Nonsupport of Legitimate Children by Affluent Fathers as a Cause of Poverty and Welfare Dependence.

by M. P. Winston, T. Forsher


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Updating of the 1971 paper that played a role in the passage of state and federal legislation, including the Equal Rights Amendment, reform of the California community property law, state child support laws, and Social Security Amendments of 1974, whose legislative history quotes it extensively as background. It points to the rise in fathers' willful nonsupport as a reason why poverty among female family heads rose to 36 percent during the 1960s, while poverty declined to 6 percent among males, and 18 percent of college-educated female family heads were poor (of males, 3 percent). With child support law enforcement limited to welfare cases in most jurisdictions, the average educational and occupational level of AFDC mothers rose sharply. High costs and long delays discouraged civil enforcement. Moreover, even when paid, the average court-ordered amount per child was less than half the amount paid to foster parents. Those few counties that enforced nonwelfare cases had dramatic success, however. 22 pp. Ref.

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