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States Often Keep Most of PoorDads’ Child-Support Payments

Posted Aug 26 2008 12:30pm

Some policies make so much sense you just want to pin a blue ribbon on the government officials that thought them up. Take for example, the collection of child-support payments from absent fathers, most of which state governments keep.

Why would a state hunt down a delinquent dad, garnish his wages and then keep some of the money meant for his wife and kids? Because those wife and kids are a welfare burden on the government of course. I guess getting mom and the kids off of welfare by passing the money directly to them is counterintuitive.

If you think I’m making this up, read this confusing article in The New York Times , which reveals that about half the states keep ALL of the child-support payments to parents on welfare. In most of the other states, about $50 a month actually makes it to the parents.

While studies show dad is more likely to pay if he knows the money is going directly to his family rather than funding welfare programs, states don’t know how to break their addiction.

And while the Bush Administration was planning on fixing the problem, budget woes shifted the child-support enforcement burden back on the states. Translation: States don’t feel particularly motivated to give dads’ money back to spouse and kids anytime soon.

Let’s give a big round of applause to lawmakers who keep these family-unfriendly policies in place.

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