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FAQ's about Women Against Paternity Fraud

Who is Women Against Paternity Fraud?

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Women Against Paternity Fraud (WAPF) is a non-profit national organization dedicated to educating the public on the issue of paternity fraud and the devistation it creates within families and especially for children. While many think that "paternity fraud" is just a men's issue...it is not. Both men and women can be victims.

Many women are paternity victims..when the truth about who their biological father is was never disclosed to them until a medial emergency or their inheritance rights were being denied. Also, many women -- wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters are also affected by paternity fraud when the men in their lives are victims.

Whether you are a man or women paternity fraud is devistating. WAPF is composed of women who have been negatively affected by this issue and are working together to educate the public, media, and policy makers on the need for reform.

Who are the Founders of WAPF?

founders smWomen Against Paternity Fraud was founded by two women from California who believe that perpetuating fraud about children's paternity to receive child support is not in the best interest of men, women, children, and society.

WAPF Co-Founder, Dianna Thompson states that "...We can't legislate morality there will always be those willing to lie for whatever reason but laws and policies must always be based off the truth. ..." With that said, changes need to be made in the way the federal government provides incentives to states related to their perfomance in paternity establishment.

While nothing in federal law requires or authorizes establishing paternity against the wrong man, there is also nothing in federal law that prohibits or penalizes tagging the wrong man.

With the enormous sums of federal funds at stake it is no wonder paternity fraud has become so prevelant nationwide and why this organization is needed.

What is Paternity Fraud?

whatispaternityfraudBecause none of the states require a mother who files a claim for child support to advise the court or child-support agencies when another man (other than the one they named) could potentially be the father, thousands of men are paying for support for children who may not be their own.

This deception has come to be known in legal circles as "paternity fraud." 


Paternity fraud is surprisingly common because of the fact that it is not legally defined as a crime. There is no real penalty for naming the wrong man as the father. However, there are plenty of incentives to do so. Often enough, it is found that paternity fraud is state-supported.

This happens due to the fact that a child that does not have a named father has to be supported by the state. State social support agencies have a vested interest in having women name someone as their child's father, so that the state can seek reimbursement for the child benefits it has paid from the person named as the father. It is no secret that child support money is a major source of replenishment for the government's coffers.

How Big of a Problem is Paternity Fraud?

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If paternity fraud were a "one in a million problem" we might shrug it off.  The reality is that the prevelence of paternity fraud has reached startling proportions.  

As many as 28 to 30 percent of men tested for paternity learn they are not biologically related to the children they allegedly fathered, according to the American Association of Blood Banks.  

While no one knows for certain the exact number of paterntiy fraud victims in America, the lowest estimates are in the tens of thousands and could be in excess of one million.
 

Why is the Issue of Paternity Fraud Important?

whyispaternityfraudimportantThe true impact of paternity fraud goes far beyond the dollars collected from men who are not fathers. For children facing life-threatening illnesses, such as cancers requiring bone-marrow transplants or medical emergencies, knowing one's biological heritage can be a matter of life and death.

The practice of assigning paternity to uninformed and unrelated individuals goes beyond fraud --- it potentially places the lives of children in danger.  

No civilized society should teach its children that lies are the path to success in our court system.  It should never be a sufficient argument to say that it is in the best interest of children to perpetuate a fraud.  The child's best and ONLY interest in paternity establishment lies in finding the child's biological father.

Can't Exposing who the Real Father is Hurt Children?

cantexposingwhotherealfatherishurtchildrenSome argue that demanding accuracy in determination of fatherhood would harm children who have established relationships with men they believe to be their fathers.  However, in most cases of paternity fraud, the children have never even met the suppposed father.  

As to the best interest of the child, it should never be a sufficient legal argument to say that it is in the best interest of any particular child to perpetuate a fraud.  The child's best and only interest in paternity establishment lies in finding the child's biological father.  The child needs to know his or her genetic heritage for medical purposes, cultural heritage, and inheritance rights. 

When children know they are part of a family, they are likely to be more secure about who they are and where they come from. Establishing paternity identifies the father's side of the family and may encourage contact with other family members, such as grandparents, uncles, aunts, or other relatives. It also may give children the opportunity to learn about and appreciate their cultural heritage.

What is Wrong with the Current Laws and Policies on Paternity Fraud?

whatiswrongThe incentive payments paid to states from the federal government requires that a recipient of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) must assign to the government the right to receive child support payments. To maximize child support collections, the federal government requires each state to have paternity establishment procedures.

The federal government also provides penalties and incentives to the states related to their performance in paternity establishments.  Federal law establishes a target of paternity establishment in ninety percent of cases.

Failure to meet the target subjects the state to an escalating series of program improvement requirements and penalties. In addition, Congress has provided that states with the highest paternity establishment rates will be eligible for bonus or incentive payments from the federal government.  With billions of dollars of federal TANF funds and incentive payments at state each year, the states have tremendou incentives and, indeed, compulsion to persue high rates of paternity establishments.


While nothing in federal law requires or authorizes establishing paternity against the wrong man, there is also nothing in federal law that prohibits or penalizes tagging the wrong man.  Eligibility for receipt of federal funds under TANF and under the incentive formula depends "only" upon tagging the largest possible number of men, and there is no review or requirement that it be the right men.

How can WAPF, an Organization Founded and Supported by Women Make Changes that Seem so Anti-Women?

organizationbywomenMany of the women who have come together to form Women Against Paternity Fraud are advocates for children, paternity fraud victims, from families (or know of families) devistated by this issue, and some are just individuals who believe in truth and justice.

Many members of WAPF are interested in being part of an organization that is working towards establishing a system that is fair and just, and that allows men who are proven by DNA testing to not be the father...the right to have their child support order excused.  Under present circumstances, men who are having difficulty supporting children that are not theirs can be jailed. To send somebody to jail for non payment of child support for a child that they did not father (and in many cases hasn't even met) while protecting somebody who didn't truthfully disclose who the real father is....is unjust and wrong. 

Restoring fairness and balance to a system that is not interested in truth and justice is not a gender issue.

What Exactly will WAPF do to Reform Paternity Fraud?

WAPF is committed to working on all fronts in its effort to restore basic human rights in an incentive system that started with good intentions but resulted in unintended consequences to innocent citizens. We believe that state laws must provide that no paternity establishment is final unless it has been confirmed by DNA evidence.

reformpaternityfraudWAPF intends to bring public awareness to the issue of paternity fraud through media and social networking campaigns, educational efforts, and advocacy. 

WAPF will work with existing organizations, experts, and individuals interested in making much needed change to the current system. We will establish committees that will assist those needing help, as well as, offering resources.

WAPF will also reach out to decision-makers at both the state and federal level, as well as, Civil Right organizations -- to educate them on paternity fraud issues.

Why Should I Become a Member?

whyshouldibecomeamemberWAPF is composed of national leading experts that have decades of experience on paternity fraud issues. By becoming a member there is so much to personally benefit from by being part of and actively contributing to the success of a organization that seeks to help children know their identity.

It is important to know who we are. Children benefit from a sense of belonging that comes from knowing both parents. 


A child needs to know if he or she has inherited or may have inherited any special health problems from either side of the family. Also, it might be possible to obtain medical insurance through a parent's employer, union, or military service.

Children also have the right to other possible benefits from both parents. Many of these benefits may be denied to your child if legal paternity is not established. Some of these benefits may include: 

* Social Security from a deceased or disabled parent

* Inheritance Rights
* Veteran's Benefits 
* Life Insurance
* Health Insurance

There is always strength in numbers.
The more individuals & organizations that rally to our cause, the better!

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