I have been ranting and raving on here for months about my story. It is important to understand that I am not alone. There are thousands of parents across this State, and quite literally millions across the world, that are suffering through similar civil rights violations at the hands of family courts and DHR-like govt agencies. This is not about me or my brothers and sisters in patient suffering. We are not going to get back the time we lost with our children because the State has acted, and is acting, in collusion with the "custodial parent" to prevent us from being good fathers and mothers to our children! Every other weekend is not a parent-child relationship, it is exactly what they call it: visitation. We will not be "visitors" in our childrens lives anymore! "Non-Custodial Parent" is a second class citizen status!
As a result, the baby blue revolution has begun. Families United against the Department of Human Resources (follow us on Twitter @famuDHR) is rising out of the cries for help. We are not alone anymore! This is not the beginning of the movement for parents rights, this is the beginning of the revolution! The movement has been long fought with little success. The government has opposed every attempt to bring equality and due process into the family courtroom with the tenacity of Bull Conner. Our cause must surely be the civil rights movement of the 21st century.
Like those before us, we shall trudge our way through the quicksands of injustice and tyranny. Like a mighty rain washing away the sins of yesterday, we shall lead a revolution of ideas to fix these wrongs and restore basic human dignity to many of our brothers and sisters. Most importantly, we will be protecting and preserving the happiness of millions of children. Can you think of anything more worthwhile to fight for?
We are going to harness the technology of today and the nonviolent protests of the past to bring about positive change in family law through civil disobedience. We shall remain silent no longer! Today, we join our voices as one, and will shout our message from every rooftop until we are heard from Marshall County, Alabama to Washington D.C.!
And now their stories. These are excerpts from some of the numerous messages, e-mails, calls, and conversations I have had with other Alabama parents about their suffering. It is amazing to me that this could happen in America!
"My wife and I separated a few years ago. At the time, she got on food stamps and DHR started garnishing my wages for child support. After a few months, we decided against divorce for the kids and got back together. When my wife tried to have the wage garnishment stopped, since there was no need for me to pay my wife child support anymore, they refused. They are garnishing my wages to this day. When DHR got the money, they would mail the check to my wife...at OUR house! Now, she gets it on a debit card. We tried several times to get it stopped since I have lived with my wife and kids the whole time almost, but DHR always refuses. DHR charges me $25 a year to garnish my wages for no reason. I can't afford an attorney so there's nothing I can do. I don't understand why they won't stop taking my wages just to give them back to me..."
NOTE: I do, and now he does too. It is all about the incentive payment the State receives as a result of the Title IV-D program. They get twice the amount he pays in and also credit for successful enforcement of his order.
"My ex-husband owes me over $147,000.00 in back child support. DHR has had the case for over twenty years and have never been able to make him pay. My son actually pays his child support, yet DHR has nailed him to the wall over child support. I don't understand why they won't enforce my order like that..."
"My ex owes over $10,000.00 in child support and DHR tells me there's nothing they can do to help me collect. He doesn't have a job, and they claim they are doing all they can. "All they can" doesn't feed my kids..."
NOTE: This is due to the fifth benchmark in the Title IV-D incentive payment program. It is not "cost-effective" to enforce these child support obligations, so the State just hangs these single moms out to dry. Trying to enforce their orders will reduce their incentive payment pool, and hurt their enforcement percentage.
"i myself have been goin through trials as a father and the power struggle of this what they call justice system. my kids got took from me due to the simple fact that my first [ex-] wife was a junkie. me and [redacted] both have been fighting for the custody of my children. i was raised in a abusive and neglectful home life with my mother and after they [DHR] stripped me of my rights they gave my children to my mother and now i have to watch them go through the same circumstances as i did when i was a child. i have never done drugs or broke any laws and this unfortunate dilema is still affective to this day. i thought i was the only one raped by this government and thank you for sharing your input. you gave me hope to fight harder..."
