Child Support System – Ohio

Ohio’s child support system rife with fraud, poor collection rates, By Laura A. Bischoff, October 5, 2017, Dayton Daily News: “Ohio’s child support system is riddled with problems, including billions in unpaid support and an outdated formula that some believe contributes to non-custodial parents moving to the underground economy to avoid wage garnishments. Unpaid support on the books, accumulated since 1976, totals a staggering $4.5 billion in Ohio and every year another $100 million piles onto that figure, according to David Fleischman, bureau chief in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services child support office. Complicating collections is that 69 percent of the debt is owed by parents who had reported earnings of less than $10,000, according to Susan Brown, director of the Franklin County Child Support Enforcement Agency…”

Child Support and Custody for Unmarried Parents

Involving dads in the lives of children born out of wedlock, By Sarah Breitenbach, September 29, 2016, Stateline: “When an unmarried couple with children breaks up, it is often a matter of packing boxes, divvying up property, and maybe getting an order for child support from a local court.  Unlike a divorcing couple, their split is not typically guided by legal standards that dictate how much money they owe each other, or how much time they get to spend with their kids once they separate. And, particularly for unmarried fathers, that lack of legal oversight can mean a long fight for custody of their children.  States are starting to more closely examine custody arrangements for children born out of marriage, which have traditionally favored mothers, either by law or default, to give fathers a greater role in raising their children. Studies indicate that consistent paternal involvement can result in more child-support payments, and better mental health and academic results for the children…”

Child Support Enforcement

  • Not just a deadbeat dad, By Dwyer Gunn, July 12, 2016, Pacific Standard: “On a sunny Tuesday morning in February, Lewis Griffin walked into a meeting room in the Arapahoe County Human Services Building in Aurora, Colorado. Griffin, a barber and ex-convict who’s also the co-facilitator of a fatherhood class, is a tall black man with closely cropped silvering hair — on the day I met him, he was sharply dressed in grey jeans, a neatly pressed grey-striped button-down shirt, and sleek, modern glasses. Griffin has an open, friendly manner and a disarming sense of humor. When he introduced himself to me, he clasped both hands to his chest, inhaled sharply, and said with exaggerated anxiety, ‘I’m nervous!’  The men (and one woman) gathered in the meeting room that morning all had one thing in common: They were non-custodial parents who had fallen behind on their child support payments…”
  • Wisconsin’s grand child support experiment, By Dwyer Gunn, July 13, 2016, Pacific Standard: “In 1997, the state of Wisconsin decided to experiment with the way it handled child support payments made to welfare recipients. In previous years, under the Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) program, recipients who also received child support payments from a non-custodial parent were required to relinquish the bulk of what they received in child support to the state — states only ‘passed through’ the first $50 of child support in a given month. The federal welfare-reform bill (formally known as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act) of the previous year gave states room to experiment with and set their own policies…”

Marriage Promotion

Politicians push marriage, but that’s not what would help children, By Eduardo Porter, March 22, 2016, New York Times: “Should the government push poor people to marry? The urge to do so has a long pedigree, dating perhaps as far back as 1965. When serving as a Labor Department official in the Johnson administration, Daniel Patrick Moynihan — who was later a top adviser to President Richard M. Nixon and ultimately one of the most influential Democrats in Congress as a senator from New York — argued that the surge in African-American families headed by single mothers was condemning many black children to fail in school and in life…”

Family Structure and Parenting

Single parent or poverty? Study looks at which affects good parenting most, By Stephanie Hanes, January 28, 2015, Christian Science Monitor: “Income level, rather than family structure, has the greatest impact on whether parents read to their children, eat dinner together, or engage in any number of positive parenting practices, according to a new report put out today by the nonpartisan Council on Contemporary Families. For years, studies have suggested that single parents lag behind married couples when it comes to providing children the sort of enrichment activities that child development experts say have long-term impact on kids’ emotional and cognitive health, such as monitoring media access and facilitating participation in extracurricular activities. But it turns out that those differences all but disappear when income disparities are taken away, according to today’s report…”

