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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Ovwigho, Pamela C.; Suanders, Correne; Born, Catherine E.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    As is often the case, Maryland has been on the cutting edge of new thinking and, in November 2000 began the Arrears Leveraging Pilot Project (ALPP), a small demonstration project in Baltimore City. A collaborative effort among state and local child support officials and community-based organizations, the pilot was intended to encourage low-income, non-paying absent parents to pay their current support by rewarding consistent payment behavior with reduction or elimination of arrears they owed to the state. In mid-2004, the Child Support Enforcement Administration, Maryland Department of Human Resources asked the authors to study the program and to address certain important questions. This report is the result of our work on that task. Specifically, using a variety of administrative data sources, the remainder of this report addresses five questions:

    1) What percentage of parents made it through each of the program phases?
    2) What are the characteristics of program participants?
    3) What changes, if any, occur in employment rates, stability and earnings after...

    As is often the case, Maryland has been on the cutting edge of new thinking and, in November 2000 began the Arrears Leveraging Pilot Project (ALPP), a small demonstration project in Baltimore City. A collaborative effort among state and local child support officials and community-based organizations, the pilot was intended to encourage low-income, non-paying absent parents to pay their current support by rewarding consistent payment behavior with reduction or elimination of arrears they owed to the state. In mid-2004, the Child Support Enforcement Administration, Maryland Department of Human Resources asked the authors to study the program and to address certain important questions. This report is the result of our work on that task. Specifically, using a variety of administrative data sources, the remainder of this report addresses five questions:

    1) What percentage of parents made it through each of the program phases?
    2) What are the characteristics of program participants?
    3) What changes, if any, occur in employment rates, stability and earnings after graduation from the program and what are the patterns over time?
    4) What changes, if any, occur in the welfare receipt patterns of participants’ children after the participants have graduated from the program?
    5) Are there any changes in participants’ child support payment behavior during their enrollment in the project?

    ALPP was a small pilot, operating in one jurisdiction and suffered a variety of implementation and other difficulties. Nonetheless, answers to these five fundamental questions about the program should provide valuable information and insights for elected and appointed officials about a child support issue of great importance to low-income families, child support agencies and states. The issue, at root, is this: what strategies or programs are needed to permit us to effectively balance the need of our state’s children for financial support from their absent parents with the ability of absent parents to provide that support in the here-and-now without being crushed under the weight of insurmountable accumulated debt. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Born, Catherine E.; Ovwigho, Pamela Caudill; Saunders, Correne
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    There are many reasons for child support arrears, but among many noncustodial parents, low income is now well-documented as being a significant contributor to the problem. To address this particular issue, states are developing programs specifically designed to help noncustodial parents improve their employment and earnings and thus increase their ability to meet their support obligations. Not surprisingly, Maryland has been at the forefront of these efforts. Our evaluation of a small pilot program in Baltimore City, for example, found that program participants worked more, earned more, paid more current child support and paid more often than they had in the past Ovwigho, Saunders & Born, 2007). Building on the lessons learned from the pilot program and several other programs initiated by local child support agencies, Maryland’s Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) began implementing a statewide Noncustodial Parent Employment Program (NPEP) in 2006. The stated purpose of NPEP is to “provide employment services to noncustodial parents who are unable to meet their...

    There are many reasons for child support arrears, but among many noncustodial parents, low income is now well-documented as being a significant contributor to the problem. To address this particular issue, states are developing programs specifically designed to help noncustodial parents improve their employment and earnings and thus increase their ability to meet their support obligations. Not surprisingly, Maryland has been at the forefront of these efforts. Our evaluation of a small pilot program in Baltimore City, for example, found that program participants worked more, earned more, paid more current child support and paid more often than they had in the past Ovwigho, Saunders & Born, 2007). Building on the lessons learned from the pilot program and several other programs initiated by local child support agencies, Maryland’s Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) began implementing a statewide Noncustodial Parent Employment Program (NPEP) in 2006. The stated purpose of NPEP is to “provide employment services to noncustodial parents who are unable to meet their child support obligations” (Maryland Department of Human Resources, February 24, 2006). Consistent with the state’s long-standing interest in empirically assessing program outcomes, this report takes a look at the employment, earnings, and child support outcomes achieved by the first wave of noncustodial parents who were referred to NPEP. To provide a context within which to interpret study findings, we also consider how post-NPEP outcomes compare to parents’ employment and child support payment patterns before NPEP. Our intent, as always, is to provide child support program ;managers and policy-makers with reliable empirical data on outcomes achieved, lessons learned, and food for future thought with regard to this important program initiative. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria; Meyer, Daniel R.; Wood, Robert
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The final implementation report on the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) was released on January 15, 2019. It reflects demonstration activities that commenced in fall 2012, when the eight child support agencies competitvely awarded grants by OSCE to participate in CSPED began a one-year planning period, and concluded with the end of the demonstration period in September 2017. 

    Grantees designated 18 implementation sites, ranging from one to five counties per grantee. Grantees enrolled participants in the demonstration over a three year period, from October 2013 through September 2016. Half of the demonstration's 10,161 enrollees were randomly assigned to receive CSPED services, including enhanced child support services, employment assistance, parenting education delivered in a peer-supported format and case management. Half were assigned to a control group and did not receive extra services. On average, participants assigned to the extra services group received about 22 hours of services. 

    As the report describes, throughout...

    The final implementation report on the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) was released on January 15, 2019. It reflects demonstration activities that commenced in fall 2012, when the eight child support agencies competitvely awarded grants by OSCE to participate in CSPED began a one-year planning period, and concluded with the end of the demonstration period in September 2017. 

