The Politics of Child Support in America

The Politics of Child Support in America

The Politics of Child Support in America

The Politics of Child Support in America

Synopsis

Examining the efforts of leaders in American child support, this book explores the topic of policy innovation over a 100-year period. It tracks the evolution of multiple sets of political entrepreneurs as they grapple with the child support problem: charity workers with local law enforcement in the 19th century; social workers through the 1960s; conservatives during the 1970s; women's groups and women legislators in the 1980s; and fathers' rights groups in the 1990s and beyond. Jocelyn Elise Crowley employs methodological tools from both political science and economics to highlight key stages in the innovation process.

Excerpt

The “feminization” of poverty continues to grow at a rapid pace in America, and one of the main drivers of this growth is the lack of adequate child support and child support enforcement. Any American who buys a car on credit and moves across the state line knows he or she will still have to make the payments. We have made national enforcement of commercial credit laws very efficient. Not so with family credit. The federal government has worked to streamline the process, but there are still many glitches. There is also the issue that child support ordered by the court is often totally inadequate. Going back to my car payments comparison, many people's child support payments are less than their car payments. Do we care more about our cars than our children?

This book identifies the leaders in the child support issue arena. We should all be leaders in the cause, because children are our future. Even if a perfect child support system were in place, single parents would face serious difficulties supporting their families. It is easier to work on making the child support system fairer, more equitable, and more efficient than it is to tackle all the other imbalances a single parent faces.

So launch into this book and figure out as you read what all of us can do to solve the remaining problems. We thank all of those who have been working out there, and we know no one can do it alone. We are much smarter and more effective when we work together. Too many people say parents shouldn't be divorced and walk away. Well, if they are divorced, where does that leave the children? The public doesn't want to support them, so we should at least insist that the parents of a failed marriage do . . .

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