Child Support Enforcement

  • How our child support system can push the poor deeper into poverty, By Jeff Guo, September 26, 2014, Washington Post: “In the United States, nearly one in four children are due some sort of child support. But only 62 percent of the money owed is actually paid. To get a sense of who these deadbeat parents are, consider this chart comparing different states…”
  • Locking up parents for not paying child support can be a modern-day ‘debtor’s prison’, By Tins Griego, September 26, 2014, Washington Post: “Dwayne Ferebee, 36, father of four, has been sent to jail four times over the past 12 years on civil contempt charges for failure to pay his court-ordered child support. The first two times, he spent a couple months behind bars until his mom came up with the $3,000 the judge told him he had to pay. The third go-around, he stayed in jail six of the maximum 12-month sentence before he could scrape together the money. The fourth, he had to wait until his fiancée received her tax refund. All told, he spent about a year locked up…”

Child Support Payments

Billions of dollars in child support go unpaid yearly, By Emily Alpert Reyes, November 20, 2013, Los Angeles Times: “More than $14 billion in child support was left unpaid to American parents in a single year — more than 1 out of every 3 dollars that were due, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Wednesday. Millions of parents are awarded child support every year, but getting it is another story. Fewer than half of eligible parents received all of the child support they were due in 2011, according to a newly released report based on the Current Population Survey. About a quarter got none. Most parents were granted support through formal legal agreements established by the courts or other government entities. Yet a shrinking share of parents said they asked the government for help collecting child support.”

Complex Families

As families become more complicated, more grandparents care for kids, study says, By Tara Bahrampour, November 5, 2013, Washington Post: “As the number of children living with grandparents has risen in recent decades, the profile of caregiver grandparents has also evolved into a more diverse tapestry, with grandparents filling in the gaps in increasingly nontraditional family structures, according to a report released Tuesday. In particular, as rates rise for divorce and remarriage, single parenting, and other nontraditional family structures, older Americans have been stepping in to help their offspring with childcare, said the study, which was conducted by US 2010, a research project on changes in American society funded by Brown University and the Russell Sage Foundation, a New York-based social science research center…”

Child Support Services – Kansas, Ohio

  • Administration defends child support privatization, By Andy Marso, August 20, 2013, Topeka Capital-Journal: “A spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families struck back at critics of the agency’s drive to privatize child support services Tuesday, saying the bidding process was completely on the up-and-up and state workers weren’t ‘set up to fail’ to pave the way for privatization…”
  • Counties’ efforts to collect child support find mixed results, By Laura Arenschield, August 18, 2013, Columbus Dispatch: “Almost a year into a statewide push to collect more child support from parents who owe it, Delaware County is leading central Ohio, recouping about 15 percent more than the state average. Other central Ohio counties, including Franklin, have not been as successful…”

Working Mothers and Household Income

  • Women as family breadwinner on the rise, study says, By Catherine Rampell, May 29, 2013, New York Times: “Women are not only more likely to be the primary caregivers in a family. Increasingly, they are primary breadwinners, too. Four in 10 households with children under age 18 now include a mother who is either the sole or primary earner for her family, according to a Pew Research Center report released Wednesday. This share, the highest on record, has quadrupled since 1960. The shift reflects evolving family dynamics…”
  • Nearly 40 percent of mothers are now the family breadwinners, report says, By Brigid Schulte, May 28, 2013, Washington Post: “In a trend accelerated by the recent recession and an increase in births to single mothers, nearly four in 10 families with children under the age of 18 are now headed by women who are the sole or primary breadwinners for their families, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center…”
  • More U.S. women than ever are breadwinners, Pew study finds, By Emily Alpert, May 28, 2013, Los Angeles Times: “Mothers are breadwinners for a record share of American families, as more women bring up children on their own and more married mothers outearn their husbands, an analysis of census data shows. The new reality is a dramatic shift from decades ago, the Pew Research Center found in a study released Wednesday. Two years ago, more than 40% of American households with children relied on a mother as their biggest or only source of income — a massive jump from 11% of families in 1960…”

