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Family Group Supports Proposed Budget Cuts For Child Support Enforcement

National Family Justice Association (NFJA) News Release
Midwest Regional Office - Detroit
______________________________________________________________For Immediate Release:    November 17, 2005

Contact: Jane Spies - (330) 534-8948
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.NFJA.org
_______________________________________________________________


Family Group Supports Proposed Budget Cuts For Child Support Enforcement

The Washington Post (10/26/05) reported that there is a proposal for federal budget cuts. One program being targeted for cuts is child support enforcement.

"It may seem counter-intuitive that a family group would support these cuts, but we at NFJA believe the proposed budget cuts to child support enforcement may be helpful for families, including women, men, and children. There is another huge side to this story that is not being adequately told, yet," said Jane Spies, M.S.Ed., Executive Director of the National Family Justice Association (NFJA).

NFJA (www.NFJA.org) says of course they are for parents supporting their children, and most parents do so. But, NFJA believes that the main goal for too many child support agencies is revenue generation for the state, not helping children and families. They say in too many cases, it's more like "bureaucrat support" rather than child support.

The National Family Justice Association released a statement outlining their position in detail at http://www.nfja.org/positionstatement/childsupportbudgetcuts.html. NFJA says although they do support the cut in matching fees, they do not support the $25 annual fee to be taken out of the children's child support.

"If a system or service is broken or not functioning properly, the U.S. taxpayers should not have to pay outrageous sums of their hard-earned money while the system is not held accountable for their inadequate performance. We believe this is exactly the situation we have now with many child support agencies. There's a lot of talk about increased collections of child support monies, but little talk about accurate and timely disbursement of collected support. For example, states have collected millions of dollars in undistributed child support [UDC] that has not yet been disbursed to the children," said Murray Davis, NFJA Board President.

NFJA contends that the U.S. taxpayers are paying their hard-earned dollars for a broken system. NFJA's position statement at www.NFJA.org cites numerous news reports describing errors and questionable practices of child support agencies nationwide.

NFJA is cautiously optimistic that the budget cuts are a step in the right direction toward accountability and improvement in the child support agencies. NFJA hopes that the federal budget cuts may serve as an incentive for the agencies to address the performance issues that have plagued them for years. The budget cuts may also spur a national dialogue which NFJA says is long overdue.

"For years we have heard horror stories and read news reports about the poor functioning of the child support system. For example, despite his and his wife's protests that there was no child, one man was forced by the system to pay child support to the tune of about $20,000 for 5 years for a child who a judge finally declared non-existent. We believe this case is just the tip of the iceberg," said Spies.

NFJA also cites the unresolved issue of undistributed collected child support, also known as UDC, that has been collected by state agencies but not distributed in a timely fashion to the children.  They say most states have millions of dollars of the children's money that is undistributed, sometimes due to a lack of a valid address for the custodial parent. If it is held long enough, it can be deemed abandoned property in some cases and may go into the state's treasury or general fund.

NFJA says states should not be rewarded or be able to profit financially from their own inefficiency in distributing the children's money.

"We hope a national, nonpartisan discussion and solution will be prompted by the proposed budget cuts to the child support program. The taxpayers need to know what their tax dollars are really funding. There is a lot of incomplete information out there. Too many families and children are suffering under the system as it stands now, and the situation needs to be corrected," said Murray Davis.

For more information see www.NFJA.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..