"I enjoyed your letter to the editor. Until a person is directly involved in child support, they have no idea how unfair DHR is with the non custodial parent. I am so happy my husband's ordeal is almost over. He never once tried to short change his daughter. Her mother kept moving around and changing the child support to whatever state she lived in at the time. When she moved to PA, they were slow to send a case # or any way to pay child support. We sent her money directly. Of course that was a no-no when [the DHR caseworker] got the case from PA. Even though we had receipts, she took my husband to court. When we tried to talk to her, she said she always takes her "new dads" to court. The judge sided with my husband, but [the DHR caseworker] sent us a letter stating she would no longer recognize direct payments. When his ex decided not to send his daughter here to visit, and we couldn't reach her by phone for 4 years, I called [the DHR caseworker]. She said it wasn't her problem. We couldn't afford a lawyer and pay child support, so we just waited it out. Eventually, his daughter decided she wanted to live with us and moved down here. I called [the DHR caseworker] and she told me to fax her the school paperwork and she'd send it to PA. I did, but the child support invoices didn't stop. Then the subpoena came. I called her, but she said she didn't know anything about our case. I asked her if we were going to have to hire a lawyer to straighten this out. She told me it wasn't her job to straighten it out. It took our ($1500.00) lawyer about 5 minutes on the phone with her to put a stop to all of it. This could have been money saved if she would've taken the school paperwork proving the child was living with us, but I think she still felt the need to stick it to us one more time. I'm not a helpless person, but DHR really turned me into one. There should really be an organization to help the non custodial parents who are being cheated out of parenting time..."
"I don't mind [us using her story], as long as names are changed. I'm afraid to send any letters, our case is not quite over yet. I just got another invoice from the lawyer, it seems [the father's] ex is having lots of $100.00 conversations with him to get everything resolved. If [the DHR caseworker] had done what she said she was going to do, we probably wouldn't have had to go through the change in custody since [the daughter] is now 17. In hindsight, the child support probably would've been cheaper than the lawyer. We were fortunate that PA didn't charge interest, so AL couldn't charge us interest. It didn't stop them from putting it on each month and I would have to write a letter to [the DHR caseworker] to get it taken off. I think they like to double the amount due just for kicks and giggles..."
"I read your article about DHR and thought you did a good job. I have made copies and have given them to my friend in Walker County. Her husband is going thru the same thing in that county. I pray that your article will get peoples attention and people will raise up and get things changed in the State of Alabama."
"I have my own problems with DHR in Blount County. They have their own dirty little secrets. In 2010 my husband was accused of sodomy of our 12 year old daughter. They did not investigate. He left the home Feb. 18 so they would not take the kids then on March 16th they come and took they anyway. I was told my husband was in the area to much. They are suppose to try to keep the kids together and put them with family but in our case they refused to put them with family and separated the kids. My son who was 16 went to a stranger's house but they put my daughter with her principal from school. They can say what they want to but I know she knew they were coming to get her she had 2 bags of cloths packed and she was smiling. Her foster parent was just provisional. That means they had 6 months to get all her paperwork done. To make a story short, they could not get her finger prints back so since September 2010 my daughter has been left with someone who was not even a provisional foster parent. I did not know this until July 2011. I found out when I was sued for child support by DHR on my son and not my daughter. I have provided everything my son has need....insurance, contacts, cloths, shoes, school supplies, medicine, etc......Now I'm having to pay $306.00 child support for him retroactive. $44.00 towards they back child support. So starting October 2011 I have to pay $350.00 a month or go to jail. And my daughter, well, they let this woman take my daughter and move to another county. The way they are going to get around that is they still have their house in Blount County."
"They had a state review and my daughters case was chosen for review. I asked them how can they take someone child and give them to someone who was not even a provisional foster parent and let them move with that child. I also asked, how is it that a parent has to have a job to get their children back but a foster parent does not have to have a regular job? In the home my son is in neither of the foster parents have a regular job. He picks up scrap to supplement what they get. I wanted to know how much they get paid so I googled it and one thing I read was it's not payment for keeping the kids, its reimbursement."
"There has been so much wrong that has taken place in this case. My husband was found guilty [by DHR, not in a court of law]. I know he is innocent. My visits with my daughter has been stopped. I can't call her and am not allowed to see her..."
"Alabama DHR needs some kind of reform. I pray that someone can do something to spare other families from going thru what mine has gone thru. I don't know who to contact about getting something done. In Alabama you are suppose to have your court date within 90 days for family court. I've yet to have mine....It's suppose to be in November. If you know who I could contact please let me know....I'm trying to spread your message too..."
We hear you! Together we will find the relief we deserve! A civil rights icon once said:
"You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression ... If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. And if we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until "justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream." -MLK
Join the baby blue revolution!!! Follow us on Twitter: @famuDHR