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Toronto Star

Ontario to end clawback of child support for parents on welfare

Single parents on welfare will soon get to keep some or all of their child support payments.

Damaris Bueno, with her daughter Mia, 4, welcomes plans to allow single parents on social assistance to keep Read More .. their child support income.

Damaris Bueno, with her daughter Mia, 4, welcomes plans to allow single parents on social assistance to keep Remore of their child support income.

The Toronto Star By: Laurie Monsebraaten, Social justice reporter, Feb 26 2016

About 18,600 single parents in Ontario who rely on both social assistance and child support payments will see their incomes rise under rule changes to be introduced early next year, according to Thursday's provincial budget.

Currently, every penny of the average $280 monthly child support payment to families on social assistance is clawed back by the government, meaning children are "no better off" and the parent responsible for paying may feel little incentive to do so, the budget notes.

Several options are under consideration to ensure parents who receive child support can benefit from more of this income, said a government official. The change would be in place by April 2017 at the latest, the official predicted.

Child poverty activists have been calling for an end to the clawback for years, pointing to British Columbia that ended the practice last year.

"Ending the dollar-for-dollar clawback is stellar news for single parents on social assistance," said Jennefer Laidley of the Income Security Advocacy Centre, a legal aid clinic that supports Ontarians on welfare and disability benefits.

Toronto single mother Damaris Bueno saw none of her $400 monthly child support payments for daughter Mia, 4, when she lived on welfare about 2 1/2 years after fleeing a violent home.

""This is great news," said Bueno, 41, who has been working a cafeteria since August as part of an employment program for people leaving welfare. "I am breathing easier now. But the extra money will definitely come in handy for other women still on social assistance."

Ontario's Liberal government is giving free tuition to university and college students from low-income families - and taking more from motorists and homeowners through costlier gasoline and natural gas.

Single mother Jennifer Gray, 41, refused to go on welfare two years ago because she didn't want to lose her $300 monthly child support payments for her daughter Autumn, 9.

"This is amazing," she said about the government's plans. "It will allow women to work towards building a positive relationship with their former partners. And more of them will likely end up paying. Child support is for children."

The change is part of the government's ongoing work to modernize social assistance so that it "effectively reduces poverty, supports people in their efforts to participate in the economy, and provides human services in a way that makes sense to the people who need them," according to budget documents.

Also up for discussion is a plan to work with researchers and community groups to develop a pilot project to test the merits of a provincial "Basic Income," a form of guaranteed annual income.

While the government contemplates transforming income security, welfare and disability benefits for more than 907,000 Ontarians will rise by a modest 1.5 per cent this year.

Although the increase is more than last year's inflationary 1-per-cent hike, Laidley and other anti-poverty advocates said it is not enough to ensure people on social assistance "won't have to rely on food banks to feed themselves and don't get sicker as a result of their poor diets."

As in past years, single people relying on Ontario Works (OW), who receive the lowest benefits, will see a top-up that will boost their monthly income by $25. It will bring their maximum monthly benefit to $706, a $100-a-month increase since 2012, according to budget documents.

A single person relying on the Ontario Disability Support Program (DSP), will receive up to $1,128 per month and a single parent with one child on OW will get $1,078, including the Ontario Child Benefit, scheduled to rise to $113 per month per child in July.

The rate increases take effect in September 2016 for ODSP and October 2016 for OW.

Canadian Press - New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - A New Brunswick judge says a woman who burned and dismembered her newborn son is criminally responsible for her actions.

Becky Sue Morrow earlier pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to a dead body and disposing of a newborn with the intent of concealing a delivery.

Judge David Walker ruled Friday that the 27-year-old woman may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby but that that was not the case when the baby's body was burned and its remains hidden.

It is not known if the baby was alive at the time of birth.

At a hearing last month, the court heard contrasting reports from the two psychiatrists. One said Ms. Morrow was in a "disassociated" mental state when the crime occurred. The other said she clearly planned her actions and understood the consequences.

American Psychological Association

American Psychological Association
Dating Violence Statistics in the United States

Nearly one in 10 girls and one in 20 boys say they have been raped or experienced some other form of abusive violence on a date, according to a study released Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.


Psychiatric disorder may have led boy to fatally shoot father

Rick James Lohstroh, a doctor at UTMB, was fatally shot this summer, apparently by his 10-year-old son.

ABC13 Eyewitness News, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
Dec. 29, 2004

The 10-year-old Katy boy accused of murdering his father this summer is now the face of an unofficial psychiatric disorder that may have lead to his father's death.

Some psychiatrists call it Parental Alienation Syndrome and they say that's why the son killed Doctor Rick Lohstroh last summer. The syndrome is basically caused by a bitter parent who poisons a child against the other parent, usually in cases of divorce.

Teen depression on the increase in U.K.- teen suicide statistics

Teen depression on the increase

More and More teens are becoming depressed. The numbers of young people suffering from depression in the last 10 years has risen worryingly, an expert says.

BBC, UK, August 3, 2004

Government statistics suggest one in eight adolescents now has depression.

Unless doctors recognise the problem, Read More ..uld slip through the net, says Professor Tim Kendall of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health.

Guidelines on treating childhood depression will be published next year. Professor Kendall says a lot Read More ..eds to be done to treat the illness.

Associated Press logo

Woman convicted of killing 3 kids after custody battle


HELSINKI, Finland - A court in Finland has convicted a woman of murdering her three young children and has given her a life sentence.

The Espoo District Court says Thai-born Yu-Hsiu Fu was found guilty of strangling her 8-year-old twin daughters and 1-year-old son in her home.

She tried to kill herself afterward.

The verdict on Tuesday says the 41-year-old woman was found to be of sound mind at the time of the murders.

Court papers show the murders were preceded by a bitter custody battle with her Finnish husband who was living separately from her at the time of the murders.

A life sentence in Finland mean convicts usually serve at least 11 years in prison.