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A Parent s Responsibility Janis, Kelsey and Carolyn are three beautiful little girls. They are very bright, intelligent children. They deserve all the world has to offer them as all children do. Their lives were changed dramatically last year. Their father decided he no longer wanted to support these young innocent people. No one truly knows his reasons but one thing that can be ascertained is none of his excuses could be good enough to make them understand when they grow up. This scenario is not unique. In the United States there are parents who owe thousands of dollars in past due child support. The issue has been in the news with all of the lawmakers patting themselves on the backs because they are cracking down on dead beat parents. With the new laws and acts that they have passed locating and collecting from a dead beat should be an easy task. It should be just a matter of typing in the social security number into the location bank that is supposed to be established in each state. Simple, right? In theory, yes, but the plain truth is that the system does not work as well as it was designed to. Some reasons for this rest with society. Some employers do not report their new hires to the state location banks. Some state location banks are so slow that it could take six months to a year to find the dead beat after the employer reports their social security number to the information system. Then we must look at the fact that the state agencies are so backlogged with cases that they can not give each one individual attention, so hard to find dead beat cases are put at the bottom of the pile. A big change in child support situations came with the passing of the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992. This Act makes it a federal crime to willfully not pay child support. The thought of not paying child support being a federal crime has probably intimidated several dead beats to pay up their obligations. Unbelievably there are still an incredible number of dead beat parents. The most recent census shows that in Spring of 1992, 11.5 million families with children had a parent living elsewhere…Of the 11.5 million, only 6.2 (54 percent) of the custodial parents had awards or agreements for child support. (http://www.acf.dhhs.cse/fct/fct1.html). Getting a court
order for child support is only the beginning in the battle to collect the money due the children. Of course that is in the situations of divorce. Children who are born out of wedlock must first have their paternity proven if they can find the father to perform the test on. Shockingly there are a great number of parents in the United States who refuse to pay child support. Some to such an extent they move from state to state and job to job. Others even use false names and fake social security numbers. Of the 17.7 billion owed for child support in 1991 $5.8 billion was not paid. (http//www. acf.dhhs gov/ program/ cse/fct/fct1 .html). These are terribly high numbers. Parents do not seem to understand children are the biggest responsibility that they will ever have. Anyone who would begrudge their child a penny or view owing child support as being a new age slave needs to get their priorities straight. Many parents hold animosity towards their ex- spouse or the other child s parent and resent the fact the checks are made out to someone they may dislike or no longer have feelings for. They must be made to realize that the money is intended to raise their child and not for the additional comfort of the other party. Dead beats need to grow up and take care of their obligations. The taxpayers do not need the added responsibility of supporting these children simply because the dead beat parents choose not to. Lawmakers have indeed passed good laws but now we need to make sure these laws are carried out. They do no good in solving this problem if they are just on paper in black and white and not enforced. New stricter laws should be enacted and enforced making it absolutely impossible for a dead beat to live any kind of a life unless he or she is paying child support. New Mexico s child support enforcement agency was absolutely swamped with dead beats trying to make arrangements to pay their past due child support when they found out the state was about to suspend their driver s licenses. This action and others similar to them are necessary and should be adopted by every state to rid us of this unnecessary burden on taxpayers. Janis, Kelsey, and Carolyn are lucky because they have family who are more than willing to make up for their father s abandonment. But there are millions of children who are not as fortunate. These children have been put at a senseless disadvantage simply on the whim of their missing parent. Do you feel it is right that you should have to support these children simply because their parent decided he or she did not want to? I do not.
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