Posted November 17, 2018 10:31:00 As you might have heard, the federal government will be offering support for children whose parents are still supporting them on child support, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the original Child Support Guidelines were unconstitutional.
The guidelines, created in the 1990s to address the growing disparity between men and women receiving child support payments, were written to ensure that both parties would be adequately supported in the event of divorce.
However, the guidelines were quickly struck down as unconstitutional, and since then, the Supreme Court has issued several rulings in support of the guidelines, including the ruling that they were unconstitutional and should be struck down.
Now, a group of advocacy groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), are calling for Congress to pass a bill that would eliminate the guidelines entirely.
“The Supreme Court decision has put an end to the child support guidelines,” the ACLU’s Danielle Citron told me.
“The guidelines were based on outdated, biased, and inaccurate assumptions about child support and the responsibilities of both parties in order to create a system that would ensure that the children of the parents who cannot afford to support them have equal access to both of their parents.”
The law that would make child support completely free is a step toward this goal, according to Citron, but the group is also calling on Congress to move forward with legislation that would replace the guidelines with a system based on child development and education, rather than child support.
“The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of the Child requires that a child be provided with a high-quality education, with appropriate medical care, and that the child have access to an adequate diet, housing, and medical care,” Citron explained.
“However, these goals do not exist in a child support system that does not have a child development focus.
In fact, the child development component is one of the most controversial elements of child support.”
For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently stated that a parent who pays child support should also be able to work to pay the child’s education expenses.
“There are some who believe that child support is the ultimate punishment for a child who fails to attend school,” the AAP stated in a statement in 2016.
“Unfortunately, there is no evidence that child abuse or neglect is a cause of failure to attend and is, in fact, a major factor in the child receiving child aid.
Children should be provided education and care, not punishment.”
The ACLU’s Citron argues that the guidelines have done more harm than good.
“Child support is one thing, but if the government is trying to determine what the child is going to do with their money and it’s not based on what the parents want or need, then it should be abolished,” Cit, who is the deputy director of the ACLU National Prison Project, told me, “Because the guidelines are based on a false assumption, they were used as a way to impose on women and girls, who have not been provided with the education and health care that they need, how they should manage their finances, how to manage their relationship with their parents, and to enforce their own personal preferences and expectations about their finances.”
“Children need an education, a safe place to live, and an education that prepares them for adulthood,” she added.
“If a child is paying child support then that child is at risk of becoming a victim of the child welfare system.”