How child support debt can diminish wealth-building opportunities for struggling black fathers and their families.
The Center for Family Policy and Practice and the Insight Center for Community and Economic Development, has released findings that show how child support enforcement policies and practices can plunge some of society’s most economically vulnerable fathers and their families deeper into poverty.
The study, “What We Want to Give our Kids: How Child Support Debt Can Diminish Wealth-Building Opportunities for Struggling Black Fathers and Their Families,” highlights the experiences of 35 low-income black fathers struggling with the child support system in six cities across five states. It is the first report to explore how child support can act as a debt anchor that limits future life chances for children of the poorest black fathers, a group that owes a great majority of the $114 billion national child support debt.
Child support policies and practices often strip jobless and low-income parents of the possibility of ever acquiring savings, a house, or even a car. But one of the most significant harms of enforcement is that it can limit low-income fathers to endless financial insecurity because they don’t earn enough to pay the court-ordered child support they owe. These consequences have proven to hinder their children’s chances of moving into the middle class – doing irreversible damage to the very children the child support is intended to help – and perpetuating poverty across generations.
Download the high resolution version (66MB) of the report here.