Did Kim Newsom Bridges Admit that Ohio Sabotages the Employment Efforts of Noncustodial Parent’s?

This article ran in the Columbus Dispatch on September 25, 2011.

First, I’d like to point out that although Ohio’s new child support statutes are a step in the right direction,  they do have a very long way to go before they can be said to be in the best interests of the children. Additionally, the State has an equally long way to go with regard to how terribly they treat good and loving noncustodial parents (NCPs) who want to pay their child support but simply can’t.

Any reasonable and caring person can deduce through simple logic that with Ohio having one of the worst economies in the nation, coupled with the worst national unemployment rates and the highest foreclosure rates since the Great Depression, there are lots of NCPs who are struggling just to put food on the table and maintain a roof over their heads.

Let’s not forget that the very same children for whom a child support order was issued, are those who also visit their loving noncustodial parent (NCP) in those same homes where that parent is simply trying to exist.

And what a sad environment for a child to be introduced to; one where those good and loving NCPs struggle immensely to present some sense of normalcy for their precious children while struggling terribly to put food on the table and a roof over theirs and their child’s head.

So what’s Ohio’s answer to that NCP who lost their job through no fault of their own and thereby fell behind in their financially unbearable child support obligation? And that, along with falling behind on the rent, mortgage, utilities, insurance, credit cards, phone, auto payment, medical bills, tuition, health insurance, taxes and everything else they’re obligated to pay? Ohio, and by their own admission, sabotages that NCP’s employment efforts.

But hey, look on the bright side right? And that “bright side” is that Ohio only sabotages an NCP’s employment as a “last resort.” What’s that last resort? Well usually where it hits the NCP the hardest, and when it hurts the most; after they’ve probably lost about everything, have absolutely no income, and need a job more then ever.

Does it ever occur to Ms. Brown or Ms. Newsom Bridges that those NCPs who don’t pay half of their monthly support obligation have absolutely no income, are probably sleeping on a friends or family member’s couch (if they’re “lucky”) or are homeless and can’t pay for anything? Of course it doesn’t. Read on, and you’ll see how Newsom Bridges can’t resist speaking ill of all of Ohio’s NCPs.

When NCPs are driven into joblessness and thereby sometimes homelessness through no fault of their own, does it really make sense for Ohio to punish them for their inability to pay financially crippling amounts of child support? More importantly, how is their homelessness, or incarceration (for failure to pay child support), or Ohio intentionally sabotaging their employment efforts in any way in “the best interests of their children?”

It’s not, plain and simple. But Ohio doesn’t care, as they only care about a profit as I explain in the forthcoming.

The fact is, and what most of the public is unaware of is this; Ohio, as do the other 49 states,  all profit immensely off of their annual state wide child support collections. Said profit is paid to them by your Social Security payroll taxes that you pay for your retirement. In 2004 alone, Ohio profited to the the tune of $223,000,000 dollars.

That profit is paid to the states by the Federal Government through what’s known as the “Federal Incentive Match” and is undoubtedly the strongest motivating factor behind Ohio’s highly punitive and very hateful child support collection efforts.

From the link above, it shows in Part (4) INCENTIVE BASE AMOUNT that three of the five (B,C,D) performance measures (these determine Ohio’s annual profit amount) are based on Ohio’s annual collection amounts. Another (A) is based on paternity establishment performance level. And it’s for that reason (paternity establishment) that Ohio knows and doesn’t care that many fathers who are proven (through DNA) not to be a child’s father must pay tens of thousands of dollars in “child support” for children who are known not to be theirs.

That’s not true, you say? Ohio’s CSEAs don’t force a man to pay child support for a child whereby it’s proven through DNA (and known to the CSEAs and courts) that he couldn’t possibly have fathered? Think again! Watch the video in this link, and you’ll see a CSEA attorney arguing just that at between the seven and eight minute mark.

It’s important to understand that the CSEA attorney arguing the State’s case, Kevin R Filiatraut, readily admits that he knows that the man he’s trying to legally extort $46,000 in “child support” from is PROVEN through DNA, to not be the biological father of the child of which he’s said to owe $46,000 in back support for.

That to me is utterly incredible and speaks volumes about Mr. Filiatraut’s lack of morals and character. If that were me in his position, I’d never persecute an innocent man as he so willingly does. If that would mean termination, then so be it. To Mr. Filiatraut; you sir are an evil, vile and immoral wretch in my humble opinion.

And if that doesn’t prove incontrovertibly that Ohio’s incredibly abusive and life destroying child support collection practices are all about Ohio’s best financial interests at the emotional and physical expense of the children involved with a support order, then I don’t know what does.

