NOLA 360

New Orleans 360 is a forum where people can get a new perspective on our biggest challenges and find ways to contribute to their solutions.

When Child Support Becomes a Debtors’ Prison

On Thursday, November 19, the Greater New Orleans Foundation hosted NOLA 360: When Child Support Becomes a Debtors’ Prison at Dillard University. This event examined state-ordered child support, which is intended to help children and families but is actually having the reverse effect. It’s plunging the most economically fragile families further into debt, and its aggressive collection procedures are doing the most harm of all: sending fathers to jail.  How can we improve a system that is undermining the ability of families to work and care for their children? How do we rethink our support of families in light of what other states have learned?

Guest speakers included:
The Honorable Adrienne Hooper-Wooten, Mississippi House Representative
The Honorable Wesley Bishop, Louisiana House of Representatives
Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Artist and Owner of KHD Communications
Patrick Carter, NOLA Dads, Family Service of Greater New Orleans

Moderator: Carmen James, vice president of programs, Greater New Orleans Foundation

Would you like to learn more about state-ordered child support?

Below is a list of resources:

What We Want to Give Our Kids: How Child Support Debt Can Diminish Wealth-Building Opportunities for Struggling Black Fathers and Their Families, Center for Family Policy & Practice

“Fathers struggling with joblessness and low incomes make up a significant share of parents who have been court-ordered to pay child support.”

Low-Income Fathers and Child Support Debts: A Primer for Financial Literacy and Fatherhood Service Providers, Center for Family Policy & Practice

“Low-income or unemployed noncustodial parents (mostly men) face unique barriers to asset development and financial security, and one of the most intractable is child support debt.”

Our Fathers Our Future – A Portrait of Black Fathers in New Orleans, Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy

“Research has shown that fathers of all income levels and cultural backgrounds – including fathers who do not share a home with their children – can positively impact the development of their children.”

Recognizing the Underutilized Economic Potential of Black Men in New Orleans, Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy

“In this report, we examine the economic contributions of African American men and how structural changes in the economy since 1980 have affected black men compared to white men.”