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How many foundations, acronyms (CPR, MDRC, PSI), Federal $$ and Ivy League hotshots does it take to “screw” . . the Poor?

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INTRO (added 07/17)

For international visitors, or others who may not get the pun in the title:

There’s a common joke used to degrade people of certain ethnic — or professional — profiles, usually to insult the intelligence of the target group. It refers to screwing in a a lightbulb, something a child can do, and goes “How many ______s does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” and the answer is a clever twist on why it takes so many. ”

The word “Screw” has another off-color connotation, pun intended here.

In this case, it’s NOT a joke; the more I look, the more I feel the USA is screwed. By whom — read on. I experienced total devastation through this system, so far, and without committing a single crime. My “social” crime was not taking the low road, but the high road, out of a marriage that probably shouldn’t have happened, but did, and then my misplaced value on marriage (exactly what these people are promoting) resulted in my staying in just short of us becoming a statistic. There weren’t real other options, that I saw — welfare, and a battered women’s shelter with one toddler, and pregnant with another child? That wasn’t in my vocabulary or background – we were a WORKING family.

We didn’t fit — at all (nor do many women affected by religious-based violence) the target profile of these programs — AT ALL. I was full-time employed while pregnant, and gave birth to very healthy children, fully covered by insurance provided by my work, not his. By the second child, almost every infrastructure was shut down — for me — and came only through him, and he wasn’t very forthcoming.

Women are NOT going to be safe in their marriages, if the marriage goes sour or violent, or OUTSIDE them unless we can be safely independent without excommunication from our communities.

Society has to handle its love/hate relationship with the PAID wages of employed mothers (meaning, child care, school system, after care, a certain scenario. Because the public school system in this country discriminates against the poor, that also impacts their future) AND the UNPAID benefits nonworking mothers provide to their familis and children.

CORPORATIONS historically have cared about their profits first, and their employees second, until forced to do differently. This splits up families, obviously. SCHOOLS in the US are also a jobs basis and designed on the corporate model, the “employer” being the government (although that government gets its wages from the very parents and non-parents it claims to be serving and educating).

CHURCHES, MOSQUES and SYNAGOGUES also must deal with money matters, and typically exist (from what I understand) in the US as “nonprofit” tax-exempt corporations. They have mortgages and typically pay their leaders (although not always). Therefore when a financial conflict of interest arises because a prominent — or even just attending — father begins assaulting a daughter or a wife, the temptation will be to cover it up for the “greater good,” i.e., continuing the community, but sacrificing the individual’s rights or safety. Some readers will remember, this was attributed to why Jesus Christ had to be sacrificed – – because if he “rocked the boat,” the Romans might come in and make it worse for the Jews. Which, later, obviously happened.

=======

As a woman who has seen the best and worst of a religion I adopted as a young woman because my own family was destitute of one, of a personal family identity outside one father’s professional profile (for the most part), I am quite willing to reject “religion” when it fails to practice what it preaches as I see my government, and its institutions have also utterly failed the people they preach about “serving.”

These foundations have utterly forgotten what the Declaration of Indepencence declares, and are mostly concerned about their own positions in life, and structuring a society to preserve their right to run others’ lives without their informed consent, and at their expense, too.

When a president cannot say the word “mother” along with the word “father” when describing “Families and Children,” and this president is held up as a role model and leader, women, and mothers of children, and the children ARE “screwed.” Linguistically, they are just sperm incubators, a delivery system for kids. We also get to now be scapegoats for society by either declining to marry, or leaving a marriage, yet the actual scapegoats are the society’s engineers, not the people who have become simply the gas in its (think) tanks or the blood in its veins.

It takes time to gestate and raise a child, and I think we are approaching the time when women are going to start saying NO! We will NOT produce babies for you to abuse, waste, or box up and become half-human order-takers and low-wage laborers, or young men and women to go fight your wars over land, oil, and the global economic system. If I participate in this happening, perhaps I will have in part helped compensate for having been unable to stop domestic violence they witnessed growing up, or divert and protect them from the INSANITY that took place the moment some professional, probably on the take either literally ($$) or by business referrals, knew how to “let the games begin” by getting our case into a custody battle.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MARRIAGE/FATHERHOOD COIN – –

SUSPENDING CIVIL RIGHTS MAKES NO $$SENSE$

This dates back 5 years.

