Website: cpr-mn.org Email:
As Prepared by Center for Parental Responsibility (“CPR”)
CPR Disclaimer: This article is not intended to exclude anyone due to generalizations. While this article refers to non-custodial parents as the dad, there are times when the mother becomes the non-custodial parent, and similar challenges can occur. Additionally, this article is not meant in anyway to address or diminish the problem of domestic violence. When it occurs, by either parent, there must be protection available for the family.
“Of all forms of Government, those administered by [agencies] are about the least satisfactory. Being irresponsible, they become autocratic; being autocratic, they resist [improvement and change]. Unless bureaucracy is constantly resisted it breaks down representative government and overwhelms democracy. It is the one element in our institutions that set up the pretense of having authority over everybody and being responsible to nobody.”
Source: President Coolidge at
Prepared by: Molly K Olson, Volunteer Executive Director
Direct Phone: 651/490-5060
Welfare for the Affluent
As Prepared by Center for Parental Responsibility (“CPR”)
It comes as a surprise to
most legislators and citizens to discover that there is one
Taxes are paid by everyone, including low-income and working class citizens to subsidize the self-sufficient so the IV-D welfare services can be provided to anyone who applies, no matter how high their income. We are, in a sense, stealing from the poor to give to the rich. This defies the American way – no matter what side of the political fence you sit.
In 1935 the Social Security Act (“SSA”) was created for people who could not self-sustain without government assistance and/or intervention. Every program in the SSA is designed to help low-income people reach self-reliance.
Over the years, the SSA expanded into 21 Titles, ranging from Veterans Services/Benefits (Title VIII), services/benefits for the Blind (Title XVI), services/benefits for the aged (Title I), and unemployment benefits (Title III), to name a few. Title IV (Grants to States for Aid and Services to Needy Families and Children and Child Welfare Services) includes, the most well known and most costly cash benefit payment program – IV-A: TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). The goal for TANF is to provide temporary aid to end dependence on the government and to gain self-sufficiency, and to help families become independent of assistance. The primary goal is to reduce poverty. The AFDC program provides funds to states which have implemented plans to aid needy families with children deprived of parental support due to death, disability, or desertion. Title IV also includes: IV-B: Safe and Stable Families, IV-D: Child Support Enforcement, and IV-E: foster care and adoption. All these Title IV programs are designed to help needy children dependent on the government for support. There is universal consensus that needy children should not be forgotten. No one disputes this, and we are all ready to fight for the needy children.
The purpose of welfare is well defined by the church, "For the Catholic community, the measure of welfare reform is whether it will enhance the lives and dignity of poor children and their families. The goal of reform ought to be to promote decent work and reduce dependence ... The target of reform ought to be poverty, not poor families" (United States Catholic Conference, "Moral Principles and Priorities for Welfare Reform," 1995).
All these SSA programs are
paid by the universal money tree – our taxes - your tax dollars. The Title IV-A
(TANF) benefits have been restricted to 5 years max for a lifetime in
A “needy” child as defined by the SSA is one who is dependent on the government for public assistance to achieve basic needs. Government programs are meant to help temporarily meet the basic needs of individuals who are unable to do so on their own. The definition of basic needs has been debated by experts and general consensus includes the following as basis needs: 1) food (orange juice not lobster), 2) clothing (KMART not Ralph Lauren), 3) shelter (some place to call home not necessarily a $250,000 house in the suburbs). To some degree, most people are aware of the differences between “need to have” for survival and “want to have” for own self enjoyment. Most of us intuitively know what “needy” is, but that one word has created a vague perception that has given government empires an opportunity to grow.
This is supported by the landmark decision by
the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Moylan v. Moylan, 384 NW 2d 859 at 866 (
The federal government has determined the
financial requirement to meet the basic needs of the family, by establishing
the federal poverty guideline, for application with respect to it’s social programs. States are given the discretion to
provide for their citizens at a rate above and beyond the federal poverty rate,
if the cost of living warrants. In
For more information visit Federal Register (Volume 68, Number 26)
The state of
In 1974 a new program was added under Title IV of the SSA. The program provided child support enforcement and collection services administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program is a federal-state cooperative effort administrated by the states. The statutory scheme of Title IV-D is clear. It was set up as a collection agency for government debt accrued under Title IV-A (formerly AFDC, now TANF). The federal government believed there was an unacceptably high number of single mothers with children receiving IV-A benefits. Congress believed the reason for this dependence on the government was because the children were abandoned by the father and left with no other financial alternative than public assistance. The underlying assumption of the IV-D program was that women did not have the earning capability to self-sustain nor provide for their children without their husbands or the government. (Thirty years later, society no longer holds this view). Because it is not an entitlement program, but rather a collection program, IV-D did not create an individual right, nor an enforceable right, see Blessing v. Freestone.
