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Procreation of Children is not a Trivial Pursuit: One Texas Judge's Innovative Solution to the Societal Costs of Parental Nonsupport

NCJ Number
Judges Journal Volume: 34 Issue: 2 Dated: (Spring 1995) Pages: 34-36
W J Mills
Date Published
3 pages
One judge in Texas, who saw that most of the criminal defendants who appeared before her came from dysfunctional families and often had their own children whom they were not supporting, began to enforce offenders' child support payments.
The judge believed that when parents were forced to pay child support, they would begin to pay more attention to their children, who in turn would feel less alienated and rejected. She hoped that parental involvement would also reduce antisocial behavior, future rates of illegitimacy, and public assistance payments. The judge initiated a pilot program in which parents of illegitimate children would file lawsuits legitimating their issue. Both female and male offenders placed on probation were ordered to obtain a child support order or to enforce an existing order. As a result of this program, many probationers began taking more of an interest in their children and most also found employment, required as a condition of their probation.


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