#BBCQT~22/03/2018~22:45 Question Time,

World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum.

David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Leeds. On the panel are James Cleverly, deputy chair of the Conservative Party who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU, shadow attorney general and member of the House of Lords, Shami Chakrabarti, the SNP shadow spokesman for defence, Stewart McDonald, journalist and transgender activist, Paris Lees and the Mail on Sunday columnist, Peter Hitchens.

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#BBCQT~22/03/2018~22:45 Question Time,

David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Leeds. On the panel are James Cleverly, deputy chair of the Conservative Party who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU, shadow attorney general and member of the House of Lords, Shami Chakrabarti, the SNP shadow spokesman for defence, Stewart McDonald, journalist and transgender activist, Paris Lees and the Mail on Sunday columnist, Peter Hitchens.

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Film About Child Support Raises Issues!


our-blog-icon-topMarch 21, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This article is about three times as long as it needs to be, is poorly written and sometimes badly informed (Pop Matters, 1/31/18). But it reviews a film that may well be worth seeing. That film is Where’s Daddy, produced and directed by Rel Dowdell.

Where’s Daddy is about the child support system in the United States and how it tends to separate fathers from children. It’s also about the impact that has on the mothers of those children. The article’s writer, J.C. Macek III, writes a muddy prose that illuminates little, but apparently Where’s Daddy makes valuable points.

Dowdell’s Where’s Daddy? is not a film about deadbeat dads…Image may contain: one or more people, phone and text

Instead, this is a documentary that asks a new question: “What if the dad in trouble is not a deadbeat?” What if that father never runs away from his responsibility and does everything he possibly can for his children but falls behind financially? What if falling behind financially means, as it often does, falling behind on child support?

Image may contain: meme and textThat question may be new to Macek, but it’s not to anyone with much information about the child support system. Indeed, few men behind on child support are “deadbeats,” i.e. fathers who can pay, but refuse to. As the Office of Child Support Enforcement regularly reminds us, child support is often set at levels fathers (and sometimes mothers) can’t pay. Unsurprisingly they fall behind, see interest tacked on to the arrearage and end up in jail or having their occupational licenses suspended.

As I detailed in my two posts on the thoroughly awful Steven Fischer, child support debt Image may contain: one or more people and people standingnow sits at about $116 billion. It increases every year. The OCSE did a study back in 2007 that estimated that it would take a decade to collect 40% of what was then owed. That estimate proved accurate. Some 63% of those behind on child support report earnings of under $10,000 per year. Law enforcement “sweeps” of child support debtors in New Jersey routinely collect 1% – 2% of what’s owed. The Texas Attorney General’s office collected about 6% of back child support in an entire year.

Image may contain: textWhat all that means of course is that the great majority of child support arrears will never be collected. It’s a simple fact that’s reflected by the federal government’s offer to states to waive Title IV-D reimbursements. For three decades, child support levels were set too high, usurious interest rates were added and the unsurprising result is an enormous and unpayable debt. Somehow, no one figured that out ahead of time.

In short, those behind on child support overwhelmingly aren’t deadbeats; they’re just poor. To his credit, Dowdell’s many interviewees include no deadbeats. About that, he gets his subject (and his subjects) right. It’s not the only one.

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Often a father who has fallen behind on his child support will face jail time. While behind bars paychecks cannot be earned as work cannot be attended. The meter does not stop running just because a father is in jail and owed money continues to accrue. Thus a father, even if he is lucky enough to keep his job once released, has less money to pay the outstanding child support. Thus, the father faces jail time again, may or may not keep his job, and most assuredly falls behind on child support payments even further. And the vicious cycle continues.

Image may contain: people standingRight. Once an obligor falls behind, the system enthusiastically encourages failure.  Now some states have suspended additional child support if a parent is in jail, but that does little to solve the problem. Once a parent gets a job, he stands a good chance of being re-arrested for failure to pay off his debt. That in turn likely means he’ll lose that job, which in turn means his debt will increase.

That’s exactly what happened to Walter Scott in South Carolina. He’d finally gotten the No automatic alt text available.best job of his life with a film company and was terrified of losing it due to yet another arrest for child support debt. So when a police officer stopped him for a minor traffic infraction, he ran and was shot and killed for his trouble. That’s your child support system in action.Image may contain: meme and text

Rarely are special circumstances taken into account by the courts. For example, the documentary shows us that if the father’s health prevents him from working, he must go to court to prove that fact. This requires court costs and lawyers and further money owed on child support — as again, the meter keeps running.

Right again. A parent owing child support is required to go to court if he wants a downward modification due to a change in his circumstances. But if that change is the loss of a job or an injury or illness that limits his ability to work and earn, where is he supposed to find the money to hire a lawyer? And with no lawyer, the chances of proving a change in circumstances are remote at best. Again, the system is designed for the non-custodial parent to fail. And when he does, arrears keep going up and up.

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If the film explores the dynamic of fathers being denied access to children by custodial mothers and the impact that has on child support, Macek doesn’t mention it. It’s a major way in which fathers are excluded – and feel excluded – from their children’s lives and deserves a prominent place in any film about child support.

Still, even though Where’s Daddy looks like a film by someone who’s a bit too new to the subject to do it justice, it looks like an effort that’s worth viewing.

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President Of The Family Division: Give Journalists Full Access To Court Documents

Researching Reform

In a speech last week, President of the Family Division, James Munby, called on the government to allow journalists to have full access to evidence submitted in family court cases.

Munby gave the speech during an event looking at ways in which social media affects the family courts.

