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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: Powers, Elizabeth
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    So long as child support enforcement was entirely the legal domain of the states, it was nearly impossible to pursue claims across state lines, and interstate claims were characterized as the “black hole” of child support enforcement. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) clarified lines of authority, opened state IV-D agencies and courts to interstate claimants, and invented powerful new tools for pursuing cross-state claims. This paper uses Survey of Income and Program Participation data spanning the reform era to assess the success of this policy. The potential endogeneity of interstate moves with the policy regime may bias conventional regression estimates. A conditional difference-in-difference matching estimator is implemented instead. The findings indicate greatly increased administrative enforcement activity for interstate cases subsequent to UIFSA. This activity increased formal support agreements and identified greater amounts of support owed. There is also evidence of increased interstate collections and a closing of the ‘black hole’. Support collections...

    So long as child support enforcement was entirely the legal domain of the states, it was nearly impossible to pursue claims across state lines, and interstate claims were characterized as the “black hole” of child support enforcement. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) clarified lines of authority, opened state IV-D agencies and courts to interstate claimants, and invented powerful new tools for pursuing cross-state claims. This paper uses Survey of Income and Program Participation data spanning the reform era to assess the success of this policy. The potential endogeneity of interstate moves with the policy regime may bias conventional regression estimates. A conditional difference-in-difference matching estimator is implemented instead. The findings indicate greatly increased administrative enforcement activity for interstate cases subsequent to UIFSA. This activity increased formal support agreements and identified greater amounts of support owed. There is also evidence of increased interstate collections and a closing of the ‘black hole’. Support collections increased especially for welfare-receiving households, but nonwhite households and households with nonmarital births do not appear to be helped by UIFSA. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Huang, Chien-Chung; Han, Ke-Qing
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    Over the past few decades, the federal government has intensified child support enforcement policies in response to high rates of child poverty and single-mother households. This study provides a comprehensive review of empirical, peer-reviewed articles from the past 20 years on the direct effects of child support enforcement policies on payments to custodial mothers and the indirect effects of these policies on behaviors such as fertility, sexual activity, welfare utilization, father involvement, and labor participation. The review indicates that child support enforcement has contributed to an increase in child support payments to custodial mothers. Additionally, strong enforcement is associated with low nonmarital fertility, risky sexual behavior, and welfare utilization and high father involvement. Policy implications are discussed. (author abstract)

    Over the past few decades, the federal government has intensified child support enforcement policies in response to high rates of child poverty and single-mother households. This study provides a comprehensive review of empirical, peer-reviewed articles from the past 20 years on the direct effects of child support enforcement policies on payments to custodial mothers and the indirect effects of these policies on behaviors such as fertility, sexual activity, welfare utilization, father involvement, and labor participation. The review indicates that child support enforcement has contributed to an increase in child support payments to custodial mothers. Additionally, strong enforcement is associated with low nonmarital fertility, risky sexual behavior, and welfare utilization and high father involvement. Policy implications are discussed. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ovwigho, Pamela Caudill; Saunders, Correne; Born, Catherine E.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    Large arrears balances can have negative effects on states, non-custodial parents, and ultimately the children who are due the support. For these reasons, policy makers and program managers have begun to think creatively about potential methods to reduce current arrears balances and prevent the accumulation of additional arrears. One emerging concern has been the build-up of arrears when a non-custodial parent is incarcerated. Some argue that these balances are uncollectible and that they may, in fact, reduce the possibility of parents paying any support and being involved in their children’s lives once they are released from prison. Thus, states are considering a range of policy options for dealing with incarcerated obligors, from suspending or reducing the current support order while the individual is imprisoned to providing comprehensive employment and reintegration services for those who are released from prison.

    States will have to weigh a variety of competing and often controversial factors in choosing among the various policy and program options for addressing the...

    Large arrears balances can have negative effects on states, non-custodial parents, and ultimately the children who are due the support. For these reasons, policy makers and program managers have begun to think creatively about potential methods to reduce current arrears balances and prevent the accumulation of additional arrears. One emerging concern has been the build-up of arrears when a non-custodial parent is incarcerated. Some argue that these balances are uncollectible and that they may, in fact, reduce the possibility of parents paying any support and being involved in their children’s lives once they are released from prison. Thus, states are considering a range of policy options for dealing with incarcerated obligors, from suspending or reducing the current support order while the individual is imprisoned to providing comprehensive employment and reintegration services for those who are released from prison.

