The Poverty Industry by Daniel L. Hatcher

The Poverty Industry by Daniel L. Hatcher

Author:Daniel L. Hatcher
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: LAW000000 Law / General
Publisher: NYU Press

Welfare Cost Recovery: Modern-Day Bastardy Acts

The poverty industry’s pursuit of child support as a government cost recovery strategy harkens back to the time when children born out of wedlock were considered bastards and their mothers treated as criminals. Over 400 years ago, the old “Poor Laws” of England authorized local parishes to protect society from the risk and burden of supporting children born outside of marriage. Single mothers were forced before public tribunals to name the fathers of their “illegitimate” children and pay bonds to protect the towns from the possible financial burden of their children. State laws in early America mimicked the Elizabethan Poor Laws, including the American “bastardy acts.” For example, in 1781, Maryland’s “Bastardy and Fornication” law put unwed mothers in jail until they paid security to indemnify the county against the potential cost of their children or until they named the absent father:


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