July 15, 2015
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The trend away from jailing non-custodial parents who can’t pay their child support continued with the vote of the South Carolina legislature to maintain funds for helping dads get job training and employment. Amazingly, Governor Nikki Haley vetoed the sum, but lawmakers were not to be denied. They overturned the veto and reinstated the funds. Keeping fathers employed and out of jail saves the state millions of dollars every year and helps maintain father-child relationships as well as dads’ sense of self-worth. Haley’s veto was penny wise and pound foolish as well as a slap at fathers, particularly those struggling financially.
South Carolina of course recently witnessed the fatal shooting of a father by a police officer. The man was fleeing the officer because he didn’t want to be sent back to jail for being behind on his child support payments. Previously, he’d lost the “best job I ever had” (and his child’s best opportunity at support) due to his arrest for child support arrears.
State Senator Clementa Pinkney, who was slain in the recent church shooting by white supremacist Dylan Roof, had been a staunch supporter of the funding. Many lawmakers cited his memory for their support of maintaining funding for keeping fathers in children’s lives.