My story is the story of a 62 year old black native from Detroit, who has seen Detroit and black men and families destroyed by removing the father from the home. My father moved to Detroit during the great migration in the 1940’s. He left his home in Alabama, leaving his mother and father in hopes of providing a better life for himself and my mother in the auto factories of Detroit. With an 7th grade education and a pregnant wife, he was able to raise 5 children and provide for his family through 43 years at Chryslers.
We moved to his current home in 1961 when I was 8 years old. We were the second black family on the block. My oldest sister attended Mackenzie High School and the racial percent was 99% white, 1% black that was in 1965. When I graduated from Mackenzie in 1971 the percentage was 99% black and 1% white. My childhood was full of hope, a more than adequate education from public schools. A community center to play in both summer and winter, a beautiful neighborhood full of home owners who needs were the same and we established relationships with. There was no office of child support replacing a father. All of my friends in the neighborhood came from two parent families, regardless of the issues, the father remained in the home.
NAFTA removed the jobs, homeowners lost their mortgages, our neighborhood lost its tax base, as it became a neighborhood of renter and not owners. The schools closed and every school that I attended growing up is closed or torn down, including Mckenzie, the neighborhood high school. The houses are boarded up, lawns unkept and the hope is gone.
Now the OCS, formed in 1975 has placed a dollar amount that replaces a father. There is a threat to lock you up if you do no pay, I paid for 38 years, had four different children, three different marriages, but I also paid private school tuition, took them to the doctors, attended
parent and teachers conference. I am blessed to have a great relationship with my four kids and their mothers. My older son Greg Jr passed away 2 years ago at the age of forty. Even though his mother and I divorced when he was young, he visited my family catching the bus from Lansing by himself at 10 years old. At the age of 16, he left Lansing to come live with me changing my life forever. He graduated from U of M with a Masters in Electrical Engineering. Going on to design CISCO system and install them all over the world. His greatest goal was to see that my soul was saved and I’m working on insuring I do not fail him.
I also have a 29 year old son who has given me 3 grandkids who believed so much in education that he continued to work and finally got his GED at 27 years of age. My 27 year old daughter has provided me with 2 grandkids. She is a college graduate teaching the second grade at a Cornerstone school in Detroit. My grand daughter has never seen her father and is 3 years old now and he’s comfortable letting a dollar amount replace him as her father. My baby boy age 25 has given me 1 grandson who is his stepson, not his biological child. He was passed through the Detroit Public School system, graduating at age 17 even though he attended four different high schools. He has been lock up for selling drugs and still feels this is the best way to make money. Yet he takes his stepson to school everyday, attend parent teacher conferences and attend field trips. He states he does this because he remembers me doing this with him.
No money could replace what my father has given me and there is nothing greater than the gift my oldest son gave me. He saved my soul, by introducing me to God, and my current pastor. So I say talk to my children and ask them he value of our relationship. Talk to their mothers and ask them. Now that the kids are grown, how much time means more than money.
To The Office of Child Separation we ask if you are going to lock him up for not paying, give him a reason for staying. Our children need both parents in their lives, not just a dollar amount. Let’s not let the government agency tell us the value of our relationship with our children. They are not Joes’ children they are our children. We are not babysitting our children, we are establishing a relationship with our children.
We as fathers must build a relationship, unlike mothers who have an umbilical cord connection. Men must spend time with their children to establish a relationship. Once we are in a relationship defined as the way in which two or more concepts, objects, and in this case people, (you and your child) are being connected, or in the state of being connected. Connected defined as: bring together or into contact so that a real or notional link is established, joined together so that is to provide access and communication. With relationship there will be a decrease in adolescent maladies as proven by numbers , children with both parents in their lives are more likely to succeed.
We will not let the child support system determine a money amount that establishes our relationship. This is destroying families all over the United States. The system is destroying a child’s ability to connect and know the love of both parents, a mother and a father, by placing a money value as the relationship value of the non-custodial parent. The system is encouraging and building a comfort with children not having a relationship and connection with the non- custodial parent.
Since there is a formula for the amount of money to be paid by the non-custodial parent, there should be an incentive included to state that the money obligation would be decreased by the amount of time spent with connecting and establishing a relationship with the child. Starting with supervised visits progressing to what level the non-custodial parent wishes, up to and pre-
determined amount to then unsupervised visits. With the monetary amount of dollars ordered to be replaced by a formula of weekly hours spent, connecting and building a relationship with your child. The welfare system which distributed 9.9 billion and the corrections system is full of single parent children. Both benefit from the current child support system which places no incentive for the non-custodial parent to establish that critical relationship with their child. If children were allow to established a relationship with their parent, then the TANF funds could truly be temporary assistance for needy families. Just by being in a relationship/connection you will willingly spend money on the child you have established a relationship with.
According to 2010 report from the Father’s Rights Movement , 44% or 700,000 inmates are children denied the right of having both parents in their lives. Unsure of themselves from the absence of care, love and guidance children get from both parents.
Several industries have become notorious for the millions they spend on influencing legislation and getting friendly candidates into office: Big Oil, Big Pharma and the gun lobby among them. But one has managed to quickly build influence with comparatively little scrutiny: Private prisons. The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since their revenue and market share soar. They now rake in a combined $3.3 billion in annual revenue and the private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute. Private companies house nearly half of the nation’s immigrant detainees, compared to about 25 percent a decade ago, a Huffing Post report found. In total, there are now about 130 private prisons in the country with about 157,000 beds. Article written: April 28, 2015 by Michael Cohen, The Washington Post
According to dads4kids. com states A myriad of maladies from risk of drug and alcohol abuse, 75% of all adolescent nations in chemical abuse centers, 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes, 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders are from fatherless homes, 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. 40% of fathers have no access/visitation rights, 40% of mothers reported that they had interfered with the non-custodial father’s visitation to punish the non-custodial parent. 50% of mother stated they see no need for father to have contact with their children. Very few of the children were satisfied with the contact with their fathers and 77% of non-custodial fathers are not able to visit their children, as ordered by the court, as a result of visitation interference, perpetuated by the custodial parent.
The child support program was established in 1975 to reimburse benefits paid by the government’s welfare programs. Congress changed the program in 1996 as part the new welfare reform laws to expand the role of technology and ensure children receive more of the support paid by their parents. The office of child support’s mission statement: Increase the reliability of child support paid by parents when they live apart from their children by removing barriers to payment, such a referring parents to employment services, supporting healthy co- parenting relationships, supporting responsible fatherhood, and helping to prevent and reduce family violence. It also states OCSE supports research and provide grants for program improvement.
If we examine the numbers they will speak to us. Lets try to come up with something better than a money amount using the new transformative agenda such as creating structural racial equity. Building peoples control of government, building community control of the economy and expanding the publics sphere. Specifically by building people’s control of government will involve transforming some of the institutions and structures of government. It was also require us to build new structure inside and outside government, that moved real decision making into
the hands of those that most effected. A formula that benefits the child and establishes a relationship with the non custodial parent. Once again, if they can lock them up and if they don’t pay, Let’s create a formula so they can stay.
Fast forward 6 years later and now I am lead mentor for the Family Assistance for Renaissance Men program.
Greg Posey Sr
You can find Greg Posey at www.farm-mi.org