    States will have to weigh a variety of competing and often controversial factors in choosing among the various policy and program options for addressing the arrears problem for this portion of their child support caseload. An important place of beginning is to understand the extent of the problem. The present study does just that for Maryland by combining administrative data from the Division of Corrections and the Child Support Enforcement Administration to explore the intersection of child support and incarceration in our state. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Levingston, Kirsten D.; Turetsky, Vicki
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2007

    Incarcerated persons can accumulate significant debt from various criminal financial penalties and child support obligations, leading to unrealistic payment obligations, which they are unable to meet. Policymakers should set and enforce child support policies and criminal financial obligations in a manner that supports successful reintegration into society and reduces recidivism. (author abstract)

    Incarcerated persons can accumulate significant debt from various criminal financial penalties and child support obligations, leading to unrealistic payment obligations, which they are unable to meet. Policymakers should set and enforce child support policies and criminal financial obligations in a manner that supports successful reintegration into society and reduces recidivism. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brito, Tonya L.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    This Article highlights Michael Turner's experience with the child support system to illuminate the experience of thousands of poor fathers exactly like him. Rather than the due process and right to counsel questions addressed in Turner v. Rogers, this Article presents other, more foundational and difficult problems that were not litigated in Turner's Supreme Court case. Part II provides an overview of the historical development of the federal-state child support program and its interrelationship with the public welfare system. It demonstrates how the governmental interest in welfare cost recoupment has influenced public policy and law surrounding child support enforcement and further traces the changes that have strengthened the private child support system while reducing poor families' reliance on government cash assistance.

    Part III explores the systemic policies and practices of the child support system that operate to create a revolving prison door for no-and low-income fathers who are under an order of child support. Part III then reviews the empirical evidence...

    This Article highlights Michael Turner's experience with the child support system to illuminate the experience of thousands of poor fathers exactly like him. Rather than the due process and right to counsel questions addressed in Turner v. Rogers, this Article presents other, more foundational and difficult problems that were not litigated in Turner's Supreme Court case. Part II provides an overview of the historical development of the federal-state child support program and its interrelationship with the public welfare system. It demonstrates how the governmental interest in welfare cost recoupment has influenced public policy and law surrounding child support enforcement and further traces the changes that have strengthened the private child support system while reducing poor families' reliance on government cash assistance.

    Part III explores the systemic policies and practices of the child support system that operate to create a revolving prison door for no-and low-income fathers who are under an order of child support. Part III then reviews the empirical evidence regarding the economic status and employment capabilities of disadvantaged fathers. It further chronicles their experience with the child support system, from the establishment of unrealistically high child support orders to the accumulation of onerous arrearages and ultimately, the application of punitive and unwarranted enforcement measures (including imprisonment). In concluding, Part III argues that this approach to secure child support payments from disadvantaged noncustodial fathers has not only been largely ineffective but has also produced unintended consequences that run counter to the goal of improving the economic well-being of poor children.

    Part IV proposes a novel approach to child support enforcement in poor families. It contemplates a change in program priorities such that the goal of providing economic support to poor children is made paramount, even if this shift is made at the expense of pursuing the dual (and often conflicting) goal of welfare cost recoupment. With this enhanced commitment to children's economic needs in mind, Part IV presents a multi-pronged alternative scheme for child support. First, the scheme proposes reforms to the child support system to ensure that disadvantaged fathers' child support orders realistically reflect their income potential and capacity to pay. Second, the scheme provides for significant government investments in effective capacity building strategies, including education, job training, and other work-related supports, so that disadvantaged fathers are better able to meet their child support responsibilities. Part IV recognizes that implementing the first two prongs of this proposal may not succeed in achieving the goal of securing sufficient private support for poor children. Given the intractable systemic barriers to secure employment that disadvantaged fathers experience and their particular vulnerability to broader economic downturns, Part IV also imagines a more robust public-private sharing of financial responsibility for poor children. Under this vision, private support of poor children would be complemented by, rather than substituted for, public support. More specifically, Part IV proposes a system that provides resources to children and their families so that, coupled with private family resources, the children are guaranteed a minimum level of economic security. This public benefit would operate to ensure a child support floor so that, paired with court-ordered child support payments, the funds would lift poor single mothers and their children above the poverty threshold. (author abstract)

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