More than 10 years ago, Keith Jones contacted Fathers & Families Support Center (FFSC), frustrated with the legal system that wouldn’t allow him to open a child support and custody case for his son. Keith wanted to do the right thing for his son, even though the mother and Keith decided not to stay together. “The biggest problem I had was the lack of communications between me and my son’s mother,” Jones said. “That, and every time I tried to open a case for my son, the State of Missouri told me that only a mother can do that, not a father.”
Jones researched the state laws and continued to push for his right to care for his son but was repeatedly told that as a father, he had no rights to open a case – only the mother could. “It wasn’t until I enrolled at FFSC and took advantage of their legal resources that I was finally allowed to open a child support case and pay support for my son,” Jones explained. “FFSC brought in the regional representative of the State of Missouri that was over child support and family services, who personally sat with me and I filled out the paperwork.”
That’s when Jones found out the truth. “The rep informed me that the information I received from the local state office was false. As a father, I could open a child support and custody case after all!” Jones explained. “In fact, any parent of a child has the right to open a case for financial support and custody.”
FFSC helped open a case for Jones, a task he spent years pursuing on his own with no success. In addition, Jones participated in FFSC’s Family Formation which helped strengthen his parenting skills and helped him improve communications with the mother. After graduating from Family Formation, Jones was able to see his son and begin planning a future as an involved father.
Today, Jones has earned his bachelors and masters degree, owns his own home, is married with five children and works as a full-time firefighter for the City of St. Louis.