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.