For release on receipt -- Friday, March 1, 2002.
Contact Eric Tabor or Bill Roach -- 515-281-5112.
Attorney General Miller Urges Teens to Consider Consequences of Parenthood
MARION, IOWA. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is sending Iowa schools a packet of teaching materials to help
students learn about the responsibilities of parenthood - especially the responsibility to support children financially.
The instructional packet consists of a notebook and video describing the concept of child support and the consequences of
non-support. Miller unveiled the project today while speaking to students at Linn-Mar High School in Marion.
"This is a very important responsibility," Miller told the students. "As you grow up, it is important for you to consider all
the consequences of parenthood, including the responsibility to provide financial support to children."
Miller said he is pursuing the activities because parents' failure to pay court-ordered child support undermines the quality
of life for thousands of Iowa children. About 165,000 families have asked the Child Support Recovery Unit of the
Department of Human Services for assistance in collecting child support. In addition to its work collecting child support,
the unit last year established paternity for 2,700 children born to unmarried parents in Iowa. The Child Support Recovery
Unit is a partner with Miller's office in producing and distributing the classroom materials.
"The children of many of these families often are denied their most basic needs -- not just a movie or a candy bar, but
clothing and medical care," Miller said. "The families often end up on welfare, and then Iowa taxpayers must pay to meet
the child's basic needs, because a parent has chosen to ignore the responsibility to support a child."
The child support teaching packet, "Parenting: It's a Life," is designed for students in grades 7 to12. It includes a variety
of instructional activities and a video featuring real-life stories from students. At the schools' discretion, the material can
be used in life skills and family life classes as well as other classes such as government, health and psychology.
Miller also said his office has produced child support television and radio public service announcements and is
distributing them to Iowa media. The PSAs encourage parents who are failing to pay court-ordered child support to make
their payments as a way to stay involved in their child's life.
Both the high school curriculum and the public service announcements are the result of a cooperative project between
Attorney General Miller's office and the Child Support Recovery Unit of the Iowa Department of Human Services.
Attorneys from Miller's office provide legal representation to the Child Support Recovery Unit
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