Since 1995, August has been designated as National Child Support Awareness Month in the hopes of raising public awareness around issues near and dear to so many of our hearts – providing for our beloved children. In support of the month, we thought it would be great to provide a resource for the background of child support and how it can help single parents.
Child Support Reformation Laws
While single parents usually do their very best to meet the mental, physical, and emotional needs of their youngsters, the harsh reality is that financial needs are difficult to meet in most single parent households. Child support is intended to provide assistance to children and families in need and is often the second largest source of income for single parents living at the edge of poverty. Child support reformation laws passed by Bill Clinton have made it easier for single parents to obtain this critical income source and meet the needs of their children.
Millions in Financial Support Every Year
In 2015, nearly 80,000 families received child support from a non-custodial parent amounting to over $116 million in financial contributions. For hard working single parents, this support often means the difference between living in a safe, comfortable home and homelessness; child support also helps provide quality food, clothing, education and health care to kids in need. Non-custodial parents who are dedicated to financially supporting their children are setting an excellent example regarding the importance of continued responsibility to children, regardless of the details of family living arrangements.
Stricter Child Support Enforcement Laws
During his presidency, Bill Clinton tightened regulations surrounding the enforcement of child support payment laws and the establishment of paternity. Free genetic testing services assist in determining the legal father of each child, and non-custodial parents are typically required to pay child support. Amounts are calculated based on the income of each parent and how much time the children spend in each household. Parents who fall behind on their payment schedule may have their wages garnished or tax returns intercepted; a lien may even be placed on personal property and/or the person’s driver license may be suspended until child support has been paid in full.
Additional Benefits Provided by Child Support Services
Beyond determining paternity and enforcing child support payments, the Department of Child Support Services provides additional services which may have tremendous value to families in need. Parents can learn about the court process involved in the assignment of child support payments and when these assigned amounts may be modified, if necessary. In some cases, parents are able to mutually agree upon a monthly child support figure; in this instance, assistance can be provided to prepare for court approval of the independent agreement. Finally, Child Support Services offers accounting services which can take the hassle out of individually handling payments and create a system of accountability that is legally binding.
A Month to Honor Our Children
Clinton hoped to raise public awareness of the importance of child support and called upon U.S. citizens “…to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.” Many communities have honored this request by holding annual festivals with children’s activities and provisions for single family households.
The month of August is a time to honor the people who have devoted their lives to assisting families through their work at Child Support Services. Without their help, millions of children would have likely become circumstantially poverty stricken; it’s a blessing that families have been formed and kept together because of the programs initiated in the name of this great cause: our children.