Friday, June 24, 2022
Child-support policies that are color-blind or race-neutral put low-income men of color and their families at a disadvantage and lead to continued racial inequities, according to Rutgers research. Since the creation of the federal child-support program in 1975, outstanding child-support arrears have grown to about $113.5 billion and 77 percent of cases in the child-support enforcement system are in arrears, according to the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement.
"Child-support policies were created to make sure a child who has a parent that doesn't live with the family got support," said Lenna Nepomnyaschy, associate professor at the Rutgers School of Social Work and co-author of the study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family. "But in recent decades, economic changes such as the loss of manufacturing jobs and declining union power, increases in nonmarital births, and mass incarceration have made it much more difficult for lower-educated men of color to support their families. Child support policies, while not written with race in mind, today disproportionately harm lower-income and non-white families as they are over-represented in the system."
The child-support system has consistently turned to more punitive and harsh enforcement efforts—such as suspending fathers' driver's licenses, public shaming and incarceration.
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