The California Reparations Task Force has requested the Democrat-controlled state legislature to eliminate interest on past-due child support and waive back child support debt for black residents of the state. The task force's final report, which spans nearly 1,100 pages, argues that discriminatory laws have disproportionately affected African American families, leading to a higher burden of child support debt among black Californians compared to their representation in the state's population.
According to the report, the 10% interest charged by the state on back child support hampers the ability of black residents to pursue further education, job training, employment, and housing due to the legal consequences associated with unpaid debt. It references a 2003 study by the California Department of Child Support Services indicating that 27% of owed child support in the state was comprised of unpaid interest. Moreover, individuals with child support debt tend to have lower incomes than the average California worker, making it more challenging to allocate a significant portion of their income towards paying off the debt.
The task force recommends that the Legislature pass legislation to eliminate the accrual of interest on back child support, requiring only the repayment of the principal amount owed. It also suggests amending Family Code section 17560, the "offers in compromise" provision, to enable offers in compromise and forgiveness of child support debt based on a parent's financial circumstances and ability to pay, particularly for low-income parents.
The report reflects two years of research conducted by the task force into historical discrimination faced by black Californians and their ancestors in the state. It presents a comprehensive account of perceived injustices committed against descendants of black slaves. The state legislature will now review the report and decide which recommendations, including potential monetary compensation for black residents, to approve or reject.