Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lost Fathers

From Family Scholars blog:


A local TV story on fatherlessness in Virginia:

There’s a problem facing too many children in Hampton Roads – dads who’ve disappeared.

“The last time I saw him was October of 2000,” said Patrick.

“I don’t have no relationship with my dad,” noted Aqudell.

“One time, I was with my friend and we were in Wal-Mart and he looked at me and I looked at him and he didn’t say a word to me, so I didn’t say anything back,” Dana admitted, who, through her tears, says it doesn’t bother her that he’s not in her life.

Dana is one of the more than half-million children in Virginia who are owed child support. Right now, delinquent parents owe $2.2 billion.

Nick Young, director of Child Support Enforcement for Virginia, says the problem could be called an epidemic. His 1,000 investigators are tracking 125,000 parents who owe child support. “It is very hard to find people that want to get lost,” he said.

Eileen Fennel knows how true that statement is. Since 2000, she and son Patrick have been on their own and are owed $60,000 in back support. “If I walked out and if I didn’t feed him or clothe him or dress him or put a roof over his head, I’d be in prison. Why isn’t his father because that’s exactly what he did,” Fennel wondered.

Thanks to new laws, Patrick’s father has lost his driver’s license, his passport and the ability to get any credit because he doesn’t pay up.

“When you do nothing, you send the unmistakable signal that you simply didn’t care,” Young notes.

Researchers say crime in your neighborhood and where your tax dollars are spent are directly related to the number of fatherless homes.

University of Virginia sociology professor Brad Wilcox has dedicated his research to understanding the effects of growing up without a father.

He was raised in a single mother household. Now a father of three, he recognizes the struggles, especially for boys. “What boys really tend to suffer from is delinquency and crime when their dads are not in the picture. They are not learning how to control themselves,” he said.


Anonymous said...
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Kristine said...

I had to delete a comment here from Anonymous because of profanity, but the gist of his comment was that only fathers are expected to pay child support and women see fathers as ATMs.

My opinion differs from Anonymous's assumption. Parents (read, mothers and fathers) should abide by whatever the court orders in the way of child support. I don't claim to be an expert on legal issues between divorcing husbands and wives. There are plenty of blogs focused on dealing with exes. This blog happens to be focused on the children, not the parents. I think all parents should take responsibility for their children. When mothers skip out on children and on court ordered support payments, they are equally culpable.