A fugitive people within a nation is tyranny.

Posts tagged ‘finance’

Removing Barriers to Opportunity for Parents With Criminal Records and Their Children

InmateNearly four decades of mass incarceration and over-criminalization have made the United States the world leader in incarceration and arrests. The number of Americans in federal and state prisons and jails has quintupled over the past four decades. As a result, nearly 2.3 million Americans are behind bars today. The U.S. incarceration rate is at more than six times the average across developed nations. “Communities of color” and “men of color” are hit hardest, with black men six times more likely and Latino men two-and-a-half times more likely to be incarcerated than white men.

Between 70 million and 100 million Americans, or as many as one in three American adults have a criminal record. Many have been convicted of only minor offenses, such as misdemeanors and many have arrests that never led to a conviction. Regardless of whether an individual has been incarcerated, having a criminal record often carries a lifetime of consequences, lasting long after that person has paid his or her debt to society.  A minor criminal record can be a life sentence to poverty, while presenting obstacles to employment, housing, education, training, public assistance, financial empowerment, and other lifestyle choices.

dad-with-kidsWhile the effects of parental incarceration on children and families are well-documented, less appreciated are the family consequences that stem from the barriers associated with having a criminal record. A child’s life chances are strongly tied to his or her circumstances during childhood. Thus, these barriers may not only affect family stability and economic security in the short term but also may damage a child’s long-term well-being and outcomes.

Nearly half of U.S. children now have at least one parent with a criminal record. Parental criminal records create significant challenges among low-income parents and their families.

Income
Parents with criminal records have lower earning potential, as they often face major obstacles to securing employment and receiving public assistance.

Savings and assets
Mounting criminal justice debts and unaffordable child support arrears severely limit families’ ability to save for the future and can trap them in a cycle of debt.

Education
Parents with criminal records face barriers to education and training opportunities that would increase their chances of finding well-paying jobs and better equip them to support their families.

Housing
Barriers to public as well as private housing for parents with criminal records can lead to housing instability and make family reunification difficult if not impossible.

Family strength and stability.
Financial and emotional stressors associated with parental criminal records often pose challenges in maintaining healthy relationships and family stability.

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Government Exploitation: Dads Are Dead Broke

by Aaron Mueller

violation of due process and civil rightsTom Watson doesn’t like the term “deadbeat” to describe parents who are behind on child support. He prefers “dead-broke.”

Watson, director of the Berrien County Friend of the Court, said Berrien County has been struggling with collections of child support cases with arrearages. In fiscal year 2011, the county could only collect at least one payment on 56 percent of those cases, Watson told county commissioners Thursday.

Economic toll

Watson blames much of the problem on unemployment and the lagging economy, although he admits there are some who intentionally dodge making payments. Improving that statistic would mean more money for Friend of the Court (FOC). County FOCs receive funding from the state via the federal government based on performance in five areas.

One of those factors is arrearage collection. In order to qualify for 100 percent of available funding, counties must collect payments on 80 percent of cases with arrearages. Berrien County is lagging behind.

“This is an area we really need to target and do a better job,” Watson said. The FOC has tried a variety of programs to encourage payment, including booting vehicles and seizing property of offenders. So far there have been six vehicles booted — a number Watson wants to see increase — and 15 seized items auctioned.

“We are thinking about what button can we push for individuals who have not obeyed a court order? We need to remind them they have a child,” he said. On the positive side, the Berrien County FOC has a high “efficiency ratio,” which measures the number of dollars collected in child support for each dollar of program expense. Berrien’s efficiency ratio is $8.85, in comparison to the state average of $6.18.

“We collect a lot of money with less staff,” Watson said of his 37-employee team.

Increasing case load

Statewide the number of child support cases is on the rise. The number of cases has increased from 934,000 in 2008 to 1.2 million in 2011, a 9.2 percent increase. Watson again says he believes the economy is partially to blame with financial problems leading to marital stress and divorce. In 2011 the office also rated higher than the state average in collecting child support by court order and establishing paternity in cases.

 

 

The Power to Tax

Ronald Henry wrote an article that needs to be heartily considered. I urge all people interested in this topic to read it. The link is below.

Ronald Henry Article

I have seen some parents who refuse to pay child support even though they have plenty of money to do so . . . However, I have seen far more parents who are ordered to pay child support who pay some support but not all they are ordered to pay. Many of these parents are engaged in a financial struggle that they cannot win. These are the working poor.” (Hon. Anne Kass, Presiding Family Judge, Albuquerque, New Mexico, District Court)

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