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Archive for April, 2011

It has become a reflex. I freeze anytime I happen to hear or read about making us better dads. Check this piece, by Jill Colvin:

Rashomon (Kurosawa)

Midtown Court Helps Ex-Criminals Become Better Dads.  We are not talking of something published by New York State Child Support Collection Unit but by a media outlet,  DNAinfo.com, sadly enough.

In this piece we learn that Bronx Family Court refers ex-criminals to Midtown Community Court, a project of the Center for Court Innovation. Here they attend the Dad United for Parenting  (don’t dream, it ain’t a dads’ grassroots organization) program where they learn skills that will help them find jobs. Why is the Bronx Family Court doing that? The students dads of the program have child support payments problems. Some have accumulated arrears in child support while there were in jail.

That’s where the silence of the piece is deafening: The fact that by law you owe child support while in jail. Let us just talk money here. Depending on your ex-spouse’s financial situation, being in jail has possibly caused hardship to your children. But this hardship, if hardship there was, is past and in civilized countries there are institutions protecting the welfare of those in need. Child support as conceived by New York State laws is accessorily about your children. It is mostly about providing a rent to your ex-spouse no matter what: whether you are employed or not, institutionalized or not.

To reintegrate oneself into society after a jail sentence is not easy, even less so with a debt to pay off. What is the ultimate purpose of this project to better dads? Help ex-criminals to cope with child support laws that provide them with the incentives to do things that will bring them back to jail. It would be a million times more efficient to reform New York State Child Support laws.

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Yesterday I found his video posted as a comment on my blog.

Thanks Chris. That’s exactly what this blog is about. A voice for fathers who have  lost their own.

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Maltraitance infantile

There is currently a most welcome legislative push for shared parenting in the U.S. Yet, the way these reforms are presented by some media is disconcerting: two camps entrenched in apparently irreconcilable positions.  That’s not helping clarify the issue, nor very conducive to pulling gutless politicians to take a stand.

Pick Jacobs’ article in DesMoines Register for instance, about shared parenting bill in Iowa. Her point: the proposed bill is too controversial for the Senate to vote for it.  Women Rights groups opposed shared parenting, because if the bill is enacted,  it will be more difficult for abused women to get sole custody.  In Iowa as in New York State I believe, women so far just need to throw an accusation of child abuse and the rights of the father to see his children are fried. A child abuse accusation is proof free and if  unproven, unpunished. And once an alienating mother has gotten all that she wanted, which family court judge will restore the rights of the non- custodial father? It actually would be a good thing if the bill were to entail that accusations of child abuse be substantiated.

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