Reading the article in the link I provided in the first paragraph, either (it’s not clear which one) Kim Newsom Bridges or Susan Brown , Director of the Franklin County Child Support Enforcement Agency says this:

“If an obligor has paid half of their support, we aren’t likely to suspend their license,” she said. “It’s better for us to get some money in the household than none, and to sabotage someone’s effort to do that is a measure of last resort.

Did you catch that? She (either Brown or Newsom again, it’s not clear who’s saying it) admits in a back-handed manner that Ohio actually sabotages an NCP’s effort to obtain employment! That’s vile, it’s wanton, and and it’s utterly despicable! But of course Ohio would have you believe that it’s in the child’s best interest. Huh???

Now, you may be thinking, “why would Ohio sabotage an NCP’s employment efforts when you claimed in the preceding that three of the five (B,C,D) Federal Incentive Match performance metrics are based on child support collection?”

My answer to that? “D.” Performance metric D is: The arrearage payment performance level. When an NCP is forced into an arrearage situation, especially in this current economic environment, it’s very difficult, especially for a low-income wage earner to ever overcome that arrears. Why? Because of the interest and penalties that the CSEA tacks on.

Additionally, low income parents are without the necessary financial resources to retain counsel and thereby stop Ohio’s CSEAs from withholding incorrect child support amounts from paychecks, over-collecting on existing orders, and collecting from those where no order exist. And hence some of the very foundations of this lawsuit filed against the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS).

It’s a known fact that the majority of unpaid child support is owed by those who can’t pay, and what happens when you don’t pay? Subjective interest compounds over and over. I use the word subjective, because you will owe what Ohio says you owe, period.

Think about it, how in the world does a life-long minimum wage earner end up owing $125,000 or $150,000 in back child support? Interest and penalties that the CSEA adds to their original balance and then compounds regularly.

The result? Those low income wage earners will owe and will be paying on child support for the rest of their lives. In reality, their true arrears was probably $25,000 or possibly less.

Are you starting to see how this all works? Rest assured that if those same low income wage earners ever win the lottery or are left an inheritance or file for tax returns, the State of Ohio will seize all of it and in turn profit off of each and every one of those child support dollars that indigent NCP will most likely be paying for the rest of their lives.

In the mean time, Ohio suspends their licenses (so much for truck drivers, taxi drivers, pizza delivery drivers, school bus drivers, etc working and earning a wage  huh?), incarcerates them, forces them into an underground economy, forces them into bankruptcy and homelessness and forces them to live life on the run because they’re tired of being jailed.

So who wins, the children whose NCP (that Ohio has caused to be a “deadbeat”) and who has dropped out of their lives because they’re on the run, or the State of Ohio through their “profits” that they’ll collect on every dollar they manage to seize from that parent for the rest of his or her life?

Ohio of course. And because their best financial interests are, and can only be served, at the emotional (and sometimes physical) expense of some innocent Ohio child who never asked (nor did they have any say) about being thrust into Ohio’s financial wonderland.

So here we have it, a representative of the State of Ohio (either Newsom or Brown) openly admits to the Columbus Dispatch that Ohio in fact sabotages a noncustodial parents employment efforts. Even worse, that’s done at the emotional expense of the children involved.

And if that weren’t perverse enough the article quotes Kim Newsom Bridges as saying,

“But she’s not convinced the changes will help increase child-support collections, which have dropped in recent years.

For instance, if parents know they have to pay only half of their court-ordered support to avoid sanctions, that may be all they pay.”

Instead of taking the high road, Newsom doesn’t seem capable of passing on the opportunity to once again demonize all noncustodial parents with her filthy, wholly unprofessional, and snarky remark,

“…if parents know they have to pay only half of their court-ordered support to avoid sanctions, that may be all they pay.”

Is that so Ms. Bridges? How dare you insult Ohio’s more than 900,000 noncustodial parents! Most of whom like myself are very loving parents, and never asked to be kicked out of our children’s lives. Additionally, we are then forced under constant threats of arrest and incarceration to finance the fleecing of our children so that you, in your position at the Ohio CSEA Director’s Association (OCDA) can in turn maximize the State of Ohio’s financial “profit” at the emotional and physical expense of our innocent children.

Your behavior and highly unprofessional words are completely unwarranted, yet wholly expected and par for the course Ms. Newsom Bridges. For years, agencies under your direction have repeatedly publicly insulted good and loving noncustodial parents. They’ve  called us “deadbeats”, referred to us as “turnips” in your “getting blood from a turnip” campaign run at the Ohio CSEA Director’s Association (OCDA). An agency, where under your direction, Ohio’s very hateful and highly abusive child support collection practices are honed and refined at the expense of our children. Is that not so?

Additionally, there are many NCPs like myself who are overpaid thousands of dollars in child support. Where’s our money, and why do those like me have to keep paying child support each and every month, and despite the nearly $8,000 I was overpaid at one point?

