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Program looks to aid noncustodial parents

Raising a child as a single parent is becoming more frequent in today's culture. Often, when a child is born to unmarried parents, the biological father is not aware of his rights. One program in a nearby state is hoping to reach out to noncustodial parents and help them establish parental rights as well as a relationship with the child involved. Georgia parents may benefit from some of the information about the program.

The stated goal is to ultimately ensure that children have a healthy relationship with both of their parents. Many parents, particularly fathers, often seem reluctant to pursue their legal claims to their children. They may feel that doing so will work against them in matters of financial support obligations. On the contrary, an official with a child support enforcement agency stated that men who are an engaged party in these proceedings may have more of a say in court decisions, including child support.

According to the sponsors of this North Carolina program, children whose fathers are legally recognized will reap the benefit of having an engaged parent who is more willing to provide both monetary and emotional support. Having both parents' rights ensured may also eliminate the need of enforcement actions on the part of support agencies. As part of the assistance offered through the program, fathers will be assisted in obtaining tools to aid them in finding employment opportunities, if needed.

While this program is not a nationwide effort, noncustodial parents in every state, including Georgia, could possibly use existing or similar resources to establish their own rights. The goal of providing every child with financial and emotional support is the priority of virtually every parent. Unfortunately, many parents, especially fathers, may feel that they are overlooked when custody and support issues are handled by social service agencies. These parents could seek to ensure that their voices are heard whenever important decisions are made concerning their own children. There are available resources and professionals available that can enable fathers and mothers the opportunity to be contributors to all facets of their child's life.

Source: examiner.com, "Changing the culture of child support enforcement", Connie Whitener, April 9, 2014

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