Child support in America is a hypocrisy. It purports to ensure economic stability of children, when in fact many of the policies unfairly criminalize, devastate, oppress and marginalize the poor and the vulnerable. Low-income, noncustodial fathers of color face the most devastating consequences.
Imagine losing everything in bitter divorce or child protection proceedings. Imagine being permanently cast away from your life and your children. Imagine being ordered to pay more money than you take home for minor children you can no longer see. Imagine the searing pain each month, when emotional scars tear open. Seeing your paycheck vanish like clockwork is a cruel reminder that your children are nowhere near. Imagine being so poor that you often feel as if nothing in this world belongs to you. Imagine being jailed, losing your license, your freedom, your dignity for the mere crime of being poor.
Child Support’s war on poor families punishes custodial parents as well as noncustodial parents. As a result of “Welfare Cost Recovery” mandates, child support dollars paid towards the most impoverished families are intercepted by the government. Each year, California intercepts and keeps approximately $350 million dollars in child support from low-income families.
California is on the cusp of transformational changes to the child support program that will create significant and compassionate family-centered improvements to the child support program.
Click HERE to read full story in CalMatters.
It’s a minor miracle that anyone can live in San Francisco on a $900 a month Social Security check, but Freddie Persons – a 75-year-old retiree – has survived times with his belt far tighter.
Until recently, the government automatically garnished $300 from his monthly check. When he worked as a janitor for 36 years at Bayview Plaza mall, they took nearly twice that, he said.
“Everything is hard when they take that money when you’re already poor to begin with,” Persons said.
The reason for those garnished wages? Decades ago, Persons fell behind on child support payments, incurring a crushing 10% interest penalty that wreaked havoc on his financial life for years. And yet, for all the tens of thousands of dollars he paid, only a small sliver of his payments actually went to his children and their mother.
Click HERE to read Paul's entire heartbreaking story.
Paul Guevara’s life changed in an instant one winter afternoon in the outskirts of Sacramento, when he came home early from a double shift at work. The sun was beginning to set, but the lights in the house were still off. Paul flipped the lightswitch and his eyes were scalded by the sight of his wife in bed with his best friend. Till this very day, Paul remembers every detail, every scent, every sound of that singular moment. He remembers the feelings of pain and betrayal and sorrow rushing through him like lava, like poison. It was the most painful of moments and it all happened in slow motion. Something, everything, inside of him imploded- his soul perhaps.
Rodney Hampton was arrested for cannabis at the age of nineteen. Now three decades have passed and Hampton now has a thriving black-owned dispensary in the San Francisco Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco.
Hampton continues to fight for equity on issues impacting himself and his community. Hampton is a child support impacted father who was able to free himself from the stranglehold that child support polices often have on low-income fathers trying to break from from poverty.
"The way the system is dealing with (child support), it held me back for so many years (...) These tactics are deteriorating the communities and actually hurting children."
Hampton is rallying the Bayview community in support of the Parenting & Poverty Justice rally on October 29. Join him in bringing justice to child support impacted persons. Register here..
Registrants can request receive transportation.