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Don't shut out parents

As a non-custodial parent, I find it encouraging that some attention is focused on issues promoting stronger guarantees that we be permitted a role in our children's lives ("Jail part of bills on child custody," Feb. 23).

A state agency collects child support and enforces child support orders, a state committee examines child support issues, Utah statutes provide for automatic wage garnishment for child support whether there has been a payment problem or not, and those who fail to pay child support are dealt with harshly. Yet there seems to be little concern for a non-custodial parent's role in children's lives other than financial.

Although the current efforts are encouraging, they don't go far enough.

An increasing body of research indicates that children tend to do better when both parents are involved in their lives. Perhaps it's time to begin to permit both parents to do so.

Jim Valentine