In eighth grade I remember one of my friends telling me her mom would give her the child support check her dad sent each month to spend anyway she pleased. When I went home and ran that suggestion by my mom she promptly shut me down and reminded me of all the things she spent money on caring for me that weren’t covered by that little check from my father and I never brought it up again.
That convo was the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw the suggestion above for an EBT-like child support debit card. While part of me isn’t wholly put off by the idea of the card only being able to be used for food and clothes, the entire notion of this card screams “idea put together by someone who has never actually raised a child in their own home.”
Food and clothing are not the only things it takes to raise a child. Kids need a roof over their heads, health insurance, gas must be put in a car to take them to school and to extra curricular activities for which they likely need uniforms, or they need a public transportation card of some sort, random school supply needs pop up all the time, some need braces or glasses. And lets not act like even if a mother only used this card for food and clothing there still wouldn’t be questions about the cost of those clothes, why certain brands were bought, or a certain quantity. Plus the idea that a 13-year-old or even an 18-year-old could be responsible enough to use hundreds of dollars of monthly support on necessities and not trips to the mall just so the mother can’t allegedly “profit” off of the father of her child is ludicrous.
What this boils down to is you’ll never be able to completely quantify every expense related to child-rearing. Courts attempt to with their child support orders and experts even come up with figures on what it costs to raise a child from 0-18, but there will always be variables. Very few women are living like “Basketball Wives” and having their entire livelihood funded by exes (check the figures for your individual states). In fact what I bet most men would find, if such a meticulous process was instilled, is that they don’t pay nearly enough, especially if you consider the cost of private schools and the seemingly antiquated notion of putting a child through college rather than treating them like a temporary expense and cutting them off at 18 because the courts say you can. If people spent less time trying to trick the system or “perfect” it in their favor and more time buying condoms and choosing better partners, ideas like this and the archetype of the child support queen would fall by the wayside.