Major reform of child support was completed in 1984 by Congress to protect those women and children who were at risk of falling back into public assistance once they had left welfare, if they did not receive child support form the father. Up to this point, the OCSE was collecting no money for non-welfare cases. Additional enforcement measures were introduced in 1984 in enhance IV-D collections. Available evidence showed a high rate of payment but Congress decided to create the US Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). In the mid 1980s OCSE promoted itself as an essential element in the economy fighting a foe so sinister and destructive that it threatened the nation…they found the “right hook.” While the 1984 amendments expanded the scope of federal involvement for the two specific classes it intended to protect, there is no evidence that they expanded the class to include the wealthy and affluent.
Congressional records support the constitutional limitations of the program confining the law to only two classes of individuals for which there is a compelling state interest. There is no opposition to government intervention when there is a genuine legitimate government interest. The private class was never discussed, because the private class was never an intended recipient for the government collection of child support. The program was designed strictly as a punitive program to force the willful non-payer to pay child support according to their ability to pay, in order to reduce a taxpayer burden.
The purpose and intent of the
IV-D program was clear. It was designed to be a welfare off-set program. The
IV-D program was set up as a collection agency for the
purpose of cost recovery or cost avoidance to lower cost to the taxpayer and
reduce the financial burden on the government for those mothers and
children who were dependent on the government for their basic needs. The
The purpose and intent of the program was to prevent women and children from falling into poverty when they were abandoned by the chief or sole wager earner, (assumed to be the dad), resulting in their dependence on the government. And who is funding this program? The taxpayer. This program was based on the belief that men were the sole financial providers and women were incapable of taking care of themselves financially. The IV-D program was designed to protect those roles.
The intended beneficiaries of this program never included wealthy, affluent, or those who could self-sustain without government intervention. There is no evidence to support a federal mandate to the states to provide services to the “rich.”
This altered thinking can distort public policy, resulting in usurpation of congressional intent. The IV-D system has instead become a paradise of position power for all man-haters and money grubbing bureaucrats hungry for control.
The program is now costing taxpayers billions instead of saving millions. The program is now destroying families by escalating the conflict and driving the father away, rather than bringing dads back to their families. The program is providing taxpayer subsidies for one parent at the exclusion of the other parent who receives no similar subsidies.
Most everyone has lost sight
of the purpose of the program, as the state Department of Human Services (DHS)
has gradually expanded their powers beyond the narrow limitations of the
program. Intentionally or not, the DHS
has erroneously interpreted and unlawfully expanded the program beyond its
scope. The program is now costing taxpayers and become an astronomical burden
to the taxpayer, rather than saving taxpayer money. This is a fleecing of
In a 1995 report, the GAO clarified their observation of the overreach of authority and violation of congressional intent, when they stated, “The non-AFDC child support program … many are not within the low-income population to which Congress envisioned providing child support enforcement services.” The report noted that “ … the rate at which child support services are being subsidized appear inappropriate for a population that Congress may not have originally envisioned serving.”
The DHS has grown in strength and numbers with unquestioned authority. When their authority prevailed unquestioned, and the critical factors of purpose and intent were overlooked, the program began running on pure emotion over the empty threat of a fabricated problem which promoted the assumption that all non-custodial dads were deadbeats, and nobody would support their children unless the DHS intervened and forced them to pay. Furthermore, the DHS has been able to squelch any challenges to their policy and practice by using the unsubstantiated phrase “the feds make us do it.”
Once the program was expanded to increase enforcement, analysts at the Cato Institute, known for its objective analysis, characterized the federal child support enforcement program as "big brother" government intrusion that threatens privacy rights.