2005

(DOLLARS and SENSE logo here)

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Marriage Promotion, Reproductive Injustice, and the War Against Poor Women of Color

BY SARAH OLSON

(1/05/2005)

On December 22, at the stroke of midnight, Renita Pitts became a single woman. Renita is 44 years old, a mother of five with 14 grandchildren. She has been on and off of welfare for most of her life. After she had her fifth child, her husband brought crack cocaine into their house, telling her that it would help her lose weight. She became addicted and struggled for 13 years with that addiction. Throughout her marriage, Renita says, she was afraid to leave her house. “I couldn’t trust my husband with our children long enough to go to school. If I left for even an hour, he would have a full-fledged party going on when I came back,” she says. In addition to being a drug addict, Renita’s husband was verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive. She says they fought frequently, and she had to call the police again and again.

Renita and her husband separated shortly after she stopped using drugs and returned to college. She had also begun attending church. According to Renita, her husband “was insecure because of my security.” He gave her an ultimatum, saying she must leave school and stop going to church. When she refused, he left.

Despite the abuse and the drugs, Renita says, she felt many social pressures to stay married. Regardless, she says, “it was important not to have him in my life, constantly pumping me full of drugs.” She says the relationship had become so abusive that if she had stayed in it any longer, “someone would have ended up dead.”

With the help of California’s welfare program, Renita is currently enrolled in the African American Studies and Social Welfare departments at the University of California at Berkeley and works on social justice issues at the Women of Color Resource Center. She was happy to see her divorce finalized in December.

The life stories of Renita and many other women like her are not on the radar screen in Washington, however. Legislation that would promote marriage among low-income people is currently wending its way through Congress. The so-called “Healthy Marriage Initiative” includes a range of provisions designed to encourage women on welfare to get and stay married: providing extra cash bonuses to recipients who get married, deducting money from welfare checks when mothers are living with men who are not the fathers of their children, increasing monthly welfare checks for married couples, offering marriage and relationship education classes, and putting up billboards in low-income communities promoting the value of marriage. Several provisions specifically target Latino and African-American communities. So-called marriage promotion policies, such as those in the Healthy Marriage Initiative, have been touted by the Bush administration and enjoy wide bipartisan support in Washington. Many advocates, however, are concerned that, if the bill passes, it would become more difficult for Renita and domestic violence survivors like her to get a divorce and to survive without a husband.

Married Good, Single Bad

The administration’s point man for marriage promotion is Dr. Wade Horn, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services {HHS}, whose Administration for Children and Families {ACF} would run the initiative. In July 2002 Horn wrote, “On average, children raised by their own parents in healthy and stable married families enjoy better physical and mental health and are less likely to be poor. They’re more successful in school, have lower dropout rates, and fewer teenage pregnancies. Adults, too, benefit from healthy and stable marriages.” Critics say Horn sees the wedded state as a cure-all for society’s ills, while ignoring the difficulties of promoting something as intensely personal as marriage. Horn and others in the ACF refused repeated requests for comment.

Marriage promotion legislation has its roots in the 1996 welfare reform act. This legislation ended welfare as an entitlement–it allowed states to deny assistance to fully qualified applicants, and resulted in the abrogation of some applicants’ constitutional rights. It also created a five-year lifetime limit for welfare recipients, denied aid to many immigrant communities, created cumbersome financial reporting requirements for welfare recipients, and set up work rules that, according to many recipients, emphasize work hours over meaningful employment opportunities and skill development. The legislation explicitly claimed promoting marriage as one of its aims.

When welfare reform was passed, Congress required that it be revisited in five years. The Healthy Marriage Initiative that Congress is considering today was introduced in 2002 as part of the welfare reform reauthorization package. Welfare–now known as Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF)–was set to be reauthorized that year, but that reauthorization is now two years overdue.

In September, Senators Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) introduced a bill to reauthorize welfare for six months without overall changes, but with $800 million for marriage promotion and fatherhood programs over a two-year period. Sen. Santorum has been a strong proponent of marriage promotion. In an October 2003 speech to the Heritage Foundation, he promised to aggressively press for legislation that supported marriage between one man and one woman. “The government must promote marriage as a fundamental societal benefit. … Both for its intrinsic good and for its benefits for society, we need marriage.

