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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, and establishment of support orders and collection of support payments. The Child Support section on 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.
Our nation's families are undergoing a sea change. Over the last 30 years, as wages have stagnated and declined, more unmarried couples are living together and having children. Fewer than half of adults with lower incomes and less education are now married, and marriage has increasingly become the norm only among couples with higher incomes and college educations. The economic challenges facing low-income families are especially acute for black parents and their children: 73% are born to unmarried parents. The risk of economic hardship for children is even greater in mother-headed households. Child support enforcement—typically transferring money from the father to the mother—is often thought of as one way to reduce poverty among children and families. However, this only works if the father has enough income or assets to be able to pay. According to the US Census Bureau, the large majority—70 percent—of custodial parents with children living in poverty receive no child support whatsoever. For black custodial parents, this figure rises to 75 percent. (author introduction)
This report provides a profile of noncustodial parents (NCPs) based on the percentage of current support they paid during a one-year period. It is important to note that the majority of NCPs paid something toward their support. However, the difference in employment and earnings between those who paid a small percentage and those who paid most of their support has clear implications for NCPs’ ability to pay. Specifically, those who paid the least also earned the least, but were expected to pay more than 50% of their earnings toward their current support. Most NCPs, regardless of their actual earnings, only paid between 20% and 30% of their income toward child support. (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.