Why Philly went after a domestic-violence victim for thousands in child support

In fact, it reflects standard practice in Philadelphia, whose Department of Human Services (DHS) removes children from their homes at a rate much higher than most big U.S. cities and collects nearly $2 million per year in child support from their parents.

News Story (Pennsylvania)

Samantha Melamed
Philadelphia Inquirer
February 26, 2017

Tags: Child Support, Domestic Violence

Organizations mentioned/involved: Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Legal Assistance


“We have clients who the main barrier for them in reunifying with their child is they can’t find affordable housing,” said Kathleen Creamer, managing attorney of the family advocacy unit at Community Legal Services. “Then, they get a job, they’re working toward getting housing, and DHS sues them for children support — not just for now but for the entire time their child has been in foster care.”

In some cases, it prevents parents from bringing their children home, she said. In other cases, “We see reunifications completely destabilized by child-support enforcement.”