(Also see: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2012/csr/csr1207.pdf)
“A panel of experts discusses the critical messages from Turner v. Rogers and its implications for child support. Turner v. Rogers requires states in civil contempt proceedings to provide procedures that ensure a fundamentally fair determination of whether an unrepresented parent is able to comply with a court order to pay child support. This forum includes a discussion of setting realistic child support orders, and other promising practices that avoid the build-up of arrears; explores cost-effective strategies for child support compliance, including alternatives to contempt; and, discusses expanding self-help services and access to justice for unrepresented litigants”.
This is a must watch video for anyone interested in issues related to child support, arrears, related contempt charges, debtor’s prison, and right to counsel.
Excellent solutions are presented by this panel, some that will overtime be adopted. However, as long as public funds incentivize child support service departments to maximize collections like skip chasing bounty hunters, such solutions will be resisted. There are certainly stakeholders dependent upon the continuation of federal funding. Conflicts with domestic violence and other competing laws present barriers to reform. Then there are the anti-father for any reason ideologues. All more interested in self interests instead of ensuing due process for low income parents, helping families stay together, and the best interests of children.
It appears some of these panelists have some understanding of the serious social problems caused by the current child collection system. Improving administrative remedies while maximizing parental involvement with children were topics of discussion. Unfortunately, fundamental due process, restorative justice, conciliation, and fairness did not overtake philosophical adherence to civil contempt, self representation, punishment and debtors prison.
Panelist provided a wealth of valuable information and ideas to be considered and used accordingly by child support system reform advocates. You might consider contacting one or more of of the panelists directly for addition useful in you advocacy work.
What do you think? Are there solutions you can use or agree with presented by the panelists?