Census Report on Births Out of Wedlock

  • More than 3 in 5 new young mothers unwed in 2011, Census says, By Frank Bass, May 1, 2013, Bloomberg News: “More than 60 percent of new mothers in their early 20s aren’t married, the U.S. government said today in a report that underscores concern about the well-being of the nation’s young children. The total number of births to unwed mothers increased to 36 percent in 2011 from 31 percent in 2005, the earliest year for which data are available, the U.S. Census Bureau said in the report. The bureau said 4.1 million women reported that they had given birth in the year covered by the survey…”
  • Single motherhood in U.S. increases sharply, By Carol Morello, May 1, 2013, Washington Post: “More than six out of 10 women who give birth in their early 20s are unmarried, the Census Bureau said Wednesday in a report that shows sharp discrepancies in single mothers related to income, education and race. Census demographers said that single motherhood, while on a steady uptick since the 1940s, has accelerated in recent years…”

Lafayette Journal and Courier Report on Fragile Families

  • Experts say births outside marriage grow out of changing norms, class divide, By Taya Flores and David Smith, January 27, 2013, Lafayette Journal and Courier: “Kionni Sheldon, a 22-year-old Lafayette single mom, is frank when discussing her decision to have a baby on her own rather than seek a long-term relationship with the child’s father. The McCutcheon High School graduate said she dated her baby’s father for about four months when she learned of her pregnancy, which was unplanned. She ended the relationship soon after, she said. ‘He got very controlling,’ Sheldon said. And while she agreed that being married is the ‘proper’ way to begin parenting, ‘you shouldn’t have to do it that way…'”
  • Fragile families challenge parents, children and support agencies, By Taya Flores and David Smith, January 27, 2013, Lafayette Journal and Courier: “As a young girl, Treecee Arnett says, she dreamed of her wedding day. She envisioned a fairy tale event in a large church adorned with ice sculptures and royal blue and cream decorations. She would wear an open back dress with a tiara. Arnett has yet to realize that dream. ‘I haven’t found the right one,’ the Lafayette woman said. ‘Some of them do have the potential to be great husbands, but they are caught up in that ‘thug’ life.’ As marriage plans failed to materialize, motherhood did not wait. Arnett’s first child came when she was 16. Now 35, she’s a single mother of and sole provider for three teens. Her children have three different fathers, none of whom is involved in his kids’ lives. ‘I do have a child support order on them, but they are not paying support,’ she said. Arnett’s family situation — and the pressures it brings to bear on providing everything from food and clothing to making sure her children get a good education — is more common than many might realize…”

Child Support and Low-income Parents – Wyoming

Wyoming committee recalculates low-income child support payments, By Kyle Roerink, January 10, 2013, Casper Star-Tribune: “The state House Judicial Committee passed a bill Thursday that would reduce child support payments for low-income parents in Wyoming. The bill’s intent seems counter-intuitive, but it should bring in more money for children. In many cases, parents obliged to pay child support won’t pay anything if they cannot afford the court-mandated amount, said Brenda Lyttle, child support enforcement director with the Wyoming Department of Family Services. Under the terms of the bill, the amount the parent is ordered to pay may be less, but there’s more of a chance the order will be enforced, she said…”

Inequality and the Family

Economic Inequality and the Changing Family, By Jason DeParle, July 14, 2012, New York Times: “As my article this weekend about two families in Ann Arbor, Mich., points out, the widening in many measures of inequality can be traced in part to changes in marriage patterns, rather than just changes in individual earnings. A number of scholars have looked at the varied dimensions of this thesis — growing inequality, changes in family structure, and the connection between the two. Here is a look at some of their findings. On inequality: An interesting pattern over the last four decades is that inequality has grown much faster for households with children than it has for households over all — an indication that changes in family structure (as opposed to wages and employment alone) have increased inequality. Bruce Western and Tracey Shollenberger of the Harvard sociology department compared households at the 90th percentile and the 10th percentile. In 1970, the top households had 8.9 times the income of the bottom. By 2011 they had nearly 11.7 times as much. . .”

