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'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?…' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

The Hidden Price Tag of Child Support….

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Women: Beg, borrow, don’t sleep (we did this when kids were little, and if you have also lived with domestic violence, many of you already know how not to have a sound night’s sleep), figure SOMETHING out.

“Beware Greeks” (or government employees) bearing “gifts.”

There is NO such thing as a “free lunch.”

But if you are living in poverty, as many single mothers are for various reasons, and you enlist the support of your local government by applying for TANF or Medicaid, the Child Support Division will GET YOU (LMAO) so that they can collect from the absent parent. The government got tired of supporting single mothers so they figured out (many years ago) that they should get reimbursed by the absent parent….
which was when the absent parent decided “he” wanted shared/50-50/equal parenting/custody (in recent years).

Well said.  That’s not QUITE how it developed, Randi, but I’m posting your warning / opinion link below, because women deserve to know up front.

Nonprofits need warm bodies as clients.  Nonprofits that take funding from the federal system (through states, through counties, sometimes through courts) actually RECRUIT fathers — in various institutions, and offer them help to abate child support arrears in exchange for more custodial time with their kids.  This is a win-win situation for most people — except the kids, and the parents of those kids.  Why?  Because the mothers are told one thing, and the fathers another.    Then, naturally, we are labeled for having indignation, including at that.

The word “noncustodial parent” is code for “father.”  If you haven’t figured this out yet, don’t blame me!

The child support system is incredibly opaque to mothers, so many times.  Easy in, hard to get out.  For example, I haven’t seen my own children for far too long, they have not been in my “custody.”  The normal, average, street understanding of the word “custody” has to do with either a sheriff that just took a criminal or someone off the street into “custody,” or — in these fields, which parent has the child.  Or, do child protective services, or foster parents receive, I guess “custody.”

NORMAL WORDS HAVE DIFFERENT MEANINGS IN THE CHILD SUPPORT SYSTEM. 

But this system calls parents who are OWED money “custodial” in its electronic calculations, regardless of where any children live.  For example, if I want to go check on how much my ex has not paid me on the outstanding arrears he had before he (or someone helping him) figured out a way to at least stop child support from accruing — take the kids — I must still sign in under “custodial” parent field in this statewide distribution system.

IS IT IN EFFECT CHILD RENTAL?  OR IS IT NOT?

Then they repeatedly assert (falsely) that it’s NOT about children for time (i.e., children’s time for SALE, essentially.  Consider the message this sends growing young ladies….and what a “healthy” marriage message it is…).  However, in calculating who owes what, time IS a factor.

And if you can follow that, you should be able to graduate from at least calculus, let alone be able to add, subtract, multiply, and project what direction income is heading, and where.

NO, she is right.  Child Support is a misnomer.

There is NO “free lunch,” no matter what you are told on the posters.

My involvement:

I, too, after a decade of abuse, really relished the reliability — for just a few months — of actual predictable income, welfare level plus Food Stamps — that I could actually spend, and determine how to use for my (then young) children’s needs.

It was just a single stair-step out of the abuse. I was off it almost immediately, and with him out of the house, and then one move, I had my act together.

Then, WHAM!  You have no idea how THREATENING it is to certain powers to actually be a self-supporting, good, single mother. Of for an ex-batterer to have actual proof that, once he was out of the home, the home was doing better (even if he was not out of the children’s lives).  Either way, you are cutting in on someone else’s business.

Besides, poverty of any sort is your own fault, right?

RESULTS?

What I paid for thinking that someone helping us AFTER and OUT of abuse was actually altruistic, and didn’t have an ulterior motive:

I paid with the custody of my children, the viability of my profession, and was eventually forced BACK onto Food stamps, only years older, with a further broken job history (broken by years in family court answering ridiculous allegations that a single phone call — or a single examination of probably less than 3 pages of paper evidence proving the allegations false — would have easily proved baseless). Both parents — neither who could afford this — alternately hired an attorney; me, to defend from custody action, he to stop my second attempt to reinstate a restraining order.