The IV-D program has been expanded to include any and all private cases where there is no compelling state interest. The Minnesota DHS testifies and documents a consistent message, “the feds make us do it.” These unexamined assumptions have become problematic. There are six major problems with this program, which include: 1) There are NO eligibility standards being used by the state/county agency for Title IV-D welfare services. The application requires no evidence of financial need (this is the only welfare program that is not means-tested). The applicant requires no evidence of an existing child support order nor does it require previous private attempts to collect before asking for government assistance. The application requires no evidence of a collection problem or arrears (no proof of a problem required) before the government intervenes; 2) There is NO disclosure of applicant’s income required or requested on the Title IV-D welfare application; 3) There is NO process in place by the state/county agency to notify the other responsible parent and let them take charge of the child before the government does, even if one fit parent is willing and able to provide in lieu of public assistance; 4) There is NO application approval process in place by state/county agency – so every applicant gets approved and is encouraged, even solicited, regardless of need or circumstance; 5) There is NO investigation or verification of the accuracy of information provided on the application; 6) There is NO process in place to CLOSE the file when one parent objects claiming their statutory right pursuant to 42 USC 1301 (d).
To the dismay of most
citizens, music icon Michael Jackson would qualify for IV-D welfare services if
he lived in
This overreach of authority has become the accepted norm even though there is no basis in law. No one has questioned this program. Most citizens are not aware of the misapplication of the program. Most citizens don’t realize that the overreach of government authority can even be questioned. Most citizens do not know they are not required by federal law to be in the IV-D program unless the custodial parent and child(ren) are on public assistance. Most magistrates (better known as the DHS collection police) seize jurisdiction in private cases, like an assumable mortgage.
Does Congress require the
Like caged birds singing the company tune, the PR machine went into full gear with the phrase “deadbeat dad.” The IV-D child support enforcement system was set up to locate and collect from dads who had abandoned their families, leaving women and children at the mercy of public assistance. Those who have promoted the overreach of IV-D authority have done so by marketing two of their favorite arguments: 1) the exaggerated child support arrears problem, 2) the powerful ploy to demonize and punish all deadbeat dads and beat them into submission or jail; and somehow argue that is in the “best interest of children.” This powerful attack and persuasive pitch displays that to win in politics is to say the lie often enough that it becomes fact. The truth is, there are very few deadbeats. We must stop allowing emotions to govern the law of the day.
What is a deadbeat dad? A
well known attorney, and former Speaker of the House in
Much has been written about the “dead broke” dad, but promoters of the deadbeat dad theory quickly dismiss those facts (of unemployment, inability to self-sustain, impoverished due to child support, etc) as rhetoric from “angry men just hiding their assets.” However, in a widely distributed and often quoted report, the General Accounting Office has found that 66% of the non-custodial parents in arrears don’t pay because they can’t afford to pay.
Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a joint project of
The deadbeat dad myth trails the history of child support. Child support was set up to locate and collect squeeze payments from those who had abandoned their families. Those who abandoned their families disappeared and were nowhere to be found. They were abdicating their financial and moral responsibility, as well as their emotional support, leaving the family completely void of a very important role in the family unit.
During the 1970’s, fathers groups, unclear who the law was meant for, were offended by the term “abandoned,” so Congress changed the term to “absent,” without every changing the real definition of the father they were targeting. Then, at some point, the term “absent” was changed in the law to “non-custodial parent.” Suddenly, the IV-D child support enforcement program, meant for criminals, was now being applied to all non-custodial parents. And all non-custodial parents were being now treated like criminals. The term “deadbeat” dad has become nearly synonymous with “non-custodial dad” and subsequently has become discriminatory all-inclusive hate-language that should be abolished.
This inherent systemic bias colors the judgment that produces unfair and harmful outcomes which are influenced by flawed interpretations to support the predetermined bias. Even though we have no-fault divorce, the system is predicated on blame; the system is predicated on a winner and a loser. Therefore, the IV-D program provides the applicant (usually mom) a disincentive to cooperate with the father.
