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Taylor's Child Support Pass Through Bill restores millions to Washington families

WA intercepts millions in child support for low-income families

"Amy Roark logged in to the U.S. Bank app to check the balance on the prepaid debit card where the state delivers her monthly child support payments. Nothing had come through. Roark has two teenagers at home, and at the time – May 2018 – a legal order required one of their fathers to pay Roark $400 a month. State records show the father paid $235 that month, but none of it was deposited in Roark’s account.

For nearly three more years after that, the 45-year-old Vancouver, Wash., mother scraped by without those monthly child support payments. What happened, as Roark explained to a legislative committee last year, was that the government took her money. 

Washington, like almost every other state, intercepts millions in child support payments from custodial parents who receive cash benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, historically known as welfare.

Federal data shows Washington kept more than $41 million intended for children in poverty in 2022. The state diverted some 80% of child support payments away from parents receiving TANF that year, according to data from the state Department of Social and Health Services. The state splits that revenue with federal agencies to cover the cost of services. 

Advocates and legislators on both sides of the aisle have likened the practice to a tax that specifically targets the poor. House Bill 1652, currently under consideration in the state Senate, would redirect a significant portion of future payments back to families." Read full story on Crosscut

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