Read the news coverage and op-eds about our Shared Parenting Report Card at the links below:
By Ginger Gentile, Deputy Executive Director
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone. And that includes parents who are paying child support. In fact, the economic devastation the virus has produced threatens to be disastrous for many of these parents. And NPO is taking a strong stand to try to protect these parents.
When parents in an intact marriage have any sort of economic setback, they tighten their belts to work through the hard times. When parents who pay child support have an economic setback, they get in arrears on child support and these arrearages can build quickly and be difficult to discharge even when income is restored. This is a troubling, but familiar, problem. What’s new—what the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought—is on a different scale. Without swift government action, we’re headed for a catastrophe for millions of parents.
The mandated economic shutdown will result in millions of paying parents who have never been behind on their child support payments suddenly being in arrears. The closure of many courts means that these parents can’t file a motion for modification of their child support. Even when the courts open up, there will be significant backlogs. And, unless lawmakers and child support officials take dramatic action, the strong enforcement measures intended to coerce child support evaders—those who have the ability to pay but are unwilling to—will be applied to parents who have lost income because of the deep economic recession.
June 3, 2020 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors
Three Cherokee County, North Carolina employees of the Department of Social Services face multiple indictments by a grand jury stemming from their use of “custody and visitation agreements” (CVAs) to coerce parents into giving up their children to foster care (Carolina Public Press, 5/19/20). In all, the three face 41 felony and misdemeanor charges with the possibility of more to come. Former DSS Director Cindy Palmer, former DSS attorney Scott Lindsay and former Child Protective Unit supervisor David Hughes were booked into the Cherokee County jail.
Apparently, the use of CVAs is illegal in the state and the three attempted to cover up their use of them by, among other things, lying under oath about their use. In addition, when the investigation began in 2018, Palmer was relieved of her duties as DSS Director, but immediately rehired as the DSS business officer. Remarkably,