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Effective child support policy for low-income families: evidence from street level research

  • Maureen R Waller

    (Public Policy Institute of California)

  • Robert Plotnick

    (University of Washington)

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    Since 1984, policymakers have increasingly turned their attention to reforming the child support system. Despite this attention, the child support system has often failed to increase the economic security of single-parent families. This article analyzes findings from recent qualitative studies to explain why the child support system breaks down for so many low-income families. This research suggests that parents often prefer informal arrangements of support and do not comply with child support regulations they perceive to be unfair, counterproductive, or punitive. It also suggests that there is a mismatch between the premises and goals of child support policy and what low-income parents desire from the system. This mismatch impedes low-income parents' willingness and ability to comply with existing policy, even when they wish to do so, and will make reform difficult. © 2001 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    Volume (Year): 20 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 89-110

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:20:y:2001:i:1:p:89-110
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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    1. Edin, Kathryn, 1995. "Single mothers and child support: The possibilities and limits of child support policy," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 203-230.
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