|For Immediate Release
Fathers Day 2001: Advocates Out in Full ForceChild Support Guideline recommendations released
Coalition members will participate in four separate public events, and earlier this week released their recommendations for review of the state's Child Support Guideline.
On Sunday, CPF will participate in the annual "Dads Make a Difference" event on the Boston Common from 1-5 p.m.
Also on Fathers Day, members from western Massachusetts will hold a vigil from 1-3 p.m. at the Springfield Court Square, the western Mass. location of the state-sponsored event.
"Years of research shows us that children do better with equal access to both parents," said Steve Shepardson, the groups Hampshire County co-chair. "Our kids deserve this access, and our dads should be given the same opportunities as moms to parent not just visit their children."
Today (Saturday), members from the Franklin County chapter will be at the Greenfield Town Common in a voter registration drive gathering signatures for a petition favoring the shared parenting legislation (S813) currently in the Judiciary Committee. The contingent hopes to recruit local fathers by offering help and discussing fathers' advocacy.
This past Thursday, the Hampshire County chapter held their 5th protest of the year outside the Hampshire County Probate & Family Court. In all, CPF has held 26 protests statewide since the beginning of the year.
According to Spokesman Mark Charalambous. "A rising tide lifts all boats. Critical mass has been reached in Massachusetts. Nationwide, forty percent of all children live apart from their dads. Fathers' rights advocates are speaking loudly and clearly on the streets and in legislative hearings in the State House: We will no longer tolerate the government's 'War on Fatherhood'."
The Fatherhood Coalition criticize government initiatives that define fatherhood in terms of extortionary child support levels and seek to "cure" the popular wisdom and myths of "irresponsible fatherhood" with a multi-million dollar government program. Literature to be distributed at the Boston Common tomorrow targets this hypocrisy:
What is the word "Responsible" doing next to the word "Fatherhood"?
What if there was a national event to honor "Honest welfare moms"? Wouldn't you think that what the sponsors really wanted was to draw attention to moms who cheat on welfare?
Clearly such ugly stereotyping would be rejected out of hand by clear-thinking people. Yet somehow the political climate surrounding fatherhood has been so poisoned that no one seems to object to the qualifying of the positive word "fatherhood" with the adjective "responsible." Implicit in the phrase "responsible fatherhood" is the hidden message that fathers are, whether by nature or conditioning... IR-responsible.
According to Charalambous, "Fatherlessness is a direct result of many things, and men choosing to walk away from a family is but one of them. It is also caused by an unrelenting assault on fathers by our state and federal governments ¾ the War on Fatherhood."
Earlier this week the Fatherhood Coalition released its recommendations for revisement of the state's Child Support Guideline. By federal law, state's guidelines must be reviewed every four years. The Massachusetts Guideline has never incorporated input from father's rights organizations and advocates. Instead, the Guideline has been formulated in secret by the court and the Department of Revenue.
In a letter to Chief Justice Barbara Dortch-Okarara, Chief Justice for Administration and Management of the Trial Court accompanying the recommendations, the Fatherhood Coalition state:
"The single-parent maternal custodial household and the "visitor" dad is a destructive post-family model. The Guideline must address the needs of the child to enjoy a full relationship with both parents.
"Taking into consideration but three provisions of the present Guideline:
- Obligation up to 40.25 percent of non-custodial parent's gross income
- Child support paid to the age of twenty-three
- $15,000 income disregard for custodial parent
we assert that the present Guideline unfairly burdens the non-custodial parent. Furthermore, since 98% of child support obligors are fathers, we view the Guideline as a tool to deliberately impoverish fathers and prevent them from having a meaningful relationship with their children."
The recommendations are available online at the Fatherhood Coalition website:
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For further information, contact:
CPF - The Fatherhood
A non-profit, all volunteer organization of men and women advocating for fatherhood since 1994