Friday, September 25, 2009

The system is broken

70 percent of child support cases in this country are in arrears. That means 70 percent of non custodial parents owe back child support. In some states, 50 percent of custodial parents haven't seen a single child support payment in the last twelve months.

I'm one of them. Kid's dad owes over $40k in back support, and his monthly payment isn't huge, just $328. That's not even close to half of what it costs to raise the kid. But hey, if his dad paid that much every month we wouldn't be homeless, in debt (my total debt is way less than $10k)or needing to rely on public assistance.

As much as I would love to blame dead beat parents alone for the failures of the current child support system, when you have a 70 percent failure rate it is the system that is failing, and not the individuals in that system.

It's been more than a decade since Bill Clinton included child support reforms in with welfare reform, and despite mandatory employment reporting and better information sharing between states, we still have a 70 percent failure.

So I am glad to see that someone is talking about it.

But- and this is a big ass but- as long as women and children are still seen as property instead of people by their exes, reform will be difficult. How do you make a fair parenting system when one half of a couple thinks they own the other half? How do you get kids the things they need in life when non-custodial parents ignore them at best, and are abusive and dangerous at worst?

And would all of this be moot if we, as a society, looked at the raising of children as a necessary job for the good of society and provided the resources to do that job well, instead of looking at children as the property of their parents not dissimilar to an automobile. Why are some kids left to rust on blocks in the yard when one of their parents walks away?

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