WINTER EDITION – Agents of Change (Part 2)

Published January 7, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Awareness

Change agents work to shift public perceptions and are passionate about engaging public awareness. For example, with respect to the single parent situation we discussed in Monday’s post, one strategy change agents can implement is to secure resources that can be allocated to educate the public on the absentee parent issue to help stir passion and deep emotions in others about this crisis that has reached epidemic levels. To help achieve their goals, agents of change may seek further understanding and empathy by bringing to light important information from the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to help address the sobering fact that only one quarter of the single mothers population ever receive child support monies. That means that out of nearly sixteen million single mothers, only two million receive assistance (ACF, 2012). In other words, change agents will engage in pre-planning and strategy techniques to help rally sympathy to gather allegiance from an unaware public.

Agents of change also use to their advantage, the many political voices that have indicated a strong desire to track down absent fathers that have gone without fulfilling child-support obligations to their biological or adoptive children (OIG, n.d.). Change agents also actively seek ways to garner more support by revealing to the public the effects of an absentee parent on children, while emphasizing the economic ramifications of taking no action. This key component is used to rally individuals in joining to support the movement’s efforts. For instance, change agents will pursue persons of political influence in this atmosphere, to help renew interest in the realization that the social welfare programs are picking up the tab for abandoned children, contributing significantly to the increasing federal budget deficit. These kinds of strategies can create ideal conditions for attracting influential membership.

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Advocacy

Agents of change also work to revolutionize old systems. Their platform addresses sensitivities and comprehend that most deadbeat dads do not perceive themselves as fathers, let alone deadbeats, acknowledging that this is one possible reason they do not embrace fatherhood. They are also aware that there are others that feel no obligation to fulfill parental duties and in a state of emotional incompetence attempt to justify their irresponsible behavior by proposing foolish notions of being deceived into parenthood as a form of entrapment. Although this may be true in some cases, it is not cause or justification for the abandonment of parental duties or accountability to their offspring.

Another tactic that agents of change incorporate, is to conduct extensive research on current legislation to ascertain what established methods and systems are both effective and ineffective. For example, when an absentee father is delinquent or ceases to pay court ordered child support monies, the mother is forced to seek emergency methods and alternative solutions to cover expenses. Most mothers are dependent on child support funds and factor that amount into to their monthly budgets. When support is delinquent, or worse, ceases altogether, a mother goes into fight or flight survival mode. It is under these stressful and desperate conditions, the single parent must seek alternative means to compensate for the loss and therefore resort to government aid in the form of nutrition and/or medical assistance. In some extreme cases, they also must seek urgent aid to make their utility payments, request emergency cash, or even temporary housing.

In other words, when an irresponsible parent neglects payments or alternatively, submits support intermittently, payment is construed by the government’s human resource division as additional income in an off payment month which can also have a huge impact on how their benefits are allocated. These adjustments, in the meantime, are not made to help the parent receiving support during the months monies were withheld. In short, because the system is flawed, the parent depending on support suffers more, while the absentee parent faces no repercussions, nor are they subjected to penalties or fines. Stay tuned … on Friday, we will conclude our post on this topic. Until then … keep organized!

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Things do not change; we change. – Henry David Thoreau

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References

Administration for Children and Families. (2012, October 1). Office of child support enforcement preliminary report. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/resource/fy2011-preliminary-report

Kaufman, G. (2012, December 21). This week in poverty: US single mothers – the worst off. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from The Nation.com: http://www.thenation.com/blog/171886/week-poverty-us-single-mothers-worst#

Legal Momentum. (2012). Single motherhood in the United States. Retrieved January 25, 2012, from: http://www.legalmomentum.org/our-work/women-and-poverty/resources–publications/single-mothers-snapshot.pdf

Office of the Inspector General. (n.d.). Child support enforcement.  Retrieved January 25, 2013, from: https://oig.hhs.gov/frau

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