I have news for you. Restraining orders are hard to get once you’ve been in family court. The police tend to defer to that venue; their job is tough enough already.

Wade Horn (below) was eventually “outed” and as I recall, had to resign, but the programs he initiated remain. The OCSE (Office of Child Support Enforcement) is basically a fatherhood and healthy marriage programs recruiting center.

In my own case, once the kids were switched, the child support agency went deaf, dumb and blind. They couldn’t get a document served.  I couldn’t get a response until I talked to someone who knew someone who knew someone, after which it turned over, lumbering in sleep, and started to act. 

N ot nearly so swift as the father and friends, who had a VERY fast learning curve as to the system (or some help navigating it, apparently).   While it was thinking about thinking about moving, our situation heated up, especially around the frequent exchanges. 

After the snatch, a significant arrears was retroactively abated, reduced by a significant portion, and payments almost eliminated.  The almost-eliminated payments didn’t come in regularly, anyhow, and my rights to enforce contempt, hard enough to start with, were snipped.

So, while this child support organization (locally) goes on TV crowing about their successes, I keep my doggie-bag handy at the time, for spit-up (gag reflex).  Besides, the OCSE, and Fatherhood AND . .. DV agencies are basically in (bed, may I say?) together in some of these matters.  At least they are conferencing together….

So, DO NOT GO FOR CHILD SUPPORT AGENCY — IT”S A TRAP! IT’s A SINKHOLE! For further documentation, see http://www.NAFCJ.net, among others.  (Disclaimer:  Obviously this is opinion, and not legal advice!  Am I your counselor?  No….  I’m a blogger….)

Thank you, Randi James, for saying this better (and in better fonts) than I could.

Here’s an older post of hers citing the 2005 open letter from CA NOW to investigate Fatherhood Funding and citing their 2002 family court report.

Randi asks (or Helen Grieco does, read for yourself) who is going to audit those funds?

Then Ms. James (Randijames) comments — what’s happened since then?]

I’ll tell you what I think happened: NOW’s agenda changed. They are active, but not as active in this venue. STILL, the work remains on-line, at least I think so…

Thursday DHHS, Responsible Fatherhood, the Family Court: Your Tax Dollars Being Wasted On an Illegal Hype

August 2, 2005

California Member of Congress, California National Organization for Women (CA NOW) is respectfully requesting that you join the call for a federal investigation, by the U.S. Government Reform Committee, into the operations of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration of Children and Families’ Access/Visitation and “Responsible Fatherhood” programs, including those operating in California.  

CA NOW believes that these fatherhood programs misuse funds, do not account for their spending nor evaluation of their programming, and encourage illegal court practices that result in harm to women’s safety and well-being. We believe that fathers’ child support arrears are frequently abated by these groups, in violation of the Bradley amendment.

We also believe that Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration of Children and Families, has a conflict of interest serving in this capacity, and operates from a dangerous political ideology that actively favors fathers’ rights and seeks to minimize mothers’.  

CA NOW believes an investigation would expose serious system failure and fraud in these fatherhood programs. They are funded with federal money intended for resolving parental disputes, but instead give legal representation to fathers, which often results in high conflict litigation against perfectly fit mothers. CA NOW believes many fathers use these resources in order to avoid paying child support, and that many batterers do so in order to continue to abuse and manipulate their spouses and children through financially draining and emotionally devastating litigation, that often stretches on for years and years.

Fatherhood programs operate on the false premise that there is a “crisis in fatherlessness,” which is contradicted by Census data. CA NOW asked HHS, and the National Fatherhood Initiative (the most cited program on the HHS website) to justify this claim of crisis, and to date have not received an answer from them.

{{Comment: This is like asking a pimp to stop collecting wages from the fees of his “stable.” Or ASKING a crack addict to stop. There’s a high off that power!

