In fiscal year 2018, noncustodial parents were obligated to pay nearly $33.6 billion in current child support on behalf of the 15 million children served by the Title IV-D child support program. One-third of that, or $11 billion, was not collected. Unemployment is the leading reason for non-payment of child support by noncustodial parents. This brief will explore the opportunities at the state and federal levels to provide employment services to noncustodial parents and increase child support payments in the process.
As part of the "Looking Forward" series, which provides policymakers with memos that suggest ways to make progress on critical issues, MDRC presents the topic of balancing welfare support for poor families and children with promoting self-sufficiency through work.
Low-income families face significant challenges navigating both low-wage employment or education and training programs and also finding good-quality child care. Programs that intentionally combine services for parents and children can help families move toward economic security and create conditions that promote child and family well-being. Although these programs in general are not new (see Background), policymakers and program leaders are now experimenting with innovative approaches to combining services. Yet, most currently operating programs, sometimes called “two-generation” or “dual…
Families on limited incomes can struggle to navigate low-wage jobs or education and training programs while also searching for quality early care and education for their children. Some programs provide integrated services to parents and their children in an effort to solve this problem. This practice is sometimes called a two-generation or whole-family approach. This report provides: (1) key findings from a literature review, an environmental scan, and field work to identify and describe existing program models; (2) development of a conceptual framework to inform program design and research;…
The evaluation of the Community-Centered Responsible Fatherhood Ex-Prisoner Reentry Pilot Projects (“Fatherhood Reentry”) documented the implementation of six programs designed to help stabilize fathers and their families, help move fathers toward economic self-sufficiency, and reduce recidivism. This report presents the findings from the evaluation and provides an overview of the activities implemented by the programs, describes their various approaches to implementation, and identifies the implementation challenges they faced and the solutions they used to overcome those challenges. We…
The job market can be brutal for formerly incarcerated adults, as well as their children and families, as they contend with instability and stress while struggling to secure employment. This report covers the challenging terrains of incarceration, reentry and work. It draws on expert interviews, dozens of resources and two decades of strategic investments by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Readers will learn what employment barriers people commonly face after exiting prison or jail and how to help these individuals pursue — and maintain — family supporting jobs. (Author abstract)
The Responsible Fatherhood, Healthy Marriage and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers and Their Partners (MFS-IP) initiative was established in 2006 by the federal Office of Family Assistance (OFA), and required grantees serve fathers who were either incarcerated or recently released, as well as their spouses or committed partners. The grantees were required to deliver services to support healthy marriage and were also permitted to provide activities designed to improve parenting and support economic stability. From 2006 to 2011, the 12 MFS-IP sites delivered a…
Many programs within the Administration for Children and Families work with fathers to promote economic self-sufficiency and social well-being for them and their families. As a part of that work, we also implement rigorous research and evaluation projects designed to improve our understanding of how best to serve those fathers. This brief describes research and evaluation projects related to the Responsible Fatherhood grant program and noncustodial parents, and other research related to fathers and fatherhood.
In this testimony before the District of Columbia City Council on adult literacy programs, Caroline Ratcliffe shares her findings on childhood poverty, how it relates to adult success, and the importance of parents’ educational attainment. (Author abstract)
Economics has its roots in the Greek word oikonomia, which means the “management of the household.” Yet economists across the ideological spectrum have paid little attention to the links between household family structure and the macroeconomic outcomes of nations, states, and societies. This is a major oversight because, as this report shows, shifts in marriage and family structure are important factors in states’ economic performance, including their economic growth, economic mobility, child poverty, and median family income. (Author abstract)