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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: 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: 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: 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)

  • Individual Author: Roman, Caterina G.; Link, Nathan W.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2017

    Recently released prisoners in the United States are increasingly facing the burden of financial debt associated with correctional supervision, yet little research has pursued how-theoretically or empirically-the burden of debt might affect life after prison. To address this gap, we employ life course and strain perspectives and path analysis to examine the impact of child support debt on employment and recidivism, using longitudinal data from an evaluation of a prisoner reentry program known as the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative. Results indicate that having more debt has no effect on recidivism; however, more debt was significantly associated with a decrease in later legitimate employment. Implications for community reintegration and justice processing are discussed within the framework of past and emerging work on legal financial obligations, employment, and desistance from crime after prison. (Author abstract)

    Recently released prisoners in the United States are increasingly facing the burden of financial debt associated with correctional supervision, yet little research has pursued how-theoretically or empirically-the burden of debt might affect life after prison. To address this gap, we employ life course and strain perspectives and path analysis to examine the impact of child support debt on employment and recidivism, using longitudinal data from an evaluation of a prisoner reentry program known as the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative. Results indicate that having more debt has no effect on recidivism; however, more debt was significantly associated with a decrease in later legitimate employment. Implications for community reintegration and justice processing are discussed within the framework of past and emerging work on legal financial obligations, employment, and desistance from crime after prison. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Perez-Johnson, Irma; Kauff, Jacqueline; Hershey, Alan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    In recent years, policymakers and program administrators have increasingly focused on the role of noncustodial parents (NCPs) in the lives of low-income families. One example is Support Has A Rewarding Effect (SHARE), an initiative operated with Welfare-to-Work (WtW) grant support in three counties in the state of Washington. SHARE offered three options to NCPs whose minor, dependent children were receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and who were in arrears on their support obligations: (1) start paying support, (2) enroll in a WtW program, or (3) face possible incarceration. The main objective of this study was to examine the employment, earnings, and child support outcomes for targeted NCPs. (author abstract)

    In recent years, policymakers and program administrators have increasingly focused on the role of noncustodial parents (NCPs) in the lives of low-income families. One example is Support Has A Rewarding Effect (SHARE), an initiative operated with Welfare-to-Work (WtW) grant support in three counties in the state of Washington. SHARE offered three options to NCPs whose minor, dependent children were receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and who were in arrears on their support obligations: (1) start paying support, (2) enroll in a WtW program, or (3) face possible incarceration. The main objective of this study was to examine the employment, earnings, and child support outcomes for targeted NCPs. (author abstract)

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