{{I am starting another page, and plan to post some of the $$ quoted (at least on HHS own’ site). NFI is again receiving funding, although initially they were more in the breeding (of programs like themselves) business. Chronologically: 1994 — NFI formed. Then its key player goes to key position within HHS. Then he’s out, but the programs remain. The work is done, and ongoing. I just haven’t figured out how to upload spreadsheets yet.}}

We believe the entire premise for the programming is erroneous, and that mothers and their children are suffering harm from the consequences of such a focus. Through political connection, legal trainings, and funding diversions, these fatherhood programs emphasize false syndromes, such as Parental Alienation Syndrome as a technique to remove children from their mothers. Fatherhood groups train court appointed minors’ attorneys, mediators and evaluators to discriminate against mothers, and create a vacuous draining of mothers of funding, faith in the system, and ability to fight to protect their children.

{{And where Joe Public, or Jane Doe are taken in is credulity.  “SURELY, no one would do that; that’s outrageous.  This is a JUSTICE system, right?  Everyone “knows” that mothers have an advantage in custody trials…”  ((oh???))}}

Tell that to the mother in Victorville who lost a 9-month old infant on court-ordered visitation, and her attempts to get safety dismissed because a judge affirmed she was making it up.  This is now the new “model” in too many families, and it’s GREAT business all round — for certain professions — except for the families and kids who have to pick up around this, and society, who picks up the tab..}}

These are primary caregiving mothers. Single mothers whose children’s fathers come back after years without contact, and demand and receive full or partial custody. Mothers are losing custody to their abusers, to men who have abused or neglected their children, and men with criminal backgrounds.

Often fathers are awarded custody based on frivolous justifications, such as insufficient cooperation with the father, while documented evidence of domestic violence and abuse, even sexual abuse, goes ignored.

In 2002 California NOW analyzed 300 complaints from California mothers who believed family courts ignored laws, procedures and evidence in their cases. We used this analysis as the basis of our report, the CA NOW Family Court Report 2002.

{{Read it, or be uninformed.  Find out which BANK morphed into which BANK funding the AFCC.  Same BANK is in charge — at least in this state — of the statewide child distribution system, as far as I can tell.  That’s reassuring…}}

The report shows that in these particular cases, where women had lost custody of their children, there was a high correlation between grounded evidence of child abuse by the father and the mother losing custody. 86% could prove that their children’s father had a history of domestic violence, child abuse, or a criminal record. In many cases, illegal maneuvers, such as the labeling of mothers with false syndromes, as well as the use of ex parte hearings, and biased and unqualified extra-judicial personnel, were used to remove children from their primary care-giving mothers, thus violating the woman’s parental rights and injuring the child(ren) by loss of contact with their non-offending mother.

Other professional comprehensive studies show similar results, including the Wellesley Women’s Center Battered Women’s Testimony Project, and sociologist Amy Neustein, PhD and attorney Michael Lesher’s book, Madness to Mutiny: Why Mothers Are Running from the Family Courts—and What Can Be Done About It. In addition, CA NOW believes that Wade Horn, current Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, has a major conflict of interest in his role overseeing such programs, given his past affiliation as president of the National Fatherhood Initiative.

Horn, as President of National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), promoted (in collaboration with fathers rights groups) during 1999 and 2000, “Fathers Count” legislation, which would have mandated $10,000,000 in total annual funding to fathers organizations. According to the legislative language, only NFI and the leading fathers’ rights group, Children’s Rights Council, would have qualified for the grants. The bill passed the Congress, but was stalled by the Senate Finance Committee. In March 2001, NFI received a $500,000 non-competitive grant, shortly after Horn became “Acting” HHS Assistant Secretary ( February 2001), while he was still NFI President (not resigning until July 2001). This grant was authorized by a December 2000 Congressional “ear-mark” inserted in an appropriations bill after the “Fathers Count” bill failed to pass the Senate Finance Committee.