I’ll tell you why Ms. Bridges, so your agency can maximize Ohio’s annual Federal Incentive Match at my daughter’s expense right? Those child support debits just keep coming and coming, each and every month, and despite my approximate $6,000 current over-payment Why? Only so that those monies can be used enhance Ohio’s profit from B and C found here right?

And as if that weren’t immoral enough, I must pay the State of Ohio a 2% “processing fee” ($160) to get my own money back due to what was once a nearly $8,000 overpayment. And will I be paid interest on those monies that I’ll have been without for nearly eight years? Of course not. At 4% interest, I should have at least been paid
$1,500 for the use of my money?

Why must I pay a processing fee to get my own money back? So that my monies can further enhance B and C as explained, but additionally, so I’ll have to pay Ohio’s 2% poundage fee twice to the CSEA, once when I made the overpayment, and a second time when my overpayment is returned to me. And that is a fact isn’t it Ms. Bridges? Whose “best interest” is that in again Ms. Bridges?

Finally, lets not forget how the State of Ohio collects its Federal Incentive Match twice on my over-payment; The first time by collecting the overpaid monies, and the second time my forcing myself (and thousands of others I suspect) to keep paying “child support.” And that, even with a current over-payment on the books (in which case Ohio goes to great lengths to hide from the Obligor, hence another reason the recent class action suit was filed) so that the CSEA can collect our “child support” payments a second time, and then pay those very same monies back to us.

That way, the money passes through the CSEA’s  filthy hands twice, (so they can in turn boost their B,C and D performance metrics as explained) and collect a 2% “poundage fee” so that those with over-payments can have their own money back.

I have only one more question for you in closing Ms. Newsom Bridges. How is what I just described, those very actions by Ohio’s 88 Child Support Enforcement (or should that be Extortion?) Agency, (CSEA) not considered criminal fraud and racketeering, is it not so because it’s done under a very dark color of law?

Tony Fantetti
Ohio Council for Fathers Rights
Email: tony.fantetti@ocffr.org

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3 Responses to Did Kim Newsom Bridges Admit that Ohio Sabotages the Employment Efforts of Noncustodial Parent’s?

  1. Stacey says:

    The more I read, the more upset I get. Its all a money game at the expense of the children. I am owed $43,000.00 in back child support. No collection efforts were ever made that I didn’t have to hound them to do. CSEA doesn’t like to work. If they want to do the people a justice, they could start by fining and jailing deadbeat employers who take advantage of NCP who are trying to survive. It is because of them so many children are on welfare, NCP end up homeless because they can’t collect unemployment in the off work season, and get hurt doing jobs to suvive while they have no benefits and can’t get treatment. With the unemployment rate so high, these employers take advantage of people who have no choice but to work under the table or not work at all. And maybe people are forced to work under the table because they can’t live on whats left of their paychecks after child support? Or maybe because they would like to eat today and the only one offering money for work is the low life who makes a killing pocketing the money that should be spent on unemployment, workers comp, taxes,etc. Who is the criminal here? Where are the laws against these employers. Ask John Galonski (assistant prosecuting attorney)Matt Plesich (assistant prosecuting attorney) Krista Norman (child support caseworker). Matt lost evidence of a deadbeat employer at a court hearing and never served employer Income Withholding for Support. Krista spoke with employer several times over the course of a year and never sent him a Income Withholding for Support. John Galonski tried to cover their mistake and supenoed the Employer for W2′s year 2010 and 2011 to which the response was “he was terminated July 2011″. So far no contempt against deadbeat employer for not responding with requested information. Outcome to date is they(OCSEA) all still have a job, my ex is homeless and terminated, kids help NCP survive, deadbeat employer gets off scott free and still employs people, I hope no one with children! This is one large mess for my family, but don’t worry the employers family is doing great. Because I exposed him I get threats and my ex gets fired. But business as usual for good old Dave! Justice, I think not.

    • Tony Fantetti says:

      I do encounter custodial parents (CPs) such as you who complain of nothing but inaction on the CSEAs part. As a whole, I believe that to be on the part of a few lazy CSEA employees only and not the agencies themselves, otherwise their Director’s would be out of a job.

      Reason being, Ohio’s 88 the county CSEAs all roll up into the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. And it’s is the responsibility of each and every one of those 88 county agencies to maximize their child support dollars collected so that in turn can maximize ODJFS’ annual federal incentive match. It’s a big (hundreds of millions of dollars in profits) numbers game for Ohio at your children’s expense Stacey.

      “And maybe people are forced to work under the table because they can’t live on what’s left of their paychecks after child support? “

      Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head. That’s exactly what’s happening and has been happening for years. Only it’s gotten much worse with the economy as it is.

