Effective Child Support Policy for Low-Income Families: Evidence from Street Level Research

By: Maureen R. Waller and Robert Plotnick. Published by: Journal of Policy and Analysis Management. Published in December 2001

Link to article

This article discusses perceptions of child support among low-income families.

Highlights include:

  • “Many parents suggest that child support rules can pit mothers against fathers and create or exacerbate conflict in their relationships … These conflicts can make already difficult parenting arrangements more antagonistic and may lead to their dissolution” (p. 99).
  • “After low-income parents become involved with the formal system and a support order is established, concerns about how the system enforces support orders come to the fore. Mothers often perceive it as ineffective in enforcing their rights to support. Fathers become frustrated with the system’s insensitivity to their changeable economic circumstances and its use of criminal sanctions to enforce compliance. These perceived problems with the enforcement process are likely to contribute to poor parents’ reluctance to participate in the formal system in the first place” (p. 102).
  • “The employment situation of nonresident fathers often appeared to be unstable and changeable. Fathers said they needed more flexibility when they were out of work, when their income decreased, and when they were incarcerated. Yet, fathers often do not even know that their orders can be modified downward or do not know how to do this” (p. 106)

Categories: Children, Family, Family, Legal Aid Practitioners, National, Policymakers and Funders, Researchers and Academics

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