Child support enforcement in the United States: Has policy made a difference?
Over the past few decades, the federal government has intensified child support enforcement policies in response to high rates of child poverty and single-mother households. This study provides a comprehensive review of empirical, peer-reviewed articles from the past 20years on the direct effects of child support enforcement policies on payments to custodial mothers and the indirect effects of these policies on behaviors such as fertility, sexual activity, welfare utilization, father involvement, and labor participation. The review indicates that child support enforcement has contributed to an increase in child support payments to custodial mothers. Additionally, strong enforcement is associated with low nonmarital fertility, risky sexual behavior, and welfare utilization and high father involvement. Policy implications are discussed.
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