Social Service Review
About 2.5 million nonresident fathers are poor and do not pay child support. According to the National Survey of America's Families, most noncustodial fathers face the same multiple employment barriers as poor custodial mothers, but are significantly less likely than those mothers to participate in work-support programs such as training, education, job search activities, or income security programs. Before 1996, the government offered an array of financial assistance, housing, and employment training for single mothers. However, nonresident fathers qualified only for food stamps and were not targeted for job training. Welfare reforms initiated in 1996 strengthened child support enforcement laws and work requirements for noncustodial fathers, but did not allocate funds to pay for job placement programs. In addition, time limits on the receipt of food stamps are expected to further restrict financial assistance for nonresident fathers and their ability to support their children. Parents living with children are not subject to the time limits on food stamps. Few states are using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant funds to help nonresident fathers. Without access to work-support programs, these fathers will remain unable to provide the financial support that their children need. Given that Congress expects poor nonresident fathers to support their children, it should consider directing work-support programs to them so that they can fulfill their financial obligations to their children. (Author abstract modified) 15 references, 9 notes, 2 figures, 3 tables.
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