Department of Human Services, juvenile justice system,

City Ends Controversial Practice Of Charging Child Support For Incarcerated Youth

CITY HALL (CBS) — Philadelphia will end its policy of seeking child support from parents of youth detained in the juvenile justice system.The surprise change came just before a City Council hearing on the practice.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson called the hearing because he was troubled by the city’s dunning of working-poor parents whose children got incarcerated even for minor incidents, but even Johnson seemed surprised, though pleased, by how fast the Department of Human Services acted to stop it.

“This is a good day of government in action,” she said.

Temple’s Sheller Center had done a study showing the onerous burden the practice placed on vulnerable families, and witnesses included parents who’d struggled under the weight of the payments.

DHS commissioner Cynthia Figueroa, still fairly new in the job, said she’s glad the state granted permission to stop the collections.

“I took this position because I felt that I, with the team in front of us, could make a difference in the lives of families. Today is an excellent example,” she said.

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