Child support

America’s poverty level is three times that of other wealthy nations. Nearly 12 million American children are now living in poverty and many millions more are close to it. It is recognized that the first three years of life are critical to a child's proper development. Even so, more than 3 million poor American children under the age of three are often exposed to many factors that can impair healthy development. These factors include inadequate nutrition, low-quality child care, child abuse or neglect and exposure to environmental toxins. Many of these children also face other challenges. Many divorced fathers are not permitted full access to their children, while other fathers choose to have little contact with their kids. There are now about 20 million children, more than 1 in 4, living without a father in the home. Studies have shown children from fatherless homes account for most youth suicides, teenage pregnancies and juvenile delinquent behavior.

It is estimated that after a divorce, the average standard of living for men increases by over 40%, while women and children are subjected to a 70% decrease in living standards. There are now about 24 million American children living with only one custodial parent, 80% of whom are women. Most of these children depend on adequate financial support from absent dads to avoid poverty - or to at least mitigate its effects. A “deadbeat parent” is defined as one who is criminally liable for willfully failing to pay more than $5,000 in child support payments. Child support payments represent nearly half the income of poor families headed by single moms. Advocates say deadbeat dads are the reason 40% of households headed by single women live below the poverty level, twice that of households headed by single men and nearly 5 times that of married couples. They say it is the responsibility of both parents to do all they can to alleviate the harm caused by childhood poverty.

Proposed Legislation: H.R.3507 - Julia Carson Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2019
Prospective Sponsor: Rep. Danny Davis (IL)

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Poll Opening Date
September 19, 2022
Poll Closing Date
September 25, 2022

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