After those interviews were conducted and aired, I was contacted by TVO to be a part of a panel on The Agenda representing Single Moms Fresh Start. The topic is Child Support and Fro. There will be myself, a single father, a family lawyer and Winnipeg's CBC producer whom wrote the article on "DeadBeat Dads".
The show is being recorded on Wednesday morning at 11am on November 26th and will be aired that same day at 8pm.
I discussed some questions and answers that will be asked of me during the segment and I wanted to share them with you in hopes that some of you will have some in put.
1) At what point in a separation do people turn to an organization like yours for support?
A: I have worked with single mothers for 2 years now and being one myself I have noticed that typically people begin to reach out when the separation has been finalized either by the courts or by the other party moving out of the shared home.
2) Your services seem to be specifically aimed at single mothers, will you or have you helped single fathers? Do yo believe your organization could assist single fathers if they were to come to you for support?
A: We are 4 single mothers and that is all we know. Single mothers with full or joint custody and single fathers that have only joint custody or access experience separation and parenting very differently. We have helped single fathers in the past, mostly those who have sole custody of their children but our website provides resources that are beneficial for anyone experiencing separation and single parenthood. If a single father was in need of assistance we would be more then happy to help them with their needs. Our future goal is to hire a single father willing to help other single fathers that when they are in need of specific services they can relate more to the person helping them. Single fathers may find it difficult to relate to 4 single mothers when searching for specific services.
3) Do you notice any improvements over the years with FRO?
A: Unfortunately the clients I work with are the ones struggling with FRO and have been for quite some time. I would however like to say that each case worker has hundreds of case files and is likely struggling to attempt to assist with yours especially those who have a payee who are not willing to pay their support or have disappeared. Statistics state that FRO is under staffed and cases continue to pile up. With the payees willing to pay, FRO is fast and efficient and as long as all the proper documentation is in place there are no issues when it comes to retrieving those payments, but for those who are not willing to pay their support the process is long and the paper work is tedious. I would also like to make it clear that the only person or people that suffer when support is not being paid on time are the children. These children are in greater risk of living in poverty and if there was a way to prevent that then why aren't we doing everything possible to do so?
Note: The Single Father on the Panel states: Minister Jasek was impressed by the fact that FRO has started impounding the support payers cars if support is not being paid as a measure to get that support payment. William believes that the measure is harsh because some of the payees are on social assistance and need their car to apply for jobs and so on.
My Argument: How can they afford their car on social assistance but can not afford to pay their support? Gas costs a lot of money here in Ontario. If they are looking for a job why haven’t they found one yet? Where did they get the money for the car? And don’t most cities in Ontario have a transit system? Why would someone need a car if they can not afford to pay support? If they can afford to drive a car in Ontario dont you think they can afford to pay their child support? Also, why should the support payer who is not paying support be entitled to drive when most recipients who are not receiving support are solely supporting their children and most are working 2-3 jobs just to pay the household bills and the majority do not own or drive a car but rely on public transit. Is that fair?
4) If you could make one improvement to FRO what would it be?
A: 1) Treat child support like a credit card, if the payments are not made the support should go into a type of collection where it begins to effect the persons credit. After all if they are not paying support what would they need a mortgage, credit card or car loan for? They cant afford support they cant afford the luxuries of having good credit. 2) People working under the table and hiding their income as well as not paying taxes should be investigated and if the recipient can find information through emails or Facebook they should be liable in court. 3) Payee should be mandated to show bank statements and credit ratings. Bank account information should be mandated and so should automatic withdrawls. National student loan services collects each and every students bank account information and 6 months after graduation they automatically begin to withdraw the monthly amount owed for the graduates student loans. If the national student loan services can do it than why can't FRO? Payees shouldn't have a choice of payment options. It should either be taken from their accounts on te first of every month or garnished off their pay checks each month.
If you have any comments to this or think that you have an answer you could add to this please share it with me by commenting on this blog post or on our Facebook page. Please add the question number to your response and how you would answer it differently.
TUNE IN on Wednesday November 26th, 2014 at 8pm on TVO's The Agenda. I will be participating in a Twitter chat after the show airs where everyone can discuss their opinions on this topic so if you are a twitter user look out for the chat link on or after the show!!!