Families are complicated, and times can be hard. Child support is often an important part of the story for real families with real needs.
If you’ve been touched by child support, submit your story. All comments will remain anonymous.
My Child Support Story
The November-December 2014 Child Support Report gave you an overview of how new legislation, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113-183), affects the child support program. One particular provision requires us to draft a Report to Congress to recommend cost-effective program improvements, address effectiveness and performance, and outline the future of the child support program.
Please tell me your story. Whether you are a mom or a dad, or whether you grew up living apart from a parent, I want to hear from you. We will draw from these real-life experiences for our Report to Congress.
My story is that I left home early. I was 17 and pregnant when I got married and 27 when I divorced. I finished high school, but dropped out of community college. I had two kids and a desire to give them a better life.
I worked two or three part-time jobs sometimes, relied on child support sometimes, borrowed money from friends sometimes, received public assistance when child support didn’t come in, and juggled the bills every month to make ends meet. I was fired from a job once when my kids came down with chickenpox, and I had no one else to care for them. The employer did not offer sick leave. I had no health coverage, so I had to come up with the money to pay the doctor. Once the kids recovered, I started working as a waitress. That turned out to be a good move because I made a little more money in that job.
I had an interstate child support case in the days before interstate enforcement was common. Even when child support did not come in, I tried to minimize anger and to help my kids stay connected to their dad because I saw that they loved him and were unhappy when they saw conflict between us.
Families are complicated, and times can be hard. My story has given me an appreciation both for parents who desperately need child support and parents who struggle to pay it. Ascommissioner, I want to make the program work the best way it can for real families with real needs and limited means. Our goal is to make sure kids can depend upon the financial and emotional support they need from their parents.
You have stories, too — whether you are a mom, a dad, or a grown up child. What does child support mean to you? What was it like growing up in your family? What is the most important lesson you can share about raising kids when the parents don’t live together?
All comments will remain anonymous. Please do not include information of a confidential nature, such as sensitive personal information or proprietary information, other than your state. Information obtained as a result of this effort may be used by the federal government for Report to Congress development. Please be aware that your comments may be posted online or cited in the report.
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