Engler: October is Child Support Month in MichiganContact:
John Truscott (517) 335-6397
Governor John Engler declared October as Child Support Month in
Michigan, a time to take stock of the essential elements of parenting
love, time, commitment and responsibility.
"Child support is about personal responsibility putting
children first and supporting families," said Engler. "It is
about the emotional and financial support parents provide for their
Engler said Michigan helps collect more than $1 billion annually in
outstanding child support through the Family Independence Agency, but more
needs to be done.
"Personal responsibility is important to the well-being of
children and families," he said. "A major commitment is parents
establishing paternity establishing a legal relationship between a
father and his child regardless of whether or not parents are
The Family Independence Agency Office of Child Support works to
establish paternity when a child is born out of wedlock. In 1999, Michigan
had over 44,000 births to unwed parents.
Paternity establishment is crucial to long-term emotional and financial
stability for a child, said Family Independence Agency Director Douglas E.
"The easiest way to ensure a child grows up in poverty is for the
child to be born to a single parent household," he said. "The
second easiest way for a child to grow up in poverty is when the
noncustodial parent fails to provide legally-mandated financial support.
"Paying court-ordered support often makes the difference for
children. When parents shirk their responsibility to financially support
their children, the state often becomes a provider of last resort through
Howard said the FIA's child support program works to improve
financial security of children. But the agency works on many different
fronts to encourage parental involvement. Other FIA partnerships include:
A fatherhood partnership between the Detroit Lions and the FIA Office
of Child Support started in 1995. The campaign features Lions players
Robert Porcher, Luther Elliss and their children in print and outdoor
advertising and public service announcements to encourage fatherswhether
married, divorced or single to become involved in their children's
An effort to educate health care providers to increase paternity
establishment rates for unwed parents and provide parental education. The
initiative is a collaboration between the FIA Office of Child Support,
Michigan Department of Community Health, Wayne State University School of
Medicine, the Michigan section of the American College of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists and Wayne County Friend of the Court.
Michigan's revised school curriculum, "What Kind of Parent Will You Be? Think About It," was recently forwarded to Michigan schools.
It is designed to increase the students' awareness of the emotional and
financial responsibilities that come with being a parent.
"Michigan continues to look for ways to help parents meet their
responsibilities," said Engler. "It is important to the
taxpayers of this state that every parent fulfills his or her parental
responsibilities, for when they fail, the responsibility often falls to
state government. Responsible parenthood means healthy children."
For more information, visit the FIA website www.mfia.state.mi.us
and click on "Child Support"