me at all unless he was holding and petting Riley.  I also had a young girl who would not tell me things, but would tell Riley.  I, of course, could hear what she was telling Riley, but she perceived that she was telling Riley because she trusted Riley.  Unfortunately, this young girl did not trust many adults.
I’m sharing a few pictures of Riley, in hopes that others might consider using an animal in their practice or work, especially when dealing with children.  I have often found, given the difficulty of the work we do as divorce professionals, Riley has come in handy as my own emotional support animal!

Upcoming COAFCC Events
Tuesday - March 29th
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. 

Mediation and Early Neutral Assessment (ENA):
How to Make the Most of a Good Thing!

James Lionberger, JD
Taya Matoy, LMFT
Kathleen McNamara, PhD
Robert Smith, JD

Speakers will discuss the process, benefits, and pitfalls of ENA and mediation.  They will focus on how you can have your client prepared so the most progress can be made and what typical walls or problems arise that are blocks to resolution.  Speakers will cover ENA and mediation from the point of a lawyer mediator as well as a mental health mediator.

1.5 Contact Hours
2 General Credit CLEs

Friday - April 8th
8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. 

2022 Spring Conference and Members' Meeting

Resist Refuse Dynamics

Barbara Fidler, Ph.D., C.Psych
Keynote Speaker

Marlene Bizub, PsyD
Jane Irvine, MA LPC
Hon. Catherine Mitchell Helton
Rebecca Pepin, JD

A discussion of the spectrum of contact problems and overview on the treatment options for all, with a focus on interventions for less severe cases.  Speakers will address how to avoid the worst of each end: child abuse and severe alienation, and talk about real world steps you can take for middle of the road cases.

5 Contact Hours
6 General Credit CLEs
5 NASW-CO Approved CEs
Fall 2022

Cultural Sensitivity, Humility, and Competence
"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance."

Specific Dates & Details Coming Soon!

Upcoming AFCC Events

AFCC 59th Annual Conference
May 11-14, 2022
Chicago, IL

The Use, Misuse, and Abuse of Technology in Family Law


15th Symposium on Child Custody
November 10-12, 2022
Las Vegas, NV


Scholarships Available

COAFCC has a scholarship fund to help those in need.  Both full and partial scholarships are available to all online programming.  Check out the simple online application process. 

And keep in mind, AFCC also has a number of scholarships available for their educational programs. 


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Katie Hays
Tiah Terranova
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April Freier

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