Going after Deadbeat Dads

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Say “deadbeat dads”, see fathers cruising yachts and smoking cigars while the kids go without dinner. Truth is that for years, state enforcement agencies have more often gone after low-income dads who’ve fallen behind in court ordered child support payments, some of whom don’t have the money to support even themselves.

Now though, the Bush administration is launching a new federal sweep, rounding up dozens of more affluent recalcitrant fathers, including a retired professional football player. It’s an effort to enforce the law, to take the pressure off of safety net agencies, and it’s meant to send a signal from on high about fiscal family values.

Father-support groups call it more bad politics in an election year.


Sherri Heller, commissioner of the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement

Gerald Rowles, founder of Dads Against the Divorce Industry

and Irwin Garfinkel, author of Fathers Under Fire: The Revolution in Child Support Enforcement