In 2002, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) instituted the Community Healthy Marriage Initiative (CHMI) evaluation to document operational lessons and assess the effectiveness of community-based approaches to support healthy relationships and marriages and child well-being. A component of the CHMI study involves implementation research on demonstrations approved by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) under authority of Section 1115 of the Social Security Act.
The study examined the impact of child support policy on the financial well-being of one family experiencing divorce in Minnesota. Data were collected from a court record of a 1999 marital dissolution with joint legal and physical custody and a child support order that deviated from state guidelines. The analysis compared the needs-adjusted income the parties had while in the marriage with the needs-adjusted incomes provided by the actual child support order, and with hypothetical amounts consistent with the child support guidelines, and with the situation of sole physical custody.
This brief relies on data from the National Survey of America's Families, a survey of 44,461 households, to examine the extent to which children receive money from and spend time with their nonresident parents. Part of the Assessing the New Federalism project, the brief also examines how much child support contributes to family income, whether child support reduces child poverty and income inequality, and whether additional child support enforcement efforts would really increase child support receipt among poor children.
This brief uses 1997 National Survey of America's Families data to examine characteristics of poor, nonresident fathers who do not pay child support. Overall, poor fathers resemble poor mothers in educational levels and barriers to employment. Of the 2.5 million poor, nonresident fathers who do not pay child support, the two largest groups are black and white, with Hispanic fathers accounting for 14 percent of nonpaying fathers. Fathers and mothers differ substantially in terms of living in institutions.
This study examines the impact of state welfare reform policies on the paternal involvement of low-income single fathers. Life history interviews were conducted with 40 African American fathers participating in a community-based parenting program in Chicago. Men's rightful claims to fatherhood were constructed through voluntary involvement with their children and enforced paternity establishment. Welfare policies gave precedence to child support and providing and dismissed fathers' in-kind caregiving.
The popular image of a nonresident father who does not pay child support is that of a "deadbeat," one who is able to pay but shirks his duty for no good reason. This image does not fit the 2.6 million nonresident fathers who are poor themselves and have a limited ability to provide support to their nonresident children. Nonetheless, our society expects poor mothers to work and use their earnings to support their children; certainly poor fathers should do the same. What policies can our society develop to convert poor nonpaying fathers into child support payers?
This issue brief discusses those provisions in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act of 1996—P.L. 104-193 (PRA), and those in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA) that are related to fatherhood.* It gives some suggestions to states on how to promote responsible fatherhood given the federal laws, presents some of the previous welfare laws related to fatherhood, and provides a brief overview of PRA provisions that affect fathers. (author abstract)
Child support has become a pressing policy concern in California. The shortcomings of the state’s child support system have prompted both a new state department and numerous proposals for reform. This study poses a key question: why does the child support system break down for so many low-income families? Part of the answer lies in the mismatch between child support policy and the experiences of many low-income parents.
This article discusses innovative practices developed jointly by the Larimer County, Colorado, Department of Health and Human Services and the Larimer County Workforce Center to assist TANF participants on their journey to enhanced self-sufficiency. Innovations included a system-wide problem-solving team, an intensive intervention strategy to prevent sanctioning of TANF participants, a program to enable non-custodial fathers to provide their children with financial and emotional support; and a car donation program partnered with a community agency.
Arrears forgiveness has been proposed as a method of reducing uncollectible state-owed arrears and encouraging low-income obligors to pay their current child support obligations. Pre- and post-program data for 74 obligors participating in Maryland's Arrears Leveraging Pilot Project reveal that both earnings and child support payment behavior improved. Outcomes were significantly related to program progress, with program completers earning more and paying more than those who dropped out. In all, participants paid $7,000 more in support than was forgiven in state-owed arrears.