Newslinks: Saturday August 16th, 2008

August 16th, 2008

Ryan McGinley shooting for Wrangler Jeans via Radar

Ryan McGinley is making ads for Wrangler jeans (running only in Europe) [Radar via Artfagcity]
Sotheby’s consolidates Asian art auctions from New York to Hong Kong [Bloomberg]
Taryn Simon commissioned by Nike to shoot the Men’s US Olympic Basketball team [SuperTouch]
Stained-glass cathedral window by Marc Chagall is shattered by vandals in France [NYTimes]
The global effects of four major types of art crimes: vandalism, theft, looting and forgery [Art Info]

Child-support rules get major changes: Will aid recipients be more willing to identify fathers?(Culture, Et Cetera)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC) August 23, 1996 | Wetzstein, Cheryl In 1994, nearly 400,000 children on welfare learned who their fathers are through a paternity establishment process. Another 2.3 million children on welfare are still waiting, according to the Office of Child Support Enforcement.

The new welfare bill’s child-support enforcement section says states can step up efforts to get “cooperation” about fathers from mothers seeking welfare – and reduce benefits to mothers deemed “noncooperative.” Marilyn Ray Smith, a child-support enforcement official in Massachusetts, believes the new time limits in welfare reform will lead to more paternity establishments.

“Child support is the true safety net when you have time-limited welfare benefits,” she said. “If you are only going to have welfare for two years at a time or five years over the course of your life, your incentives for making sure the father is held responsible for supporting the child are a lot greater.” But it’s impossible to know how single mothers, many of whom have been ambivalent about seeking formal child-support orders, will respond to the reforms.

In 1994, two researchers from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany, N.Y., met with three groups of welfare mothers. Some mothers said:

* Although they told officials where the father was, no payments were collected. “I’m doing everything I can now to identify the father, but it doesn’t make a difference. They can’t pick him up,” said one mother.

* They feared losing custody to the father: “One mother got a father court-ordered to pay child support. . . . Then he got custody of [the daughter] just because he has a good job and she’s on welfare.” * The child-support system might interfere in the father-child relationship. “You don’t want to ruin that friendship. . . . You have to raise that child together,” said one mother.

* Child support was a hassle for everyone: “I have a girlfriend who has been working with the system for five years trying to get child support,” said one mother. But payments weren’t collected because the father would “get angry and quit his job and go somewhere else.” “The thing is,” said another mother, “I want him out of my life and if I have to spend every day of my life trying to make sure that somebody tracks him down – this tears me apart. I need to let go of this and get on with my life.” The new reform will also end a policy called the “$50 pass-through.” In welfare cases, states keep court-ordered child-support payments. Often it “passed through” $50 of the support it collected each month to the welfare mother. Now, states will have the option of giving the full amount to the family. child support md

In the past, the $50 pass-through appeared to discourage paternity establishment and encourage cheating. Typically, a mother would deliberately mislead officials about who her baby’s father was, get on welfare, and then take secret payments – often more than $50 – from him or his family to augment her welfare benefits. go to website child support md

Some child-support experts insist there’s no evidence that this cheating was common; Mrs. Smith said she thought the practice was “pretty widespread.” ****BOX A NEW RULES FOR CHILD- SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT Under the new child-support enforcement section of the just-signed welfare-reform bill, states can:

Cut welfare benefits by 25 percent for single women (with few exceptions) who do not establish paternity for their children and assign child-support collection rights to the state.

Use streamlined procedures to establish paternity, including genetic testing.

Seek child-support payments from grandparents whose minor children go on welfare.

Get federal funding to start up interstate computer systems to track court orders, payment history, addresses and employment of persons who owe child support.

Deduct overdue child-support payments from paychecks, including those of government workers and military personnel.

Force unemployed persons with child-support arrears to join a state work program.

Report child-support debts to credit bureaus.

Put liens on property owned by persons with child-support debts.

Check bank accounts for assets owned by persons with child-support debts.

Withhold, suspend or restrict driver’s, professional and recreational licenses of persons with child-support debts.

Deny, restrict or revoke passports of persons who owe more than $5,000 in child support.

Receive grants for programs to improve mediation, counseling and visitation enforcement.

Source: Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

****BOX B CHILD-SUPPORT SNAPSHOT In 1994, according to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, state child-support agencies:

Worked on 18.6 million cases (including families on welfare or in the foster care system, non-welfare families and arrearage-only cases).

Made a collection in 3.4 million cases (18.3 percent).

Established 590,819 paternities (including 396,877 for children on welfare).

Located 4.1 million absent parents.

Collected nearly $9.9 billion ($7.3 billion from non-welfare cases).

Collected $7.6 billion (54 percent) of $14.1 billion due in current support.

Collected $2.1 billion (7 percent) of $30.8 billion in overdue support.

Collected 55 percent of payments through wage withholding.

Spent $2.6 billion on child-support operations (including federal spending).

Collected $3.86 for every $1 spent on child-support enforcement.

Source: “Child Support Enforcement Nineteenth Annual Report to Congress,” Office of Child Support Enforcement, Department of Health and Human Services Wetzstein, Cheryl