Guest commentary: Child support should be allowed to go to the child
By Gabriela Sandova, Oakland Tribune My Word
Jose Dante Clark's daughter is 3-years-old. Shortly after she was born, he lost his job and his girlfriend enrolled in CalWORKS. Child support enforcement required that his girlfriend assign her right to child support directly to the government to receive benefits. To this day, most of the money Jose pays to child support -- when he is able to pay at all -- is kept by the government.
From the start, Jose was ordered to pay an amount he could not afford, despite that he was unemployed. The child support debt he owes to the government grows with an interest rate of 10 percent (in California). Jose remains chronically underemployed. He's had his earned income tax credit intercepted. His driver's license has been revoked. Without the ability to legally drive, he is in danger of losing what little work he has. Jose wants nothing more than to be able to support his daughter financially and emotionally, but child-support policy and practice makes this almost impossible.