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:
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.