The willful nonpayer, who purposefully abandons their family to public assistance, cannot be discounted or let off the hook. No advocate will be an apologist for a true “deadbeat dad.” However, most scenarios include two competent and willing parents who want to care for the emotional, physical and financial needs of the children. The typical story of a non-custodial dad is a hard working parent who is providing to the best of their ability, wants to do what is right for the children, and desperately desires to maintain a relationship with his children. For those who aren’t providing consistently after the divorce, they probably weren’t providing consistently during the marriage either. Financial issues probably precipitated that divorce. Why do we think that divorce will change that? But divorce ensures the mom that she will get everything she dreamed of financially, if she divorces and uses the weight of the IV-D system behind her, and she profits. In that respect, the IV-D system provides a financial and emotional incentive for the mom to divorce.
There is a
systematic removal of one parent from the child(ren)’s
life to maintain the underlying required presumption of the program, that one
parent is “absent” (i.e. abandoned). Because the whole system is predicated on
one parent being labeled the “non-custodial dad” to justify and legitimize the
IV-D program, the system immediately pits one person against the other. Each
parent must given a label, from the very beginning,
and they are given that label in the temporary hearing. The system requires that one parent be
labeled the “custodial parent” and one parent labeled the “non-custodial
parent,” creating the “great wall” of
In the IV-D system there is no term for a “joint parent.” It’s not an available descriptor on the application or in the computer. In the eyes of the system, one must be “custodial” or “non-custodial” and “joint physical custody” is not an option. Therefore, one parent must be routinely stripped of custody of his children just because there was a divorce, and now two households instead of one, not because they did anything wrong. Fit fathers who have been a significant part of their children’s lives are stripped of custody – no allegations or charges if abuse or neglect required. Fit fathers are deprived of joint physical custody of their children taken away from them just because the mom says “we can’t get along.” Those are the four magic words to get custody, because “ability to get along” is one of the 13 best interest criteria. The vast majority of these families were intentionally severed against the will of one parent; usually the dad. Keep in mind, by law, the judge is never to use one criteria to the exclusion of the others. But, it’s done everyday in our court system.
Most people who have not gone through the system believe that a “non-custodial parent has somehow been deficient and “lost” custody by doing something bad or being inept. In child protection cases (CHIPS), if mothers are proven unfit and found guilty of abuse, neglect, or harm to their children, they get a whole year to follow a case plan and improve themselves to regain custody of their children. A non-custodial dad is never awarded that same opportunity. A drug dealing prostitute mom has a better chance of getting her kids that a nurturing responsible involved father who went to all the piano recitals and coached his children’s soccer. Once fit fathers get custody of their children stripped from them, they are never allowed to get it back – even if it they just want joint physical custody.
Statistics and study after study report that virtually all parents in long term relationships with children and a majority of unwed parents with children, wish to continue to provide for the emotional, physical and financial support of their children. It is the government, through the divorce/family courts, who intentionally and callously alienate one parent from their children.
The system has taken away every incentive for a mom to negotiate, mediate or settle the matter privately, because she will get all she wants and more if she lets the system take over for her. Parents (usually it is the custodial mom) know they can abuse the system to their advantage and remove the dad with the support of county attorney$, ca$eworker$, judge$ and a periphery of other$ who profit from the divorce/cu$tody battle$, and a whole host of other government workers and professionals contracted by the system. The unified defense team is always ready to defend their turf. The longer the system can string out the process, the more government workers who are guaranteed job security. The systematic demise of fatherhood means not only the survival but the growth of the government collections business, and all government workers who are involved in the process. The IV-D system is the ultimate revenge and it is available at her disposable for a one time fee of $25. She gets up to 20 years (per child) of revenge, compliments of the government social service organization and our tax dollars, as the weight of a very massive, punitive, and unforgiving system is ready to “capture” their artificially created “criminal” (i.e. parent given the loser-label of non-custodial parent) at any opportunity.
o 72% more likely to have a teenage pregnancy
o 86% more likely to become psychotic delinquent
o 300% more likely to become involved with gang activity
o 200% increase in attempted or successful teen suicides
o 100% correlation with gender identify disorders
o 200% increase in the likelihood the child will require psychological treatment
o Lower self-esteem
o More difficulty building stable family life in adulthood
The casualties of
the IV-D system are the children. In spite of all the evidence, courts in
The result is that nobody is happy. Nobody benefits from the removal of the dad, except the DHS. The mom becomes bitter because she has to do everything herself (because dad has been booted out) and dad becomes disenfranchised and distraught, because he can’t be more involved with his children. The children grow up thinking this is normal and that dads simply aren’t around much. Boys are socially engineered to be absent; and girls are socially engineered to marry for money the first time, get on the child support gravy train, and marry for love the second time.