{{Did these men, Senators, not take an oath of office similar to the President’s, to uphold and defend the constitution? If these Senators are so concerned about marriage, why don’t they socially shun, and hold conferences about, some of their cheating-on-their-wives colleagues, let alone former Presidents (let’s hope Obama has better sense than Clinton in that category)..?? ONE nation under God, and ONE set of Federal laws, and ONE set of the Bill of Rights for all. Government designing family life is the same as Government deciding religion, and as such is prohibited…}}

And just as important, we need public leaders to communicate to the American public why it is necessary.” The reauthorization bill has died in the Senate, but because of its strong bipartisan support, it is likely to be re-introduced. Sen. Santorum refused repeated requests for comment for this story.

Diverting Dollars

Although the debate about marriage promotion has focused on the Healthy Marriage Initiative, this is just one piece of the Bush administration’s pro-marriage agenda. The Department of Health and Human Services has already diverted over $100 million within existing programs into marriage promotion. These are programs that have no specific legislative authority to promote marriage. Some examples: $6.1 million has been diverted from the Child Support Enforcement Program, $9 million from the Refugee Resettlement Program, $14 million from the Child Welfare Program, and $40 million from the Social and Economic Development Strategies Program focusing on Native Americans, among others. Plus, another nearly $80 million has been awarded to research groups studying marriage.

One beneficiary is in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Healthy Marriages Grand Rapids received $990,000 from the federal government in 2003 to “facilitate the understanding that healthy marriages between parents is [sic] critical to the financial well-being of children, increase effective co-parenting skills of married and non-married parents to improve relationships between low-income adults who parent children, increase active, healthy participation of non-custodial fathers in the lives of their children, increase the number of prepared marriages among low-income adults, and decrease the divorce rate among low-income adults.” The program coordinates local public media campaigns plugging marriage as well as relationship counseling classes, many offered by faith-based providers.

It is precisely this emphasis on marriage as a cure for economic woes that worries many welfare recipients and advocates. According to Liz Accles at the Welfare Made a Difference National Campaign, “Marriage promotion is problematic for many reasons. It is discriminatory. It values certain families over others. It intrudes on privacy rights. The coercive nature of this is lost on a lot of people because they don’t realize how deeply in poverty people are living.” Accles says that adequate educational opportunities, subsidized child care, and real job skills and opportunities are the answer to the financial concerns of women on welfare. She joins many domestic violence counselors in saying that marriage education funded by government coffers and administered via faith-based providers and welfare case workers is at best a waste of taxpayer money, and at worst pushes women deeper into abusive relationships that may end in injury or death

{{including sometimes to the kids. I’m still waiting for someone to explain to us how THAT helps the welfare of children And now that’s it’s known this happening, why hasn’t the policy changed??!}}

In Allentown, Pa., a program called the Family Formation and Development Project offers a 12-week marriage education course for low-income, unmarried couples with children. Employment services are offered as part of the program, but only to fathers. In its application for federal funding, the program set a goal of 90% of the participating fathers finding employment. No such goal was set for the mothers. According to Jennifer Brown, legal director at the women’s legal rights organization Legal Momentum, which filed a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services, “What we fear is that this kind of sex stereotyped programming–jobs for fathers, not for mothers–will be part of marriage promotion programs funded by the government.”

Experts at Legal Momentum are concerned that the administration is diverting scarce funds from proven and effective anti-poverty programs and funneling the money into untested marriage-promotion programs. They say there is little information about what is happening on the ground, making it difficult to determine what activities have been implemented.

Feminist economists point out that the mid-1990s welfare reform law served larger economic interests by moving women out of the home and into the work force at a time when the economy was booming and there was a need for low-paid service workers. Now that the economy is in a recession, the government has adopted a more aggressive policy of marriage promotion, to pull women out of the work force and back into the home. According to Avis Jones-DeWeever, Poverty and Welfare Study director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “We are talking about putting $1.5 billion into telling women to find their knight in shining armor and then everything will be okay.”