Welfare Time Limits and the Recession

Welfare limits left poor adrift as recession hit, By Jason DeParle, April 7, 2012, New York Times: “Perhaps no law in the past generation has drawn more praise than the drive to “end welfare as we know it,” which joined the late-’90s economic boom to send caseloads plunging, employment rates rising and officials of both parties hailing the virtues of tough love. But the distress of the last four years has added a cautionary postscript: much as overlooked critics of the restrictions once warned, a program that built its reputation when times were good offered little help when jobs disappeared. Despite the worst economy in decades, the cash welfare rolls have barely budged. Faced with flat federal financing and rising need, Arizona is one of 16 states that have cut their welfare caseloads further since the start of the recession – in its case, by half. Even as it turned away the needy, Arizona spent most of its federal welfare dollars on other programs, using permissive rules to plug state budget gaps…”

Child Support Debt

Rule could leave child-support debtors no income, By Daniel Wagner (AP), February 27, 2012, Detroit News: ” Old child support debts could cost thousands of poor men their only income next year because of a policy aimed at reducing the cost to the government of mailing paper checks to pay federal benefits. The Treasury Department will start paying benefits electronically next March. It will stop issuing the paper checks that many people rely on to safeguard a portion of their benefits from states trying to collect back child support. States can freeze the bank accounts of people who owe child support. A separate Treasury Department rule, in place since last May in a preliminary form, guarantees them the power to freeze Social Security, disability and veterans’ benefits that have been deposited into those accounts. Once paper checks are eliminated, about 275,000 people could lose access to all of their income, advocates say…”

Child Support Formula – Illinois

Illinois may alter child support formula, By Bill Ruthhart, December 30, 2011, Chicago Tribune: “State officials for the first time in decades are pushing a major overhaul of a system that touches one of the most volatile of all family issues: how child support is calculated. The move aims at making the process fairer by considering both parents’ incomes and time spent with the child, but some advocates already are arguing to change – or scrap – the new proposal, which won’t be finalized until next spring. If Illinois switches the calculation, it would join 38 other states that already have adopted versions of what’s known as the ‘income shares’ formula…”

Incarceration for Child Support Debt – Georgia

Judge allows thousands to join child support lawsuit, By Bill Rankin, January 3, 2012, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Thousands of parents facing possible jail time for failing to pay child support can join a lawsuit that says lawyers should be appointed to represent them if unable to afford counsel, a judge has ruled. In a Dec. 30 order, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter granted class-action status to a suit filed last year against the state by five parents who had been jailed for child-support debt. Georgia is one of the few states nationwide that does not provide lawyers for indigent parents facing civil contempt in child-support proceedings. The state already struggles, because of budget shortfalls, to provide lawyers to indigent people charged with criminal offenses. The lawsuit contends Georgia is creating modern-day debtor’s prisons for those jailed when they have no ability to pay because they have lost jobs or are disabled and unable to find work…”

Child Support and Poverty

More custodial parents fall below poverty line as child support payment rates drop, By Marjorie Cortez, December 11, 2011, Deseret News: “A growing number of custodial parents fell below the poverty line in 2009 as fewer received the full amount of child support owed to them. A new Census Bureau report showed that nationwide, 41.2 percent of noncustodial parents received the full amount of child support owed them in 2009, down from 46.8 percent in 2007. The report, ‘Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009,’ also found that the proportion of parents owed child support and received either full or partial payments fell from 76.3 percent to 70.8 percent over the same period…”