Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How to Energize `Deadbeat Parents'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How to Energize `Deadbeat Parents'

Article excerpt

UNFORTUNATELY, deadbeat parents need strong compulsion before they will fulfill their financial obligations to their children.

Legislation I introduced that became law in January 1993, has made a good start in reducing the number of noncustodial parents who refuse to pay their child support but have no problem incurring debt to buy cars, trucks, snowmobiles, and even second homes.

The bill, the "Child Support Enforcement Act of 1992," requires credit agencies to include on credit reports child support delinquencies of more than $1,000 (in states which provide them that information).

This legislation offers a practical and effective means to begin reclaiming the $27 billion in child support payments that go unpaid each year. More than 5.7 million noncustodial parents make no payment on their child support obligations. The result is inadequate care for millions of children and increased welfare expenses for the rest of us.

The theory behind my bill was that it would be most effective to concentrate on those parents who actually have financial resources, rather than wasting taxpayers' dollars for fruitless statewide searches. This might not lead to the collection of every delinquent penny, but it was a good place to start.

The results have proved my theory correct. A recent report by the Associated Credit Bureau Inc. indicated the number of delinquent parents on credit reports has increased from 1.5 million to 2 million. This means one-half million more parents will have to be responsible for their children's care before they can consider buying a new boat, car, or house.

For example, in July a man from Twin Falls, Idaho, requested a loan from a finance agency to purchase a house. When the agency checked his credit, a problem was discovered - he had been making sporadic child support payments and still owed $4,700. Three days later, the man paid the entire $4,700 to clear his report.

In another instance this year, an Idaho farmer attempted to secure an operating loan from a bank to buy seed and other materials. …

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