ASKED & ANSWERED: Friend of the Court Citizen Advisory Committee

In 2002, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners established the Oakland County Friend of the Court Citizen Advisory Committee under the Friend of the Court Act. The CAC functions under a Mission Statement and Bylaws which regulate its activities. The purpose of the CAC is to:

* Advise the Court and the Board of Commissioners of the operation of Friend of the Court (FOC) in the exercise of its duties and responsibilities under the law.

* Review and investigate certain grievances concerning Friend of the Court, limited to office operations and gender bias.

* Identify the needs of citizens in the community who seek Friend of the Court services.

When and where does the CAC meet?

The CAC meets on the second Monday of each month in the Oakland County Commissioners Conference Room in the Oakland County Courthouse Complex at 1200 North Telegraph Road, Pontiac. Most meetings take place at 10 a.m., but two of the CACās meetings take place at 7 p.m. (one in the spring and one in the fall) for the convenience of members of the general public who may not be able to attend morning meetings.

Who sits on the CAC?

The CAC is composed of nine members representing the following segments of the community: a custodial parent, a non-custodial parent, a family attorney, a mental health professional and two members of the general public plus designees from the Offices of the Prosecuting Attorney, the Department of Human Services and the Sheriff.

As of August, 2012 the members of CAC are:

--Mel Ettenson, general public member.

--Rackeline Hoff, general public member.

--Kevin OāShea, custodial parent.

--Brian Jones, non-custodial parent.

--Henry Gornbein, family law attorney.

--Elise Finch-Sophiea, mental health professional.

--David Case, Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

--Sheela Jaisinghani-Adams, Department of Human Services.

--Lieutenant Wendy Reyes, Sheriff's Office.

Rackeline Hoff is the current Chair of the CAC.

Who can attend CAC meetings?

All are welcome to attend CAC meetings. There is a period set aside for public comment at the start of each meeting. The only portion of the meetings closed to the public is the consideration of grievances.

Where can one find out more about the CAC?

The CAC website provides citizens with easily accessible information about its operations and meetings. The website is updated regularly and includes contact information and a grievance e-form to enable citizens to submit grievances to the CAC electronically. The CAC home page is linked to both the FOC and Oakland County Board of Commissioners websites.

Do CAC members speak to other groups or organizations?

The members of the CAC are available to speak to any group about the CAC and the Friend of the Court in general. Anyone interested in scheduling a talk should contact the CAC chair via the CAC website.

Published: Tue, Oct 16, 2012