Deadbeat parents’ numbers up: Census

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Nearly two million deadbeat fathers who owed child support failed to make any payments in 1997, the Census Bureau reported.

While the Census Bureau report being released toFday also shows that more custodial parents were getting full-time jobs and leaving public assistance programs, advocacy groups contend the numbers highlight glaring weaknesses of a child support system in transition.

Of the 6.3 million U.S. mothers owed child support from absentee fathers in 1997, roughly 30 percent or 1.99 million women, did not receive any payments, Census data show. Four years earlier, 1.72 million women owed support, or 29 percent, did not receive payments.

About 42 percent, or 289,000 of the 674,000 fathers owed child support in 1997 from absentee mothers did not receive any payments. That was down from 353,000 deadbeat mothers, or 45 percent, in 1993, in the same category.

The Census survey, taken every two years, is the nation’s only estimate of all child support paid and owed across the country, including private agreements between parents. The Department of Health and Human Services has more recent figures, but only tracks cases that go through government collections systems.

"It’s a pretty sad statement that nothing’s improved much and kids are going without much needed support payments for food, clothing and shelter," said Geraldine Jensen, president of the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.

Child support enforcement was overhauled in 1996 as part of welfare reform. Since then there have been other new outreach initiatives — such as helping fathers who cannot afford to pay child support find jobs — that improved the situation, HHS spokesman Michael Kharfen said.

The full effects of reform won’t be seen until results from the 1999 survey come out next year since many states took years to make necessary changes, Kharfen said.

"It shows early efforts to improving the child support system," he said. "But this is still very encouraging news which is consistent with what we’re seeing."

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

FILE - A sign hangs at a Taco Bell on May 23, 2014, in Mount Lebanon, Pa. Declaring a mission to liberate "Taco Tuesday" for all, Taco Bell asked U.S. regulators Tuesday, May 16, 2023, to force Wyoming-based Taco John's to abandon its longstanding claim to the trademark. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Hepatitis A confirmed in Taco Bell worker in Everett, Lake Stevens

The health department sent out a public alert for diners at two Taco Bells on May 22 or 23.

VOLLI’s Director of Food & Beverage Kevin Aiello outside of the business on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Coming soon to Marysville: indoor pickleball, games, drinks

“We’re very confident this will be not just a hit, but a smash hit,” says co-owner Allan Jones, who is in the fun industry.

Detectives: Unresponsive baby was exposed to fentanyl at Everett hotel

An 11-month-old boy lost consciousness Tuesday afternoon. Later, the infant and a twin sibling both tested positive for fentanyl.

Cassie Franklin (left) and Nick Harper (right)
Report: No wrongdoing in Everett mayor’s romance with deputy mayor

An attorney hired by the city found no misuse of public funds. Texts between the two last year, however, were not saved on their personal phones.

Firearm discovered by TSA officers at Paine Field Thursday morning, May 11, 2023, during routine X-ray screening at the security checkpoint. (Transportation Security Administration)
3 guns caught by TSA at Paine Field this month — all loaded

Simple travel advice: Unpack before you pack to make sure there’s not a gun in your carry-on.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
To beat the rush this Memorial Day weekend, go early or late

AAA projects busy airports, ferries and roads over the holiday weekend this year, though still below pre-pandemic counts.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Troopers: DUI crash leaves 1 in critical condition in Maltby

A drunken driver, 34, was arrested after her pickup rear-ended another truck late Tuesday, injuring a Snohomish man, 28.

Housing Hope CEO Donna Moulton raises her hand in celebration of the groundbreaking of the Housing Hope Madrona Highlands on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$30M affordable housing project to start construction soon in Edmonds

Once built, dozens of families who are either homeless or in poverty will move in and receive social and work services.

Smoke comes out of the roof of ReMyx'd, a restaurant on Smokey Point Drive, on Sunday, May 28, 2023, in Arlington, WA. (IAFF Local 3438)
Fire damages Arlington bar that received death threats

Arlington Police say initial indications are that fire at ReMyx’d does not appear to be intentionally set.

Most Read