There was a quick short story on the AP about a new arrangement between the State of New Jersey and the Dominican Republic on the enforcement of child support payments. The New Jersey Herald carried it: NJ to collect payments in the Dominican Republic.
Good for them, but there is more to the story than what the AP did.
The article pointed out that the DR was the latest addition to agreements with 21 other countries. And “the agreement will immediately affect 536 active cases in the state’s Child Support System in which 1 of the people involved resides in the Dominican Republic.”
The move by the state is important. And while this new agreement only affects 256 out of how many hundreds or thousands of cases, I have a few questions (just for starters) that should be answered:
- How many children are affected by all 21 agreements?
- What are the success and failure stories in enforcing the agreements?
- Are there any countries that New Jersey would like to have an agreement with but so far have not been able to?
- And why those countries and what are the problem?
New Jersey learned of the importance of enforcing international agreements in the much-publicized Goldman kidnapping case where a New Jersey resident fought for years — with the help of the State Department — to get his son back from Brazil successfully.
These international child-support agreements are part of ongoing issues that dramatically link local concerns with international ones.
I hope that the New Jersey Herald — or some other publication — will spend the time to look into the agreements and discuss how and why they are important and what the benefits have been for New Jersey residents. I would bet that the people of New Jersey would like to learn more about how their government protects the rights of the children of the Garden State through international agreements. (And maybe even learn that the efforts of U.S. diplomats to enforce these agreements have a direct connection to their lives.)
And this wouldn’t be such a bad idea for other news outlets around the country to see what agreements their states have as well.