Sunday, August 7, 2011

California Watch: Native American tribes shield parents from child support

California Watch has an interesting story that we've brought you before about tribes shielding their members (Viejas man who gets over $13,000 per MONTH, in per capita doesn't pay for his children) from child support payments.

Mothers around the state are finding it almost impossible to collect child support from some Native American fathers because tribal governments and businesses are shielding them from court-ordered payments, records and interviews show.

The number of tribes or tribal companies that do not honor state child support orders – by garnisheeing the income or bank accounts of delinquent parents – is murky. The California Department of Child Support Services does not systematically track which businesses, tribal or otherwise, honor support orders.

But Richard Blake, chief judge of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, acknowledged that the majority of tribal governments in the state do not have formal programs for child support enforcement. Blake said only about 20 of 103 federally recognized California tribes have official child support enforcement systems in place.

“Traditionally, Native people are taught that we take care of our children and our elders. Taking care of our children means child support,” Blake said. “These children deserve better than what we’re giving them at this point.”

Blake, who also is the chief judge for the Smith River Rancheria and Redding Rancheria tribal courts, said that while tribes should honor such orders, it is their right as sovereign nations to ignore California’s courts. He said of the 2,500 Hoopa Valley tribal members, up to 40 percent likely will have a child support case in his court.

Collecting child support from a delinquent parent is a difficult task no matter who owes the money. On average each year, the state does not collect about $1 billion in child support payments owed to parents around the state.

For some mothers, collecting child support from a tribal member or father who works for a Native American-owned casino can turn into a years-long losing battle. Although the number of women in this situation is a small percentage of those owed child support in California, interviews and court records reveal a persistent and rarely reported problem among Native American tribes       SEE THE LINK ABOVE FOR THE REST OF THE STORY

OP:  One way to help, is to exercise your moral outrage, stop visiting tribal casinos of tribes that have no child enforcement plans.   Let the casino/tribe know WHY you are no longer going to come and spend your money there.
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