NFI refuses to disclose how this money was used. Also, Horn conceals he has on-going conflicts-of-interest with NFI and the implementation of the fatherhood programs.

California NOW has HHS evaluation reports that show that the “Responsible Fatherhood” program is used for unauthorized practices such as soliciting fathers through the child support system with offers of abatements on their child support arrears (in violation of the Bradley Amendment) and free attorneys for their custody litigation. Some litigating mothers have provided us with county payment records that show the attorney of the litigating farther was paid from these programs. These unauthorized practices are so common that flyers soliciting fathers into ‘litigation assistance’ groups have been found displayed in county court buildings, while some state court web sites display links to their fatherhood programs. This practice violates the mission of the judicial system, as it provides special litigation assistance to one-side of a legal dispute.

While being funded by federal money, these court-based fatherhood services do not admit non- custodial mothers into their programs. (In fact, a search of the HHS website includes 286 references to “motherhood” and 824 references to “fatherhood.”)

California NOW has copies of internal HHS e- mail showing Wade Horn’s staff have obstructed investigations of mothers’ complaints about the Responsible Fatherhood and related programs.

California NOW is asking for you to join the call for a thorough investigation by the Government Reform Committee into the fatherhood programs—including those in California– and HHS Assistant Secretary, Wade Horn’s conflict of interest in these programs.

We implore you to support the Government Reform Committee’s investigations–already now underway–by contacting the staff investigator and urging that California be included in the investigation. The staff director is David Marin, phone number 202-225-5074, address c/o Government Reform Committee, 2157 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. Thank you for your time and immediate attention to this matter.

For Justice, Helen Grieco

Executive Director California National Organization for Women (CA NOW) _____

(Randi James writes):

This was 2005. What came of this? Where is NOW, now? See below this post for other posts of mine on topics that are covered in this letter.

Here’s another one of her posts, and if you don’t like the blunt truth in blunt language, go be politically correct and euphemistic elsewhere, but realize this is a mutual bottom line we are talking about here.

If you want to know what a WAR is like, remember to talk to the Veterans of it, not just the Congressional people who authorized the war, and sent other people’s kids (or their own) off to it!

A recent NYT featured books written from the front lines about war. Well, these blogs are “from the front lines” on these issues. We are RIGHT about the Child Support farce, and mothers would do well to take heed to it.

The other thing that may happen — and happened to some of us — is that when a father is actually pursued for money, a very important status symbol to men in this culture, and most cultures — a number of reactions may happen, only ONE of which is going for custody of children he previously cared little about.

Anoither version of the same type of struggle is worse, and if you are familiar with the Hans Reiser case in Lafayette, California, his wife NINA disappeared on a court-ordered exchange of their young children.

It was high-profile, he was convicted with killing her before a body was shown up, and then plea-bargained his sentence down by saving the police time and showing where she was buried.

Not so frequently reported about, on that case, was that at this time, he had a $10,000 child support arrears, and had been arrested with thousands of dollars cash on his person.

DECENT fathers understand that children need money to survive, but when feelings are involved, and the “reptilian” part of the brain is active — and when the environment (in the gender wars in the courts) is favorable towards this, and not reason and common sense — things can go seriously haywire. The loser is ALWAYS going to be the kids, FIRST, and thereafter, society.

JUST DON’T DO IT!

Again, that’s not legal advice, that’s my opinion.

As Ms. James says:

I Don’t Want Child Support

Dear Reader,

I don’t want the shit (child support) either. In fact, many of us mothers, at this point, would gladly retract the child support in exchange for the ability to raise our children without interference from our abusers. Legal auction.


(AND that IS what’s in the fine print…That’s what’s at stake!


My advice to you, if you can do without, live in abject poverty and fuck child support. In fact, write FATHER UNKNOWN on the birth certificate. You may feel like you’re losing, and it isn’t right, but everyone will win.

