The Center strives to advocate for changes in policies that invoke negative consequences on the father/child relationship. Most often these consequences are unintended and are the result of minimizing the importance of fatherly involvement in the lives of their children. By partnering with governmental decision-makers from agency directors to legislators, the Center provides education and awareness about the unintended and often negative impact on fathers and their families and works with policy makers to develop public/private partnerships for innovative and practical approaches to increasing father involvement and parental responsibility.
Below are issues and projects where change is under way as a result of the work of policy makers.
- Advocated for a raise in the self-support reserve in the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which was raised from $500 to $749 per month. The result was that low-income fathers were more capable of paying for very basic living expenses while owning their duty to child support. Having more money per month meant more consistent payments over time and fewer fathers choosing to either work in an underground economy or leave the state to avoid incarceration. Strom Thurmond Institute Cost of Living analysis
- Alternatives to Incarceration
Advocated for alternative strategies to enforce child support against uneducated, unemployed and underemployed fathers. The result was the implementation of the very successful Jobs Not Jail alternative sentencing component of the fatherhood programs. Jobs Not Jail is an innovative and cost-effective solution to a problem that has previously cost taxpayers millions. Today as a result of this partnership, low-income fathers are finding work, paying their child support and spending less time in jail, thus saving taxpayers millions each year. Sentencing Reform Commission briefing paper
- Advocated for uniform and plain language self-represented litigant forms for visitation rights by testifying in hearings held by the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission (SCATJC) and participated in an SCETV documentary. The result is that Commission members resolved to produce a uniform visitation packet for self-represented litigants. Visit Access to Justice Commission website at www.scatj.org.
the inclusion of noncustodial fathers in the investigative stages of
a Child Protective Services investigation. The result is a
Memorandum of Understanding with SCDSS to create a written protocol
for including fathers early in their investigations and "father
friendly" training for CPS caseworkers by June 2010. The
ultimate goal is to avoid children being placed
in foster care when willing and capable parents/extended family can
provide for their care. Fatherhood
and Fostercare presentation
- Advocated for ensuring that low-income fathers in the community are aware of the importance of placing their names in the newly enacted Putative Father Registry. Putative Fatherhood Registry briefing paper