Parties urged to end B.C.’s clawback of child support payments for families on assistance

The Province, April 3, 2013

VANCOUVER — B.C.’s four major political parties are being urged to unite behind a policy aimed at helping some of the province’s most vulnerable children.

West Coast Legal Education Action Fund, or LEAF, and two other human rights advocacy groups hope the demand becomes an election issue as the province prepares to go to the polls next month.

They are calling on the parties to end the provincial clawback of child support payments made to families on income assistance.

The groups want the provincial Liberals, New Democrats, Conservatives and Greens to agree that families should be allowed to keep at least $300 of any child support payments.

Currently, any child support payment is deducted from income assistance payments, a process that critics say ensures families cannot break out of the poverty cycle.

Adrienne Montani, provincial co-ordinator of First Call, which publishes an annual report card on child poverty, says claw backs are a tiny fraction of the Ministry of Social Development budget, but the cash would make a significant difference to families living in poverty.

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