Jones-DeWeever says the view that marriage creates more economically stable individuals is not grounded in reality. She notes that individuals are likely to marry within their own socioeconomic group, so low-income women are likely to marry low-income men. According to author Barbara Ehrenreich’s estimates, low-income women would need to have roughly 2.3 husbands apiece in order to lift them out of poverty. Jones-DeWeever points out that in African-American communities, there are simply not enough men to marry: there are approximately two and a half women for every African-American man who is employed and not in jail. In addition, many social policy analysts are quick to point out that in general, poor people are not poor because they’re unmarried. Rather, they may be unmarried because they’re poor: the socioeconomic conditions in low-income communities contribute to a climate in which healthy marriages are difficult to sustain.

Another criticism of marriage promotion comes from survivors of domestic violence and their advocates. Studies consistently show that between 50% and 60%–in some studies up to 80%–of women on welfare have suffered some form of domestic violence, compared to 22% of the general population. In addition, between 3.3 and 10 million children witness domestic violence each year. Domestic violence survivors say their abuse was often a barrier to work, and many have reported being harassed or abused while at work. Most survivors needed welfare to escape the relationship and the violence. Any policy that provides incentives for women to become and stay married is in effect coercing poor women into marriage. Many women on welfare, like Renita Pitts, say that their marriages, rather than helping them out of poverty, set up overwhelming barriers to building their own autonomous and productive lives.

According to Kaaryn Gustafson, associate professor of law at the University of Connecticut, policies that attempt to look out for women’s safety by restricting or coercing their activities are paternalistic and misguided. “The patriarchal model is really troubling. The gist is that if there isn’t a man in the house there isn’t a family. The studies of family well-being are all very problematic because you cannot parse out the issues of education, socioeconomic status, and other emotional and psychological issues that are tied up in who gets married and who doesn’t.”

Domestic violence ITSELF often is a reflection of a paternalistic attitude, and this DOES stem at least from faith communities. Moreover, we have to look at this United States which used to legalize slavery. Slavery is abusive and a paternalistic attitude justified it. I’ve “just” had enough of this! So, in effect, promoting marriage — both undermines individual civil rights, and duplicates the same attitude which justifies such violence towards a woman because she is a woman!

Reproductive Straitjacket

While marriage promotion as a federal policy began in 1996, many say it is only one part of a much larger system of control over, and sanction of, the sexual and reproductive freedoms of poor women and women of color. Another part of this system is child exclusion legislation, which has been adopted by 21 states. Child exclusion laws permit states to pay benefits for only one child born to a woman on welfare. Social policy experts say it is a response to the myth that African-American welfare recipients were having more children in order to get larger benefit checks. Such laws push women either deeper into poverty, or into abortions. In some states, a woman who chooses to have another child instead of an abortion may end up trying to raise two or more children on less than $300 a month.

Christie, who would like to use only her first name, is a single mother of two. She has been working, supporting her children and herself, and going to college. Since her first child was born, she has also been receiving welfare. While on welfare, she fought to get a college degree in general education; now she hopes to get a job as a Spanish language translator. During her time in college, her welfare caseworker told Christie to quit going to school and instead report to a welfare-to-work program. She says, “I felt that it was a punishment. Just because I was on welfare, they could make me quit school and come and sit in a room and listen to people talking about the jobs I should get. Most of the jobs that they wanted you to have were geared towards the lower poverty level where you stay in poverty and you can never climb the socioeconomic ladder. It’s like that’s your position and that’s where you have to stay.”

When Christie became pregnant with her second child, her caseworker told her she could not receive an increase in her benefit. This forced Christie into some tough choices. “My religion kept me from having an abortion. I worked after I had my daughter, because I felt like it was a mistake that I made, and so I tried to do what I could for my daughter.” Christie says this legislation penalizes women for having children, and creates an overwhelming sense of guilt that permeates low-income families. Rather than celebrating the birth of her daughter, Christie felt that she needed to work twice as hard to make up for her “mistake.”

When states began adopting child exclusion policies in the early 1990s, they were implemented under federal scrutiny. States were required to keep data about the financial status of affected families. These data showed that child exclusion policies resulted in women and children being thrust further into poverty. One of the more sinister effects of the 1996 welfare reform law is that it did away with the requirement that states monitor the outcome of child exclusion policies. Since 1996, states have been able to impose sanctions on families without paying any attention to the results.

