(Chicago, IL) – Lifetime TV, with its audience of 100 million households, announced the launch of a new reality series, Deadbeat Dads. The show follows National Child Support founder Jim Durham as he tracks down and confronts fathers who don’t pay child support.
The worst part about Deadbeat Dads is that innocent children of divorce may be subjected to public humiliation on national television and shamed in their local communities. These are all factors that can contribute to parental alienation.
The show will offend and insult millions of American parents and could harm millions of children. “Kids are too young to realize that 80% of divorced dads pay their full child support, and may form negative opinions of divorced fathers – opinions which could damage their relationships with their own dads,” says Dr. Linda Nielsen, a Fathers & Children advocate.
In addition, the National Child Support Center is a private collection agency that bills clients 34% of whatever they collect. These types of collectors have been accused of charging steep fees and using ultra-aggressive tactics.
The deadbeat dad stereotype is a distortion and it perpetuates the many myths surrounding child support. Fathers’ Rights attorney, Jeffery Leving (founder of DadsRights.com) says, “The vast majority of men who fail to pay their child support do so because of unemployment or poverty. US Census data shows that noncustodial mothers are 20% more likely to default on their child support obligations than noncustodial fathers.”
In fact, Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement data shows that two-thirds of those behind on child support nationwide earn poverty level wages; less than 4% of the national child support debt is owned by those earning $40,000 or more a year. According to the largest federally-funded study of divorced dads ever conducted, unemployment, not willful neglect, is the largest cause of failure to pay child support.
It’s time to take a stand against this father-bashing show and fight the media’s demeaning and defamatory depiction of fathers. Although Lifetime has already received thousands of protests via letters and phone calls, Deadbeat Dads is still slated to air soon.