Honoring Our Fathers -- Volume 23 Number 3 June 15, 2017. Chicago Street Journal has been in the news business for 23 years. (Formerly South Street Journal.) Come join us for this new adventure. Ron Carter, Publisher and Editor. He can be reached at 773-595-5229.
February 2017 4 June 2017 Chicago Street Journal Continued from Page 1 HAPPY FATHERS’ DAY Recent changes to Illinois’ Child Support guidelines reinforce this priority of fathers as first and foremost a wallet. The new guidelines attempt to recognize children need, and want, a greater relationship with their father’s, how they go about expressing that recognition is somewhat suspect. According to the new guideline a father will pay full child support until the child spends more than 145 overnights per year with Dad. At 146 overnights with Dad, the state will give Dad a significant break on child support. The formula begs the question of why 24 hours makes a child so much less expensive to raise. Throughout the child support industry this is known as the “cliff effect.” Effectively it means Dad, or sometimes Mom, but in all cases the “non -custodial” parent will have difficulty ever getting equal time with the kids because of the effect of money transfers from the paying parenting to the receiving parent. In the world of family law and child support agencies the idea of equality, on multiple levels, is non-existent. What drives this train however, is not necessarily the child’s best interest but the fact that states receive significant money from the federal government to operate child support programs. This money is not awarded to the state for keeping both parents engaged, it flows when one parent is effectively removed from the parenting equation. The inconvenient truth for divorced and never married parents is that government has monetized, politicized and criminalized the relationship between children and one of their parents, most often, their father. There are currently two systems in our society for parents who cannot afford to support their children. For custodial parents, primarily mothers, the government offers medical insurance assistance, housing assistance, cash assistance, food assistance, child care and education assistance. For non-custodial parents, primarily fathers, who cannot afford to support their children by paying child support, the government offers driver’s license revocation, wage garnishment, tax refund intercepts, interest on unpaid support balances, arrest and incarceration in debtors’ prison. Sadly, it is our children, and by extension society, who pay the price for these misguided policies. Social science research is overwhelmingly clear on this point. Children who have shared parenting, meaning both parents are engaged in their kids’ lives to the maximum extent possible, have better outcomes than children who are raised primarily in single parent headed households. This is not to say there are not children who turn out superbly well being raised by single parents. However, the data cannot be denied. Children who retain a significant relationship with BOTH parents, even when those parents are no longer together as a couple, do better academically, have higher employment rates, are less likely to use drugs, are less likely to commit suicide, are better at maintaining long term relationships, for girls – are less likely to become pregnant as teens –, and overall live longer lives. As we celebrate Dad this Fathers’ Day, let’s do something meaningful for the over 23 million kids in America who have no, or limited, contact with their fathers, let’s welcome Dad back into family life as an equal participant. Our kids need and deserve nothing less than a full relationship with him. Michael McCormick joined the ACFC board in 1998. His professional background developed in the financial services industry, working with nonprofit organizations in the area of corporate and member development, as well as community relationship building. McCormick acted as the primary spokesman for ACFC during the Elian Gonzalez situation. He has been interviewed extensively by the media regarding shared parenting. McCormick authored shared parenting bills and initiatives have been introduced in several states. He provides legislative testimony and has presented at multiple public policy and professional association gatherings. His commentary has been carried in numerous national publications.
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