Consider your situation, I’m writing this half jokingly, but 100% seriously.

Well, that’s not always practical, but the point remains….

Stop presenting children to be fleeced, along with yourself, if at ALL possible.  Don’t say you weren’t warned!

(Formatting difficulties below…)

OMB REPORT DESCRIBING ACCESS VISITATION FUNDS — PROGRAM PARTICIPANT SURVEY (This one, 2008):

State Child Access Program Survey:
Instructions
 

Purpose
 
 

The purpose of this survey is to provide information to Congress on the progress of services provided under the Child Access and Visitation Grant, the goal of which is to “…support and facilitate a noncustodial parents’ access to and visitation with their children.”
 
 

Survey Components
 
 

The
The state is:
… responsible for summarizing much of the data provided by its grantees and reflecting this information in the “State Agency Program Survey” part of the form. The state is also responsible for making sure that local service providers or grantees complete the “Local Service Provider Survey” part of the form. In the instance a state transfers its child access grant funds to another state agency (e.g., Office of the Courts) who, in turn, issues grants to local courts and/or community-based organizations, {{this could be called (??) “Separation of Powers” (Legal, Judicial, Executive, right?  Yeah, sure.  It ALSO is, “separation of church and state.”  Yeah, sure.*** }} the state must ensure that these “sub-grantees” complete the “Local Service Provider Survey.”

State Child Access Program Survey is comprised of two-parts: 1) the State Agency Program Survey; and 2) the Local Service Provider Survey. “State Child Access Program Survey” to OCSE by REQUIRED OUTCOME

  

#1. Increased NCP parenting time with children. (NCP = non custodial parent)
:

DEFINITION of Required Outcome:
 
 

“An increase in the number of hours, days, weekends, and/or holidays as compared to parenting time prior to the provision of access and visitation services.”
 
 
 

 

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT:  OUT-COME BASED JUDICIAL PROCESS.  Of course, this doesn’t exactly mean equality of “DUE PROCESS.”  They are kind of at the opposite ends of the spectrum, right?   How is one to “increase parenting time” if the facts just don’t support the wisdom of this?  LIke CPS says Daddy was waterboarding, or Mommy was doing something incorrect too, or so forth?  Well, a judge examining facts/law couldn’t, but a mediator sure could.  Someone NOT subject to cross-examination, due process, and particularly if immune for prosecution for slander, bias, etc. — that would be a lot harder to deal with, for the shocked parent that wondered “what happened?  What part of this don’t you “GET”??”  Well, the part that parent didn’t GET is what went on behind closed doors with ONE parent, but not the other, at federal expense.  THAT’s what tipped the scale…. 

 

In addition, Section D: Local Service Provider Worksheet was developed to assist service providers in compiling information on clients served. The “Case Reference/Identification Number” can be the same “case” number used by a service provider at client intake. It must be emphasized, however, that personal social security numbers are not to be used since this would be a breach of client confidentiality.

SOURCE (and better viewed on the PDF):

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/forms/omb-0970-0204.pdf

Here’s the FEDERAL GRANTSWIRE description, in part:

Program

93.597 Grants to States for Access and Visitation Programs

Federal Agency

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Office: Administration for Children and Families

Authorization

Social Security Act, Title IV, Part D, Section 469B, Public Law 104-193.

Program Number

93.597

Last Known Status

Active

Objectives

To enable States to create programs which support and facilitate access and visitation by non-custodial parents with their children.   {{of course “support and facilitate” in practice typically may include the reality of “mandatory…”  No meet the “required outcome” of the court process — more NCP time with the kid  = may compromise next year’s funding.  ….}}

Activities may {{??}} include mediation, counseling, education, development of parenting plans, visitation enforcement and development of guidelines for visitation and alternative custody arrangements.

(WOW — sounds like a list of the professions represented in large part by the AFCC…) (What a coincidence….)