According to a July 2002 report by the Children’s Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program (C-SNAP), a research and advocacy collaborative, child exclusion policies are directly correlated to a number of risks to the health and well-being of children. Infants and toddlers in families that have been sanctioned under the child exclusion provisions are 30% more likely to have been hospitalized than children from families who have not been sanctioned, and these children are 90% more likely to require hospitalization at the time of an emergency room visit. In addition, child exclusion sanctions lead to food insecurity rates that are at least 50% higher than those of families who have not faced sanction. The negative health and welfare impacts reported in the C-SNAP study increase dramatically with each year that a family experiences sanctions.

Proponents of child exclusion legislation, including many members of the Bush administration and a bipartisan array of senators and representatives, claim that women on welfare have no business bringing a new child into the world whom they cannot support financially.

The United Sates has a long history of regulation of poor women’s reproductive activities. From the forced sterilizations performed in low-income communities of color in the 1940s, 1950s, and even later, to state child services departments appropriating poor Native American children and giving them to upper-class white foster parents, many U.S. historians say that sexuality among lower-income communities of color has traditionally been viewed as something that should be controlled. The University of Connecticut’s Gustafson responds, “There is this idea that if you pay taxes you have the right to control those who don’t, and it smacks of slavery. There should be some scope of liberty that should be unconditional, and that especially includes sexuality and family formation.”

There’s no such respect for freedom and privacy under TANF. The program requires women to submit to a barrage of invasive questions and policies; TANF applicants must provide private details about every aspect of their lives. In California, for example, the application asks for the names of up to 12 men with whom a woman has had sexual relations on or around the time of her pregnancy. In San Diego county, before a woman can receive a welfare check, she must submit to a “surprise” visit by welfare case workers to verify that there isn’t an unreported man in the household, among other things.

One of the problems with all of these sexual and reproductive-based policy initiatives is that, according to Gustafson, they distract people from the actual issues of poverty. While TANF accounts for less than 2% of the federal budget, the hysteria surrounding whether and how to assist poor families with children has created an uproar about whether low-income women should even be allowed to have children.

Because the 1996 welfare reform law eliminated the concept of welfare as an entitlement, welfare recipients lack certain protections other U.S. citizens have under the Constitution. In effect, when you apply for welfare you are signing away many of your constitutional rights

Similarly, when a woman receives cash aid and food stamps after leaving a violent relationship, she signs over her right to collect child support to the local county. She is NOT, however, openly told that the U.S. Government is promoting marriage and some of the monies used to collect her child support are diverted into programs that may eventually help the man she just left get back into her life, or even get her children. In other words, we aren’t given full information to make a good decision at the time. This is VERy manipulative and in essence treat as her like less than adult.

For this reason, many advocates today are critiquing welfare through the lens of human rights rather than constitutional rights. International human-rights agreements, including the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, afford women many universal human rights. “Those include access to education, access to reproductive choice, rights when it comes to marrying or not marrying,” says Gustafson. “When you look at the international statements of human rights, it provides this context, this lens that magnifies how unjust the welfare laws are in the United States. The welfare system is undermining women’s political, economic, and social participation in society at large.”

On September 30, Congress passed another extension of the 1996 welfare legislation. This extension contained no policy changes–for now. When Congress does finally reauthorize welfare, child exclusion policies and marriage promotion are likely to be hot-button issues that galvanize the debate. According to Liz Accles at the National Welfare Made a Difference Campaign, there are three steps to a successful welfare strategy. “Access. Adequacy. Opportunity. All three of these hold equal weight. You cannot have benefits so low that people live deeply in poverty. You can’t have good benefits that only a few people get access to. You also need to have opportunity for economic mobility built in.”

Although the marriage promotion bill was defeated this time, it continues to enjoy strong bipartisan support–including support from the White House now that George W. Bush has a second term. Welfare recipients and social policy experts are worried that whenever welfare reform is debated, politicians will deem regulating the reproductive activities of poor women to be more important than funding proven anti-poverty measures like education and meaningful job opportunities.

Sarah Olson is a contributing reporter for Free Speech Radio News and the National Radio Project’s “Making Contact.” She is also a mentor and journalist at the Welfare Radio Collaborative.

