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Double Standard for Black Dads
Child support. These two words that have been the root cause of dissension between couples since its inception.
According to the US Census Bureau, 24 million children live in The United States of America; one out of every three live in a biological father-absent home.
In a perfect world, children have the privilege of voluntary involvement from both parents sans the enforcement of a government agency. Due to the current support system, support is awarded to one party, typically the mother.Though both parties involved present legitimate wants and needs, with 44% of children in mother-only households living in poverty compared to a mere 12% of married-couple families, it’s rather obvious why mothers want and need monetary support for their children.
Research states that many fathers, for various reasons, believe their monetary contributions to be sufficient for proper upbringing. In years past, fathers have come under extreme scrutiny for not living up to their obligations, both moral and financial.
Then there are fathers, like Clifford Hall, who desire the time to develop a sturdy relationship only to be sentenced to 6 months in prison for visiting his 11 year old son ‘too often.’ Unbeknownst to Mr. Hall, his visitation schedule and child support payments were modified without his knowledge. When did it become ‘ok’ to penalize a father for WANTING to be more involved in his son’s life?
What kind of message does this send to other unsuspecting fathers who desire to be involved in their children’s lives more than some court order may decree? Statistically speaking, many fathers who live up to their financial obligation are discouraged from being more involved due to unrealistic stipulations. We need our child welfare and judicial system to realize how equally important a consistent fatherly presence is for child development.
Renaldo Bethel is a certified fitness manager in Little Rock, Arkansas. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from the University of Central Arkansas. Mr. Bethel is also a frequent conference presenter and public speaker.
Ron J. Clark, MBA, MA is an expert on effective programs targeting fathers, fatherless males, and young unwed parents. He contributed to this article.