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

All States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Custodial and non-custodial parents and children.

My total loss of custody, and other mothers’, was a definite “beneficiary” of these types of services.  I suppose…

Credentials/Documentation

The Governors have designated a single State agency to represent the State in carrying out this responsibility. OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.

 

(Formatting loophole — this info is from the OMB reporting requirements, prior link): 

Last, the state is responsible for submitting the

November 30th of each year that the survey is authorized.

The local service provider is: …responsible for completing the “Local Service Provider Survey” for clients served and submitting this information to the state who, in turn, will submit it to OCSE . A new feature of the survey (see Section D: Local Service Provider Worksheet) requires that grantees report on the following:

{{Typical of our government:  Grammar off – it doesn’t even agree in number:  “a noncustodial parents’ “(is that singular or plural?  I think singular was intended by “a” but parents’ is definitely plural.  Maybe we can figure it out in context..  let’s read on…  )..”access to and visitation with their children.”   (Was the NCP a singular or a plural person?  Maybe it was plural, because it’s access to “their” children.” 

And we wonder why our kids have deficit attention disorder?  And need remedial reading?  The government can’t even pay attention to number (singular/plural?) for a complete sentence…)  Or, maybe there was a sperm donor, so “NCP” — which we know means Dads anyhow — MAY refer to more than one NCP per child.  Well, you go figure it out….)}}

{{Now as to the hypocrisy — I already posted on why I don’t copyedit around here, so MY ____ is covered in that regard, I hope.}}

As part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, states are required to monitor, evaluate, and report on programs funded through this grant program in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary.

My personal recommendation is that we citizens get out our GUIDESTAR free registrations, and do this ourselves.  After all, whose dollars are they?  Whose country IS this?

A final rule delineating the program data reporting requirements was published by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement in the Federal Register (64 FR 15132) on March 30, 1999, and specifies the collection of data as follows:

“Section 303.109(c) REPORTING. The state must:

(1) Report a detailed description of each program funded, providing the following information as appropriate: service providers and administrators, service area (rural/urban), population served (income, race, marital status), program goals, application or referral process (including referral sources), voluntary or mandatory nature of the programs, types of activities and length and features of a completed program; and

(2) Report data including: the number of applicants/referrals for each program, the total number of participating individuals, and the number of persons who have completed program requirements by authorized activities (mediation—voluntary and mandatory, counseling, education, development of parenting plans, visitation enforcement—

including monitoring, supervision and neutral drop-off and pickup) and development of guidelines for visitation and alternative custody arrangements.”

Let’s look at this funding in, say, California, Florida, NY, and Texas — typically among the largest states in grants searches.

93.597 — seen at THIS link:

Trend

Bar chart is from the data in the below table

2000Data from census.gov $9,800,000
2001 $9,800,000
2002 $19,543,038
2003 $9,643,505
2004 $10,000,000
2005 $10,000,000
2006 $0
2007Data from Agencies $10,000,000
2008 $10,000,000
2009Agencies start send Recovery Act  data $7,141,989
2010 $10,000,000

 

93.601:  Child Support Enforcement and Demo Projects HERE:

Trend

Bar chart is from the data in the below table

2000Data from census.gov $0
2001 $0
2002 $0
2003 $0
2004 $0
2005 $0
2006 $0
2007Data from Agencies $1,556,856
2008 $1,295,662
2009Agencies start send Recovery Act  data $1,051,645
2010 $0

 

OK, something new coming down the pike, obviously…

And  93.563, Child Support Enforcement:

Federal dollars: $31,546,418,240
Total number of recipients: 157
Total number of transactions: 85,611

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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

Red Herring Alert

There's something fishy going on!

The American Spring Network

News. by the people, for the people. The #1 source for independent investigative journalism in the Show-Me State, serving Missouri since 2011.

Family Court Injustice

It Takes "Just Us" to Fight Family Court Injustice

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Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence

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