Fact Check

Delaware Child Support Card

A fake news story about a new Delaware "Child Support Card" hit the online world in January 2016.

Published Jan 9, 2016

Delaware has issued a new "child support card" that cannot be used to purchase items such as alcohol or cigarettes.

On 8 January 2016, the entertainment web site The Reporterz published an article reporting that Delaware had created a new "child support card" that controlled "what mothers can and cannot buy" with their child support funds:

This measure was taken to prevent parents from misusing funds that are meant to help with costs associated with raising children, such as school related expenses, food, etc.

This card will not be allow the parent to purchase alcohol, cigarettes or pay car payments the card will be used exactly like a food stamp card.

We spoke to Tasha Brown who was upset after she couldn't purchase a bottle of Hennessy at her local liquor store. she says "Its' [sic] unfair its [sic] my money I should be able to do what i want with it how will I pay for my new weave?"

child support card

The article was ambiguous about whether the card would apply to all funds received for the care of children (such as support monies paid by former spouses) or funds made available through government assistance programs. It didn't matter either way, though, as the story was a complete fabrication that originated with a fake news web site that does not publish factual stories. A disclaimer on The Reporterz states that "every article is based on a true story, only the facts have been changed."

In this case, Delaware really does have a card that makes it easier for single parents and guardians to receive funds. The First State Family Card is a pre-paid debit card that does not require bank account:

The First State Family Card is a pre-paid VISA card that is credited whenever a payment is posted to any/all of a client's child support case(s).

Benefits to the debit VISA card include:

  • No line of credit is associated with this card.
  • No bank account is required.
  • No need to wait for a check to arrive in the mail.
  • No need to make extra trips to the bank.
  • No need to pay check cashing fees.
  • Use it anywhere VISA is accepted!

While Delaware does have a card that makes it easier for parents to collect child support, the handbook for the First State Family Card (not the "Child Support Card") does not mention any restrictions on how the funds may be utilized.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.