May 14, 2010
The call-in lines were jammed as Fathers & Families’ Board Chairman Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S. debated two Ohio child support officials on NPR in Cleveland May 14.
To listen to audio of the show, click here. Dr. Holstein is on from 25:30 to 40:30. To comment on the NPR website, click here. The show, The Sound of Ideas on Cleveland”s NPR affiliate WCPN 90.3 FM is hosted by Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett. Holstein debated Jennifer Bheam, the Director of the Summit County Child Support Enforcement Agency and John Galonski, Chief Assistant Prosecutor for Child Support, Summit County. Holstein expressed Fathers & Families’ view that while we believe all parents should support their children both emotionally and financially, the war on so-called “deadbeat dads” is often just a war against low-income/minority/hard luck fathers. This is particularly true in the recession. Holstein illustrated this on the NPR program by reading the occupations of the fathers on the Summit County child support officials’ own website. In every case, the “deadbeat” fathers are low income or unemployed, yet they supposedly owe large sums of money in back child support. Some of these men did not behave responsibly, but many others were victimized by problems within the child support system. One major problem is that child support obligors struggle to get downward modifications when they lose their jobs or suffer drops in income. Holstein also emphasized that fathers throughout history have worked hard and sacrificed enormously for their children, and that some of the fathers who do refuse to pay child support have done so in part because they feel they have been unfairly driven to the margins of their children’s lives. Fathers & Families does not condone this behavior, but we do understand it, and we believe that protecting the loving bonds children share with both parents should be family courts’ top priority. To learn more about problems with the child support system in Ohio and nationally, see our column Ohio Pizza Box/’Deadbeat Dad’ Campaign Unfairly Stigmatizes Fathers (Cincinnati Post, 4/2/07).