Commentary

Poliquin: We Must Ensure Single Parents Can Provide for Their Children

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Raising a child alone is one of the hardest things to do.

Far too often, I have heard stories of kids growing up without having the necessary means for food, shelter and an education because their family is not receiving the much needed child support payments from their deadbeat parent.

According to the Office of Child Support Enforcement, in 2013, the child support program served nearly 17 million children – nearly 1 in 4 kids. As of April, Maine’s total child support case load is 56,731. That is 56,731 kids who deserve our attention.

Additionally, CNN has reported that more than $100 billion is owed in unpaid child support. Maine has $529,769,734.76 in unpaid child support payments. That number is outstanding and deserves our attention. Imagine what those payments represent for a hungry child! Those payments could represent a safer home and a better education, leading to a brighter future.

This past month, Maine’s Division of Support Enforcement & Recovery collected $5,068,293.68 toward that debt. Clearly, much work is still required.

In Congress, I will work to help our custodial parents receive the child support payments they desperately need in order to provide more opportunities and freedoms for their kids.

To that end, I introduced the Child Support Assistance Act in order to help state and local enforcement agencies aid families in collecting child support payments.

As of now, to locate a delinquent parent and enforce an appropriate level for child support payment, enforcement agencies verify employment through consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) in order to obtain a consumer/credit rating. However, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA), CRAs may not release consumer report information to a third party, such as an enforcement agency, unless they have legal bases for obtaining the report. This is a problem we must solve.

The consumer reporting agency must also provide the delinquent parent with prior notice which can give that deadbeat parent ample amount of time to manipulate their financial situation to avoid an appropriate level of child support. That is simply not fair and it isn’t right. Additionally, this notice requirement is also an unnecessary cost and burden for our state agencies.

The Child Support Assistance Act will fix these issues by amending the FCRA, allowing enforcement agencies to rapidly obtain consumer reports on delinquent parents. This change facilitates enforcing child support payments, without giving a delinquent parent an opportunity to change or hide their true responsibility.

This bill will also expressly allow the enforcement agency to set an appropriate amount for child support payments and adjust the level as needed. I believe these common sense solutions are sorely needed.

As your representative, I will continue to work to help our local and state enforcement agencies in collecting child support payments from deadbeat parents.

As a single father, I understand the rewards of raising a child alone, but I also know how difficult it can be. We must ensure our custodial parents have the means to provide for their kids.

I am honored and humbled to represent you in Congress.

About Bruce Poliquin

Congressman Bruce Poliquin is a third generation Mainer from a big-hearted Franco-American family. He was appointed to the House Financial Services Committee where he works on a wide range of issues related to providing oversight of the financial services sector and helping to grow the American economy. As your representative, Congressman Poliquin will continue to use his life, business and government experiences to help our hard-working families and businesses, create jobs and grow Maine’s economy.

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