      In many cases, it all started with an NCP being saddled with a financially unbearable child support order to begin with. The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child Support Enforcement has admonished the States on more than one occasion about setting child support orders too high. And to such an extent that the noncustodial parent (NCP) is unable to pay the obligation. Reason being, it causes defaults, and in some cases almost immediately.

      So what’s the end result? The CP receives few if any child support payments and the NCP enters an underground economy whereby their wages can’t be garnished, and they can perhaps afford to eat and put a roof over their own heads.

      The larger the NCP’s arrears becomes, (such as $43,000) in your case, the greater the chance that you’ll never see any of that money. Especially after a felony indictment is issued as the NCP becomes even less employable above the table.

      I’ve seen many a CP get very excited about having received a very sizeable child support order from the court. But what they don’t realize is that the higher that amount, the higher the chance of default by the NCP. And once a large default is occurred, the less likely it is any money will be recovered.

      That’s especially true in the case of low income wage earners. If they want to live anywhere besides under a bridge, in a homeless shelter, in a car, or on someone’s house, the only way to do that after a default is usually by participating in the underground economy from which they’ll likely never emerge.

      That’s not in any way helpful to the children involved. First the financial support goes, and that’s bad enough, but next they’ll forever lose a parent (a father in about 84% of cases nationwide) and that’s worse.

      Part of the solution is for the court to set reasonable orders to begin with, and as the Federal Government has been telling them to do. But first and foremost would be to remove the State’s child support profit from the equation.

      But until that happens, the courts will never set reasonable child support orders because that’s contrary to the State’s number one goal which is to maximize the annual Federal Incentive Match. It’s truly paradoxical because setting child support orders lower to begin with is in direct opposition to the State’s number one goal to maximize its annual child support profit.

      In the mean time the children have and do suffer and will continue to do so in order for the State of Ohio to profit at the expense of everyone else who’s involved with that child support order.

      You also mentioned this,

      If they want to do the people a justice, they could start by fining and jailing deadbeat employers who take advantage of NCP who are trying to survive. It is because of them so many children are on welfare, NCP end up homeless because they can’t collect unemployment in the off work season, and get hurt doing jobs to suvive while they have no benefits and can’t get treatment. With the unemployment rate so high, these employers take advantage of people who have no choice but to work under the table or not work at all.

      And again, you’ve made another very good point. Anyone who’s participating in the underground economy by working under the table and sustains a work related injury is on their own as there’s no workman’s compensation to recover lost wages and cover medical expenses.

      Additionally, I agree with you that those employers are participating in criminal behavior. However, the question that remains is how best to address the problem? In other words, do you start at the bottom by cracking down on the underground employers? Or alternatively, do you start at the top by setting child support orders at such levels that aren’t financially crippling for the NCP (and whereby they’re bankrupted, forced into homeless etc) but are such that a reasonably employed person can be expected to make consistent payments?

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Stacey I appreciate it. You’ve made some thought provoking points.

  2. Jason says:

    I am one who feels victimized by my ex-wife, the CSEA, the Butler County Court system, etc…

    I have been divorced since 2006. When my initial child support order was put into place, I was in middle management and made about 34k per year. I have one child, and although my ex-wife also worked, her lower income as well as daycare expenses inflated my child support order to $754 per month. She was also awarded $100 in spousal support.

    After a couple of years, I lost my job and was unemployed for a year. I didn’t receive unemployment compensation as my employer fought and won the case. I was forced to move back in with my parents or live under a bridge.

    I tried and was denied multiple times for a review on my child support, so for that entire year I got very far behind on my child support.

    I have been back to work for about a year and a half now, and make regular child support payments. Yet the problem is that although I am working and making regular payments, I am making about 1/3 of the money that I was making at the time the order was put into place. Because of this, over the last year and a half I have seen my arrears reach $18k.

    My drivers license was suspended for a while, and while going to the BMV reinstatement center in November I was arrested for felony non-support. I spent 6 nights in jail as a result. Luckily for me I didn’t lose my job. I go back to court on Feb. 14th. It just baffles my mind that someone that does as much for his daughter as I do, and has been working for the last year and a half that the court seems to think that putting a felony on my record is somehow going to change the fact that I didn’t pay child support in 2008.

    I see my daughter every other weekend, and talk to her everyday. I paid her school fees this past year, bought her school clothes, paid for her piano lessons, supply her with books, games, and clothing for while she is with me. I bought her a cell phone and pay for the service so it’s easier for us to talk and text each other everyday.

    I’ve basically been told by the CSEA that the arrears are what they are and unless my ex-wife (CF) decides to forgive any of it, that I will owe it. I know there is 0% of that happening. My ex-wife wouldn’t forgive $1 of my debt. She’s a child support mom to the hilt and will expect full payment on anything she feels I owe to her.

    Best interest of the children??? Yeah right.

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