Eli Hager

Reporter

Eli Hager is a reporter covering issues affecting children and teens in the Southwest.

He joined ProPublica from the Marshall Project, where as a staff writer for six years he focused primarily on juvenile justice, family court, foster care, schools and other issues affecting youth. A two-time Livingston Award finalist and three-time finalist for the Education Writers Association’s national award, his work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Guardian, New York Magazine, USA Today, NPR and elsewhere.

Hager’s investigation of juvenile justice agencies that bill parents for their children’s incarceration led to the practice being banned in Philadelphia the day after the story published and later statewide in California. After publishing a yearlong investigation of deaths, crashes, escapes and abuses on for-profit prisoner transport vans, the Justice Department launched a probe of the industry. Most recently, his investigation of “short-stayers” in New Mexico — kids taken from their families by police and placed in foster care only to be returned days later because the removal was unnecessary — helped prompt legislation that will require social workers, not cops, to perform all child removals.

Hager is based in Phoenix.

Head of New Mexico Child Support Agency Asks State to Stop Intercepting Payments to Poor Families

Following a ProPublica investigation, the New Mexico Child Support Enforcement Division is calling on the state Legislature to stop funding the agency with millions in child support confiscated from single mothers who previously received welfare.

Utah Makes Welfare So Hard to Get, Some Feel They Must Join the LDS Church to Get Aid

Utah’s safety net for the poor is so intertwined with the LDS Church that individual bishops often decide who receives assistance. Some deny help unless a person goes to services or gets baptized.

Para obtener asistencia social, estas madres solteras se ven obligadas a compartir casi todo lo que saben sobre los padres de sus hijos

Las mujeres que solicitan asistencia social tienen que identificar al padre de sus hijos, y cuándo quedaron embarazadas, entre otros detalles personales. El gobierno utiliza esos datos para reclamarle la manutención al padre y se embolsa el dinero.

These Single Moms Are Forced to Choose: Reveal Their Sexual Histories or Forfeit Welfare

Women who apply for welfare often have to identify who fathered their children and when they got pregnant, among other deeply personal details. State governments use that information to pursue child support from the dads — and then pocket the money.

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