BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new report recommends a number of changes to Maryland’s child support policies the author says will help increase compliance while reducing inequities that primarily affect low-income families.
The report from the Baltimore-based Abell Foundation looked at 20 years of research from the University of Maryland and others and found child support orders for many low-income parents who don’t have primary custody of their kids were “unrealistically high” and “unnecessarily punitive.”
The author noted those inequities significantly impact low-income African-American fathers and their children.
The report recommends setting child support orders based on a parent’s actual ability to pay, reducing child support debt that can’t be collected and ensuring children, not the state, get the money.
Among the other findings were that practices like taking away a non-compliant parent’s driver’s license are ineffective and hurt the parent’s ability to get a job to support their children.