Today more than fifty organizations across California are coming together to launch a new, three-minute video: Everything You Think You Know About California Child Support is Wrong, narrated by W. Kamau Bell and Robert Reich. The video advances the coalition’s call for 100% of all parents' child support payments to be passed through to their children, and NOT be intercepted to go back into the state coffers.
The video highlights the story of Ronnell, whose fathers’ child support payments were intercepted when he was young. “If my father’s payments had come to us, there is so much we wouldn’t have had to go through,” he said. It also highlights research from our local pilot in San Francisco, which found that when parents’ government-owed child support debt was relieved and all of parents’ payments went to their kids, parents paid more regularly, and entire families benefited.
The video was created by Truth and Justice in Child Support, a coalition of more than 50 organizations across California that seek to bring equitable reform to our State’s child support system to better support low-income children and their families, and reduce child poverty in California. Current state and federal law requires families that sign up for public assistance, like Medi-Cal or CalWORKs, to sign over the rights to their child support to the government. Moving forward, the family only receives the first $50 of their child support—the rest is intercepted by the government. The coalition for Truth and Justice in Child Support believes that every penny of what parents pay should be passed through to their children—where the money will make the biggest difference.
We know the families served by the child support system—disproportionately low-income families of color—will be hardest hit through layoffs, health impacts, and economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the federal and state COVID relief measures are leaving behind these same communities, by allowing the government to intercept these relief payments to reimburse the cost of much-needed public assistance. These reforms are more urgent than ever given COVID-19's impact on struggling families across the state. To learn more, go to: https://truthandjusticeinchildsupport.org/.
Thank you to The San Francisco Foundation, The Walter and Elise Haas Fund, W. Kamau Bell, Robert Reich, and all of the members of Truth and Justice in Child Support for supporting this effort.