DADS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION OF FLORIDA, INC.
March 12 2001
Honorable Locke Burt
420 Senate Office Building
407 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300
Dear Senator Burt:
On behalf of the fathers in this state who are doing everything they can to survive and meet court requirements to pay an inequitable amount of child support, I most fervently ask that you vote "NO" for SB0400. In regards to our public safety, it makes no sense to make this bill a law. We are already at wits end in trying to fight gangs, keep our, children off the streets and in school, drug-free, and out of trouble. I am sure you are aware of the negative statistics in reference to single parent children. Every survey and study recognizes that children of single parents have, in dramatic proportions, less of a chance to be a contributing member of our society and instead will most likely be a parasite. We are not and will not fix, repair or better any part of our existence, putting fathers in jail.
This bill will reach your subcommittee on Public safety and Judiciary tomorrow March 15. SB0400 will categorically create felon criminals out of single fathers who fail to meet the demands of the court. Some of those dads are physically unable to pay full court ordered expenses. This bill does not care about fathers who are ill, injured or otherwise financially unable to meet arbitrary awards made be the various Districts Family Court. When a father becomes a felon, it eliminates any possibility of that father having a positive impact on his children's lives. Is that what you want!
As the President of DADS Against Discrimination of Florida, Inc. I receive calls, on an almost daily basis, from fathers all over the state; like a gentleman from Ft Lauderdale who came to our organization for help. He is currently married with two children and is the father of another child whom he has supported before he became disabled. He, by trade is a roofing laborer. He injured his back on the job and after several weeks, he lost is job due to his inability to work. He is now disabled, as certified by a doctor. He cannot work. His Workman's Compensation has expired and his wife makes minimum wage. The courts, under this bill, would make this man a felon and take him away from the children he dearly loves and it is not his fault. Another concerned father, who is active in our organization, is bringing home $300.00 a month because of court awards. He, a respected public official, is living only by the grace of his family. Is this our solution?
This is not a solution to the problem. Even now fathers are going to jail, losing jobs, careers, families and most important a sense of their dignity and duty to their families.
When we, as responsible fathers run up against the bias of the family court, it is overwhelming and bad situations get worse. Now tell me, how does felony status resolve any problems? The Division of Families and Services touts the amount of money they collect and the number of fathers they put in jail. Is this where we are headed in our society! A place where solving problems is not a consideration and further abandoning our children is an agenda of the legislature.
If the legislature wants to rectify the problem of so-called "dead-beat" dads, try programs that encourage him to be a part of his children's lives, provide guidance, support and a positive father figure. Help him participate in the most critical part of his daughters and sons life. Stop the bias of the court system. Give fathers the same considerations as are awarded to mothers and do not let lawyers continue to be part of the problem. Let us all work to replace jails with support programs that help to resolve differences for the betterment of the children.
This kind of attitude that SB0400 promotes destroys families and children. I know it has destroyed mine. Please, for the sake of our children, do not let this bill get out of pour committee.
Dads of Florida. Fathers helping children by helping Fathers