Ada Fisher column: Too many unwed parents
By Dr. Ada Fisher
For the Salisbury Post
Sitting recently in the Rowan County courtroom waiting to hear the cases on paternity and child support, I was struck by the overflow of cases, the youth and unemployment of the parents in question and the unfairness of this system to children as well as taxpayers. Men should be outraged that they can be challenged for paternity with or without cause, without rights of recovery, even when they are not proven the father of the child in question. And taxpayers are being fleeced to support children for whom the parents often show little regard or responsibility in their conception and care.
A young friend of mine was told by his then girlfriend that she was pregnant and he was the father. Raised to be responsible and believing he was the only one involved with the potential mother, he contributed more than $8,000 to the care and nurturing of the child, disregarding the admonition of his mother and me to get a paternity test. When he did finally get the DNA paternity test, it proved he was not the father of the child. He was stuck with a bill for a child he didn’t create and no penalty accrued for such falsification by his accusers ó the mother and DFCS. Where is equal justice?
On the court docket were several young men being brought up for non-support of more than one child involving more than one woman. There seemed to be no sense of shame in the courtroom. One young man started shouting and cursing at his girlfriend until I intervened and told him to cool it. Several young women had more than one child by different men.
Maury Povich and Jerry Springer have made a cottage industry of young women who are indiscriminate in their sexual behavior with callous young men. And I can’t help but think: Where is this all going? What kind of nation exists when the family structure is so precarious and children are left dependent on the state for their support?
Is anyone else as outraged as I am?
Paternity testing for the claimed fathers should be offered free at birth so that the responsibility for these children is rightfully placed. Those without high school diplomas need to be required to get one or participate in a GED program to receive continued financial assistance. After the age of 2, child support should diminish for mothers on public assistance, with the requirement for work. Those unwilling to work should be required to go into the military as an alternative to obtaining public assistance.
Lastly, we need to examine what we are offering young people with children and no marriage. Young folks who chose to parent without benefit of wedlock are given Section 8 housing, food stamps, Medicaid and sometimes SSI (Supplemental Security Income), which has a value of more than $2,000 per month. We don’t offer this to many veterans and those who are disabled. Something is wrong with this picture, and it’s past time to quit playing politics and look at the sad state of many families.
Regardless of what some may think, marriage between one man and one woman at one time is desirable, if for no other reason than the children. Maybe we should give money to those parents who choose to stay together so that they assume the burden of raising their children and not dump this on society.
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Dr. Ada Fisher lives in Salisbury and is a former member of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education. She currently serves on the Republican National Committee.