How Maryland’s Child Support System Fails Families: Explore Findings From the Sun’s Investigation

Illustration by David Senior / The Baltimore Sun.

Illustration by David Senior / The Baltimore Sun.

The real cost of child support

Maligned for generations as deadbeat dads, Maryland’s poorest fathers often get caught in a cycle of crushing debt by a relentless child support enforcement system that purports to serve children, but ultimately can fail them. In Baltimore, most of these men are African American.

An investigation by The Baltimore Sun has found short-sighted policies hurt families and their communities. Over 20% of the $1 billion in child support debt owed in Maryland — much of it uncollectible — is concentrated in 10 struggling Baltimore communities, and thousands of dads, moms and kids are paying the price.

This project was reported and written by Yvonne Wenger and supported by the Pulitzer Center. Data analysis by Christine Zhang. Design and development by Adam Marton. Illustrations by David Senior. Videos by Lloyd Fox.

Map: Concentration of child support debt in Baltimore

For the full interactive slideshow, visit The Baltimore Sun website.