We argue that child support, the central program specifically targeting single-parent families, should increase financial resources for children living with a single parent, with a secondary goal of holding parents responsible for supporting their children. Current child support policy is substantially successful for divorcing families in which the noncustodial parent has at least moderate formal earnings. However, the system does not work well for lower-income families, especially unmarried couples: far too few children regularly receive substantial support and the system is sometimes counterproductive to encouraging parental responsibility. We propose: a public guarantee of a minimum amount of support per child, assurances that no noncustodial parent will be charged beyond their current means, and a broadening of child support services. (Author abstract)
Reforming policy for single-parent families to reduce child poverty
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