Fox News published an op-ed by NPO’s Don Hubin, Ph.D. about the results of our updated Shared Parenting Report Card:
A study just published by the National Parents Organization reveals that most states have a long way to go to improve the lives of children whose are living apart. The good news is that there is a path to that goal—a goal that everyone shares—that is widely agreed on and … it’s free!
National Parents Organization researchers evaluated the statutes of all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine the degree to which those laws promote the well-being of children by encouraging to share as equally as possible in rearing their children. NPO then graded the states’ statutes based on 21 factors that encourage or discourage shared parenting.
More than a quarter-century of shows that children of divorced and separated parents do best when both parents share parental responsibilities roughly equally—when children do not suddenly find themselves with one overburdened parent and one “every other weekend visitor.” In light of this research, state legislatures should be doing everything they can to encourage this equal co-parenting. It should be the presumed post-separation parenting arrangement.
Read the rest at Fox News.
September 16, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
The unbelievable just got more so, if that’s possible.
I wrote about the Ryan West case here and here. It’s one of the most remarkable travesties of justice I’ve seen in a long while. I won’t reprise all the facts here. Read my two previous posts for a sense of just what can happen when judges decide how they want to rule and then go about finding facts and imagining law to fit their preconceived notions.
Ryan West has a daughter, Alanna, with his previous wife. The two divorced. Ryan earns a good living and is the best of fathers; his ex is voluntarily underemployed and spends little time with Alanna. The judge who granted their divorce gave Ryan parenting time of between 70% and 80%. In short, Alanna lives with him and his girlfriend Kym.
But, despite his being the custodial father, the judge ordered him to pay child support to the non-custodial mother. Seriously, that’s what she did. That was based solely on Ryan’s income and ignored the fact that his ex testified under oath that she was capable of earning $80,000 per year, but didn’t because she preferred to spend more time with her daughter. That is, she admitted to being intentionally underemployed. Under normal circumstances, a court would impute to her $80,000 annually and calculate child support accordingly. But the judge ignored his ex’s earning ability.
That meant she ordered Ryan to pay over $1,300 in child support, despite being the custodial parent and caring for Alanna about three-fourths of the time.
September 13, 2019 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
The federal government spends 10 times the money on foster care and adoption as it does on family reunification. Plus, it allows states to divert money from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to pay for foster care and promote adoption. The latter tends to make poor families poorer and therefore enhances the possibility of child neglect, which in turn leads to a greater need for foster care. It also tends to break up poor families.
Those are the main takeaways from this fine article (Talk Poverty, 8/23/19). The writer, Elizabeth Brico, quotes extensively from Richard Wexler who is perhaps this country’s best-informed commentator on our foster care and adoption system.
The United States government incentivizes foster care placements and forced adoption over social support and reunification with birth families.
When we offer people money if they take action A, we can’t be surprised when they tend to take action A. During the Clinton Administration, Congress passed and the president signed the Adoption and Safe Families Act. It offered states hefty financial incentives to take kids into foster care and to have them adopted out of foster care. Unsurprisingly, states reported doing exactly that. Rates of taking children from parents shot up.
August 28, 2019 by Ginger Gentile, Deputy Executive Director