It’s time to reform a child-support system that damages families

…by pushing men into underground economy

Hurting dads, hurting kids

No you can't see your daughter - 2016

Imagine this: You’re a single man in your 20s, in Baltimore, with an eighth-grade education and two young children. You’ve just served three years in jail for a nonviolent crime, such as selling marijuana.

While you were in jail — earning no income — your child-support obligations continued to accrue, leaving you $22,000 in arrears upon your release. This number (the average total amount owed by a noncustodial parent who is currently or formerly incarcerated, according to the Family Welfare Research and Training Group at the University of Maryland School of Social Work) amounts to more than you’ve earned legitimately in your entire lifetime.

In Baltimore, the collection of child support has been outsourced to a private, for-profit company, a subsidiary of Maximus Corp., whose website lauds its ability to “improve collections.” This incentivizes a zero-tolerance approach to child-support enforcement, despite research indicating that certain well-defined arrearages will never be collected. In addition, the hidden cost of this merciless and relentless collection process on the underclass of Baltimore is rarely discussed. It results in substantial detriment to young men’s lives and thwarts their participation in the formal labor force.

Family Court is Traumatic - 2016

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