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The role of child support debt on the development of mental health problems among nonresident fathers

Individual Author: 
Um, Hyunjoon

Using the first five waves of data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), this research examines whether nonresident fathers who owe child support arrears are at risk for the development of depression and alcohol abuse problems. To attenuate a potential omitted variable bias, I controlled for fathers’ previous mental health status by including a lagged dependent variable as a covariate. As a robustness check, I used an instrumental variable approach to correct for endogeneity and measurement error associated with mothers’ report of fathers’ child support arrears.

The child support debt bubble

Individual Author: 
Brito, Tonya L.

This article examines the widespread phenomenon of exorbitant child support debt owed by noncustodial fathers in no- and low-income and predominately Black families. Drawing from qualitative data—including a court-based ethnography and in-depth interviews with lawyers, litigants, and judges—this Article explores the inflated and arbitrary nature of the debt, detailing how states utilize family law rules, child support system practices, and court processes to construct burdensome child support arrears that many poor noncustodial fathers will never have the means to pay off.

Transforming Colorado’s child support services to a two-generation approach: Lessons learned from implementing an 11-county pilot study

Individual Author: 
Clemens, Elysia V.
Sheesley, Alison P.
Davis, Lanae

The Child Support Services Division of the Colorado Department of Human Services made a conscious decision to change its service delivery method from an enforcement approach to a two-generational (2Gen), family-centered approach. Eleven counties have participated in a pilot project, the 2Gen Child Support Services Transformation Project, to implement the 2Gen approach. This report summarizes the findings and lessons learned from the first eight months of the project.

Do low-income noncustodial fathers trade families? Economic contributions to children in multiple families

Individual Author: 
Berger, Lawrence M.
Cancian, Maria
Guarin, Angela
Meyer, Daniel R.

Little research exists on the contributions that noncustodial fathers make to children they have had in different families. We use baseline survey data from an intervention for noncustodial parents who are behind in their child support payments to examine formal and informal payments. We explore whether noncustodial fathers who have had children with multiple mothers provide any support to children from older relationships, and whether they provide less to these children than to children from their most recent relationship (their youngest nonresident child).

Relief from government-owed child support debt and its effects on parents and children

Individual Author: 
Hahn, Heather
Kuehn, Daniel
Hassani, Hannah
Edin, Kathryn

This report was updated on August 28, 2019. On page vi, the share of child support payments in California that is owed to the government was changed from 70 percent to 40 percent to reflect the most recent data. On page 2, “In San Francisco” was changed to “According to the San Francisco Department of Child Support Services” to clarify the source of the percentage in the first paragraph. (author abstract)

Child support compliance in fatherhood programs: The role of hope, role salience, and parenting skills

Individual Author: 
Chan, Alexander E.
Adler-Baeder, Francesca

Non-resident fathers’ compliance with child support agreements is low. An estimated 50% of fathers never pay any formal support to their co-parents (Stykes, Manning, & Brown, 2013). Responsible fatherhood programs have been developed as an alternative to incarceration to provide parenting and other skills to fathers in the hopes of increasing their payment compliance.

Fatherhood: Ongoing research and program evaluation efforts in the Administration for Children and Families

Individual Author: 
Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation Administration for Children and Families U.S. Department of Health and Services

The “Fatherhood: Ongoing Research and Program Evaluation Efforts” brief describes ACF’s ongoing research and evaluation projects related to 1) the Responsible Fatherhood grant program, 2) noncustodial parents, and 3) fathers and fatherhood more broadly. It also describes some of ACF’s past research and evaluation efforts related to fatherhood. (Author introduction)

Does joint legal custody increase child support for nonmarital children?

Individual Author: 
Chen, Yiyu
Meyer, Daniel R.

Nonmarital children account for two fifths of births in the US, and close to two thirds of these children do not live with their fathers by age five. Although nonmarital children primarily live with their mothers, joint legal custody has emerged as an option for their parents. Parents with joint legal custody are expected to make major decisions for their child together, regardless of their prior marital status.

Building connections: Using integrated administrative data to identify issues and solutions spanning the child welfare and child support systems

Individual Author: 
Howard, Lanikque
Vogel, Lisa Klein
Cancian, Maria
Noyes, Jennifer L.

We analyze the role of newly integrated data from the child support and child welfare systems in seeding a major policy change in Wisconsin. Parents are often ordered to pay child support to offset the costs of their children’s stay in foster care. Policy allows for consideration of the “best interests of the child.” Concerns that charging parents could delay or disrupt reunification motivated our analyses of integrated data to identify the impacts of current policy. We summarize the results of the analyses and then focus on the role of administrative data in supporting policy development.

Predictors of father involvement in a sample of low-income men enrolled in a Responsible Fatherhood program

Individual Author: 
Hayward-Everson, R. Anna
Honegger, Laura
Glazebrook, Alexander
Rabeno, Stephen
Yim, Kevin

Fathers play an important role in the lives of their children and are an underserved and understudied population. This study explored predictors of father involvement in a sample of low-income fathers enrolled in a responsible fatherhood program in one large county in the northeastern United States. Although many demographic, psychological, and social factors have been found to be associated with father involvement in other research, in our study only living situation, marital status, substance abuse, and self-esteem were significant predictors of involvement.