For now, Mr. Curry continues to make do with the resources he has. And Dawn Simmons, along with thousands like her, continues to go without support. Without support, Ms. Simmons provides subsistence for Aaron and herself as a cashier at the National Aquarium. After taxes, her biweekly paycheck comes to just $378. From that, $130 disappears every two weeks for Aaron's day care. The monthly rent for her three-room Hilton Road apartment takes an additional $300. That doesn't leave much for fun -- or food.
"I make sure [Aaron] gets what he needs," Simmons said. "I've cut myself short a lot of times.
"It's a struggle," she said, "a real struggle."
Ms. Simmons does not go without support because Aaron Sims, the man she's identified as her boy's father, is hard to locate. Within minutes, the Navy's personnel bureau named Mr. Sims' unit in Norfolk, and the base's public affairs office provided a phone number for him almost immediately. Reached by telephone, Mr. Sims refused to discuss Ms. Simmons with reporters or to say whether he is the baby's father. To date, no one in the enforcement system has made him talk either.
Neither Virginia nor Maryland child support agencies will discuss individual cases, and Ms. Simmons has not heard whether Mr. Sims has been interviewed, given a blood test or summoned to a hearing.
"I keep calling and calling and calling but nothing's been done yet," Ms. Simmons said. "They tell you the same thing over and over. 'We're backed up and we're sorry.'
"It's just a bunch of excuses."
Dick Mendel is a free-lance writer.