The President also said that secrecy within family courts meant that judges were able to get away with what are sometimes signficant mistakes. Despite suggesting that factors like exhaustion contributed to judicial error, he went on to say that judges should not be immune from criticism, and that journalists should be able to access the evidence in family cases as well as attend hearings, with a view to offering an analysis of what unfolds inside the system:

“The simple fact is that at present journalists can’t do that without access to the evidence and without reporting what went on in court and saying…

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Why 53 World Leaders Are About to Descend on London?

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Come April, world leaders from 53 different countries are going to be descending on London.

It’s a huge deal for the global fight against extreme poverty. But did you know why?

It’s for this big event in the world calendar, called the Commonwealth Summit — aka. the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, a.k.a., CHOGM.

Take action: Call on World Leaders to Tackle the World’s Biggest Issues at the Commonwealth Summit

Take Action: Email Now

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You might not have heard of it — but the idea of the summit is to bring together world leaders from across six continents to discuss critical issues like global health, gender equality, trade and defence, and nutrition. So basically, all the good stuff.

5 days.
4 key priorities.
3 days of Forums.
2.4 billion people.
One common goal. Towards a common future.

The Commonwealth formed in 1943, following the decolonisation of the old British Empire, by countries once ruled by Britain. But membership is now based on free and equal cooperation, and the Commonwealth has incredible potential for leading the world into a new and positive future.

The theme of the summit this year is “towards a common future” and it’s all going to be focused on building on the strengths of the Commonwealth to make sure this unique organisation is responding to global challenges.

Read more: Global Citizen Live Is Coming to London — and You Can Be There. Here’s How

It hopes to deliver a more prosperous, secure, sustainable, and fair future for all of its citizens — particularly its young people.

The Chairship of the Commonwealth is passed from member to member — and this year the UK will be taking over the Chairship from Malta.

The Maltese Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, has used his last two years as Chair to, among other things, champion the eradication of polio.

The disease that once ravaged the whole world has been 99.9% eliminated . If it were not for the leadership of the Commonwealth, eradication would still be just a pipedream.

At Global Citizen, we’re marking this exciting moment in global leadership with a big event of our own, as we take over O2 Academy Brixton for a night of entertainment-fuelled activism. We’re bringing Emeli Sandé, Professor Green, Naughty Boy, and Gabrielle Aplin, along with a whole host of performers and activists, to help us honour the summit.

It always seems impossible until it’s done. We’re bringing the fight against extreme poverty to @O2AcademyBrix in London with ⭕ — and we need you to join us ✊

Take action right this second to earn free tickets: http://glblctzn.me/GCLive 

You can earn free tickets to be in the crowd, by taking action with us on gender equality, nutrition, education access, and global health — but more on that here .

The Commonwealth contains a diverse group of countries, including many of the largest and smallest economies in the world. It is home to half of the globe’s top emerging cities and — with a combined population of 2.4 billion people — nearly a third of the global population.

Read more: Here’s Who’s Performing at Global Citizen Live in London (So Far..!)

What’s more, some 60% of the Commonwealth population is under 30 — and a billion of these are under 25.

In the lead up to the summit itself, which is held at the end of the week, leaders will attend a variety of forums, for “people”, “business”, “women”, and “youth”.

The summit will aim to build links between countries to offer young people access to knowledge and skills, and give them a voice on key issues like democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

The global challenges we currently face don’t respect national borders — threats like security, disease, and gender inequality.

Read more: 9 Inspirational Quotes From Nelson Mandela’s Iconic London Speech

The UK is already a leader in economic and sustainable development — it is the only G7 country to give at least 0.7% of its gross national income to international aid and development, and we’re transforming lives around the world every day.

But the Chairship of the Commonwealth is a critical moment for the UK to take that leadership to a global stage, to drive global unity on supporting the world’s poorest people.

It also offers a unique opportunity to help implement and deliver the Global Goals , the 17 goals established by the UN that the world needs to achieve in order to end extreme poverty.

Despite incredible progress, diseases like polio and malaria still wreak havoc across the Commonwealth and, indeed, the world.

The collective power of the Commonwealth means that we can make real plans to get rid of these debilitating, and in some cases life-threatening, diseases.

Read more: Why Global Citizen Live in London Is a Big Deal for Gender Equality, Health, Nutrition, Education, and More

Another opportunity for the Commonwealth to excel is in championing gender equality, and the rights of girls and women around the world.

“The UK has a longstanding and firm commitment to the Commonwealth and to the values it upholds, of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law,” said British prime minister Theresa May on Commonwealth Day last year.

“The UK is committed to working with all members not only to reaffirm these shared values,” she added, “but also to re-energise and revitalise the Commonwealth to cement its relevance to this and future generations.”

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals, and, in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Summit, we’re focusing on gender equality, nutrition, education access, and global health . You can join us by taking action on this urgent, pressing issues here . Once you’ve taken action, you can enter our draw to earn free tickets to our event at O2 Academy Brixton. So what on earth are you waiting for?

Write to your politicians, national or local, for free.

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More Councils Using Section 20 Arrangements To Keep Children In Care Illegally


Researching Reform

A damning judgment has revealed that another council is using Section 20 Agreements – which are intended to be voluntary – to force children into care indefinitely. 

Herefordshire county council kept a boy in state care for his whole life without getting the consent of a court, which is required by law. The judge identified 14 other children in the council’s care who had been separated from their parents and placed in care for inappropriate periods of time.

In his judgment, Judge Keehan said he had never before come across a situation in which a council had “so seriously and serially failed to address the needs of the children in its care, and so seriously misused, and indeed abused” its statutory powers.

Unlike Judge Keehan, we have often seen Section 20 Agreements being used illegally, across a number of councils. The practice is so common that in 2015, President of the…

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