State Senator Len Fasano Testifies in Support of Bill Continuing Child Support Payments to Victims of Neglect, Abuse

February 5, 2009

Hartford, CT – State Senator Len Fasano ( R- North Haven) testified today at a public hearing before the General Assembly’s Select Commission on Children in support of SB 174: An Act Concerning Child Support Obligations After Parental Rights Are Terminated Due To Abuse Or Neglect. The bill would require any parent to continue to be responsible for child support payments despite being stripped of their legal rights as parent.

“When a parent neglects or abuses a child, it does an immense amount of damage to the child and the entire family,” said Senator Fasano. “When the situation becomes so dangerous and unhealthy, it’s very common for that parent’s rights to be terminated. Under current law, when that termination occurs the abusive parent is absolved of any financial obligation. How can it be that someone can do so much damage yet be legally absolved of all obligations to that child, specifically financial. This loss of financial support places an impossible burden on the remaining family members and I believe this bill effectively addresses that injustice.”

Senator Fasano introduced the bill after working with a constituent, Abigail True. Ms. True and her four children live in Wallingford. She and her children are victims of domestic abuse at the hands of her former husband. At today’s public hearing, Ms. True and her daughter, Jessica, testified before the Commission.

“There is an injustice in the system in regard to termination of parental rights when the termination results from domestic abuse or violence, said Ms. True. “For years, my children have suffered losses because of the bad choices of their father. Although termination of their relationship meant foregoing child support, what price wouldn’t one pay to protect their child from harm? However, there were days when I didn’t even know if we’d have electricity. It is an injustice to reward the abuser by absolving them of financial responsibility at the expense of the victims. I hope no other family suffers the same loss.”

“It takes tremendous courage to share such a private and painful ordeal,” said Senator Fasano. “I am so impressed with the willingness of Abigail, and her children, to reach out to other families who may be experiencing similar hardship through this bill. I am honored they’ve asked me to share in fighting this injustice and hope the General Assembly has the chance to make this bill a law.”