France launches service to make deadbeat parents pay

Full Screen
1 / 9

AFP or licensors

French President Emmanuel Macron removes a protective face mask to take a drink of water as he attends a meeting during a visit at the headquarters of the local CAF (French family allowance public services) in Tours, central France, Tuesday Jan. 5, 2021. Macron denounced in a tweet unpaid child support as "an unbearable situation for hundreds of thousands of single parents," as France is launching a new government service entitled to take money directly from the bank accounts of absent parents who fail to pay child support, aiming at helping many families, in majority single mothers, emerge out of precarious living conditions. (Loic Venance/Pool Photo via AP)

PARIS – France is launching a new government service empowered to take money directly from the bank accounts of parents who fail to pay child support, aiming to help many families — the vast majority of whom are headed by single mothers — emerge from precarious financial situations.

President Emmanuel Macron denounced in a tweet unpaid child support as “an unbearable situation for hundreds of thousands of single parents,” before visiting a benefits agency Tuesday in Tours, in central France, which is providing the new service.

“Thank you” for the measure, a single mother of three told Macron, detailing at length her personal situation, involving domestic violence and harassment from her ex-husband and deep financial difficulties. “That's a great relief," she said.

The mothers who spoke with Macron didn't provide their names because of privacy reasons.

French authorities estimate that between 30% and 40% of child support amounts are either not paid, only partially paid or paid too late — placing at least 300,000 families in financial insecurity.

Single parents represent one out of four families in France, 85% of whom are mothers. A third are living under the poverty rate.

For these families, getting child support — on average 170 euros ($209) per month for each child — is key.

The measure also aims at preventing financial pressure and threats sometimes exerted by deadbeat parents.