Friday, March 1, 2024

Pay up


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Child support has been a debatable issue from time immemorial and has raised its head recently creating quite a stir in all strata of society. This issue has left many with conflicting feelings and views and some individuals have asked the question – how much is too much? It must be noted, however, that there can never be a fixed figure placed on the upkeep of a child.
It is the obligation of parents to ensure that the child’s holistic development is maintained – spiritual, physical, intellectual, creative, emotional and social wellbeing. In addition parents are to provide a safe and secure environment in which their children can thrive. In cases of a separation of parents, it is the responsibility of the other parent to assist and provide for the child not only through a monetary contribution but also emotionally.
It is shameful and downright embarrassing that some parents, mostly mothers, are subjected to endure long periods of waiting in line at court to collect $50 or $60 in “child money” only to hear there is no money. It is equally shameful that some fathers who provide financial support are denied access to their children as their contribution is deemed insufficient.
How far can $200 a month go in the support of a child? We are all aware of the rising cost of living. For a secondary school child this amount is lunch money alone for the month and for a mother with a young child, it is insufficient to buy diapers and milk.
What happens to meeting the other needs of children – shelter, food, medicals, school tours and the like? Parents who are faced with these trying circumstances and are able to make ends meet with these meagre amounts, should be highly commended.
Parents, by holding back finances you are hindering the holistic development of your children.
• Socially – the inability of your child to be involved in Brownies, Cub Scouts, Red Cross or Girl Guides. since membership in these clubs incurs a cost for uniform and regular subs.
• Physically – vitamins are not cheap and a child that is physically weak will not be able to concentrate in class.
• Intellectually – if your child is experiencing learning difficulties then there is the need for clinical evaluation and/or extra lessons. Remedial lessons are not cheap and could cost as much as $75 per session. For children who are preparing for CXC examinations, extra lessons are a vital boost.
 Mothers who leave fathers with children and do not provide monetary support are just as guilty as the fathers who do not pay up. Mothers who refuse to allow fathers’ visitation rights because they believe the money given is insufficient, or because of spite towards the father, are also doing their children an injustice.
Parents who are receiving child support or must pay child support, please keep in mind that the courts are looking out for the best interest of the children. Be responsible. If you are required to pay, then pay. Fathers, if you are in doubt of your paternity, get a paternity test. Remember parents, your children should not be punished for your one night of pleasure.
• Rhonda Blackman is an educator, a National Development Scholar and former President of the Early Childhood Association of Barbados Inc. Email:


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