What you need to know about the growing trend of parents opting out of child-care responsibilities
The number of parents who say they don’t want to take on child-support obligations has reached an all-time high, according to a survey of parents by the nonprofit Child Protective Services Association.
A new report released Tuesday by the association found that in the first quarter of 2017, there were an estimated 1.6 million child-poverty cases in the U.S., and another 1.1 million cases in 2017.
“This is the first time we have any real data showing this trend in this country, which is a bit alarming,” said Barbara Stauffer, the president of the association.
“We know we’re not alone.
We know there are families who are struggling.”
The numbers come as states across the country are scrambling to deal with rising child-abuse and neglect cases.
As of March 31, there have been more than 840,000 reports of child abuse and neglect across the nation.
“It is the largest and most consistent increase in child-abusing cases since 2003,” Staupper said.
“There is a real concern that the number of child cases is going to rise in this new environment of increased child-exploitation.”
The survey also found that more than a quarter of the mothers surveyed had taken their children out of school to be with friends, or to babysit.
“I think the number is probably higher now than we saw 10 years ago,” said Stauffer, who believes the trend is being driven by increased attention to the issue by parents who are choosing to take a greater portion of the burden on themselves and their children.
“They are not saying, ‘I’m not going to work.’
They are saying, I’m going to take it out on my children.”
Some parents are choosing not to pay child-related bills for fear of their children becoming dependent on them financially, and others are opting to pay them on time rather than deferring to their parents.
The survey asked mothers about their own financial situation and the financial impact of their child-rearing choices.
About 9 in 10 respondents said they were struggling financially, with one-third of those parents who were not making a child-maintenance payment saying they had lost their job or were working part-time, said Stuper.
About 1 in 3 mothers said they could not afford to take care of their own child, but were able to take part in child care for a friend or family member.
About 6 in 10 parents said they paid their child support, but did not take advantage of the child support savings account.
About a quarter said they had a child support debt that they couldn’t pay, and about 4 in 10 said they took advantage of child support payments but still couldn’t afford to pay it off.
Parents with children who had been in and out of foster care were more likely to say they had been able to pay off their child’s child support.
“If we look at the data, there’s some evidence that this trend is continuing,” said Michelle Cisneros, the director of research for the Child Protective Service Association.
“That’s not to say parents are completely out of the game, but they are taking a greater role in the child’s upbringing.”