Abra Cadabra? Cut $4BB HHS OCSE Funding Used Against Battered Mothers
There is $4 billion of untraceable funding within the HHS TANF budget used by OCSE to encourage enforcement agencies to illegally use HHS Office of Child Support Enforcement funding against stated purpose, guidelines, and federal law; it provides funding so that the more families fight, the more federal money DCSS and the Court receive. Grant Programs include Parenting Opportunity Programs and/or Access to Visitation Programs. These programs do not have appropriate oversight, The success of the program is defined exclusively by the number of fathers who are participants as opposed to measuring the degree of healthy outcomes for entire families. The Court is in charge of awarding these federal funds to nonprofits, but also orders litigants to retain their services. Court and child support programs are specifically required to collaborate with Fathers Rights nonprofit organizations which service the courts. This gives these same nonprofits a vested interest in the outcome of the cases; and the higher the conflict case, the more lucrative for agencies and the courts. This system has incentivized extortion, corruption, and fraud, as well as endangered children. Judicial authorities in select regions also improperly capitalize on grant money. Frequent conflicts of interest have arisen.
Congressional and DOJ investigations have been initiated both during and prior to 2011, and extensive documentation is available to congressional and/or senatorial officials.
Eliminate Access to Visitation & POP Funding within the DHHS OCSE.
I am writing to voice my concerns about widespread financial waste and fraud within the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child Support Enforcement, and request that funding to the offending TANF programs be cut until these issues can be resolved (if ever.)
At a time when tax payers are required to endure severe financial hardship and sacrifice, it has become abundantly clear that the $4 billion per year of untraceable tax dollars spent on Child Support Incentives, Access and Visitation, Healthy Marriages, and Responsible Fatherhood programs is unjustifiable. These over funded programs are not needs based, and the funds are actually being used to abuse and extort fathers and families through support enforcement programs and the family court litigation.
The problem is that when a father owes support, he is called into the child support offices and sometimes told that he can attempt to pay down unreasonable arrears and risk jail time, loss of his license, frozen bank accounts, or file for custody with the “help” of these programs. State and Federal DHS programs require custodial parents (often mothers) who are due child support currently in arrears, and who apply for TANF for financial aid, to file charges against the non-custodial parents in order to be eligible for aid. The requirement to pursue the arrears is often the trigger that creates a custody battle.
These programs are dangerous because OCSE funding mandates require recipients (the court and child support enforcement agencies) to partner with fatherhood promotion nonprofits which provide mental health services to the Court. The more a family fights, the more the recipient gets paid, and this incent5ivizes family court professionals to engage in fraud and extortion which harms families.
A 2008 study performed by the Government Accountability Office1 found that:
“HHS has a program monitoring system, but it lacks the mechanisms to identify and target grantees not in compliance with grant requirements or not meeting performance goals. HHS uses multiple tools to monitor grantee programs, such as site visits and reviews of reports submitted by grantees. However, HHS lacks specific guidance for conducting monitoring site visits. Moreover, HHS’s ability to target grantees in need of assistance is hindered by the lack of an effective Management Information System.”
This report and others have also found that these ARRA funds were being used to fund illegal programs, that they did not properly notify participants that they were participating in gender-biased Fatherhood programs which may be adverse to their own interests.
This is unacceptable at a time when congress is asking families are being asked to go without basics.
They should be trimmed to allow the money to be used for things needy families actually want, like jobs, housing, childcare, food, healthcare, etc. Promoting their relationship status is not a legitimate use of tax dollars during a national crisis. Further, these programs lack any legitimate purpose without appropriate review based upon outcomes for the entire family, and not participation alone.I just signed the following petition addressed to: United States Senate.