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Senators ponder new ways of collecting child support

Recent reports on the state of child support throughout the country show that billions of dollars are owed to the government and parents. As a society our thinking has usually been focused on punishing those who are behind on their child support payments. These attempts to force payment revolved around taking a person's freedom, professional licenses or driver's licenses. All of these methods can almost be considered failures, judging by the amount of child support owed nationwide.

A group of state senators in one state are currently looking at new ways of changing the way their state approaches collecting money from parents who are behind on child support. The senate committee was focused on ways to alleviate child poverty and noted the inconsistencies with the current law. As currently applied parents who are behind on child support can be placed in jail for up to 14 years in some states, or until they are able to pay the debt. The committee found this method to be ineffective as placing a person in jail would cause the person to lose any source of income they may have had and still leaves the child in poverty, requiring the state to not only pay for the child but for the parent in jail as well.

The suggested change in law would change jail time to home confinement. By sentencing parents to home confinement they would still be able to maintain a relationship with the child as well as continue employed or look for employment. Only after the support is made current would the home confinement be lifted, allowing the person to move freely.

As impartial individuals look at facts and trends hopefully the most ineffective and counterproductive laws are removed or changed. If passed this law would serve as an example that other states, perhaps even Utah, may soon follow.

Source: GrafWV, "Sens. look to fix child support, revoked licenses" March 21, 2013

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