The reason intentional overreach of authority by the IV-D agency is apparent. The state and county IV-D agencies recognize that by giving these services to NON-NEEDY cases, they increase their caseload, thereby increasing the amount of support payments funneled through the county; thereby increasing the amount of federal dollars flowing back to the states; thereby ensuring job security. The higher the child support payment, the higher the federal funding, because the federal funding is a total percent of the total support payments funneled through the state system. The motive is money. NOT money for the children – that is a marketing ploy – it’s money for the state program. If it was really the “best interest of the children” that they were concerned about, there would be an abundance of state program to promote fatherhood and courts would routinely enforce visitation orders and give dads joint physical custody when a fit father wants to be involved in the lives of his children.
The states have over extended the congressional intent of the IV-D law and have disregarded eligibility standards for IV-D welfare services in order to maximize the federal dollars to the state, by subsequently allowing everyone into the welfare program – whether they need it or not.
The federal funding is what motivates the Minnesota DHS to declare their main purpose of child support guideline reform is to increase child support, because that produces more money for the department. Most enlightened parents know, “more money” is not what children need most. The entrenched bureaucrats want more money to build their fiefdoms at the expense of children, families, and taxpayers. The DHS is “pimping” children to get more money for themselves. When you ask children if they want more time with their parents or more “things,” they will always choose more time with their parents. The IV-D program is set up to systematically replace the dad with things. Its about greed for the government agency over need for the children.
As more parents received higher orders to pay through the system year after year, OCSE reported increases in "collections" (which were mostly non-problematic non-welfare related payments that would have been paid anyway). States (the CSE program) received more federal funding as a result of reporting higher "collections."
Federal funding is provided at a rate of 66% - or up
to 76% with incentives. However, this DOES NOT cover all the costs, and with
known and hidden costs, this program is COSTING
The remaining portion unfunded by federal
reimbursements is split equally between state and county taxpayers. Property
taxes pay for the program. In
According to the
Minnesota DHS Child Support Performance Report, October 2003, there are 244,474
child-support recipients of IV-D services in
Each recipient is
provided, by some estimates, well over 100 different government services, in
order to process all the collection and enforcement activities. When reviewing
the 3 of the most regular services provided, the potential cost savings to
To provide the services for the 189,474 recipients who are potentially NON-NEEDY and possibly affluent, the taxpayer is footing a postage bill of $1.6 million a year – in postage stamps, for the monthly billing service. This includes no processing or transaction fees – it is pure postage. To provide the services for the 189,474 recipients who are potentially NON-NEEDY, the taxpayer is footing a case worker bill of as much as $18.9 million a year. To provide the services for the 189,474 recipients who are potentially non-needy and possibly even affluent, the taxpayer is footing a county attorney bill of $118.4 million a year. Each recipient can get these services for up to 20 years for each child. About 10,000 new recipients are added to the program each year.
Dr. Sherri Heller, U.S. Commissioner of OCSE, said “people leaving TANF have a 30% chance of coming back.” That would mean, of the 139,819 “former public assistance” recipients, 41,945 are “at risk” and are eligible for IV-D services, and 60%, 97,874 are not at risk.
The Congressional record from 1984, when many of the most oppressive child support amendments were added, repeats over and over that the enforcement of child support from “deadbeat dads who abandon their families to welfare” is a nonpartisan issue. The solution to reduce the unnecessary expansion and unintended and unauthorized overreach of the program must also be a nonpartisan issue.
Taxpayer money inappropriately spent on the affluent and self-sufficient who have never been at risk of public assistance could be redistributed to other programs for the poor, needy, and vulnerable. Less government in private family matters will preserve the traditional American boundaries of freedom and other constitutional liberties provided to citizens.
What is good for the DHS
(bureaucratic empire) is not good for
(work in progress – to be finished soon-call for details if you need them right away …)
Kagan – CSPAN – book review
“Paradise of Power”
Public Law (P.L.) 93-647: Social Service Amendments of 1974: Senate report No. 93-1356