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  • Author: Ovwigho, Pamela C.; Saunders, Correne; Born, Catherine E.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    Today’s report is the first in a series of studies designed to provide, for the first time ever, a comprehensive, detailed exposition and data-driven understanding of the arrears phenomenon in our state. In addition, today’s report is meant to serve as the empirical baseline with regard to arrears. To the extent that the central child support office, local support agencies, and/or other entities make efforts to address Maryland’s $1.5 billion support arrears problem, the baseline picture presented in this report can be used to empirically document and assess the outcomes of those efforts. To carry out this initial study, we chose September 2005 as our baseline month and utilized a variety of administrative data sources to address five straightforward but critically important research questions:

    1) How much is owed in past-due child support for Maryland cases and to whom?
    2) How are arrears cases and debt distributed across Maryland jurisdictions?
    3) What are the characteristics of cases with arrears?
    4) What are the characteristics of obligors who owe...

    Today’s report is the first in a series of studies designed to provide, for the first time ever, a comprehensive, detailed exposition and data-driven understanding of the arrears phenomenon in our state. In addition, today’s report is meant to serve as the empirical baseline with regard to arrears. To the extent that the central child support office, local support agencies, and/or other entities make efforts to address Maryland’s $1.5 billion support arrears problem, the baseline picture presented in this report can be used to empirically document and assess the outcomes of those efforts. To carry out this initial study, we chose September 2005 as our baseline month and utilized a variety of administrative data sources to address five straightforward but critically important research questions:

    1) How much is owed in past-due child support for Maryland cases and to whom?
    2) How are arrears cases and debt distributed across Maryland jurisdictions?
    3) What are the characteristics of cases with arrears?
    4) What are the characteristics of obligors who owe arrears?
    5) What risk factors are associated with high debt and low arrears collections?

    Our goal in addressing these basic questions is to provide elected and appointed officials, advocates, and others with the first-ever, holistic, empirical picture of the arrears situation in our state. We also draw on study findings and our many years of experience with Maryland’s child support program to make certain observations and suggestions about approaches that may hold promise vis-à-vis child support arrears. There are no quick or easy or ‘one size fits all’ fixes to this complex and multi-faceted problem, but the solid empirical understanding of arrears provided by this study is a necessary pre-condition for effective action. Thus, this report coupled with our state’s emphasis on seeking consensus in public policy in pursuit of the common good, provides Maryland, for the first time, with a solid basis from which to move forward in tackling the vexing but critically important issue of child support arrears. (author abstract) 

  • Author: Sorensen, Elaine; Koball, Heather; Pomper, Kate; Zibman, Chava
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    This report was prepared in response to a mandate from the California State Legislature to analyze how much of the $14.4 billion in child support arrears owed statewide in March 2000 was realistically collectible. Child support arrears had grown dramatically in California during the prior decade and state legislators were concerned about their collectability. The Urban Institute estimated that $3.8 billion, or 26% of the $14.4 billion, would be collected over 10 years. The reason that so little arrears are likely to be collected is that most of the arrears are owed by individuals who owe more than $20,000 in arrears and have relatively low incomes. (author abstract)

    This report was prepared in response to a mandate from the California State Legislature to analyze how much of the $14.4 billion in child support arrears owed statewide in March 2000 was realistically collectible. Child support arrears had grown dramatically in California during the prior decade and state legislators were concerned about their collectability. The Urban Institute estimated that $3.8 billion, or 26% of the $14.4 billion, would be collected over 10 years. The reason that so little arrears are likely to be collected is that most of the arrears are owed by individuals who owe more than $20,000 in arrears and have relatively low incomes. (author abstract)

  • Author: McLeod, Branden A.; Gottlieb, Aaron
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2018

    The child support program promotes parental responsibility, so that children receive support from both parents even when they live in separate households. While this program aims to reduce poverty, the program has financially burdensome consequences for low income, noncustodial parents who have experienced incarceration. Noncustodial parents may accrue arrears when they are unable to work due to incarceration. This study examines the relationship between incarceration and child support arrears among low-income fathers. The results from the analyses imply that incarceration is a predictor of fathers' accruing child support debt and fathers who have experienced incarceration tend to have higher child support arrears than fathers who have not experienced incarceration. This illustrates that people seeking to reintegrate into society from correctional institutions face economic disadvantages making it more difficult for them to contribute financially to their families. This study concludes with policy solutions which create cohesion between the child support and criminal justice...

    The child support program promotes parental responsibility, so that children receive support from both parents even when they live in separate households. While this program aims to reduce poverty, the program has financially burdensome consequences for low income, noncustodial parents who have experienced incarceration. Noncustodial parents may accrue arrears when they are unable to work due to incarceration. This study examines the relationship between incarceration and child support arrears among low-income fathers. The results from the analyses imply that incarceration is a predictor of fathers' accruing child support debt and fathers who have experienced incarceration tend to have higher child support arrears than fathers who have not experienced incarceration. This illustrates that people seeking to reintegrate into society from correctional institutions face economic disadvantages making it more difficult for them to contribute financially to their families. This study concludes with policy solutions which create cohesion between the child support and criminal justice systems. (Author abstract)

     

  • Author: Sorensen, Elaine; Sousa, Liliana; Schaner, Simon
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    The purpose of this report is to provide information about the underlying characteristics of child support arrears in the nation and in nine large states to help OCSE and state child support programs (also known as IV-D programs) improve their ability to manage arrears. The nine study states are: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. They were selected because of their relative size. Collectively, they held 39 percent of the nation’s arrears in FY 2006. Each of the study states volunteered to participate in the study and provided detailed administrative data about their obligors and the arrears they owed. These data were matched by OCSE to six quarters of national quarterly wage and unemployment insurance data. Based on these data, each study state was provided with a detailed analysis of their arrears. This report draws from those analyses. (author introduction)

    The purpose of this report is to provide information about the underlying characteristics of child support arrears in the nation and in nine large states to help OCSE and state child support programs (also known as IV-D programs) improve their ability to manage arrears. The nine study states are: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. They were selected because of their relative size. Collectively, they held 39 percent of the nation’s arrears in FY 2006. Each of the study states volunteered to participate in the study and provided detailed administrative data about their obligors and the arrears they owed. These data were matched by OCSE to six quarters of national quarterly wage and unemployment insurance data. Based on these data, each study state was provided with a detailed analysis of their arrears. This report draws from those analyses. (author introduction)

  • Author: Sorensen, Elaine; Tannehill, Tess
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    In 2003, the Texas Office of Attorney General fundamentally altered the process of establishing child support orders, going from a highly judicial process of establishing orders to a process that establishes most orders administratively. It also substantially improved the issuance of income withholding orders. This report describes the implementation of these reforms and measures their impact. It finds that, after the reforms were implemented, the amount of time it takes to establish child support orders and income withholding orders on newly opened cases declined significantly and the amount of arrears assessed on newly established orders declined significantly, suggesting a highly successful initiative. (author abstract)

    In 2003, the Texas Office of Attorney General fundamentally altered the process of establishing child support orders, going from a highly judicial process of establishing orders to a process that establishes most orders administratively. It also substantially improved the issuance of income withholding orders. This report describes the implementation of these reforms and measures their impact. It finds that, after the reforms were implemented, the amount of time it takes to establish child support orders and income withholding orders on newly opened cases declined significantly and the amount of arrears assessed on newly established orders declined significantly, suggesting a highly successful initiative. (author abstract)

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