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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: Edin, Kathryn; Nelson, Timothy J.; Butler, Rachel; Francis, Robert
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    U.S. children are more likely to live apart from a biological parent than at any time in history. Although the Child Support Enforcement system has tremendous reach, its policies have not kept pace with significant economic, demographic, and cultural changes. Narrative analysis of in-depth interviews with 429 low-income noncustodial fathers suggests that the system faces a crisis of legitimacy. Visualization of language used to describe all forms child support show that the formal system is considered punitive and to lead to a loss of power and autonomy. Further, it is not associated with coparenting or the father–child bond—themes closely associated with informal and in-kind support. Rather than stoking men’s identities as providers, the system becomes “just another bill to pay.” Orders must be sustainable, all fathers should have coparenting agreements, and alternative forms of support should count toward fathers’ obligations. Recovery of government welfare costs should be eliminated. (Author abstract)

    U.S. children are more likely to live apart from a biological parent than at any time in history. Although the Child Support Enforcement system has tremendous reach, its policies have not kept pace with significant economic, demographic, and cultural changes. Narrative analysis of in-depth interviews with 429 low-income noncustodial fathers suggests that the system faces a crisis of legitimacy. Visualization of language used to describe all forms child support show that the formal system is considered punitive and to lead to a loss of power and autonomy. Further, it is not associated with coparenting or the father–child bond—themes closely associated with informal and in-kind support. Rather than stoking men’s identities as providers, the system becomes “just another bill to pay.” Orders must be sustainable, all fathers should have coparenting agreements, and alternative forms of support should count toward fathers’ obligations. Recovery of government welfare costs should be eliminated. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Howard, Lanikque; Vogel, Lisa Klein; Cancian, Maria; Noyes, Jennifer L.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    We analyze the role of newly integrated data from the child support and child welfare systems in seeding a major policy change in Wisconsin. Parents are often ordered to pay child support to offset the costs of their children’s stay in foster care. Policy allows for consideration of the “best interests of the child.” Concerns that charging parents could delay or disrupt reunification motivated our analyses of integrated data to identify the impacts of current policy. We summarize the results of the analyses and then focus on the role of administrative data in supporting policy development. We discuss the potential and limitations of integrated data in supporting cross-system innovation and detail a series of complementary research efforts designed to support implementation. (Author abstract)

    We analyze the role of newly integrated data from the child support and child welfare systems in seeding a major policy change in Wisconsin. Parents are often ordered to pay child support to offset the costs of their children’s stay in foster care. Policy allows for consideration of the “best interests of the child.” Concerns that charging parents could delay or disrupt reunification motivated our analyses of integrated data to identify the impacts of current policy. We summarize the results of the analyses and then focus on the role of administrative data in supporting policy development. We discuss the potential and limitations of integrated data in supporting cross-system innovation and detail a series of complementary research efforts designed to support implementation. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Anzelone, Caitlin; Timm, Jonathan; Kusayeva, Yana
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    State child support programs secure financial support for children whose parents live apart. These programs establish paternity, set orders for the amounts parents are required to pay, and collect and distribute payments. An essential step in the process of establishing paternity and setting an order of support is delivering legal documents to the person named as a parent (frequently referred to as the “noncustodial parent”). This step of delivering documents is known as “service.” A noncustodial parent typically receives a summons that says he or she has been named as the parent of a particular child, provides notice that a legal proceeding has been initiated, and sets a hearing date. The summons is usually delivered by certified mail or by a law enforcement officer. In many states, noncustodial parents can waive being served by accepting the legal documents in the child support office voluntarily, but few do. A person who comes into the child support office to accept service voluntarily is actively engaging in the child support process. In doing so, the person benefits from...

    State child support programs secure financial support for children whose parents live apart. These programs establish paternity, set orders for the amounts parents are required to pay, and collect and distribute payments. An essential step in the process of establishing paternity and setting an order of support is delivering legal documents to the person named as a parent (frequently referred to as the “noncustodial parent”). This step of delivering documents is known as “service.” A noncustodial parent typically receives a summons that says he or she has been named as the parent of a particular child, provides notice that a legal proceeding has been initiated, and sets a hearing date. The summons is usually delivered by certified mail or by a law enforcement officer. In many states, noncustodial parents can waive being served by accepting the legal documents in the child support office voluntarily, but few do. A person who comes into the child support office to accept service voluntarily is actively engaging in the child support process. In doing so, the person benefits from reduced fees, a greater voice in the legal process, and a better understanding of the way an order is established. The child support program benefits from increased efficiency, reduced costs, and the ability to provide more information to parents. With these benefits in mind, the BICS team worked with the Georgia Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to test a new form of outreach intended to get more people to accept service voluntarily. The intervention encouraged people who had been named as parents to come into the office and meet with staff members to discuss the child support process and their obligations. Using insights from behavioral science, the BICS team redesigned mailed materials and changed the nature of the initial meeting between noncustodial parents and child support staff members in an attempt to simplify the process and encourage parents to act. (Excerpt from overview)

  • Individual Author: Selekman, Rebekah; Holcomb, Pamela
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    The EMPOWERED study, conducted on behalf of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, examines the use of performance measures, work requirements, and child support cooperation requirements across human services programs. This issue brief examines the use of child support cooperation requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program and child care subsidy programs funded under the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF). (Author summary)

    The EMPOWERED study, conducted on behalf of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, examines the use of performance measures, work requirements, and child support cooperation requirements across human services programs. This issue brief examines the use of child support cooperation requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program and child care subsidy programs funded under the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF). (Author summary)

  • Individual Author: Nguyen, Breanne Marie
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2018

    Child support is a means to financially support children, yet fewer than half of children eligible for child support receive full payment, with many receiving none. Child support nonpayment is a national concern that has led to negative repercussions for non-intact families, the community, and economic system. In some cases, noncustodial parents have an inability to pay. The purpose of this descriptive, phenomenological study was to understand custodial parental perceptions and experiences of noncustodial parent’s inability to pay their child support. Social learning theory served as the conceptual framework for the study. In-depth interviews were conducted with a sample of 10 custodial parents ranging in age from 18 to 45 who had an active child support case enforced by a Domestic Relations Office in the northeastern United States but were not receiving payments due to the noncustodial parent’s inability to pay. Audiotaped interviews were manually transcribed and coded for themes using a typology organization structure. Coding was based on key terms, word repetitions, and...

    Child support is a means to financially support children, yet fewer than half of children eligible for child support receive full payment, with many receiving none. Child support nonpayment is a national concern that has led to negative repercussions for non-intact families, the community, and economic system. In some cases, noncustodial parents have an inability to pay. The purpose of this descriptive, phenomenological study was to understand custodial parental perceptions and experiences of noncustodial parent’s inability to pay their child support. Social learning theory served as the conceptual framework for the study. In-depth interviews were conducted with a sample of 10 custodial parents ranging in age from 18 to 45 who had an active child support case enforced by a Domestic Relations Office in the northeastern United States but were not receiving payments due to the noncustodial parent’s inability to pay. Audiotaped interviews were manually transcribed and coded for themes using a typology organization structure. Coding was based on key terms, word repetitions, and metaphors. Member checking and audit trails were used to establish the trustworthiness of the data. The findings revealed that many custodial parents did not trust that the noncustodial parent was being truthful in their claims of having a true inability to pay. Other custodial parents believed that the noncustodial parent could make more attempts to try to assist the custodial parent in the absence of financial support. The findings of this study may contribute to social change by advancing knowledge and policies within the child support system. Likewise, findings may assist caseworkers and clinicians in better understanding their client’s experiences and challenges resulting in a better client service experience. (Author abstract)

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