By educating and working with decision-makers in government, we’ve been able to improve child support compliance, help fathers secure their rights and be a part of their children’s lives, reduce incarcerations for non-payment of child support and expunge criminal records that limit their employability.
A Jobs Not Jail alternative
Prior to this program, low-income fathers who fell behind in child support payments faced jail time, making it even harder for them to pay. Now, fathers can participate in one of our local programs, find work, and meet their obligation— improving the lives of their children and reducing the cost to taxpayers.
An increase in the self-support reserve for non-custodial parents
A self-support reserve helps low-income parents who must pay child support keep enough income to cover their basic costs of living. That reserved portion is not included when child support is set. Because we know a father’s ability to support himself is critical to being able to meet child support obligations, we advocated for and achieved an increase in the reserve from $500 to $749 per month.
Simplified self-represented litigant forms for visitation rights
Because many low-income fathers can’t afford legal representation, they often have to represent themselves in family court in order to secure visitation rights with their children. Our team testified at state hearing and worked with the S.C. Justice Commission to create plain language forms and instructions for pro se visitation complaints.
Fathers as a safe alternative to foster care
Through our education efforts, we advocated for including non-custodial fathers in the Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation process. The result has been a revised state protocol and new training for CPS caseworkers that gives fathers the chance to offer a safe home for their children who might otherwise be placed in foster care.
Establishing paternity through the Responsible Fatherhood Registry
When a father doesn’t establish paternity, he has no rights to visitation or custody, no say in a child’s medical treatment or education and receives no notification if the child is about to be adopted. By advocating for low-income men to register paternity and educating them about the registry’s importance, we help fathers secure important rights and provide valuable support for their children.
A guide to record expungement
Arrests, charges and convictions can limit a father’s chances of getting good jobs, even when the mistake happened years ago. Working with the S.C. Bar Foundation, we created an expungement guide that steps fathers through the process for getting South Carolina records erased.
We're working to find solutions, together.
We're grateful for partners who find innovative solutions to benefit fathers, their children, and the state as a whole.
- S.C. Access to Justice Commission
- S.C. Department of Corrections
- S.C. Department of Social Services