RESOURCES Joan Meisel, Daniel Chandler, and Beth Menees Rienzi, “Domestic Violence Prevalence and Effects on Employment in Two California TANF Populations,” (California Institute of Mental Health, 2003); Richard Tolman and Jody Raphael, “A Review of the Research on Welfare and Domestic Violence,” Journal of Social Issues, 2000; Sharmila Lawrence, “Domestic Violence and Welfare Policy: Research Findings That Can Inform Policies on Marriage and Child Well-Being: Issue Brief,” (Research Forum on Children, Families, and the New Federalism, National Center for Children in Poverty, 2002); E. Lyon, “Welfare, Poverty and Abused Women: New Research and Its Implications,” Policy and Practice Paper #10, Building Comprehensive Solutions to Domestic Violence, (National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, 2000)

I looked up “Children Families and the New Federalism,” and on its database googled “domestic violence mediation” and found this:

Domestic Violence and Welfare Receipt in Maryland (unreviewed)
Strategies for Addressing the Needs of Domestic Violence Victims within the TANF Program: The Experience of Seven Counties (unreviewed)
Assessing Effective Welfare-to-Work Strategies for Domestic Violence Victims and Survivors in the Options/Opciones Project (unreviewed)
Psychiatric Disorders Among Low Income Single Mothers: Mothers’ Well-Being Study (unreviewed)
CalWORKs Project (unreviewed)
Study of Screening and Assessment in TANF/WtW (unreviewed)
Women’s Employment Study (reviewed)
San Bernardino County (CA) TANF Recipients Study (unreviewed)
Multiple Impacts of Welfare Reform in Utah: Experiences of Former Long-term Welfare Recipients (unreviewed)
Tracking Closed Cases Under The TANF Program in Massachusetts (unreviewed)
Supporting Healthy Marriage (unreviewed)
Welfare-to-Work, the Private Sector and Americorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) (unreviewed)
Parents’ Fair Share Demonstration (reviewed)
Welfare-to-Work Grants Program Evaluation (reviewed)
Connecticut’s Jobs First: Welfare Reform Evaluation Project (reviewed)

Let’s look at who’s behind Parents’ Fair Share Demonstration, which project took place over a 10-ear period, it says:

MDRC
Investigator(s) Fred Doolittle (MDRC)
Virginia Knox (MDRC)
Earl Johnson (MDRC)
Cynthia Miller (MDRC)
Sponsor(s) US Department of Health and Human Services
MDRC
Funder(s) PEW Charitable Trusts
Ford Foundation
AT&T Foundation
US Department of Health and Human Services
US Department of Labor
McKnight Foundation
Northwest Area Foundation
US Department of Agriculture
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Subcontractor(s) Abt Associates, Inc.
Domain Income Security/TANF
Status Completed (final report released)
Duration Jun 1991 – Jun 2001
Type Research and/or Program Evaluation
Goal To implement and evaluate the Parent’s Fair Share Demonstration (PFS).
Program/Policy Description PFS centers on four core activities: employment and training services, peer support through group discussions focused on the rights and responsibilities of non-custodial parents, stronger and more flexible child support enforcement, and voluntary mediation services to help resolve conflict between the custodial and non-custodial parents. PFS is required for non-custodial parents (usually fathers) who are unable to meet child support obligations and have been referred to PFS by the courts.
Notes No notes reported.

And the findings, in brief:

Recent Findings in Brief

12/01/01: Parents’ Fair Share Demonstration: The Challenge of Helping Low-Income Fathers Support Their Children: Final Lessons From Parents’ Fair Share

Final Descriptive/Analytical Findings

As a group, the fathers were very disadvantaged, although some were able to find low-wage work fairly easily. PFS increased employment and earnings for the least-employable men but not for the men who were more able to find work on their own. Most participated in job club services, but fewer than expected took part in skill-building activities. PFS encouraged some fathers, particularly those who were least involved initially, to take a more active parenting role. Many of the fathers visited their children regularly, although few had legal visitation agreements. There were modest increases in parental conflict over child-rearing decisions, and some mothers restricted the fathers’ access to their children. Men referred to the PFS program paid more child support than men in the control group. The process of assessing eligibility uncovered a fair amount of employment, which disqualified some fathers from participation but which led, nonetheless, to increased child support payments.

Because I happen to be familiar with the contractor “MDRC” through prior research (i.e., looking around on the web….), I went to CPR (Centerforpolicyresearch.org) and simply typed in “Parent’s Fair Share.”

