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Children thrive when they receive the needed support and love from their parents—regardless of custody status. This includes not only emotional support, but financial support as well. Child support enforcement services are partnerships between Federal, State, local and Tribal entities which aim to provide family-centered services in the location of parents, establishment of paternity, establishment of support orders and collection of support payments. The Child Support section of the SSRC highlights current research and programs in such key issue areas as arrears, incarceration, multiple partner fertility, non-resident parent involvement, visitation, payment incentives and barriers, and work incentives and barriers.
View recommendations from the SSRC Librarian on Child Support and relevant Federal laws and regulations below.
Research on the relationship between child support and pathways to self-sufficiency for low-income individuals and families frequently discusses child support arrears and modification and multiple partner fertility. Click the phrase below to view selected research and resources relevant to child support arrears and modification and multiple partner fertility.
Below are selections from the SSRC Library on child support arrears and modification. Click the titles to learn more about the research and resources.
The Research Unit of the Orange County Department of Child Support Services (CSS), located in Santa Ana California produced a multivariate examination of the number and type of barriers that prevent Non-Custodial Parents (NCPs) from making consistent child support payments. The caseload analysis is based on child support payments for 772 child support cases from Orange County’s caseload of approximately 79,000 cases. The study determined the major barriers associated with low payment compliance. In order of influence, the top 10 predictors are: 1) NCP Monthly Gross Income; 2) Education level of the NCP; 3) NCP Age at First Becoming a Parent; 4) Ratio of Order to Wage; 5) Criminal History; 6) Visits Per Month; 7) Number of Children; 8) Substance Abuse History; 9) Currently on Probation/Parole; and 10) Language. NCPs predicted to yield low compliance are associated with multiple barriers. Predictive analytics is used to predict future compliance based on these barriers and can lead to effective policy decisions by setting appropriate orders for NCPs with barriers. In this study, setting appropriate orders effectively improves compliance for NCPs with barriers. Furthermore, knowing the barriers associated with future compliance can guide the child support agency to partner with vital community organizations through a family-centered services approach. This approach is expected to be highly effective at improving the income of NCPs (and support compliance) when they are connected to appropriate resources. This research also acts as a springboard for future research in developing and promoting future programs to improve child support outcomes for the NCPs with barriers and to measure their effectiveness. (author abstract)
This report presents findings from two behavioral interventions designed to increase the collection of child support payments in Franklin County, Ohio. As part of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, the Franklin County Child Support Enforcement Agency implemented two interventions informed by behavioral economics principles to increase child support payments from noncustodial parents who do not have income withholding and need to take action each month to make a payment.
The report shows that reminders can be an important tool for influencing people’s actions. The first intervention had a small, but statistically significant impact on the number of parents who made at least one child support payment. The second test did not have an impact on payments, suggesting that, in this context, the form of reminder does not seem to matter (abbreviated author abstract).
Federal laws and regulations establish a framework which guides the design and administration of child support programs for low-income individuals. Click the first link below to view legislative resources specific to child support programs. Click the second link to browse additional self-sufficiency legislation and policy in the SSRC library.