A few years back, in response to the “epidemic” of “deadbeat dads”, a slew of government agencies embarked on a raft of programs to teach fathers “how to be responsible” as parents. The goal? Well, no, it wasn’t some warm ‘n fuzzy desire to make sure every kid grew up with warm memories of Dad.
No, it was to make sure that guys – even though they were and are discriminated against in custody trials, and subject to being “guilty until proven innocent” by the domestic abuse industry, even though it’s a known fact that as many as 50% of domestic abuse allegations brought during divorce proceedings are false – were both able and motivated (or just shamed) into keeping up their child support payments. Especially those owed to various county government bodies from whom their childrens’ mothers were receiving welfare payments, naturally.
Prejudicial? Sure. Degrading to most men, especially men who are non-custodial parents, the vast majority of whom work their asses off to do what they can (and what their childrens’ mothers will allow, in the worst cases) for their kids? Absolutely.
But there’s money involved. So the pants-wetting class among the professional feminist movement is getting involved, wanting women to get a piece of the action.
It’s called the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative, and the Bush administration doles out up to $50 million annually to fund its programs to build job skills and help fathers connect better with their children. But the National Organization for Women says the effort is illegal because it’s only about men.
NOW and Legal Momentum, another advocacy group, filed complaints yesterday with the Department of Health and Human Services alleging sex discrimination in the initiative that is funding about 100 programs this year.
Are NOW and “Legal Momentum” moving to reduce some of the abject discrimination against men in family court? Trying, perhaps, to remove the punitive aspects of child support enforcement? Maybe even moving to enact Presumption of Joint Physical Custody legislation nationwide, so that parenting rather than finances drive family court settlements?
The complaints cite 34 programs, including one run by the District and two others in the Washington area, that, they say, do not offer the services to women. That, the groups say, violates Title IX, the law that prevents sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and is best known for forcing universities to offer comparable sports programs for men and women.
“What we’re asking them to do is to make sure that the grantees provide equal services to women and men,” said Kathy Rodgers, president of Legal Momentum. “It should be a parenthood initiative.”
Yeah, I’m sure a lot of women – who win 90% of custody cases in “winner takes all” states, and who are the recipients of the vast preponderance of “child support” payments, will be lining up to get into programs that scold and cajole
men parents to step up to their obligations.
Oh, wait – maybe they just want the money!
Another group under fire is the Latin American Youth Center in the District, which got a $250,000 annual grant to provide 30 young fathers a year with job training, language classes and parenting skills. But women can enroll, too, said Lori Kaplan, the executive director.
“It doesn’t mean that anywhere along the line our moms are getting excluded,” she said.
The big difference, of course, is that welfare pretty much does exclude able-bodied men who have children who don’t live with them. Much of welfare, today, is indeed targeted at single mothers – women who become single parents either because the system:
- subsidizes illegitimate parenthood
- forces men out of the family before the family can get welfare
- grants, almost exclusively, full custody to women who are frequently unable to support families on their own – and then subsidizes their lifestyle (and administers the fathers’ child support payments).
I didn’t see NOW complaining about that.
Let me know if I missed something.