This is how many links came up:

Search Results

1 Projects – Parents’ Fair Share Demonstration ProjectRelevance: 3006
Assist MDRC in design and implementation of a mediation component in the Parents’ Fair Share Demon…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/Projects/tabid/234/id/284/Default.aspx12/17/2008 4:09:47 PM
2 PovertyRelevance: 2008
Many of CPR’s projects involve identification and assessment of programs to reduce poverty and…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/AreasofExpertise/Poverty/tabid/262/Default.aspx1/19/2009 1:33:25 PM
3 Incarceration and ReentryRelevance: 1004
CPR has done seminal work on child support and incarceration. As a result of CPR’s studies of …
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/AreasofExpertise/IncarcerationandReentry/tabid/263/Default.aspx1/19/2009 1:20:48 PM
4 Projects – Child Support Strategies for Incarcerated and Released ParentsRelevance: 1003
Publicize information on the child support situation that incarcerated and paroled parents face an…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/Projects/tabid/234/id/378/Default.aspx12/18/2008 10:51:44 AM
5 Court ServicesRelevance: 1003
CPR’s Jessica Pearson and Nancy Thoennes have pioneered the development, implementation and ev…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/AreasofExpertise/CourtServices/tabid/256/Default.aspx1/19/2009 1:15:59 PM
6 Projects – Evaluation of Parents to Work!Relevance: 1002
Evaluation of a program to utilize TANF funds to deliver services to noncustodial parents involved…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/Projects/tabid/234/id/375/Default.aspx12/18/2008 10:46:52 AM
7 Child SupportRelevance: 1002
CPR personnel have been leading researchers and technical assistance contractors for nearly ev…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/AreasofExpertise/ChildSupport/tabid/255/Default.aspx1/19/2009 1:09:46 PM
8 Projects – Task Order 38: An Assessment of Research Concerning Effective Methods of Working with Incarcerated and Released Parents with Child Support ObligationsRelevance: 1002
An analysis of child support issues concerning offender and ex-offender noncustodial parents. The …
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/Projects/tabid/234/id/382/Default.aspx12/18/2008 10:54:07 AM
9 Projects – Texas Access and Visitation Hotline IIRelevance: 1001
Evaluation to assess the effectiveness of a telephone hotline offering parents in the child suppor…
http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/Projects/tabid/234/id/294/Default.aspx12/17/2008 4:21:13 PM
10 Publications – When Parents Complain About Visitation.Relevance: 1001

http://www.centerforpolicyresearch.org/Publications/tabid/233/id/427/Default.aspx12/18/2008 3:46:12 PM
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

They do things like this:

Multi-Site Responsible Fatherhood Programs

Subcontract with Policy Studies Inc.

Contract with Office of Child Support Enforcement

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

1999 – 2001

Close Abstract

Multi-site evaluation of eight responsible fatherhood projects to assess various methods of outreach, client intake and service delivery to noncustodial parents in an effort to promote their financial and emotional participation in the lives of their children, and to assess the effectiveness of a management information system developed to for use at the sites.

or “MEDIATION INTERVENTIONS” (based at the Child Support Location) to get them more ACCESS to their children. . .. A whole other set of funding (HHS) is the “access visitation grants system.”

(CFDA 930597, I believe on TAGGS.hhs.gov) another thing I wasn’t told about in my custody issues.

MDRC, like PSI, like CPR, and others, are many of the organizations contracting out these programs. LESS highly publicized (but it’s out) is the court-based organization, AFCC giving awards to Ms. Pierson (of CPR), this organization also pushes mediation.

We are all in all moving quite towards a “planned economy,” whether or not we personally approve of it, or comprehend in just how many ways. LOOKING UP ONLY “Parent’s Fair Share” on the web, these came up:

Promising Practices Home

Operated by the RAND Corporation

http://www.promisingpractices.net/program.asp?programid=43

For this amazing summary, with so many government agencies, quite an assemblage of persona (and backed by several foundations), done in 8 different areas, the bottom line is, it didn’t affect anyone’s bottom line! No significantly increased child support payments, and not much more involved fathers. Says so right here!:

  • Overall, from the perspective of the custodial parents, the net result of PFS did not produce a detectable change in their total income as a result of child support payments.
  • With respect to child contact, PFS did not lead to increases in the frequency or length of contact that noncustodial parents had with their children.