    Grantees designated 18 implementation sites, ranging from one to five counties per grantee. Grantees enrolled participants in the demonstration over a three year period, from October 2013 through September 2016. Half of the demonstration's 10,161 enrollees were randomly assigned to receive CSPED services, including enhanced child support services, employment assistance, parenting education delivered in a peer-supported format and case management. Half were assigned to a control group and did not receive extra services. On average, participants assigned to the extra services group received about 22 hours of services. 

    As the report describes, throughout the demonstration, CSPED grantees and their partners grappled with a complex array of challenges. These included reorienting child support staff and systems toward helping low-income noncustodial parents obtain employment; recruiting noncustodial parents to enroll in CSPED; keeping participants engaged in services; addressing participants' barriers to employment; establishing partnerships and meshing different organizational cultures; and helping participants with parenting time issues.

    The successes and challenges experienced by CSPED grantees offer important insights into strategies from which future programs serving similar populations can learn, adapt, and innovate. These include investing in strong partnerships and communication systems; drawing on strong leaders with a commitment to facilitating a cultural shift towards a customer-oriented apporach within child support agencies; staffing programs with employees who support CSPED's goals, and hiring and retaining a sufficient number of staff to manage large and challening caseloads; developing services that take into account the substantial barriers to employment faced by the target population; and designing services to promote sustained participant engagement. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria; Meyer, Daniel R.; Wood, Robert G.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The final impact report on the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) was released on March 14, 2019. The primary goal of the intervention was to improve the reliable payment of child support in order to improve child well-being and avoid public costs. Key outcomes related to noncustodial parents' (1) child support orders, payments and compliance, as well as attitudes toward the child support program; (2) work and earnings; (3) sense of responsibility for their children.

    Over 10,000 noncustodial parents with difficulty meeting their child support obligations were enrolled between October 2013 and 2016; half were randomly assigned to receive extra services as part of CPSED while the other half received regular services. The evaluation results are based on a comparison of outcomes between these two groups, drawing on data from administrative records and surveys administered at enrollment and one year later. 

    As described in the report, results show that the program led to modest declines in child support orders (consistent with "...

    The final impact report on the National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED) was released on March 14, 2019. The primary goal of the intervention was to improve the reliable payment of child support in order to improve child well-being and avoid public costs. Key outcomes related to noncustodial parents' (1) child support orders, payments and compliance, as well as attitudes toward the child support program; (2) work and earnings; (3) sense of responsibility for their children.

    Over 10,000 noncustodial parents with difficulty meeting their child support obligations were enrolled between October 2013 and 2016; half were randomly assigned to receive extra services as part of CPSED while the other half received regular services. The evaluation results are based on a comparison of outcomes between these two groups, drawing on data from administrative records and surveys administered at enrollment and one year later. 

    As described in the report, results show that the program led to modest declines in child support orders (consistent with "right-sizing" these orders), and even smaller reductions in payments. While there was no significant change in child support compliance, CSPED resulted in major improvements in noncustodial parents' attitudes towards the program. There was some evidence of increases in earnings, but not in employment. Noncustodial parents' sense of responsibility to their children also increased. 

    The evaluation suggests that the potential exists for child support agencies to lead broader interventions, incorporating components beyond child support services alone, aimed at helping unemployed and underemployed noncustodial parents to increase the reliability of their financial support for their children. Results suggest these effects can improve noncustodial parents' attitudes towards the child support program and sense of responsibility for their children, and reduce punitive enforcement with bigger impacts on right-sizing orders than on reducing payments. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wyckoff, Laura ; McVay, Mary ; Wallace, Dee
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2009

    Research shows that nearly half of all children born in the US today will be eligible for child support before they reach the age of 18. Many low-income, noncustodial fathers—who often struggle to make these payments—will seek services from workforce development organizations. Yet, understanding the child support enforcement system can be challenging—not only for noncustodial fathers but also for the workforce organizations that want to assist them. 

    Navigating the Child Support System aims to help meet this challenge by providing information, resources and tools to use at the intersection of workforce development and child support enforcement. The guide is based on lessons from the Fathers at Work initiative, a three-year, six-site demonstration funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which was designed to help young, noncustodial fathers achieve increased employment and earnings, involvement in their children's lives and more consistent financial support of their children. 

    The guide describes child support enforcement regulations, policies and actions that...

    Research shows that nearly half of all children born in the US today will be eligible for child support before they reach the age of 18. Many low-income, noncustodial fathers—who often struggle to make these payments—will seek services from workforce development organizations. Yet, understanding the child support enforcement system can be challenging—not only for noncustodial fathers but also for the workforce organizations that want to assist them. 

    Navigating the Child Support System aims to help meet this challenge by providing information, resources and tools to use at the intersection of workforce development and child support enforcement. The guide is based on lessons from the Fathers at Work initiative, a three-year, six-site demonstration funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which was designed to help young, noncustodial fathers achieve increased employment and earnings, involvement in their children's lives and more consistent financial support of their children. 

    The guide describes child support enforcement regulations, policies and actions that can affect fathers' willingness to seek formal employment and participate in the system, and provides examples of four services that organizations might offer to benefit fathers and their families. Navigating the Child Support System offers concrete suggestions for incorporating child support services into workforce organizations' assistance to low-income, male participants, including developing partnerships with local child support enforcement agencies. It includes seven tools for learning about child support and setting goals for enhancing services to noncustodial fathers. (publisher abstract)

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