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

Author

Listed:
  • Maureen R Waller

    (Public Policy Institute of California)

  • Robert Plotnick

    (University of Washington)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Maureen R Waller & Robert Plotnick, 2001. "Effective child support policy for low-income families: evidence from street level research," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 89-110.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:20:y:2001:i:1:p:89-110
    DOI: 10.1002/1520-6688(200124)20:1<89::AID-PAM1005>3.0.CO;2-H
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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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    Cited by:

    1. Lenna Nepomnyaschy, 2005. "Child Support and Father-Child Contact: Leveraging Panel Data to Establish a Causal Path," Working Papers 941, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    2. Jennifer Roff, 2010. "Welfare, Child Support, and Strategic Behavior: Do High Orders and Low Disregards Discourage Child Support Awards?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
    3. Maria Cancian & Daniel R. Meyer & Emma Caspar, 2008. "Welfare and child support: Complements, not substitutes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2), pages 354-375.
    4. Daniel R. Meyer & Maria Cancian & Kisun Nam, 2007. "Welfare and child support program knowledge gaps reduce program effectiveness," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 575-598.
    5. Roff, Jennifer & Lugo-Gil, Julieta, 2012. "A model of child support and the underground economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 668-681.
    6. Castillo, Jason T., 2009. "The relationship between non-resident fathers' social networks and social capital and the establishment of child support orders," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 533-540, May.
    7. Yoonsook Ha & Maria Cancian & Daniel R. Meyer, 2010. "Unchanging child support orders in the face of unstable earnings," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(4), pages 799-820.
    8. repec:pri:crcwel:wp09-14-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Maria Cancian & Carolyn J. Heinrich & Yiyoon Chung, 2013. "Discouraging Disadvantaged Fathers’ Employment: An Unintended Consequence of Policies Designed to Support Families," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(4), pages 758-784, September.
    10. Lenna Nepomnyaschy, 2007. "Child support and father-child contact: Testing reciprocal pathways," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(1), pages 93-112, February.
    11. repec:pri:crcwel:wp06-09-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Lenna Nepomnyaschy & Irwin Garfinkel, 2007. "Child Support Enforcement and Fathers' Contributions to Their Nonmarital Children," Working Papers 909, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    13. repec:pri:crcwel:wp05-05-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Kim, Yeongmin & Cancian, Maria & Meyer, Daniel R., 2015. "Patterns of child support debt accumulation," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 87-94.
    15. Marcia J. Carlson & Sara S. McLanahan, 2009. "Fathers in Fragile Families," Working Papers 1189, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    16. Colleen Wynn & Lauren McClain, 2015. "Not Quite Out On The Streets: Housing Tenure Among Low-Income Urban Fathers," Working Papers wp13-17-ff, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    17. Russell, Luke T. & Ganong, Lawrence & Schramm, David G. & Warzinik, Kelly & Roach, Andrea & Doubledee, Rachael, 2016. "A comparison of intergovernmental and private agency collection of child support arrears," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 166-173.

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