In fact, kind of the contrary:

  • For more-employable men, the program had little effect on average earnings and somewhat reduced employment among those who would have worked in part-time, lower-wage jobs.

Back to topTop

Hrere’s the MDRC site report on the Parent’s Fair Share:

The Parents’ Fair Share (PFS) Demonstration, run from 1994 to 1996, was aimed at increasing the ability of these fathers to attain well-paying jobs, increase their child support payments — to increase their involvement in parenting in other ways. These reports — one examining the effectiveness of the PFS approach at increasing fathers’ financial and nonfinancial involvement with their children and the other examining the effectiveness of the PFS approach at increasing fathers’ employment and earnings — provide important insights into policies aimed at this key group.

What it doesn’t say — we failed at both goals…

By the way, MDRC stands for Manpower Development Research Corporation. These Corps are sprouting up to work with the government (and foundations behind the government policies) to manage society.

From April 2010, Still coming up with “astounding” revelations (for how much$$?) about how life works:

Policies That Strengthen Fatherhood and Family Relationships

What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?

{{that depends on who “WE” is. One thing seems evident — that the four authors to this paper, below, are employed, or at least have some nice sub- sub-contracting work… Another thing “We” (women in my position) would have LIKED to know is that organizations like MRDC and CPR and PSI and others are (through HHS) making our lives harder, “for our own good” because we dared to collect child support at one point in time. In retaliation for this, our “exes” will be helped by the United States Government to stay on our tails for the rest of time, possibly.}}

No, SERIOUSLY now, as of April 2010, after a decade plus of family/fatherhood programs, what bright conclusions can be drawn?

As described in earlier articles, children whose parents have higher income and education levels are more likely to grow up in stable two-parent households than their economically disadvantaged counterparts.

WHO IS THIS MDRC? Now that some poor folk actually have internet access, we can find out who’s studying (us):

Created in 1974 by the Ford Foundation and a group of federal agencies, MDRC is best known for mounting large-scale evaluations of real-world policies and programs targeted to low-income people.

The Board of Directors are the Cream of America, as follows:

Board of Directors
Robert Solow, Chairman
Institute Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mary Jo Bane, Vice Chair
Professor of Public Policy
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University
Rudolph G. Penner, Treasurer
Senior Fellow
Urban Institute
Ron Haskins
Senior Fellow, Economic Studies
Co-Director, Center on Children and Families
Brookings Institution

RON HASKINS SOUNDED FAMILIAR TO ME. HERE HE IS:

Ron Haskins

Ron Haskins

Senior Fellow, Economic Studies
Co-Director, Center on Children and Families

A former White House and congressional advisor on welfare issues, Ron Haskins co-directs the Brookings Center on Children and Families. An expert on preschool, foster care, and poverty—he was instrumental in the 1996 overhaul of national welfare policy.

(SEE MY TOP ARTICLE, THIS POST – some people are not too happy about it!)

Encouraging Marriage Helps Everyone

Children & Families, Marriage and Family Formation, Social Issues, Social Norms

Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies

Business Week

Higher marriage rates among the poor would benefit poor adults themselves, their children, and the nation. Although I do not support coercive policies to achieve higher marriage rates, I do favor marriage promotion programs conducted by community-based organizations such as churches and other nonprofit civic groups. The activities these groups should sponsor include counseling, marriage education, job assistance, parenting, anger control, avoiding domestic violence, and money management.
The LAST PLACE I WOULD GO TO GET SOME HELP AVOIDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WOULD BE NEAR A CHURCH GROUP. ALMOST GOT MY FAMILY KILLED . . ., . . AT LEAST IT BEARS A TOKEN MENTION, NEXT TO LAST, IN MARRIAGE PROMOTION. I DON’T THINK MR. HASKINS PERHAPS MET RENITA PITTS (See top of blog), HE WAS PROBABLY TOO BUSY AT THE LATEST EVENT.
I also notice that creative solutions to making ends meet are not necessarily on the agenda here. For example, instead of funneling the “poor” in to poor jobs, low-wage jobs, how’s about helping THEM to start businesses and run them?
Or to get grants and pursue some of their dreams, possibly filling in a gap that someone from Harvard, MIT, or a sociologist might not see?
Does anyone besides me see the irony in having someone IN government coach someone else about money management ?? ?????

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