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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

The Editorial Board of the Indianapolis Star has published an editorial sympathetic to the plight of embattled child support obligors and noncustodial parents---we suggest you write a supportive Letter to the Editor by clicking here or comment online by clicking here. The editorial, Amnesty's the right call, states:

It's easy to write off a noncustodial parent who fails to pay child support as a deadbeat who ought to be hauled into court and perhaps off to jail. But the sad fact is, too many don't pay because they can't pay; and prosecution often serves only to make it tougher on kids and taxpayers alike.

That's dead-on, and is similar to what Fathers and Families Board Chairman Ned Holstein, MD, MS told the Star in their recent piece Those who owe child support get a break (Indianapolis Star, 8/18/11). In the piece, Holstein explains that state laws on delinquent parents are counterproductive and unfairly punish poor parents:

It turns poor fathers into fugitives who have to work in the underground economy and keep moving, and Mom doesn't get anything because of it. They'll go after a guy who is making minimum wage, trying his best but only making 80 percent of the payment.

The editorial notes:

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry has struck a blow for common sense with his new amnesty program for some parents who have fallen behind. Better yet, the initiative reflects a fundamental change in approach toward the huge task of filling the support gap.

"The old philosophy was, 'I'm the prosecutor, I'm just going to hammer everyone equally,' " says Deputy Prosecutor John Owens. "That's not effective today."

Especially with a depressed job market. Especially given the fact that a large proportion of the approximately 76,000 child support cases now before the prosecutor's office involve ex-offenders, who not only find employment hard to find but also face probation and community corrections fees in many instances. Their fragile freedom and finances can't withstand court trouble over nonsupport...

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