This weekend we recognize the countless things that our mother's have done to nurture and educate us. I hope that other leaders in Texas will also take this time to join my pledge that our state will be a better partner in these efforts.
One of the ways that Texas can be a better partner is by helping single mothers collect the child support they are due. The Federal Government reports there is a whopping $9.8 billion in unpaid child support in Texas.
It is hard enough for a single mother to raise her children even if she is financially stable. But it's just wrong if she also has to struggle paycheck-to-paycheck to make ends meet because the father isn't living up to his responsibility.
It also leaves children behind. About half of children living in poverty in this country live with single mothers. Only about one-third of those children receive child support.
We must work with parents who have trouble making their child support payments, but we can't let parents off the hook if they try to avoid their responsibilities.
In the next legislative session we will work to give the Attorney General's office the tools to locate and collect money that a noncustodial parent is trying to hide. We will also give the Attorney General more time to collect unpaid child support so single mothers don't have to worry about the clock running out.
This Mother's Day, I want moms who are struggling to get child support to know that they are not alone. I invite them to share their personal stories below. I'll pass these stories on to my colleagues in the Texas Legislature as we continue our fight to ensure that Texas honors our mothers with stronger child support protections.